The great outdoors has become the great indoors for scouts in Southwark as they continue to keep their spirits up during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Debbie Jeacock, from South London Scouts, told the News the Scout Association suspended all face-to-face scouting for the foreseeable future on March 18.
Since then groups have been determined to work around the lockdown. Group Scout leader, Andy Smith, from the 3rd Royal Eltham, Royal Greenwich Scouts, took to Facebook to set up a group where leaders across the world could share ideas for continuing remotely.
In under a month the group has welcomed over 3,300 new members who have posted over 11,000 ideas, comments and videos. Many are from south London but also from as far afield as Singapore, India and Canada.
South London Scouts have also introduced new ‘Home Adventures’, ‘Task Master’ and ‘Home Camp’ challenge badges which can be carried out over zoom meeting, to keep everyone scouting during lockdown.
Initially these badges were designed for South London Scouts but proved so popular that they are now being undertaken by around 5,000 young scouts across the globe.
Eleven-year-old Sinead, from the 23rd Camberwell Scouts Kestrels Patrol, said: “I stopped going to school the week before lockdown.
“Me and my brother were pretty bored but Scout leader Daniel would put on a challenge each day because we can’t have Scouts’ meetings.
“Beavers and Cubs get the challenges as well so me and my brother often do them together.
“Lockdown has been going on for over three months so that means that we’ve had more than 90 daily challenges.
“The very first challenge was to learn about or draw or make a solar system. Me and my brother made 3D planets out of Lego.
“The funniest challenge had to be the one where we had to make a skit about a camp during lockdown. It was really funny because my brother kept on mispronouncing words making me giggle, and the hardest one was when we had to flick our scarfs from our foot to around our neck. It does sound kind of easy, but it was very hard and frustrating – but I managed to do it.
“We also only had an hour to do this challenge as it was a special one. And we do Scout meetings on Monday evenings by zoom.
“We also had a remote spring camp where we put tents or shelters up in our houses or gardens.
“I put my tent up in our tiny garden although it took up most of the space.
“I cooked all of the meals all weekend and we even had a little campfire with a few candles and marshmallows.
“It’s interesting seeing and socialising with people at the zoom meetings because otherwise a lot of my time is spent doing schoolwork.
“Overall it also helped my mum entertain my brother because he only just turned eight and really misses being able to run around outside. And it’s pretty fun.”
Thank you to all our key workers. #thankyou #NHS #keyworkers #Beavers #Cubs #Scouts #Camberwell #clapforourcarers #stayhome
Posted by 23rd Camberwell Scout Group on Monday, 13 April 2020
The scouts have made a thank you video for the NHS and keyworkers – now seen by 23,589 people across social media.
Camberwell scout leader, Daniel, said: “Every week the Scouts get a new badge set for them to complete should they wish too.
“This, along with the daily challenges, is a great way to take their minds off the current situation, to have a break from schoolwork and complete something they enjoy.
“We are constantly being messaged by parents thanking us for the work we’re doing, saying it’s helping them with some normality.”