We shared last week, that even during these challenging times of lockdown, we want to keep opportunities for the young people to be able to engage and Scout. As we said goodbye to what seemed like the longest March on record, we hosted our group’s first two virtual scouting sessions. One of Cubs, and another for Explorers.

As leaders, we had trialled the technology last week and joined this week’s youth meetings slightly earlier than we’d advertised to the young people so we could do some final checks. It was lovely to see, well ahead of the meeting start times, young people logged in and in our virtual “waiting area” ready to drop into the session.

It’s week one of hosting these virtual sessions, and to be honest, they went much better than anticipated! As leaders, we had mixed views as to how successful it would be. We’d gone in with open minds and anticipated the first sessions would very much be folks getting used to the technology, getting past any teething challenges and the initial novelty of seeing one another on-screen.

The cub’s session was quite loud, and we used the “mute all” switch a few times to make sure everyone could hear the instructions for our indoor scavenger hunt. We didn’t mind this, there were plenty of happy faces and enthused young people running about their houses collecting things from Shauna’s shopping list. We’ll email out next week’s healthy eating plate soon.

Cub Zoom meeting

Our explorer session, by comparison, was quite sedate. Given the young people are that bit older, there are the inherent challenges with being comfortable speaking in front of everyone and doing so via an unusual interface. Thankfully, the meeting platform allows us to create virtual spaces where the group could be split down further. Once we’d had some smaller virtual groups established, people relaxed and the conversation came easier.

Explorer Zoom meeting

We’ve several ideas for the next few weeks, and we plan on running through the Easter holidays. Each week we will send out details of which day we’re meeting and the invites as before (via OSM). We’ve learned that some young people are connecting on devices their parents/guardians are already using Zoom for work, so we’ll also share meeting IDs and passcodes in our invites alongside our clickable links.

We’ve had some lovely feedback from some parents/guardians already – thank you for those. If your young person has attended one of our sessions, we’d love to hear from you. Positive and constructive feedback is welcome.

We will keep adjusting and we welcome ideas from you as to what we could include. We are always on the lookout for suggestions.