The COVID-19 pandemic has limited what we’re able to do in groups, but that hasn’t stopped Scouts and Scouters from continuing Scouting. This article features ways Scouts are making a difference in their communities. (See some other examples here.)
If your unit is planning to meet in person again, make sure to follow these guidelines for restarting Scouting. If your unit is continuing Scouting from home, maybe these examples can help inspire you and your Scouts.
Helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 meant many units couldn’t camp together. That didn’t stop Scouts from getting outdoors, even if it was their backyards.
Joe Mallow of Troop 132 in Madison, Wis., participated in the BSA’s National Camp-Inlast spring. Then he camped out in his backyard for the entire month of May. The weather ranged from a couple of nights below freezing to thunderstorms to daytime temperatures hitting the mid-80s.
Many units have hosted backyard campouts during the pandemic. Pack 838 and girls Troop 601 of Columbia, Md., organized a virtual campout on Facebook called the Great Oakland Mills Camp Out and invited other families in their community to join. During the event, the Scouts showed videos they made featuring outdoor ethics, fire starting, hiking safety, plant identification and beekeeping. The event ended with a Zoom call in which Scouts shared jokes, songs and skits.
Councils also hosted online camping events, like the Chickasaw Council in Tennessee, which encouraged Scouts to work on the Cooking merit badge from home.
The backyard is a great place for pioneering projects, too! Tenderfoot Scout Brent Weeks of Troop 1876 in Arvada, Colo., built this impressive tower in his backyard.
Scouts help other people at all times. Matthew Carr of Troop 5679 in Victorville, Calif., worked with local restaurants to organize weekly food deliveries to firefighters, hospital staff and police officers in his community. He chose to partner with struggling small restaurants to help them through this challenging time.
Girls Pack 303 and girls Troop 303, both of Hanoverton, Ohio, made sure two outdoor food pantries — constructed as an Eagle Scout project more than a year ago — have remained stocked during the pandemic.
Boys Troop 612 and girls Troop 612 organized a food drive for a food pantry in Baltimore, Md. Scouts from both troops worked together to collect donations while observing social-distancing guidelines. They collected 130 bags of food and $300 for the food pantry.
Troop 237 of Williams Bay, Wis., collected snacks, bottled water and gift cards. Scouts then took those donations and made 205 thank-you bags, which they delivered to police departments, fire and EMS stations, and hospital emergency rooms.
Troop 483 in Hampton Bays, N.Y., organized a drive-through Scouting for Food drive, collecting 1,789 pounds of non-perishable goods, as well as $1,000 in cash and gift cards for a local food pantry.
Troop 71 of Oakhurst, N.J., planted 500 American flags to honor soldiers at several area cemeteries.
Even during a pandemic, Webelos Scouts still cross over into the Scouts BSA program. Pack 310 of Mandeville, La., held an Arrow of Light bridging ceremony in front of Scouts’ homes for those crossing over into Troop 310. The new Scouts BSA members were presented with troop neckerchiefs while everyone practiced social distancing.
Cub Scout Pack 444 of Hollister, Calif., held its crossover ceremony on wheels. Families drove their Cub Scouts, who held signs marking their achievements of advancing to the next rank.
Units have been using video-conferencing applications to continue meeting. Remember to check the security settings of any online application you use to ensure the safety of you and your Scouts and review BSA’s Youth Protection policies.
Scoutmaster Jim Keck of Troop 1114 in Magnolia, Texas, holds virtual meetings over Zoom. He makes sure each Scout attending is included in the virtual discussions.
Scoutmaster Nick Melchi of Troop 239 in Lake Geneva, Wis., asked his Scouts to help continue a troop tradition via video. Before the pandemic, after every troop meeting, everyone would link hands to form a circle while Scoutmaster Melchi presented a Scoutmaster Minute. At the end of the Scoutmaster Minute, he would say, “Be Prepared,” and the troop would respond with “We are prepared” while releasing hands. Now Scouts put up the Scout sign while responding to their Scoutmaster.
Troop 177 of Edmond, Okla., has used Zoom to continue holding troop meetings, patrol leaders’ council meetings, rank-specific classes and troop committee meetings, as well as helping its district host roundtable meetings and Order of the Arrow meetings. They’ve also done service projects by writing thank-you letters to hospital doctors, nurses and staff.
Life Scout Bridget Brady of girls Troop 1150 in Sparta, N.J., earned the Communication merit badge by using Zoom. She communicated with her merit badge counselor and a couple of other Scouts also working on the badge.
Troop 312 of Penfield, N.Y., continued its tradition of Scouts working on the Collections merit badge. Traditionally, Scouts would bring their collections to meetings to show others. That’s still possible with virtual meetings — in fact, the troop’s Show & Tell was on virtual meeting agendas for weeks in a row.
Of course, not all virtual meetings need to be indoors. Webelos leader Corbet Hoover and his son Bridger have been connecting virtually to den meetings from their backyard in Durango, Colo.
Cub Scouts from Pack 17 in Macomb Township, Mich., managed to put on a skit from their homes by filming themselves for different parts of this hilarious skit.