Scouting Continues! Best Practices During COVID-19 Restrictions

Virtual Meetings

  1. The most recent from BSA on Digital Safety and Online Scouting Activities
  2. Troop 1760 SPL, Seneca District Shares:

The PLC just had a virtual meeting via Zoom and there are some things we are planning for our continuing time in quarantine.

  1. We have elected not to continue troop meetings online, but rather are reaching out to the two merit badge counselors to ideally continue the earning of those badges. Stay posted for details to come.
  2. In addition, we are expecting patrol leaders to meet with their patrols before the end of April to check up on their patrols and plan potential online “outings” such as patrol video game time or making masks. A more detailed email has been sent out to patrol leaders about this so stay posted for details so patrol members can attend.
  1. Bryan Martin Frivida (ACC, NCAC) shares:

As COVID-19 and remote meetings are very much an item of discussion these days, I wanted to share the latest guidance from BSA on remote meetings via BSA’s Digital Safety and Online Scouting Activities.

In addition, be sure to bookmark these helpful pages:

How to do Scouting in the Time of COVID-19

  1. Venture Crew 1345 TEDV (forwarded by Jae Englebrecht, ACC NCAC):

To that end, we are proud to introduce what we would like to call TEDv.

You’ve all probably heard of TEDx, and know that they are a series of informative talks about a wide range of subjects. Our TEDv series will be a chance for our Venturers to share topics they are interested in with you in the form of an interactive Zoom lecture led by a subject expert.

Here is the schedule of our TEDv talks and topics for the next few weeks:

Game Design with David Uribe: Apr 24

The Night Sky and Celestial Navigation with Stefan Arseneau: May 1

Each TEDv presentation will take place on Zoom on Friday at 6pm.  Expect the presentation to last about 10-30 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session with the presenter.  You are welcome to attend any session you are interested in.  Watch your emails for the Zoom invitations, and we hope to see you at TEDv!

Yours in Venturing, David Uribe

  1. The Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure
    For Cub Scouts at all levels:

The Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventures may be used as an elective adventure OR they may be earned in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for the Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light badges of rank.  If used in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for a rank, it may not be used as an elective adventure for that rank.

  1. How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide

These booklets are a basic resource to help parents understand how child abuse happens and keep their children safe. Exercises for parents and children are included. Several versions of the booklets are available:

For Cub Scouts and their parents

For Cub Scouts and their parents (in Spanish)

For Scouts BSA members and their parents PDF icon

For Scouts BSA members and their parents (in Spanish) PDF icon

For STEM Scouts and their parents PDF icon

  1. Cyber Chip

To help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online, the BSA introduces the Cyber Chip. The Scouting portal showcasing Cyber Chip resources includes grade-specific videos for each level.

  1. Bullying Awareness

These fact sheets will help with bullying awareness and direct you to resources provided by the BSA and other entities we work with to protect children.

  1. Camp Leadership … A Guide for Camp Staff and Unit Leaders

Brochure for unit leaders and camp staff who are responsible for providing a safe and healthy camp setting where Scouts are free from the worries of child abuse.

  1. Welcome to Den Chief Training!
    Scouts wishing to become den chiefs need to take this course. The module identifies den chief responsibilities and tasks, and describes the den chief’s relationship to the adult den leaders and how that relates to the den chief’s activities with the den. After finishing the training, den chief candidates receive their certificate of completion.
    Den Chief Facilitated and Online Training

g.       Venturing Crew Officers Orientation

This training module is geared primarily to Venturing youth that are elected into positions as officers within their Venturing crew, but it can also be used by adult leaders to learn the duties of the officers in the crew. This course is very useful for youth officers to fully understand their roles and responsibilities as it relates to Crew Officers Briefings and Seminars. This course will help the youth develop an annual plan of activities for the crew, as well as acquiring leadership and team-building skills. Estimated time to complete: 45 minutes.

Take Venturing Crew Officers Orientation Now!

High Adventure Base Update Regarding Summer of 2020 –

At this time, all HAB intend to open this summer.  There will be another update on May 1st.

The following issues are being worked on to come up with viable solutions, hopefully by the next update on April 1st:  1) Refunds, 2) Wilderness First Aid & other required training, 3) BSA Health/Medical Forms, and 4) Summer staff.

  1. Advancement — Cub Scouts

1)      Q: Can the Arrow of Light (fifth-grade dens) requirements fulfill the requirement to visit a troop or attend a troop outing to function as a patrol?

A:  Yes. Two things to keep in mind, the standard of completion for Cub Scout advancement is “Do Your Best,” so given the circumstances, we want to look at the purpose behind the requirements. Remember that doing nothing is never doing your best.

Dens can visit a virtual troop meeting to see the patrol method and youth leadership in action. Since the den cannot attend a troop campout or outing, the idea is for the den to function as a patrol while attending the virtual troop meeting. During this time, a virtual den meeting where the den functions as a patrol can be done. Elect a patrol leader, pick a patrol name, play a virtual game together as a patrol. Plenty of opportunities to Do Your Best to meet the intention of the requirement. Remember to maintain all youth protection standards online.

  1. Advancement — Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts

1)      Q: Can merit badge counseling or Nova/Supernova counseling be done using digital technologies like Zoom or WebEx?

A:  Yes, registered merit badge counselors or Nova counselors/Supernova mentors may work with youth using digital platforms, ensuring that all youth protection measures noted in the Guide to Safe Scouting and BSA’s social media guidelines are in place. In addition to youth protection, the advancement guidelines in Guide to Advancement (GTA) Section 7 are required.

