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The Coronavirus Impact on Scouting

I wonder how long it will be before the BSA suspends scouting activities. That seems to be the trend going on around the world.

I certainly hope a stoppage of Scouting activities doesn’t occur and I hope the worse is past before the Summer Camp season kicks in.

What’s everyone’s thoughts?

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There’s a related discussion going on here: Any Packs considering Suspending activities do to the Virus?

Our council just suspended a variety of activities, although they technically left the units on the hook to decide about unit-level activities (other than those on council property).

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I suggest that units follow whatever their local school district is doing. In my case, the governor just suspended all K-12 schools for 6 weeks. If meetings and activities continue, a lot of scouting families will probably choose not to participate, for various reasons. I’m encouraging my unit to suspend meetings and campouts until we are past all of this. It’s not fun, especially since we just welcomed new scouts from Cub Scouts, but doing anything else will likely be highly unproductive.

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Our council shut down all camps til April, suggest following local school closures.

That said, resources to send to the scouts So they can keep working on various things.

Whatcha got?

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I’m sending a message out today encouraging parents to work with their Scouts on rank requirements, and to mark them off in Scoutbook. Other ideas more than welcome!

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With many schools closed across the country, now might be a good time to work on some merit badges (many of the requirements can be done at home). Some ideas:

  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Public Health
  • Family Life
  • Cooking
  • Safety
  • First Aid
  • Medicine

https://www.scouting.org/programs/scouts-bsa/advancement-and-awards/merit-badges/

STEM Nova awards might also be an option:

https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/awards/

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One idea floated around our unit is the use of online tools (e.g. Facetime, Google Duo) to have scouts virtually teach/demonstrate skills that are amenable to such (e.g. identifying the parts of a compass, orienting a map). This still requires 2-deep leadership, no one-on-one, etc, but may allow units who can’t meet physically for whatever reason to meet virtually, and at least maintain some degree of scouting activity. Similarly, scouts could take video of themselves explaining/demonstrating skills, and then provide links to adult leaders/senior scouts for review and sign-off in Scoutbook. Again, YP guidelines obviously apply.

As public guidance evolves, patrols might be able to have small group activities, although at the moment the guidance in our area is recommending a minimum 6 ft clearance between people who are “gathered” and county public heath orders have prohibited all gatherings > 250 people. In principle, a patrol-sized group of scouts and leaders on a hike could readily maintain 6 ft of clear distance, so long as no incidents (e.g. injuries) occur. However, it’s hard to maintain recommended hygiene practices (e.g. handwashing immediately following sneezing, avoiding touching face, etc) without some pretty significant efforts beyond the norm. For those of us with glasses, touching our face to push them back into place is nearly unconscious. I’ve done it twice just while I’ve been sitting here.

Unfortunately, there have been crazy runs on supplies (e.g. toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bottled water) in our area that make it pretty difficult to maintain some routine alternative sanitary practices (e.g. hand sanitizer on the trail in lieu of handwashing). Costco hasn’t had TP in over a week, and bottled water is hard to find in some areas. You’d think there was a hurricane coming or that the water system was contaminated. sigh

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@JenniferOlinger I love that idea so much I just completely stole it! Our schools are closed until April 13th, and the Parish where we meet is closed until April 6th. I just sent broadcast a message to our unit parents about MB work to keep their restless Scouts occupied.

Thank you for the idea!

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So far our Council hasn’t suspended Scouting activities. The public school system is on Spring Break this week so that’s giving them a little time to monitor and evaluate. We are hearing rumors that our school district may extend spring break so we will see how that plays out.

Hopefully, the Georgia State Parks will continue to remain open so we can go on our backing trip this weekend. Open spaces and fresh air will most welcomed!

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Northern Star Council has directed all units to cancel all face-to-face activities including meetings, Scoutmaster conferences, outings, etc. We are only permitted to meet using online tools such as Webex®.

The state has mandated all schools be closed from at least 3/18 to 3/30. If it were me, I would be making alternate plans for the troop.

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I did this also, emphasizing the Cooking one since most have done the trail and camp cooking and still need the home cooking.

I also told them to work on the family and individual projects associated with Family Life.

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Yep. They can really do almost all of cooking at home.

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Cross-reference to post on CDC guidance:

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One “up side” I’ve seen is a significant uptick in the number of scouts contacting me to review merit badge work that I know has been lingering. Some of them see me every Monday at troop meetings, but now that they’re out of class, suddenly seem to have discovered merit badge work they have had completed for a while. :laughing:

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Yes I sent SPL a note that we could establish video screenshare Merit badge sessions if he wanted to

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We just received a word from our Council stating that our camps are closed until April 2nd along with the scout store with online/phone purchases and pickup available.

They did say that each unit is at their own discretion to proceed as they feel comfortable.

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“Be kind to others” - help to slow down the transmission of the flu and COVID-19 to others, (It is also flu season in North America.)

Scouting Resources (COVID-19) 2020

BSA Scouting at Home and COVID-19

BSA web page was split on 3/26/2020:

WOSM Jamboree on the Internet “Special Edition 2020”, 3-5 April 2020

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Scouting Safety

Scouting Information

Some World Scouting Information

Health Organization and Government Information

Child Mental Health Resources

Related Scouting announcements & discussion

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Our Council is in the process of offering 3 Merit Badges across 3 weeks using the Zoom Classroom. Part 1 on Tuesday, Part 2 on Wednesday and Part 3 on Thursday. They are currently requesting MB counselors who are YPT current in American Business, Scouting Heritage and Journalism.
Once they get it up and running they are going to set up Cub Scout Adventures online.
One way our Troop will be able to still hold meetings and maintain COVID-19 guidelines is by having a PLC at the start of the meeting, then break out in Patrol meetings. Not sure how the Scout Masters Minute would work.
James
Bears S9-6-17-1

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Recent Bryan on Scouting article regarding conducting Boards of Review electronically:

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Scouting does not stop, especially during life’s most challenging times. I like what CharleyHamilton mentioned and would like to share an email to our troop in lieu of our cancelled Thursday meeting:

I am hoping that troop leadership can come up with some fresh ideas to meet up online! In this day and age of the internet, I think we should be able to meet virtually. If you have an idea for the troop to virtually meet please let us know! In the meantime, make this your Thursday challenge!:

*Patrols - try to contact each other through email or Discord. If you plan to meet as a group make sure you follow two deep leadership and have two adults, minimum online. One adult needs to be a registered BSA leader.

*BSA registered Adult Leaders - please assist with your son’s patrol to make this virtual meeting happen. Do feel free to contact me for information, like contact info of a patrol member.

  • Senior Patrol Leaders Council Members - Schedule a date & time and decided on a meeting method, then contact ASMs Foxtrot, Delta, Juliett and I for a quick meeting.

The meeting time can be tonight, tomorrow or later this weekend. It may take a while to build up your group, and you may not get everyone at the first meet. Do not get discouraged. As an Eagle Scout keeps reminding me, Determination is key. Make a Troop 349 virtual meeting happen!

For a troop it is key to: communicate, challenge and make sure youth leadership is doing the work and make sure you let as many adult leaders in the fun and also to ensure for a safe youth lead program, even when it is virtual.

Looking forward to reading more positive ideas during this unfortunate time.

YIS
Jorge