In March 2020, with the Covid Lockdown, face to face Scouting in Highworth stopped. Between then and September our only Scouting was online. Pretty quickly all sections provided details of badges and activities that our members could do at home, and some provided other opportunities such as raising frogs.
Camping had to be virtual and as well as one section’s own really successful camp all our members had the opportunity to join one run nationally by The Scout Association. This featured celebrity Scout Ambassadors (people like Tim Peake, Dwayne Fields and Ed Stafford), and activities such as Whirlybirds (run by the RAF), Rockets (run by Rolls Royce) a virtual campfire and loads more.
Some of our sections ran meetings on Zoom; one of our Beaver Colonies ‘Zoomed’ with some Joeys (the equivalent to our Beavers) in Australia. Our Cubs made mug cakes, played battleships, escaped from an escape room, worked on the international badge, had a quiz, and a guest speaker ran a session on kindness, part of the community impact badge.
It has been challenging. We weren’t used to ‘virtual’ Scouting, and we found it difficult to adapt. We are all Scouts though, so we persevered and found ways to make it work. Feedback shows that while some families were not in a position to join in, those that did really benefitted and they really appreciated our efforts.
As I write this some of our sections have been meeting back Face to Face and others are due to start back after half term. We will let you know more about how that works in the Covid world in our next article.
Scouting – Face to Face Again
And we’re back! During September 2020, Highworth Scouts were approved to restart our face-to-face meetings. We do now have additional Scout Association rules designed to keep us ‘Covid-Safe’, and with a limit of 15 youth members attending our meetings some section members are having to meet fortnightly. Others are running two meetings (each catering for half their members) each week. Additionally, we are unable to Camp/sleepover, we can’t use the minibuses and we must keep the hut scrupulously clean. Scouts (aged 10-14) and Leaders must also wear masks when meeting indoors.
Cubs have been meeting outside since mid-September with 2 programmes running each week. They have been cooking over open fires, walking around Highworth on a photo trail (finding locations from pictures), and a multi-activity trail around Badbury Clump woods.
Both Scout troops have returned, with one troop enjoying cooking pancakes on gas stoves while the other troop practised navigational skills in readiness for their Expedition Challenge badge which took place the first weekend of half term.
The Beavers and the other Cub Pack plan to restart during the next half term. Let’s hope we can all get back to normal very soon.