Gifted And Physically disabled Scouts


GAPS, Occoneechee Council, aims to improve the quality of scouting experiences for all scouts with disAbilities while utilizing the guiding principles of the Scout Oath and Law.


The vision of GAPS, Occoneechee Council, is to be a committed resource for scouts, scouting families, volunteers and staff to support reaching maximum potential.


The mission of Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The GAPS committee’s purpose is to provide resources, guidance, and training as tools to help adult leaders support inclusion of all scouting families AND to offer support to Occoneechee staff in identifying needs in order to prevent crisis. GAPS recognizes that trained volunteer leaders are enthusiastic about supporting scouts with disAbilities. They understand the demands put on their patience and time yet remain compassionate in accommodations for rank advancement. GAPS strives towards building self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment to enable successful outcomes for everyone in Scouting.


Kenna McIntire
Program Director
(910) 948-2382
(919) 665-9619
Mrs. Britt Flather RN

Professional Advisers

Highlander District Britt Flather, RN
Eric Ruhstorfer, LPN
Renee Seese, Advancement Intervention Services
Dogwood District Rodney Dinkins, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
Melanie Jacobs, Occupational Therapy Services
LaFayette District Sean Brost, Advancement Intervention Services
Black River District Leigh J. Mack, MD, PhD, FAPCR, CPI

District Representatives

Awahili District OPEN
Black River District Timothy Gillespie
Crosswinds District Greg McGrew
Dogwood District Allison Fulcher, Melanie Jacobs
Highlander District Mindy Jones-Secary
Impeesa District Jeff Price
LaFayette District Sean Brost

Valeria Ivery – Disability Awareness Merit Badge Counselor

Mawat District OPEN
Neuse River District Jen Hiemenz
Shakori District OPEN


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NYLT Course #2 @ Occoneechee Scout Reservation
Oct 25 – Oct 27 all-day

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT)
Registration Form on the TICKETS Link


October 4-6, 2019 and October 25-27, 2019
Occoneechee Scout Reservation, 4637 Old Carthage Rd, Carthage, NC 28327

National Youth Leadership Training is an exciting, action-packed program designed for councils to provide youth members with leadership skills and experience they can use in their home troops and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others.

The NYLT course centers around the concepts of what a leader must BE, what he must KNOW, and what he must DO. The key elements are then taught with a clear focus on HOW TO. The skills come alive during the week as the patrol goes on a Quest for the Meaning of Leadership.

NYLT is a six-day course. Content is delivered in a troop and patrol outdoor setting with an emphasis on immediate application of learning in a fun environment. Interconnecting concepts and work processes are introduced early, built upon, and aided by the use of memory aids, which allows participants to understand and employ the leadership skills much faster.

The new NYLT integrates the best of modern leadership theory with the traditional strengths of the Scouting experience. Through activities, presentations, challenges, discussions, and audio-visual support, NYLT participants will be engaged in a unified approach to leadership that will give them the skill and confidence to lead well. Through a wide range of activities, games, and adventures, participants will work and play together as they put into action the best Scouting has to offer.

In order to attend a NYLT course, a youth must have the following qualifications by the beginning of the course:

  • Must be a registered member of a Scouting unit.
  • Must have a current BSA Health and Medical Record form parts A, B, and C.
  • As of March 1, 2019, Scouts BSA members (male and female) must be at least 13. They must have completed Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops. For 2019 only, an exception will be granted for girls registered in Scouts BSA to attend NYLT without first achieving the First Class rank. Boys registered in Scouts BSA will still be required to earn the First Class rank before attending NYLT.
  • Venturers and Sea Scouts (male and female) must be at least 14, or 13 and have completed eighth grade, and fall within the maximum age allowance for their program. They must have completed Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews or Ships. It is recommended that they have had at least one year of camping experience. While NYLT is not an outdoor skills course, it is important that each participant have basic camping and outdoor cooking experience.
  • Have a unit leader recommendation.

 * Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST), Crews (ILSC), and Ships (ILSS) should be offered through a Scout’s home unit. Ask your Unit Leader how you can participate in this course.


NYLT is not like summer camp and is not designed for rank advancement or earning merit badges.  NYLT is an intense and challenging hands-on leadership training program.  It is essential that NYLT participants be physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared to handle the demands of this advanced training. In order to get the most benefit from this unique experience, participants must exhibit emotional maturity, a positive attitude, proficiency in basic camping and outdoor cooking, and have an ambition to serve in leadership roles.

Behavior at NYLT: Participants agree to conduct themselves in accordance with the Scout Oath and Law.

