Montana father creates Boy Scout troop for kids with special needs

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(CNN) – A father in Montana didn’t want his autistic son left out of the Boy Scouts, so he created his own troop, one specifically for kids with special needs.

“Troop 1950 started last fall,” said Matt Covey, the Northwest Montana Boy Scouts District executive. “One of our district leaders Keith McAtee, who’s the current scoutmaster of the troop, he has a nonverbal autistic son, who he never thought it was possible for his son Aidan to be in scouting.”

It now is possible for those like Aidan. Coby said McAtee started the group dedicated to kids with special needs. Kids range in disability from nonverbal autism to ADHD.

“We wanted to form a troop where kids can work at their own pace with no problems,” Covey said.

Assistant Scout Leader of Troop 1950 Billy King said that’s exactly what he does.

“It’s kind of challenging, but it’s a lot of fun because I get to work on each boy one on one. You know, it’s… We learned the flag ceremony last Monday, and they learned to tie a square knot. And I got to work with each one of the boys personally,” King said.

Covey said that various adjustments are made for those with differing disabilities.

“You know, if you’re swimming merit badge is required for Eagle Scout. If you’re, say, in a wheelchair you’re not going to be able to earn the swimming merit badge. And so, they might change some of those swimming requirements to make a presentation to your troop on aquatic safety,” he said.

King expressed how meaningful it is working with the troop.

“I have got a cousin who’s got MS and autism. And I got a granddaughter who’s very… She has autism, so it’s very rewarding to me,” he said.

Covey said if the troop has more interest, he will look in into creating a troop specifically for girls with disabilities.

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