Even though your section can’t meet face-to-face, have you thought about the opportunities that you might be able to provide for your young people virtually? During these turbulent times do consider the positive impact that continuing the routine of Scouting once a week will have on your young people.
We will use this page to compile as many resources as we can to help you to do this.
Don’t forget that the Scouts have created a bank of 100 brilliant activities which are suited to being indoors at home. Do encourage parents and carers of your young people to make use of these activities, or maybe even weave one or two into a virtual section meeting using one of the tools mentioned above.
You can use any communication tool, including a simple e-mail, to let your young people know of the badges that they could choose to complete at home during this period. You could even set a badge for your whole section to complete and collect photographs of the results. There are a couple of online tools which can help you with this.
Online Scout Manager: If you are a user of OSM, you will be able to use the recently-released “Badges at Home” feature which allows you to create videos to set your young people tasks, and then allows them to record their progress on OSM, which you can then track.
Basingstoke Scout District Badges at Home: Basingstoke District have also created a fantastic online tool which you can register for as a Section or Group. This allows young people to summit their evidence for a whole range of badges that can be completed at home which you can then review.
Calling all Scouts, Explorers and Network Members – Are you ready to put your expedition planning expertise to the test, and take on the best in the Scout County in an expedition planning challenge? Durham Scouts have created an interesting at home challenge for Scouts, Explorers and Network members, which Central Yorkshire can take part in. Visit the Durham Scouts website page for details on how you can take part.
Badges and Top Awards
If you have young people who are completing badges at home during this period of time, have you thought about posting their badges to them? You can still order badges online from Scout Store or your District Badge Secretary.
If you have young people who are close to achieving the top award for their section, do feel free to apply maximum discretion to badge requirements to support your young people in achieving these awards.
All of the tools below are currently being used by Groups and Sections within Central Yorkshire to run virtual section meetings. Do trial your tool of choice with your leaders before running your first virtual section meeting to ensure you are familiar with its features.
With all of these tools, don’t forget your safeguarding responsibilities as per the Yellow Card. These are exactly the same as for a physical meeting. Be careful not to end up in a situation where you are 1:1 online with a young person and ensure you have another leader also online to support you.
Zoom: An online teleconferencing platform. There is a small monthly charge to run group meetings for longer than 40 minutes, however Zoom has some great features to manage your section meetings online. You can mute all participants in one click, should you want to give instructions without interruption; you can share your own screen should you want your section to see what you can see on your computer; you can even split young people into “breakout rooms”, which are virtual group rooms, allowing your young people to work in smaller groups to complete an activity.
Microsoft Teams: Another online teleconferencing platform a little like Zoom, but with fewer convenient features for running section meetings. This also comes with a small cost, but an annual payment commitment is required when purchasing. There is a free version of teams for educational establishments. We’re not sure at this time whether Scout Groups are able to access this offer, but if you do find this out let us know!
Facebook groups: Free to sign up and arrange, some sections have been using section Facebook groups to their advantage. Note that Facebook is only available to those over the age of 14, so if using with younger sections, parents will need to access the content on behalf of their young people. Facebook can be used to post pre-recorded or live videos which you can create to set tasks for your young people. Young people (or their parents if under 14) can upload pictures and videos of the results created at home!
If you’re using a tool that is not on this list for virtual section meetings please do let us know and we will add it to the list.