Structure and Fun: A Boy Scouts of America Success Story

Kale is energetic, quick to laugh, and is bursting with stories about adventures he and his friends have had. In most ways he is quite like any other nine year old. This avid Boy Scout does have one more challenge than the rest of his peers. He has Asperger’s, a form of autism.

Kale is considered a Cub, which is a stepping stone to Boy Scouts. He gets to have fun, experiment with ideas and objects, go to camps, pool parties, and learn to be self-sufficient. When asked his favorite part about Scouting, Kale replies “everything” with a grin.

Kale’s mom, Haley, has seen a vast improvement in her son since joining Boy Scouts three years ago. “He needs structure and schedules, something with no surprises,” she says. “Kale likes the rules.” Haley tells of how Scouting has kept her son active, helps him make good decisions, and increases his outdoor play. She likes that he is often outside with his friends instead of sitting in front of video games all the time.

Kale has even used the skills he learned in Boy Scouts to help others in the community. Earlier this year he received a bravery award from CAPS for intervening in a potentially bad situation. “He has learned a lot of confidence building skills,” Haley says.

The Helzer duo realizes they wouldn’t be able to afford Boy Scouts if not for scholarships and other forms of aid. Kale is modest, but after encouragement from his mom he tells of his popcorn sale, which is the annual fundraiser Boy Scouts participate in. Kale was the top seller in 2012! Haley says that their troop allows Kale to keep a good chunk of the funds he raises each year. “Without popcorn sales we wouldn’t be able to go to summer camps and take part in special activities for the troop.”

Haley loves the change she has seen in her son. Kale used to have meltdowns and problems with outbursts, but those things have virtually disappeared. Haley thinks that every boy deserves the Boy Scout experience, structure, and lessons. “Scouting has been wonderful for Kale, and his confidence is just through the roof!”

Boy Scouts of America Coronado Area Council SMART Goal: By December 2015, increase the number of youth participating in a scouting program which leads them to make healthy decisions.