Many of us heard the story going around last week of Logan Blythe, the 15 year old Boy Scout in Utah that carried the dream of one day becoming an Eagle Scout. He’d worked hard for two years to gain nearly two dozen merit badges, and his Eagle Scout project had been approved-or so, he thought.
When his father, Chad Blythe emailed representative for the Boy Scouts Debbie Roberts to confirm his project, he found that she had chosen to reject it. Her reasoning? His disability, Down syndrome, made him in her eyes “unable to fulfill the requirements needed” to both complete his Eagle Scout project or keep any of his badges. Roberts ordered Blythe to cease all work on his project immediately, devastating the young boy’s family and crushing his dream.
Yet his story doesn’t end there-Logan’s father decided to stand up to the Boy Scouts of America, suing the organization for $1 to prove a point-his son worked just as hard as anyone else, his project had been pre-approved, and he deserved a chance.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Michael Rodrigues, President of Thrive Support & Advocacy in Marlborough, who praised Logan Blythe and his family for their courage in standing up for what is right to pave the path for others who may one day face the same challenge. “He probably has used more of his ability than his peers to this point if you think of Logan and what he is capable of doing and the challenges he faces,” says Rodrigues. “I think rather than discourage someone like that, the scouts should look at him and say, ‘This is what a Boy Scout should be’.”
Rodrigues also pointed out that, ironically, the Boy Scouts of America actually have a disabilities badge themselves that they require each boy to fill to understand the challenges that individuals living with disabilities face. “The Boy Scouts of America actually have a disabilities awareness merit badge, and if you read through the requirements, one of the requirements is to speak with a Boy Scout who has a disability and ask him about his experiences. I think if they were to fulfill the requirements for the merit badge themselves, they may find the situation very enlightening,” says Rodrigues.
Thrive believes so much in the support of those that wish to become leaders in their community that Rodrigues actually created the “LEAD” team at Thrive, a program that guides its members through participating in various community service projects partnering with corporate mentors from around the area. Each of their future LEADers are living with a disability, and work together with their mentors to plan a large, very public community service project at the end of the program followed by a graduation to congratulate their hard work.
Check out the full story below from this week’s story on WMCT News: