GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. -- Knots, camping skills and electricity are all activities you would expect to find at a Boy Scout meeting, but the scouts in Troop 5280 are not your typical scouts.
Troop 5280 is the first transitional Boy Scout troop in the metro area. It was formed in 2009 to provide special needs scouts between 10½ and 18-years-old with the basic foundation and knowledge of the traditional Boy Scout program.
“We just take what they have,” scoutmaster Kathy Duran told Denver7. “We don't treat them any different and we don't talk above them or below them. We talk at their level that they can understand.”
Troop 5280 follows traditional scouting outdoor programs, including camping and fishing, and tailors the needs of each scout’s advancement to their individual strengths and challenges.
“We take what they know and we ask them to show us what they can do and if they struggle on a merit badge we help accommodate them,” Kathy said.
Once the scouts get some experience with the fundamentals of Boy Scouting, they can transition to a traditional troop if they want, or they can stay with Troop 5280.
Kathy’s son, Juleon, is her assistant scoutmaster. He has autism but went through scouting with a traditional troop.
“It might take them a little bit longer, it might take them a little bit shorter, but it’s possible that everyone can be an Eagle Scout,” Juleon said.
Juleon said saw an opportunity to help others after the formation of Troop 5280.
“One of the things it says in the Eagle Scout handbook is ‘give back to the community of scouting,’ so I did,” he said. “I don’t see me as leading them. I see them as leading me because basically what they teach me helps me guide the lesson plan for next time.”
Kathy Duran said Troop 5280 fills a much-needed void for many of the scouts.
“This means a lot because it shows that they are a part of something special, that they can accomplish many things.”