Harston Scouts during lockdown
Camps, Challenges and kayaking all cancelled
Lockdown has been a challenge for 1st Harston scouts. Our usual activities and plans for the summer were abruptly curtailed in March with the suspension of all face to face Scouting by The Scouting Association and shortly afterwards the lockdown.
Our Spring and Summer Camps at Pampisford and on The Isles of Scilly respectively, our survival Camp, kayaking on the river, the District Patrol Camp – all cancelled. That hill walking weekend in the Peak District, the water activity weekend camp – sailing, kayaking and dragon boating, our weekend of flying and gliding and the London Monopoly Run, November’s Beret Challenge – all cancelled this year and sorely missed by our members young and old.
Scouts via Zoom
Online meetings brought many challenges, not least logistics. Thanks to Amazon and goodwill we were able to deliver to our members all of the parts they needed to participate actively in the programme.
We did mini-pioneering, discovered paracord, held quizzes, talked about first aid, a bit of map reading and navigation; there was always a game somewhere in the meeting.
Ideas were shared with other Scout Troops and gleaned from on-line resources such as 1st Facebook Scout Group. One Scout group in Gloucestershire had built an on-line Harry Potter themed escape room – everyone enjoyed that one.
Online meetings using Zoom – we started with almost a full house, but by the end of the summer attendance had reduced to %0%. Zoom and on-line meetings were not for everyone. We all had to learn new skills very quickly – some were better at it than others, some were self-conscious, some didn’t like the classroom feel; everyone had a go though.
Success of home activities
Chillies are still going strong on windowsills everywhere. It was interesting to note that even those members who didn’t like Zoom were keen on the activities which were sent home.
The homegrown potatoes were a great success. Here’s just a few crops. Again there’s a prize for the heaviest crop and the largest potato.
Every scout was given half a dozen sunflower seeds. There’s a prize for the tallest and biggest seed head. It has become a little competitive – mainly amongst the parents! But we are a scouting community and it has been a pleasure to see so many of our parents engaging during the lockdown.
Young people needed the social contact that Scouting brings
As lockdown deepened, it became very apparent that our young people needed the social contact that Scouting brings. Online it wasn’t the same they said.
Attendance at our conventional meetings prior to lockdown was around 90% every week. At the moment (Sep 2020), meeting in the dark, on Harston Recreation ground, in a socially distanced and risk assessed manner, we are back up to 90% attendance. If we meet on Zoom because of the weather – attendance drops to 50% again.
Working for the community
For a long time the scouts have volunteered to help look after the war memorial garden in Harston. The first war memorial photo shows scoutmaster Roger Summerfield weeding and checking on the summer bedding plants that have flowered so colourfully during lockdown and been much appreciated by the community.
On Saturday 10 October a group of scouts and their leaders continued with their community efforts by replacing the summer bedding plants with pansies for the winter while still managing to maintain social distancing and wearing of masks.