Over the last week, we’ve all been adjusting to the new “normal”. Part of this includes getting used to less human contact with others, and missing out on activities and events we would ordinarily get involved in. For many, both adults and young people, this includes Scouting. In an earlier post, we shared our expectation that we’d start some sort of virtual Scouting as soon as possible. We’re delighted to share, that from Tuesday 31st March, we will be hosting some sessions for the young people.

We’re going to use Zoom, so we can host up to 100 people at a time, with 49 people visible on screen at any one moment! We felt this would really help everyone seeing one another, albeit via the Internet! In our trial week, we’ll have one session for all Beavers, one session for all Cubs, one session for all Scouts, and a session for all Explorers. If lots join us, we will be able to break things down into smaller virtual rooms, therefore making it less overwhelming.

We expect the first session to be a lot of, “Hellos” and “How you doing?” etc, but will put some sort of activity on too. In the following week, depending on the appetite, we’ll either run a session per section or potentially group sections together. It’s new to us, it’s new to you and it’s new to the young people so it’s very much a “make it up as we go along!” – we’d love your feedback.

Over the course of the next few days, we will finish preparing for next week. We will send an invitation to you via Online Scout Manager including a link to your young person’s Zoom session. That code should not be shared and is specific to your meeting. The code will change each week, so you will need to look out for an invite week by week. We’d like you to please aim to join the meeting five minutes before the start time, so that we can begin promptly and get the most from the session.

Our tentative session times for the first week are:

Beavers – Thursday 2nd April 18:30 to 19:30
Cubs – Tuesday 31st March 18:30 to 19:30
Scouts – Wednesday 1st April 19:00 to 20:00
Explorers – Tuesday 31st March 20:00 to 21:00

We may not use all of the scheduled hour – we plan on about 30-40 minutes but with room to overspill if required.

Top tips and things to notes:

  • All of our meetings will be recorded. By attending the meeting, you consent to this taking place.
  • You can join Zoom meetings on a phone, but for the full experience you should please join on a tablet device or computer.
  • For Beavers and Cubs, we expect that parents/guardians are alongside their young person taking a role in this. This is so they are both supported in the session and helps keep order.
  • When you join the meeting, your video will automatically start and your microphone is muted. You will need to un-mute to be heard.
  • When instructions are being given, we will force mute everyone so people can clearly hear.
  • If people act in a manner that’s not appropriate, similar to at a section meeting in person, we will appropriately manage the situation (for our younger members e.g. Beavers and Cubs, we expect parent/guardians to play an active role in this).
  • You don’t need to attend in uniform, but it would be great if your young person is wearing a necker
  • Please make sure where you connect to the meeting is a quiet place without other distractions. This will make the session more engaging for your young person and limit the chances of disrupting others on the call too.
  • Download and get set up with Zoom well ahead of the meeting, so that you aren’t experiencing teething issues when your young person wants to connect to the meeting.
  • When you join Zoom, please make sure your young person’s name is entered so that it appears next to their video picture (which you can do as a guest so no email or registration is required).

if you’ve ideas or suggestions, or could even help deliver something in a session, please let us know – we’d love to hear from you.

Screenshot from the trial leader session on Zoom

Leaders / Adult members of the group – in the first week those who were able to make the second planning meeting will be leading and running the sessions; however, we really want as many of you as possible to be supporting this initiative. Don’t worry about being over faced or concerned about how it works – we will be digitally facilitating for you, so you can get on with leading and supporting the young people.