"I was surprised because he had never mentioned any group activities before" remembers Phil.

"I'd heard about scouts from a friend at school" Luke explained, "and it sounded like something I could do".

Mencap approached the Scout Master at the local Scout group and found that they were very welcoming. "When they showed him the activities they did Luke was very impressed and joined in with great delight. All Luke wanted to do was to join in the fun."

Phil says there was no special treatment for Luke. "The best part, as far as I was concerned, was the fact that the Scouts needed no prompting to help Luke integrate, it was all spontaneous".

I enjoy being with new friends who also help me to try things that I might not have had the chance to do if I had not been a Scout.
- Luke

Luke has tried so many new things which have all broadened his horizons. "Scouts is teaching me survival skills and all about camping".

"We feel over the moon that Luke has been able to identify something that he wanted to do", Luke's foster mum explained. "He has been made very welcome by the staff and the Scouts. I feel confident that, even when he camps away, he is being well looked after. He loves the camps he goes on, and is often outside his comfort zone, but he copes really well. Luke's autism can be very rigid at home, but at Scouts he can be quite flexible in what he is asked to do, so he must feel happy and comfortable in the tasks".

Being a Scout has given Luke opportunities for achievements, and the satisfaction that comes when he gets a new badge for his sleeve, and the chance to be able to proudly say "Look what I've done! I have a Chef badge, which I got for cooking a pasta meal. I have my Hiking badge because we had a 5-mile hike to do to get it. And I also have a Remembrance badge because I took part in a parade on Remembrance Day".

"He has also been giving the rest of the Scouts a few pointers in Makaton", says Phil, "and we have set up a game of hangman using Makakton signs for lettering".

"No special arrangements have been made for Luke", said the Scout Master, "he just blends in with everyone else. As far as the other Scouts are concerned he is no different from them."

When Luke's age meant that he had 'out grown' the Scouts, the Scout Master suggested that he become an Explorer, stay within the group he was familiar with, and take on some responsibilities. These will include helping to plan and run activities and helping the younger Scouts by answering their questions. Again, Luke has risen to the new challenge.

Phil says the group are so welcoming that he has introduced a second person who has loved being part of the group too. "If there were awards for such wonderful community awareness I would nominate 92nd Leicester Scout group in Leicester Forest East. They show the true spirit of scouting. They have allowed Luke and others to enrich their lives by becoming part of a great organisation".