In early March of 2020, we all were told that staying home was what we needed to do to protect the population from a severe and deadly virus. 8 weeks later we were still isolated.
COVID-19 is a real and deadly adversary. The families that have had to deal with this virus will tell you that it isn't a joke at all. From a Scouting perspective, it gave us a whole new meaning to what we do as leaders, and as youth.
To build some regularity to scouting, we immediately began reaching out to our members via our Facebook group, and direct messaging. Beyond that we set up Zoom Conferencing for group meetings, and we began working with the Timberwolves and the Explorers on their incomplete or nearly completed badge work.
Amazingly over the weeks we have been meeting, these young people have excelled and achieved far more than we do in regular meetings in far less time. Why? Because we have provided them with focused tasks, one or two a week to accomplish.
What this means is that although we always have the intention of doing the same in our school gym meetings, the physical activities and social activities have a higher value than the assigned badge work.
These are the same kids, and their personalities haven't changed, what has changed is the circumstances, but these circumstances then lead to a further ideal. Program planning needs to be in similar small bites. It needs to be balanced with the same approach that we are using during COVID, and then it will be accomplished because these young people want these challenges!
As we also look to the future, we don't know when we will be able to meet again in our gym. So for now we wait, and we continue to Scout on!
What does this mean for next year? It means that if the school does not allow permits, and we are allowed to meet in small groups, we will be meeting at Scouter Amie’s house, which is just around the corner from the school. We will meet in the garage, and the backyard. We will go on hikes, and adventures in small groups, and we will have campfires. If the weather is unpleasant we will hold our meeting via zoom. We are currently working on activities from the Canadian Traditional Scouting Association Webjam 2020. We meet weekly on zoom at 7 pm. Timberwolf meetings are on Tuesday nights, and Explorers meet on Sunday nights. Weekly meetings are planned until July 31st. If your child would be interested in joining us in September, they are more than welcome to join us on zoom to see what we are all about.
Contact us for more information. Fees for 2020-2021 are $120 if we get to meet in person. This fee includes: registration in Canadian Traditional Scouting Association (our national organization which arranges our insurance, and many great leadership opportunities for youth, and adults alike), weekly dues, and our group fee. Your additional cost would be a uniform shirt (approximately $30), and any camp or activity fees. We try to keep camp and activity costs to a minimum by fundraising, our average camp fee is $20 for the weekend and includes food, larger camps are more, however, youth will be given opportunities to fundraise to offset the cost.
We will know better in August how the meetings will be held in September. We have limited spots available for new members based on our current leadership. Please contact us if you or your child is interested.
These articles are written by the leaders of 1st Clarington BPSA. They are based on more than 40 combined years of outdoor leadership, and more than 60 years of Scouting/Guiding experience.