By Jean Seegers


 ROSCOE – Twenty eight years ago, Jenny Bevans, the mother of two girls, was an active Girl Scout leader. When her daughters grew up and aged out of the troop, she found she missed the scouting experience.

Bevans learned about a unique Special Needs Boy Scout troop started and maintained by pastors at Roscoe Methodist Church. After attending a few meetings, she was hooked.

Now, every Wednesday evening, she and Scout Master Gary Hollister meet with approximately 10 young men between the ages of 16 and 28, at the church for an evening filled with laughter, hard work and friendship.

The troop has a full schedule. They perform community service projects, participate in the Salvation Army Food Drive, march in the Memorial Day Parade and work on their Merit Badges.

“They completed four badges last year including one in art and one in music,” Bevans said.

The troop is not run like a regular troop. They are chartered with the Roscoe Methodist Church Men’s Group, according to Bevans.

“The Men’s Group works with the Scouts at their level, but not dumbed down.”

“Normally, Boy Scouts age out at age 18. Those with disabilities can stay as long as they want,” said Hollister, who has been Scout Master for nearly four years.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Boy Scout Pledge at the May 6, meeting,  the young men got down to the business on making Mother’s Day gifts. Newspaper covered the long table as they scooped dirt into hand-painted flower pots and placed colorful flowers into the pots.

Workers who live in homes and volunteers were on hand to assist with the project. Nannette Bell attends meetings with her son Kevin. Kevin is a Special Patrol Leader and has been a member for several years.

A popular activity among the Scouts is a week at Canyon Camp each summer where they enjoy swimming, boating, archery and fellowship.

A few weeks ago, Home Depot held a workshop to teach them how to build bird houses.

Troop 643 is funded by the Roscoe Lions Club. The Roscoe Methodist Men’s Group funds the summer camp.

Bevans and Hollister would like to encourage families with boys with special needs, and who are at least 11 years old, to explore the Special Needs Boy Scout Troop.

“Being a member of the troop encourages friendships and gives the boys positive self- esteem.” Bevans said.

For more information about Special Needs Troop 643, call Jenny Bevans at (815) 979-6337, or email her at

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