Swiss Scouting: Scouting for the Handicapped

Figure 1.--About, when I became of Scout-age, my father decided to organize Scouting for the handicapped. Most handicapped at that time lived somewhere in an institutional setting. Scout units were organized at these institutions. Here we see handicapped Scouts at the 1948 Swiss National Jamboree. Click on the image to see a handicapped Scout in the kitchen at a 1951 camp.

Swiss Scouts hs an active Scouting for the Handicapped program. Thy are known as PTA Scouts. PTA stands for means "Scouts despite all" in German.


About, when I became of Scout-age, my father decided to organize Scouting for the handicapped. As he was physician and worked very much with long-term patients he wanted to provide the Scouting Program to the Handicapped. His work needs to be put into a perspective of how handicapped people were treated at the time. Most handicapped at that time lived somewhere in an institutional setting. The modern concept of mainstreaming had not yet ppeared. In fact you might say that my father's work with Handicapped Scouting was an early appearance of this concept. Scout units were organized at these institutions for handicapped children. My father visited all the institutions where Scouting was organized. As time went on he had a team of volunteers who assisted him in that. Much was also done through the monthly publications the created for them. As I was a kid at that time I would not know if there was any resistance from certain circles. Personally, I have never seen any. The national Scouting organization was very supportive and helped a great deal. My father provided the handicapped Scouts on a monthly basis with program-helps for activities tailor-made for their handicaps. The highlight was always during the Summer months when my father organized regional Summer camps for the Handicapped which our whole family attended and where we functioned as helpers to the handicapped. These Camps provided me with a life-long affinity for the handicapped. We did not just have those regional camps, but we also had large delegations at the National Jamboree in 1948 near Lugano and then at the World Jamboree in 1951 in Austria. Again, our whole family was involved in some way in assisting at these Camps. [Voute]

Handicapped Programs in the 1940s

Dr. Voute was a real leader in his work with handicapped Scouting. HBU is not knowledgeable in this area, but we suspect that few other countries at this time had Scouting movements with programs for the handicapped. We are not sure when similar programs were adopted in countries with major Scouting programs like America and Britain. And Scouting was the least of problems faced by the handicapped. The general approach to handicapped people was to institutionalize them where they were out of sight. Thus they were often separated from their families. The major exception here was wealthy families who could afford specialized care for children and adult at home. And if this was not bad enough there were even worse approaches. Across the border in Germany, the NAZIs initinated the T-4 program which euthenized handicapped children and adults. This program was not conducted by NAZI SA and SS thugs, but by respected medical doctors. Tom tells us, "I do not know if my father knew about the T-4 program. I never heard about it. My parents in general were rather intolerant towards anything that came from Germany due to the NAZI-regime." Another NAZI program sterilized handicapped people. NAZI Germany was not the only country sterilizing handicapped people. Large numbers of handicapped people, most the mentally disabled, were sterilized in America as part of state eugenics programs.


Voute, Tom. E-mail message, May 24, 2006.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Chronology Pages:
[Return to the Main chronologies page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web Site:
[Return to the Main Tom Scout page]
[Return to the Main Swiss Scout page]
[Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Essays] [Garments] [Organizations] [Religion] [Other]
[Introduction] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Questions] [Unknown images]
[Boys' Uniform Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web organizatiion pages:
[Return to the National Scout page]
[Boys' Brigade] [Camp Fire] [Hitler Youth] [National] [Pioneers] [Royal Rangers] [Scout]

Created: 12:19 AM 5/25/2006
Last updated: 12:19 AM 5/25/2006