Written by Amanda Wu, FCSN Voices Youth Reporter
In March 2022, Ricky Lin, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 468 located in Fremont, CA, led a project, in which special needs individuals got to experience the joy of scouting. He hosted two sessions during the weekend of March 19-20 to introduce scouting skills, and on the weekend of 3/26, Ricky led around 30 FCSN participants and families on an outdoor family camp trip, where they went on a hike, participated in activities like flag ceremony and campfire, and some even stayed overnight in tents to enjoy the joy of outdoor camping. Through his project, Ricky hopes to present scouting knowledge to special needs individuals, as well as build teamwork, social skills, and unforgettable memories for them.
When Ricky first joined scouting, he didn’t know what to expect, “but the things I’ve learned such as outdoor skills and social skills (communication, leadership) have helped me a lot. It was a valuable experience that I want to share with others, such as the special needs community.” Having scout team members who are on the autism spectrum helped introduce Ricky to the special needs community. Working and learning alongside his special needs teammates, Ricky realized after time and experience working together that special needs individuals are extremely kind and fun individuals. In 2019, Ricky started to volunteer for the FCSN lego classes, and he enjoyed watching the special needs individuals learn something new and play with the Legos that they’ve built, leading him to initiate this project.
Within his troop, Ricky was the first scout to offer the FCSN individuals a chance to enjoy the beauty of scouting. After discovering that many families were interested, Ricky seized the opportunity to give back to the community by teaching them new skills and creating fun memories. Ricky split all the special needs individuals into patrols of 4 – 6 members, with an instructor and several volunteers in each patrol for all events. By creating several groups and adjusting different activities accordingly, he created a welcoming and safe environment for the special needs individuals and the volunteers.
Ricky’s project served as a great opportunity for FCSN individuals to experience scouting and outdoor activities, but it was also a wonderful chance for scouts and other volunteers to interact and bond with special needs participants while practicing leadership skills. The project was a great success, and Ricky has gotten positive feedback from multiple families who participated in his event. Many of them enjoyed the activities and are interested in more involvement with the scouting community. In the future, Ricky hopes to turn this project into something permanent by creating a special needs troop and opening up the world of scouting to all. Following the scout slogan goes: “do a good turn daily,” Ricky did a good turn for the special needs community.
(from left to right) Ricky Lin, Ms. Lydia Chen (adult leader and volunteer), and Mr. David Ma (adult leader and volunteer)