The program takes place over 2 weekends. Each weekend will begin on Friday at noon and end on Sunday at 5 PM. Space is limited to the first 48 participants. A waitlist will be maintained. Any registrants not fully paid by Sept 1 will be replaced with the first scout on the waitlist.

Deadline to apply is Sept 23, 2019. The total fee is $250. A $75 nonrefundable deposit is required at registration. The remaining balance of $175 is due by Sept 1. Applicants withdrawing must notify the Scout Office by Sept. 10th to receive a refund. Please register at Tentaroo then print and mail the Participant Application found at the top of the page to

Occoneechee Council,
3231 Atlantic Ave
Raleigh, NC 27604

Or email to


Wilderness First Aid @ Camp Reeves
Oct 25 – Oct 27 all-day

Click on the Tickets link to register for the event

Course Flyer: October 2019 Wilderness First Aid Flyer

Course Start: October 25, 2019 at 7:30pm
Course End: October 27, 2019 at Noon

Course Prerequisites: Current Adult CPR/AED through the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or other nationally recognized provider that does not expire until after the end of the course.

University of Scouting @ Thales Academy - Rolesville, NC
Nov 2 all-day

Registration opens October 1st, 2019

COURSE CATALOG  <– click for download

National Linked Troop Wood Badge @ Summit Bechtel Reserve
Jan 20 – Jan 24 all-day
District Committee Workshop
Jan 25 all-day
Tread Lightly Trainer
Feb 15 all-day
Commissioner College
Mar 14 all-day
Camp Staff Development
Mar 27 – Mar 29 all-day
COPE/Climbing L1 Instructor Course @ Camp Durant
Mar 27 – Mar 29 all-day

BSA requirements for the operation of both COPE and Tower operations specify a minimum of a (1) Level 2 instructor (1) Level 1 instructor to open the program area.   Staff to participant ratios are then applied based on the type of program being facilitated for the day.  Ground based activities are 12:1 while activities at height are 6:1

Upon completion of this full weekend course, the participant should be certified as Level 1 for both COPE (CS67) and Artificial Climbing Structure (CS75) and be able to effectively assist in the operations these programs.


  • Age 18 years and older
  • Complete eLearning assignments below
  • Bring your Hold Harmless form
  • Be current on Youth Protection Training
  • Pay the course registration fee
  • Be willing to have a lot of fun and learn a lot of things about COPE and Climbing.


Leave No Trace Trainer
Apr 3 – Apr 5 all-day


2018 End of Year Report

GAPS News bulletin

University of Scouting Flier

Roundtable Flier

** Note: This page links to external websites that are not hosted or under the control of the Occoneechee Council.  Content may or may not continue to be appropriate for this subject matter. Sites not operated by an official BSA entity may not accurately reflect current policy.

Newly Published/Updated

General Resources

Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge

Special Need Resource

Autism Resources


Support Resources

How do I get involved?

GAPS is always in need of volunteers!

  1. District Representatives
  2. Disability Awareness Merit Badge Counselors
  3. Professional Advisors


At the District level, a leader, parent or adult mentor may volunteer to serve in a broader role as a coordinator of district-wide special needs activities. District Abilities Awareness Representatives serve a liaison role between the Council GAPS Committee and the units in their local district.

Roles and Responsibilities of the District Abilities Awareness Representative:
Key to supporting a network of Scouters with diverse experiences & common interests to support the Occoneechee GAPS (Gifred And Physically disabled Scouting) events and outdoor activities inside & outside the District & Council.

  • Promote inclusion of Scouts within all units of your district
  • Provides guidance and resources (to volunteers and professionals)
  • Identifies, recruits & supports training of qualified volunteers
  • Supports Unit/District/Council events
  • Promotes attendance of volunteers and staff at training opportunities (with specific special needs/Disabilities awareness training separately or as part of a position-specific training)
  • Provide support for program activities, advancement, camping, training and Roundtables
  • Ensures that the needs of youth with special needs and disabilities are considered in all aspects of Council actions.
GAPS District Representative Application

As a GAPS designated Accessible Unit, we recognize that trained volunteer leaders are enthusiastic about supporting scouts with disAbilities. We understand our Unit may face unique challenges and demands yet promise to remain compassionate in supporting both accommodations for rank advancement, and towards building self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment to enable successful outcomes for everyone involved in our program.

We welcome Scouts with all abilities and their families by:

  • Providing an inclusive and understanding atmosphere together in Scouting.
  • Helping and assisting each Scout family attain (reach) their goals in scouting.
  • Providing an opportunity for the Scout to advance through the program.
  • Raising abilities awareness in all youth, adults, and our community.

