Boy Scouts of America, Suffolk County Council
My name is Lauren Vlachos and I serve as the Field Director for the Boy Scouts of America, Suffolk County Council. One of my responsibilities is to provide support and guidance to our special needs Scouting Division. We serve more than 150 special needs individuals who participate in Scouting programs throughout Suffolk County, New York. Many of these programs take place in special needs education settings, day treatment facilities, and group home facilities. Our Scouts range in age from 5 years old – 60 years old and are coed.
The purpose of Scouting is to build confidence, character, and competencies in the people we serve. Scouts work on indoor and outdoor activities that focus on life and socialization skills. Programs include Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers, and Learning for Life Champions.
In addition, many traditional community based units do serve Scouts with special needs. The Boy Scouts of America has many resources and guides for leaders who work with youth with Autism, ADHD, developmental disabilities, physical and emotional disabilities, and other special needs to be sure they receive a quality Scouting program.
My Family Story: I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served 3 years in Niger, West Africa conducting community health programs for rural communities. Upon my return to the states, I began a career with the Boy Scouts of America because the values and services the Boy Scouts provide align with my own values and sense of volunteerism. The Boy Scouts don’t just teach knot tying and camping skills – but offer positive youth development activities that foster confidence, character, and life skills that lead to contributing members of society. It is the premier youth serving organization and I wanted to be a part of it. Helping to make a difference in the lives of youth is amazing. They are the future of this country and the planet.
I have 3 children – a son with sensory processing and ADHD, and two daughters. My son and older daughter (my other daughter is only 2) are actively involved in Scouting and I see the positive effects the program has on them and even our family life. We Scout as a family – Pack nights are the whole family shooting rockets, making pinewood derby cars, playing carnival games, and other fun activities. These are memories that will be cherished forever. Plus the skills and outdoor programs are just what my active ADHD/sensory seeking son needs.
If you would like to learn more about Scouting for your child please contact me at Lauren.Vlachos@scouting.org or 631-924-7000 ext. 137. I serve all of Suffolk County but can help you find a local Scouting unit in your area no matter where you may live in the United States. BeAScout.org