My Daughter with Special Needs became a Girl Scout

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Girl Scouts

Signing up my youngest for Girl Scouts as she told the leader about her older sister. “Is she interested in Scouts?” the leader asked me, to which I responded that she had special needs, and I only knew of one troop for kids with disabilities and it was too far away.

Girl Scouts for all girls

“But is she interested in becoming a Girl Scout?” is what I heard next. Honestly, I didn’t think that she was able, until I was assured that this troop was all inclusive. “This troop is for all girls, and we’d love to have her,” said the leader with the emphasis on the word all.

That was three years ago. My kiddo since has experienced friendship and experiences that I didn’t think possible. From community service to weekend camping trips, she has been included. She’s also great at selling Girl Scout cookies. Probably because she has no fear of rejection, and I have yet to hear someone say “No thanks.”

Annual Girl Scout trip

So far, the only adventure she hasn’t done is the week-long annual trip. This mama is just too nervous. Two days camping is one thing, but a whole week away? Medications, sensory overload, limited safety awareness, money management – there is so much that could go wrong.

Over the summer the leaders approached me to ask if I’d be willing to go on the trip this year, so she’d be able to go. Generally, parents don’t attend because it’s an opportunity to girls to learn independence, but in this case, it was about inclusion and the gesture meant everything. So, a gazillon of Girl Scout cookies boxes later, me and my girls are headed for New York City.

Plan for the worst. Hope for the best.

Statue of Liberty
NYC here we come!

Planning. Back up planning. More planning. That’s how you make travel happen as a special needs family. Medication, diversions, and contingencies are the name of the game. As a result, we have an abundance of gluten and dairy free snacks, a favorite stuffed animal, and an iPod loaded with favorite music. Have I thought of every scenario? Probably not. I have, however, become a master at improvising.

Interested in Girl Scouts? Look for your local chapter, and reach out to see whether scouting is a good fit for your family.

Follow our adventure this week on Instagram! (Tumbleintolove)


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