From Greece to Iceland, Scouting never stops in times of Corona
Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, CODVID-19 and its rapid spread across the world, serious measures of social distancing have been implemented worldwide. These safety regulations affected Scout activities as well: physical meetings, travels and outdoor activities had to be either postponed or cancelled. But Scouting never stops. Many National Scout Organisations are moving to online platforms to support their members all over Europe, while others take it a step even further and help their communities by taking concrete actions such as: delivery of food to elderly or assisting medical staff.
Scouts Extend their Hands to the Community
In Poland, the national authorities reached out to adult Scouts to organize community support and offer help for vulnerable people (https://bit.ly/2vU9G9m).
Similar actions were taken in the Czech Republic, where Scout volunteers started their own production lines of face masks ,from donated material of Scout uniforms (https://reut.rs/2xpVoha).
In Italy, Scout groups were mobilized in all affected regions to organise grocery home delivery for the elderly. Others undertook a fast training in their neighborhood hospitals and were immediately ready to be in charge of monitoring people’s access to health facilities, to help the medical team better manage the influx of visitors (https://bit.ly/39iuIfy).
The French Scouts have mobilised their adult Scouts to respond to the call for help of several national civil entities. Every Scout volunteer is asked to sign a participation agreement that lays out the key precaution steps that each has to follow before engaging in any community support action (https://bit.ly/2UmAl8d).
Lithuanian Scouts established a national volunteer’ centre with the help of the government where everyone needing support and help can call and receive it. The initiative,"Stprūs Kartu" is implemented by the Lithuanian adult Scouts and has its own daily TV show on National television. https://stipruskartu.lt/.
Scouts in the Netherlands mobilised themselves and landed a hand via Ready2Help from the Red Cross donating the face masks they had in storage, and groups helped hospitals to pitch large tents for extra waiting areas. Other individual Scouts volunteered at the local food bank, or showed their support by drawing hearts around 'vital professions', hospitals, police and fire departments and nursing homes. (https://bit.ly/2xEDozt).
In Ireland, Switzerland (https://bit.ly/2QHqQxU) and Luxembourg (https://bit.ly/2ydUW69), Scouts have also been running grocery delivery and dog walking services. Some of them have even provided company to lonely people through window small chats (https://bit.ly/39ksFHN).
Scouting Continues from Home
An impressive range of educational materials and fun ideas have been developed in no time by most National Scout Organizations, across Europe. Below is a non-exhaustive list of resources developed so far:
- Austria: A series of tips and ideas to continue doing Scouting from home: https://bit.ly/39lLDxR.
- Belgium: From tips to leaders on how to manage a Scout unit remotely to home-based Scouting activities for inspiration, Les Scouts have provided their members with plenty of resources https://bit.ly/33OZafV
- The Flemish Scouts have also been active and managed to gather an impressive community of 45.000 members on Facebook group (https://bit.ly/3atG6Xp), who take part every weekend in various fun activities and games.
Bulgaria: the Organization of Bulgarian Scouts has launched the initiative "Scouting never stops” - 30 days of online challenges for children and young people. (https://bit.ly/2Acd5Cf)
- Czechia: 10 programme tips for parents to organize home activities for their children https://www.skaut.cz/programdoma/
Estonia: Scouts in Estonia have come up with the “Indoorshutchallange”, where their members are encouraged to post their best homemade tent. (https://bit.ly/3eUl3Qc)
- France: “ L’Explorêve” An immersive digital educational game designed by the French Scouts and target Scouts aged 11+. It is composed of several steps, stretching over several weeks. Check it out here https://bit.ly/2wS8MdN
- Germany: The Scouts have launched a Scouting Never Ends blog, containing a variety of educational and fun activities that can be done at home, find out more here https://bit.ly/2WIKwFG.
- Moreover, the German Catholic Scout Association (DPSG) brought “Scouting for Boys” into the the homes of young Scouts as a series of podcasts (https://bit.ly/3a1sEZP)
- Greece: In sunny Greece, the Scouts called for indoor actions (https://bit.ly/2ybkcK9) as well. From joining the Earth Hour campaign to building a bird feeder for the balcony of their home, together with their parents.
