Special Needs

BSAVISION: The Three Fires Council Special Needs Committee aspires to offer the nation's foremost Scouting Program for individuals with special needs by:
- Raising awareness to our Scouting Units of the need for inclusiveness of individuals with special needs
- Setting the stage for success by providing support and resources to Unit Leaders, Parents & Units to deliver a quality Scouting experience
- Creating an opportunity for Scout Leaders to be continuously educated and trained

MISSION STATEMENT: Our mission is to provide individuals with special needs opportunities to participate to the best of their abilities in an all-inclusive Scouting Program offered by the Boy Scouts of America.

Scouting Resources for Youth with Special Needs in Three Fires Council

Here are some handy resources that you will appreciate for Scouts with disabilities & special needs.

For more information contact: TFC Special Needs Committee Chair - Suzette Rizzi  (630) 205-0192

District Special Needs Committee Chairs

Chanonee - Patrick Kronenwetter -
Chippewa - Wylie Douglass -
Foxfire - Sean Williams -
Thunderbird - Heather Fleetwood -
Indian Prairie - Jocelyn Nolan -
Kishwaukee - Linda Benton -
Northern Trail - Thomas Barrington -
Maramech Hill -Russ Pietrowiak -
Shabbona - Michelle Diehl-
Potawatomi Trails - Sherry Herzog -
Fox Valley - Britt Johnson-Dunlop -


This is a new position within the unit committee that reports to the committee chair, and is being promoted by the Three Fires Council Special Needs Committee.  The Unit Special Needs Coordinator helps to facilitate communication between the unit leadership & the scout with special needs & their family. They will help to let leaders know the strengths & challenges of the scout, and how to best give them the opportunity to succeed. They will help the unit leadership to understand if there are any modifications (Cub Scouts), or accommodations needed for advancement.

A Unit Special Needs Coordinator is a leader, parent, or adult mentor who helps coordinate with unit leaders, scouts with special needs, and their parents to provide a positive experience for youth with special needs. FLIER WITH INFORMATION

The new "Guide to Working With Scouts With Special Needs and DisABILITIES", #510-071, has been published.   It replaces the brown-covered #33056. Most of the old publication has not changed, but several key points have been updated and resources updated.  It will NOT be carried by the Supply Division, and thus will only be available electronically.  This is a great "easy read"  resource for leaders who are working with Scouts  with special needs.  Please feel free to access this newly updated guide at: BSA - Scouts with Special Needs Webpage

BOOKSHARE in Scouting

While the BSA has fulfilled requests for different publications in braille or large print for years, the national office recently entered an agreement with the company Bookshare to provide the merit badge series as well as other manuals to youth, parents, and leaders with qualified print disabilities. Through the Bookshare in Scouting program, up-to-date Scouting material can be read on laptops or desktop computers; Apple iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches; MP3 players; and other devices.

Beginning this month, more than 35 different publications are available through Bookshare’s online library, and additional publications will be added in three phases over the next six to nine months. Membership is free for U.S. students of any age with qualified print disabilities, and the $25 setup fee is waived for nonstudents when you use the promo code SCOUTS.

To learn more about Bookshare, visit www.bookshare.org. For questions about Scouts with disabilities, contact Oscar Santoyo at .

Champions BuddyWhat does the Three Fires Council Special Needs Committee Do?

    • Promote awareness to Scouts and unit leaders
    • Assist with Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge
    • Provide training to adult leaders and youth
    • Distribute available publications by the BSA
    • Support the growth of new units and provide service to existing special needs units and leaders
    • Work with and assist other Council committees to deliver a quality Scouting program to all youth
    • We have the full endorsement and support of the TFC and have the full resources of the council available


We Want YOU!Become a Champions Buddy Unit (Info Flier) - A Champions Buddy unit is the cooperation between your unit and a Special Needs unit to offer support and guidance to ensure that the needs of the Champion Unit are met and are receiving the benefits offered by membership in the BSA.

Benefits of the Champions Buddy Unit Program

  • Teaches Scouts caring, patience and understanding
  • Special Needs Scouts receive the same opportunities that all our youth receive
  • Provides Scouts with special needs or disabilities what they want most…..the opportunity to participate like other Scouts….
  • Your Scouts help give them that opportunity
  • Wonderful learning experience for all involved through a broader understanding of Scouts with special Needs.
  • Enrichment of the lives of more youth in our community
  • Unlimited service hours and unit service projects
  • Eagle projects are available
  • Increase in membership