Scouting in Challenging TimesPosted on the 28th Oct 2020 at 9:17 by Alistair Tickett Surrey Scouts
Scouting is the great adventure. We plan exciting activities. We see young people achieve and earn badges. We see them embrace all sorts of personal challenges and develop into wonderful young people. We help to embed skills for life. We think we know what we are doing (most of the time) and we enjoy a real sense of purpose and reward. Then, in what seems like the blink of an eye, everything changed.
Reflecting back to last January, none of us had any idea of how our world would change and what that would mean for us as members of the Scouting community. Moving Scouting online has been an enormous challenge for everyone no matter what our level of technical wizardry was before. If we had a staged Information Technology badge for leaders, I suspect that many of us would have moved from stage 1 to stage 5 with breathtaking speed! For many of us who just used technology for sending emails and web browsing, stepping into the unknown of online video calls might have been challenge enough but to try and guide our young people into meaningful and fun activities as well raises the stakes even higher.
As we have been given a chance to return to face to face Scouting, Surrey has responded magnificently. At the time of writing, Surrey Scouts has had 576 risk assessments approved allowing for our young people to be back in face to face Scouting. It is a massive achievement and, just like online Scouting, comes complete with its own set of challenges and regulations. The county team are hugely grateful for what is being achieved by our leaders across the county and parents are hugely grateful too. Whilst they might not say it, our young people appreciate it as well. They might not understand what it takes to achieve what Surrey’s leaders are achieving but they are thankful to be able to play and enjoy each other’s company again. Scouting has been identified as an essential service and I don’t think there is one of us who would dispute that.
Of course, not everyone has been able to join in with online Scouting or has not gone back to face to face Scouting. The time may not be right for a lot of reasons both for leaders and young people. Our own family and work situations have no doubt changed too and this can impact what can be offered. It is great to hear of leaders with the technical abilities stepping in to help out those who find it harder. This is what being part of the Scouting family is all about.
The thousands of young people in Surrey Scouts are benefitting from the care and support they are being given by the dedicated team of volunteers. When our young people reflect on these months in the years to come, one of the things they will remember is that their leaders did their best to give them some normality and joy in what have been stressful times. The great adventure goes on!