Special Needs Scouts

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Imagine a Boy Scout troop with members ranging from young adults to men and women in their 50's. As reporter Jim Melchiorre explains, scouting has expanded its identity and outreach. With the support of a tiny country church in Maryland, one troop is a prime example.

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Scout Representative: “We’re ready for the 2005 Scouting For Food here in Carroll District…”

Paul Curfman suffered a stroke, along with liver and bone marrow disease at age six. But by eighteen, he had made Eagle Scout.

Paul Curfman / Venture Crew 1777: “Some of the things that the Boy Scouts do I wasn’t capable of doing because of my disabilities.”

So Paul started Venture Crew 1777, for men and women with special needs.

Donald Chepko / Venture Crew member: “I like to achieve things that I’ve never been able to achieve before.”

Pipe Creek United Methodist Church agreed to sponsor the Venture Crew, even though the congregation includes less than ten active members.

The Rev. Holly Slaugh: “It’s a faith issue, I believe.  But it’s a faith issue anytime a congregation does anything, isn’t it?”

In two hours, Venture Crew 1777 collected 839 pounds of food for a community food bank.

Kelly Chepko / Venture Crew member: “This is the first time we’ve ever had this stuff. This is all new to me.  But we have a good time doing it.”

Now, Paul Curfman wants to bring scouting to more folks who, like him, have special needs.

Paul: “We’re looking for a bus that has a wheelchair lift that could probably hold more than one wheelchair.”

And with Paul’s determination, and that little country church, anything is possible.


Venture Scouts was originally formed to allow Scouts to continue their experience beyond their teens. Today, however, Venture Crews are diverse and dynamic. To find out more log onto: