I RECENTLY had the pleasure of assisting a local Scouts group achieve a challenge badge, and learnt more about how they adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The meeting took place on Zoom, with members of the Witney Buttercross Scout Group seeking to complete their Media Relations and Marketing Activity Badge, with my help.

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The group had to find out about local media outlets, so once introduced, I was thrust under the spotlight and faced some tricky questions about being a reporter.

Breakout groups then wrote their own articles about scouting in a pandemic, which you can read below.

Group One

In the middle of the pandemic, online scouting is the solution.

This has provided hope for 31 million Scouts across the world.

Having a community to support you and having something to look forward to is one of the good reasons to join.

The interactivity allows for an immersive experience.

Since the lockdown in 2020, seven new Scouts have joined the Scout group.

Although there has been some turmoil adjusting to scouting in lockdown, it has not been as horrid as you would think.

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Scouts allows for fun within a supportive environment, and goals and awards to achieve.

One new Scout, Thomas, said: “To start with, I was overwhelmed because I hadn’t met anyone from the Scout group before.

“I felt welcomed after the first week and I am much more comfortable now.”

Another new Scout, James, added: “I have enjoined the new experiences so far, the experiences I have had so far have been great. I am looking forward to new adventures ahead.”

Scouts will provide the support to reach your goals and to overcome barriers that you have never thought that you could.

Group Two

Throughout lockdown, many young people’s mental health has been struggling but scouting has been helping with this issue.

A survey from YoungMinds said that ‘87 per cent of respondents agreed that they had felt lonely or isolated during the lockdown period’, however, Scouts has been helping with this, giving members someone to talk to, and a break from the monotony that lockdown can sometimes be.

Scarlett, 13, said: “I like that Scouts offers me the opportunity to talk to my friends.

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“My mental state has been lifted, it has been difficult in the online lessons that I have with my school to communicate face-to-face with my friends, yet Scouts has opened that door for me.”

Joseph, also 13, added: “Scouts has helped me to develop friendships with members that I didn’t know before, especially the new members who we have only been able to talk to virtually.”

The same survey from YoungMinds said that in the second lockdown ‘41 per cent said it had made their mental health much worse’, up from 32 per cent in the previous survey in March.

Kieran, aged 12, one of the newer members who hasn’t been able to do Scouts out of Zoom said: “Socialising with my friends has helped my mental health.”

Roger Chapman, one of the leaders, said “We’d love to welcome any young people who would like to join our troop and the scouting family.”

Group Three

Whilst Langel Scouts cannot meet up in person, they are certainly active online.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Scouts have engaged in many online activities, one of which was the virtual meeting of a Bosnian Scout group.

Toby, aged 11, said: “Whilst it has been sad not being able to take part in activities in person, we have certainly enjoyed some online activities, including meeting our counterparts from Bosnia.

“Learning about their culture and ways of scouting was really interesting.”

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One of the advantages of the pandemic and online technology is that it is unlikely that this meeting would have taken place.

This is another way that Scouts have successfully been able to work towards just one of their many challenge badges they need to obtain their gold award.

Online cooking has also become a frequent feature.

Sisters Aeryn and Kira said: “We really enjoyed cooking. It isn’t something that we have done before, and breaks up the monotony of everyday life.”

Although it has been a disappointment not to be attending physical meetings, online technology has enabled them to continue learning and enjoy scouting.

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