Troop 526 Staying Safe and Active Online

Troop 526 Staying Safe and Active Online

We have been able to maintain our existing troop meeting schedule using Zoom for virtual meetings with a better than 85% participation rate. These meetings have included Patrol meetings and game time.

There was a patrol vs patrol Ultimate Tic Tac Toe tournament that took two meetings to complete. And we had an Epic Battleship game; last patrol standing won. The games were planned and facilitated by the youth leadership.

We also had a virtual campout that coincided with the BSA National Camp In. Scouts camped at their homes inside and out. Met for Dinner and a campfire to participate in a Troop game of Mafia. For us older scouts that would be a game of Clue! It wasn’t Colonel Mustard.

Scouts have also been able to advance by getting signoffs, Scoutmaster conferences and BOR’s via video conferences. We have had 15 rank advancements since April.

Many of the scouts earned merit badges while participating in Virtual MB clinics and a virtual Summer camp “Tricamp” conducted by the WLAAC. Our scouts have earned over 75 merit badges using the available online resources and making contact with MB counselors to complete requirements virtually.

We also had one Scout participate in a Virtual Eagle Board of review. Another Scout that is ready for his Eagle BOR, but he wants to wait until in person Eagle BORs startup again.

As a Troop we always have a Summer Camp called Camp Big Red for new scouts. This always helps the new crossover scouts to learn camping skills (without parents) that helps them be successful in scouts. These camping skills are learned from older scouts that staff the camp. While the new scouts learn and practice these skills, they are signed off on rank requirements and older scouts get to reinforce their skills while teaching. It is not just about the skills and rank advancement. It allows the new scouts become part of our Troop and start to feel comfortable without their parent’s direct involvement. That is a big change from Cub Scouts to Scouts.

We considered having Camp Big Red in person but given the Covid-19 numbers began to rise as soon as restrictions were lifted and group sites we had reserved were canceled, we decided to change it to a 5-day virtual summer camp covering many of the skills and requirements that we normally cover in person with older scouts facilitating the classes. We did draw the line at earning their Totin’ chip and Firem’n chit, for obvious reasons! At the end, we were able to conduct Virtual Scoutmaster conferences for the new scouts. We are very proud of the older staff scouts and the new scouts for what they accomplished!

I am proud of what our Troop has been able to do despite the circumstances.

– Carl Gebhardt, Scoutmaster Troop 526