Fletcher W. has some sensory issues around buttons and snaps. He strongly dislikes them.
For this new Cub Scout from Virginia, the blue, button-up uniform shirt was a barrier to his enjoyment of Cub Scouting.
So Pack 680 Cubmaster Scott Klempner stepped in.
He contacted officials at the Boy Scouts of America’s Supply Group, which runs Scout shops and scoutstuff.org.
When they heard about Fletcher, they produced a special version of the Cub Scout uniform shirt. The buttons are still there, but they’re only cosmetic. The shirt closes with fabric fasteners (think Velcro) instead.
“This is about the nicest thing anyone has ever offered,” Fletcher’s mom, Keri, told Klempner. “You have made a little boy so happy.”
Ditto for everyone in Pack 680 of the National Capital Area Council.
“The parents are happy their son can participate and look just like his friends,” he said. “The Scout is none the wiser, and the other Scouts in the den treat him like a normal kid.”
The hidden hero
Greg Winters is the BSA Supply Group’s team leader in licensing.
Winters initially wanted no credit for his role in this Good Turn, but I insisted.
When Winters learned about Fletcher, he got to work. First, he asked Fletcher’s parents whether the boy is comfortable with fabric fasteners. Yes, Keri said, he is.
So Winters took an official (“Class A”) Cub Scout shirt to a seamstress who fitted it with hook-and-loop fasteners.
“She did such a great job that every detail of the uniform shirt was left in place — even the buttons, which were there for appearance only,” Winters said. “We wanted to help create an experience that he was a part of the pack and no different than any other of his denmates.”
Fletcher’s story is both special and replicable. Supply Group officials tell me that many Scout shops have in-store sewing services “to provide greater service and a quick turn-around time for our membership.”