Roles and Responsibilities of  Accessible Units:

  1. Committee Chair / Unit Leader (CM, SM, CA) make a commitment to welcome and work with Scouts of all abilities.
  2. Conduct an annual Facilities Checklist and discuss results at the unit leader meeting.
  3. Have a safe area for Scouts with sensory challenges to go to when they feel overwhelmed.
  4. Conduct an annual Abilities Awareness Night for youth in the unit.
  5. Fill out and update the annual special needs survey.
  6. Commitment to at least one abilities awareness presentation for leaders and parents per year.

Unit Listing

Unit Program Features District City Point of Contact Join
Pack 713 All-Accessible Highlander Tri-County area of Spout Springs Eric Ruhstorfer Join
Pack 942 All-Accessible plus Deaf & Hard of Hearing Dogwood Sanford Melanie Jacobs Join

1. Who is GAPS?!?

Occoneechee Council GAPS is 1 of only 60 BSA Council Disability Awareness Committees nationwide! We fall under Programs and consist of an OC Staff Advisor, Committee Chair & Vice Chair, District Representatives & Professional Advisors.

District Representatives keep us present at Roundtables and can step in for training and/or grassroots support. Lastly, a unique role we utilize is inviting Scouters to serve as a Professional Advisor. Our Professional Advisors consist of Doctors, Nurses, Special Educators, Early Interventionist and Therapist of all backgrounds to ensure we have a POC for unique needs we may encounter.

You can find your local POC by looking under the tab CONTACTS

2. What services does GAPS provide?

Excellent question! Our committee is always growing and transitioning so it depends on the talents of our committee members and advisors. We have been able to breakdown our efforts to 4 areas of greatest needs.

Awareness: Providing specialized training to support recognition of disabilities that impact youth, as well as leadership.

Connections: Develop relationships with youth, parents, leaders, units and council staff to increase membership and support 100% retention of Scouts with disabilities.

Mediation: Help to resolve issues by providing guidance to effectively mediate solutions.

Resources: Provide opportunities to build a network of resources for Scouts, families, unit leaders and council staff.

Are we missing something? Let us know! We are always transitioning and improving our efforts to best serve YOU!

3. How do I find out more about GAPS?

There are two ways to stay in touch with GAPS. Visit our council website at


Follow our FB page! Special Needs Scouting, Occoneechee Council, BSA

4. Do you have any Events coming up?

Well, of course! We have 4 focus areas for GAPS events.

Adult training:

✅UoS: We will have GAPS courses for the THIRD year at OC’s University of Scouting in November. Be on the lookout for course announcements!
✅Commissioner College: We enjoyed 2019’s CC and look forward to next year!
✅Round Tables: GAPS enjoys coming and speaking at Round Tables! Reach out and let us know when we can come speak at your district.
✅ Unit training: Have a specific need? We are more than willing to provide one on one support for your Unit.

Scout Disability Awareness:
We will have our DISABILITY AWARENESS MB clinic this August! Looking forward to an awesome opportunity to develop a new generation of Youth Advocates!
We also provide unit training on request.

We have an Aware & Care program for our cubs. Perfect for pack meetings. Contact us to schedule your unit!

Community events:
You will often see our orange banner and GAPS Scouters at community events. We tend to pop out of thin air! Do you know of a community event we should be a part of? Let us know!

5. I’ve always wanted to go to Philmont. Do they have any conferences for Disability Awareness.

YES! They sure do! You and the entire family (from 2 months old and up) should absolutely consider attending Learning To Serve Scouts With Special Needs conference. Let the kids go have a blast in the children’s program and hang out with Scouters wanting to improve their knowledge on how best to serve their units!

Learning To Serve Scouts With Special Needs

6. My Scout has a Disability. Does that mean they get an extension to earn Eagle?

Great question! There are many resources available to your family. Let’s discuss the top three.

Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility:

Youth and adults who are developmentally disabled, or youth with severe physical challenges, may be considered for registration beyond the age of eligibility for their program.
A disability, to qualify an individual for registration beyond the age of eligibility, must be permanent and so severe that it precludes advancement even at a rate significantly slower than considered normal.

✅Note that registration beyond the age of eligibility is intended as a permanent arrangement to allow ongoing participation as a youth member in the Scouting program. This is different from a “time extension”.

Application for Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges:

Scouts who have a physical or mental disability may achieve the Eagle Scout rank by qualifying for alternative merit badges. This does not apply to individual requirements for merit badges. Merit badges are awarded only when all requirements are met as stated.
The physical or mental disability must be of a permanent rather than of a temporary nature (or a disability expected to last more than two years or beyond the 18th birthday).


Interactive Map