- Iceland: a range of activity ideas under the theme of “Together in Quarantine”, in addition to a series of precaution information about the virus https://bit.ly/2xnrJoT
- Israel: Israeli Scouts developed a wide range of activities, materials and toolkits for Scout leaders on how to make the best use of online meeting tools such as: Zoom and stay connected. The programme’s name is entitled: “Scouts for All (situations)” or, “צופים לכל (מצב)”. (https://www.tzofim.net/)
- Lithuania: A wonderful padlet board: https://bit.ly/3c2Bg3J full of interesting and different activities for various age groups. They also organised regional and national sagas of online scout meetings (https://bit.ly/2UPT6kF) and “Become wilder while at home” is the motto of their Facebook events (https://bit.ly/2V7nmGF).
- Portugal: The Portugues Scouts have used youtube videos (https://bit.ly/3ajVkxS) to entertain their community and help them participate from home.They have also started a cartoon series (https://bit.ly/33PIN2M)They have also rolled out the 17 Days 17 SDGs campaign (https://bit.ly/3a08gb8). Everyday Scouts are offered 3 challenges to achieve the SDG of the day. A winner is announced daily.
- Poland: A regular Facebook live streaming programme called ZHP 360 capturing different essential information about the virus, Do-it-Yourself face masks and other useful materials. Find out more about the web tv programme here https://bit.ly/2UmGNfl
- Romania: Scouts have come up with “The Pandemic Journal” that captures their new lifestyle, through which they wish to offer compassion, connection and empathy with each other. (https://bit.ly/2Sl3mQh)
- Serbia: An inspirational video ( https://bit.ly/2XX7fyu) that reminds Scouts that we’re all in this together and “we should stay home so we can meet soon”.
- Spain: creating video content (https://bit.ly/2Ux2Dgk) for their members and encouraging them to stay active even in times of isolation. Moreover, a cartoon series (https://bit.ly/39S3tss) was created to inform about the virus and how to prevent its spread and stay safe.
- Switzerland: This group in Switzerland has been suggesting an activity to do at home every single day since the start of the lockdown on their Facebook page: https://bit.ly/3as7Ifm. While the National Scout Organisation prepared some useful materials on the following page: https://bit.ly/3axSHZq.
- Slovenia: a heap of useful materials can be found here (https://bit.ly/2JfC0WH). They mainly target children and youth to help them get through the days of quarantine when schools are closed.
- UK: The UK Scouts have just launched the Great Indoors initiative (http://scouts.org.uk/the-great-indoors) which is a collection of over 100 fun free activities for parents to do at home. to keep their kids busy and help them learn new skills.
- Finland: The Finish National Scout Organisation, Guides and Scouts of Finland developed weekly thematic activities and tailored them based on the age group of its members. (https://partio-ohjelma.fi/etapartio/)
- Malta: Scouts in Malta have been taking part in a number of 'Stay at Home' challenges organised by their NSO, such as: Instagram quizzes, Facebook competitions or fun challenges to do with family indoors (https://bit.ly/2WUFfLq)
- Montenegro: Scouts from Montenegro have come up with amazing online challenges for their young Scouts to complete at home. They are encouraged to teach others how to tie a knot or wash their hands properly. (https://bit.ly/3e1c3by)
- North Macedonia: Sojuz na izvidnici na Makedonija (from North Macedonia) also started a new online program where they created multiple educational and fun activities while launching a 30 day Scout challenge. (https://bit.ly/39vb7c7)
- The Netherlands: Individual Scout groups organize weekly and even daily activities for Scouts that can be done at home, such as making campfires in their backyards, following a badge programme or crafting cards for the elderly in retirement homes. (https://bit.ly/2QX9Vrn)
Keeping in touch
Besides all the great educational resources that Scout organizations have developed for their members so far, they are using digital video conferencing tools to stay connected and spread joy. Have a look for example at this video of Scouts in Italy connecting online to lift each other’s spirits: https://bit.ly/3aziReB
It is a true inspiration to see different Scout organisations from all over the world, mobilising themselves to help their communities and those in need. As Scouts, we are resilient and we are always prepared, so together let’s turn this challenging time into an opportunity and connect millions of Scouts around the world in a safe space for all.
Photo Credit: La Nuova Ferrara