Now a Cub Scout, twin sister joins blind brother on adventures
Standing at the edge of Bradley Lake in Puyallup with a fishing rod, 9-year-old Norah McCurdy shouted encouragement to her twin brother.
“Nice job, Colton,” she said as he prepared to cast.
Then — “Colton, it’s getting twisted!”
Colton McCurdy, who’s blind, asked, “What’s getting twisted?”
“The rod,” said Norah.
A moment later, Andrew McCurdy — the twins’ father and Cub Scout Pack 274 Bear Den leader — jumped in to help untangle the fishing line.
Norah and Colton are twins, but Norah is one minute older — and it shows.
She acts as Colton’s protective older sister, helping him navigate and participate in Cub Scout activities since he joined two years ago.
Norah and Colton live in Puyallup with their parents and attend school in the Puyallup School District.
Colton enjoys Cub Scouts, according to his dad, but has sensory-processing disorder and various communication disabilities that make social adjustments a struggle.
“He doesn’t perceive things the way the rest of us do,” Andrew said.
Colton feels most comfortable with his sister by his side.
Colton and Norah have been close since birth, when they were born four months premature. Norah was born 1 pound 9 ounces, while Colton was born 1 pound 3 ounces.
“They were both in the hospital for about four months, and they both got really sick at first,” Andrew said. “Then (Norah) got better and (Colton) just kept getting sicker.”
Colton’s retinas detached. He was flown to Detroit for several surgeries and was back in the hospital after his intestines ruptured.
“He had about seven or eight months in the hospital his first year,” Andrew said.
Now, Colton has light perception in one eye. His other eye is made of glass.
His sister has been at his side along the way. When Colton joined Cub Scouts, she helped from the sidelines, but the group wasn’t officially open to girls.
That changed in 2018, when the organization made the announcement that it would drop the “Boy” in Boy Scouts of America and become Scouts BSA. Cub Scouts opened to girls in kindergarten through fifth grades. Girls 11 and older were welcomed to join Scouts BSA last February.
Now Norah is recognized as a Cub Scout, having joined Colton’s pack this year. She earns belt loops and patches alongside her brother and is the only girl in her Bear Den group.
And, of course, she helps Colton.
“My favorite part is just helping Colton out and going on all these adventures,” Norah told The Herald at a pack meeting on April 15. “I help him navigate (and) talk to him if he’s mad.”
When Andrew’s occupied with other Scouts, he knows Norah’s there for Colton.
“(Norah) is able to sit with him in meetings and at other events, and she helps narrate what is going on and lends him a hand,” he said.
Colton might need his sister’s help in some situations, but in others, he thrives. At Cub Scouts, he’s done everything from shoot a gun to hike a mountain.
Outside of Cub Scouts, Colton loves playing piano. Piano lessons never fit with Colton’s way of learning, so he taught himself, according to his father.
At 18 months, Colton’s parents noticed him tapping rhythms on his musical toys. By the time he was 3, he’d taught himself to play basic songs.
His fellow Cub Scouts get to learn from Colton, too.
“It’s neat for the kids to learn how he does things differently, and we’ve had talks with the kids about how to behave around him, and they got to learn about his cane,” Andrew said.