To kick off Autism Awareness Month, we wanted to share the story of the Hembree family. Elisa Hembree was concerned that Scouting wouldn’t be a good fit for her son Collin, who has autism. She was afraid that he might not be able to participate in all of the activities or that the other Scouts might not want to befriend him.
Leaders and Scouts rallied around them and made Scouting a great place for Collin to grow up. They encouraged the family to get involved and come to outings together. Leaders made sure that activities were adapted for Collin’s needs, and Scouts quickly welcomed Collin into their friend groups.
Collin bridged over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and is now working his way down the Trail to Eagle. He still has some limitations, but he is just as engaged as any other Scout in his Troop. The Hembrees are engaged in their Troop as parents, leaders and friends with the other families. And Elisa can’t think of a better organization for her son to have grown up in.
She encourages any parent, regardless of their child’s situation, to research Scouting and visit Units to find the right fit for them. Scouting is for the whole family, she says, and “it’s important to find the right fit….and jump on it.” Getting engaged in the Unit as a parent makes a world of difference.
Elisa Hembree‘s son Collin is a Scout in Troop 3752 in Canton, GA.