Scouting in a Challenging Time
We live in a challenging time.
As adults who care deeply about young people, we want to care for their
physical health, but also for their development despite the need to take
reasonable steps to protect ourselves and the young people in our program.
Scouting survived the 1918 Spanish Flu.
It will survive this situation as well.
We may well be entering the start of a significant period where we cannot
meet together physically.
Unlike many youth-serving organizations, however, we have a
built-in advantage. Scouting is a
movement that addresses the whole person. We
do not have to be physically together to practice our skills.
We do not have to be on a playing field to enjoy ourselves.
All we need to do Scouting is to communicate.
While you may well have parents who are deciding they are
going to hibernate until this all passes, let me suggest that that situation
will last a very short while until everyone gets “cabin fever.”
They are going to be looking at ways to be active and to keep younger
people occupied while maintaining “social distance.”
How can we help? By
realizing the program we have does not depend on our having physical meetings
… you can:
suggest that parents work on Scout requirements for 10-15 minutes
a day and, as appropriate for your program, encourage and empower your parents
to sign off on requirements.
suggest that Scouts sign up in smaller groups and video chat or
call each other every day to check in … you can even “mixup” the groups
every week or so to avoid the conversation getting stale.
write serial stories – start with one person who emails it to
the next and then email the result to the whole group …
invite your Scouts to include new people in the group … remember
all those kids who used to do other activities who now can’t build their
robots, play their sport etc. They’ll
be looking for someone to connect with.
go outside … teach your Scout to use a digital camera to find
their 10 tracks or 10 plants for their badge work. Look for local geocaches.
challenge your Scouts to post pictures on a particular theme …
everyone post a picture of the strangest plant etc.
think about challenging Scouts with a photo scavenger hunt (see
tcScouts.org for some ideas).
re-assure your Scouts that special events in their lives will be
noted once this crisis passes – and it will pass.
Tell them that their bridging or cross-over ceremonies will be
re-scheduled, even if they do start to meet with or work on the next program’s
get your parents to agree on a social media platform and then use
it. If you don’t have a unit
Facebook site, this is a good time to start one, setting the privacy controls as
high as possible and reminding parents not to post too much personally
for team-building, suggest groups of your Scouts investigate
cooperative on-line games like MineCraft.
look for cooperative multi—person platforms like Cahoot.it.
repurpose older Scout games – post a picture on your unit
Facebook site for Kim’s Game and take it down after an hour and ask Scouts to
identify what they saw.
consider posting requirements for a first aid badge and asking for
pictures of Scouts completing the requirements on, say hygiene.
consider posting requirements for a cooking badge and asking for
pictures of Scouts competing those requirements.
you *can* still do service projects … your Scout can go out in a
small group approved by a parent and, say, pick up trash locally … you can
even make it a competition and take a picture weighing their trash – the
heaviest haul can be sent a patch!
share ideas on among leaders on what’s working for your Scouts.
So, as you can see, our program is ready made for the
flexibility we need in these challenging times.
We have some of the most creative adult leaders in the Nation … we can
get through this and, if we share our creativity, we will do so with Scouts who
are anxious to continue in-person the great connections they built on-line
during a memorable part of their lives.
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