Gill McDonald, Group Scout Leader, reflects on how Scouts have continued through challenging times
As I reflect on the past 18 months, these are just some of the activities that have engaged us all, or qualities that we have seen within our local community. Each one of these values and qualities are also integral to the Scouting ethos, never more so than during the pandemic.
Connecting with people in new ways:
Within a few weeks of lockdown in March last year, every one of our nine units was engaged in virtual Scouting. The first lockdown was particularly hard on many young people’s mental health. They had no social contact with their friends from school, therefore they really valued the opportunity to meet with their Scouting friends on Zoom. The photos show better than anything, some of the activities they enjoyed.
Trying new experiences:
We managed to keep camping, even if it was in our back gardens, or a den indoors, and in May we held Broadstone’s Big Camp At Home. We still had all our favourite elements of camp, as you can see from the photos, including a virtual campfire sing-along with whole families joining in round their campfire.
Exploring the outdoors:
Of course, this is what Scouts love to do most but our resourceful leaders found other ways to engage our young people and their families in exploring the outdoors as a family. When was the last time that you planned a cycle ride which, when tracked on Google Maps, would draw the picture of a Christmas tree?
Discovering new treasures within the local area:
It was not unusual to find our young people out with their families, completing a virtual eye-spy or map reading activity whilst out on their daily exercise. The lockdown gave the whole family an opportunity to experience first hand what our young people do when they are dropped off at Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.
Supporting our own community:
We understand how important the local Remembrance Day commemorations are for members of the community. Some of you might have seen the video that we produced and circulated amongst our local community – I know that many people in Broadstone were grateful to have the chance to reflect on those that have served our country, not only in war, but during the pandemic as well.
Resilience, resourcefulness and flexibility:
As we prepare our young people to take their place in the world, these are some of the key qualities that they develop through Scouting. They are also some of the qualities I have seen in the fantastic leadership team that we have at Broadstone Scout Group. Some of them have been pushed right out of their comfort zone with virtual Scouting, and the challenges we have faced since our return to Covid-safe Scouting have been absolutely immense. But they have all been truly amazing and given up so much time to ensure that our young people have continued to have a great Scouting experience.
As we have returned to face-to-face Scouting since Easter, the most striking thing is how much more our young people have enjoyed the return to activities, even the simple things like a blowing giant bubbles and building a simple bridge over the stream in Delph Woods. Our leaders really have gone above and beyond to ensure that this term has been amazing fun, after a year of Zoom.
We still have bridges to cross within our Scout group, not least a severe shortage of volunteers since the pandemic (one Beaver colony is temporarily suspended with no leaders). But I pray that the Lord will look over us and help us find ways together, as a community, to overcome the challenges we still face.
If you know any adults who might be interested in experiencing the fun of our activities, whilst helping to continue the adventure for the young people of the future, please do get in touch with Gill.