Inclusive Scouting – Dyslexia and Dyspraxia Awareness Week

14th October 2019
Clem Wilson (left) and Julian Jordan (right)

At ScoutsCymru we encourage people to do more, be more and learn more. This is why, as an inclusive movement, we celebrate how diverse and awesome every one of our members are.

With Dyslexia Awareness Week and Dyspraxia Awareness Week being marked this October, we caught up with two of our members who have shared their experiences of being a member of ScoutsCymru with their disabilities.

Clem Wilson, 26, is a Scouting Support Officer for Powys and was diagnosed with Dyspraxia whilst in University after his lecturers noticed he was struggling with some assignments.

Living with a disability, Clem reflects on the impact that the inclusivity of Scouting has had on him and many others: “I was involved in Scouting briefly as a child and then became involved again two years ago. I wanted to get involved again as it really brings out the best in people. I wanted to be a part of the development of young people and the confidence that Scouting can give them. There’s really nothing more rewarding than seeing a camp full of excitable and smiling people of all ages and abilities.

“I’m a member of the Inclusive Scouting Advisory Team and I’m really proud of the way that Scouting as a movement embraces people of all abilities.

“My own Dyspraxia means that I have a non-existent sense of direction, which you would think could be pretty challenging in Scouting - especially on a hike or orienteering! However, I have always been supported and never made to feel like my disability is an obstacle.  No labels ever effect the support I am given or the support I give to others.

 “Scouting is fantastic. Every day I learn something new, develop and build on my skills. I get to work with some fantastic people, I explore one of the most beautiful places on earth and help young people and adult volunteers develop Skills For Life every day. The sense of satisfaction is immense!”

Similarly, 38-year-old Julian Jordan who is Area Commissioner for Cardiff and Vale Scouts was diagnosed with Dyslexia in primary school. He became a cub at eight years old and has been a member for the last 30 years.

Having spent his life in Scouting, Julian shares his experience of being a Scout and having a disability: “Scouting gave me the confidence that I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it. I was given the opportunity at 15 years old to become Patrol Leader of my District. I would meet with other leaders and contribute to a newsletter that was distributed. It gave me a lot of confidence in my writing abilities which was so important as this was something that I really struggled with.

“In later years as a Section Leader I would run weekly meetings and I was never expected to stand up and write on a board, any letters I needed to write could be written at home and I could use my computer to help with spelling. That is what I love about Scouting, my role has always been adapted around me.

“About 10 years ago I added a signature to my email to let people know I am Dyslexic. So many people have since approached me to talk about Dyslexia. Young People who are struggling in school have told me that they have taken inspiration from the fact my Dyslexia hasn’t stopped me achieving and it shouldn’t stop them either!

“Scouting has given me the confidence that I can get things done and I can make a difference to not only my own life but the lives of so many others. I feel so much more confident in my work life and personal life, Scouting really does change lives.”

ScoutsCymru gives over 14,000 young people in Wales the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future. Open to all young people in Wales regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or social background, the movement encourages its members to do more, learn more and be more.