2)      Q: Are merit badge counselors allowed to provide online instruction?
A:  Yes. Merit badge counselors should follow the guidelines in the Guide to Advancement and ensure you are adhering to all youth protection requirements and online communications guidelines. It is acceptable—and sometimes preferable—for merit badges to be taught in group settings, including online instruction. We currently allow group instruction at camp and merit badge midways, fairs, clinics, or similar events. These can be efficient methods, and interactive group discussions can support learning. Gathering a group online can also be beneficial. Guest experts and speakers that assist registered and approved counselors may be more willing to speak to a larger online audience. Slide shows, skits, demonstrations, panels, and various other techniques can also be employed, but as any teacher can attest, not everyone will learn all the material. Therefore, the standards we use to verify that each Scout has fulfilled requirements must not be relaxed. Merit badge counselors must be sure that each Scout has individually gained the knowledge intended. When accomplished, counselors can easily sign off requirements via ScoutBook.

3)      Q: What changes have been made to rank advancement/camping requirements given the need to maintain social distancing during this time?
A:  We have implemented temporary changes, detailed below, to allow Scouts to complete rank requirements, detailed below, by video conferencing through September 1, 2020. This deadline will be re-evaluated as needed.
The goal when using video conferencing must be to preserve the ideals and intent of each requirement as best as possible. Scoutmasters or their designee(s) should remain mindful of the Methods of Scouting, such as the Patrol Method, before implementing the modified requirements listed below. Some advancement activities can be completed by video conferencing but not all. For example, virtual visits to a city council meeting, national historic landmarks, museums, and art galleries may be acceptable, but swimming, rifle shooting, and motorboating merit badges cannot be completed virtually.
Even when using video conferencing, all virtual campouts and activities should consist of as many elements found on a normal outdoor campout or activity as possible. The most significant difference is that patrol or troop members are not all in the same location. All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines must be followed.
Tenderfoot rank requirements
1b. – Virtual patrol or troop campouts via video conferencing will be permitted.
2a. – During the same day as your virtual patrol or troop campout, assist in preparing one meal with the help of those with whom you live. Tell your patrol or troop why it was important for each person to share in meal preparation and cleanup.
2b. – During the same day as your virtual campout, demonstrate the appropriate method of safely cleaning items used to prepare, serve and eat a meal.
5a. – Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Verbally commit to following the buddy system on your next troop or patrol outing.
7a. – Tell how to display, raise, lower, and fold the U.S. flag.
Second Class rank requirements:
1a & 1c. – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.
3b. – Using a compass and map together, plan a 5-mile hike approved by your adult leader.
4. – Evidence of wild animals can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
5c. – May be completed virtually via video conferencing on dry land.
7c. – Learn about the dangers of using drugs, alcohol and tobacco and other practices that could be harmful to your health. Discuss what you learned with your family and explain the dangers of substance addictions. Report to your Scoutmaster or other adult leader in your troop about which parts of the Scout Oath and Scout Law relate to what you learned.
8a. – May be completed virtually using video conferencing.
8d. – May be completed by comparing costs at three (3) online sites or locations.

First Class rank requirements:
1a – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.
2e. – On the same day as your virtual campout, serve as the cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in First Class requirement 2a. Supervise the cleanup.
4a. – By drawing, computer software, or other virtual methods, plan an orienteering course that would cover at least one mile. Explain why measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.) is helpful. Explain how you would complete your course using a real map and compass.
4b. – Scouts do not need to follow their route.
5a. – Evidence of native plants can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
6e. – May be completed on dry land.
9a. – Visit may take place virtually or by phone.
9c. – Outings can include past or future plans.
10. – Invite the potential new member to a virtual meeting or future activity using video conferencing. 

4)      Q: Will virtual camping count toward Order of the Arrow nights camping?
A:  No, virtual camping will not count toward the 15 nights camping required for membership in the Order of the Arrow.

  1. Q: Can merit badge requirements be adapted since some elements can’t be completed as stated right now?
    A:  The published guidelines for the methodology of the merit badge program and the role of the merit badge counselor is found in the Guide to Advancement, Section 70.0.0. It is important to remember that leaders and merit badge counselors must not make additions or deletions to requirements. The Scout is expected to meet the requirements as stated; however, in some cases, virtual “visits” may fulfill the intent of a requirement. When the requirement’s intent cannot be reached virtually, the requirements cannot be completed, and the Scout must wait to complete that badge/requirement. Merit badge counselors signing off on requirements must determine to the best of their ability if the Scout has demonstrated the intended outcome.
    All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines must be followed.
  2. Q: Does a Scout need a hard copy of a Blue Card when working on merit badges?
    A:  No. Since the introduction of Scoutbook, the BSA has offered Scouts two ways of recording merit badge requirement completion: The Blue Card and Scoutbook. Both remain authorized methods to record merit badge work. Scoutbook is a part of the BSA Internet Advancement system, which means that entering an advancement record in Scoutbook is the same as entering it in Internet Advancement. Anyone with a BSA member ID automatically has access to a Scoutbook account through their my.scouting account.
  1. Mary Abe, White Oak Assistant District Commissioner Shares Ideas for Packs:
  2. Tiny Camp Fire

The website is for a company that sends tea candles and supplies for s’mores to people who will then connect on Zoom for a Tiny Camp Fire. Packs/dens could send out the supplies without using the company. Storytelling, jokes and skits could be incorporated.

  1. Best Zoom Games:
    Bingo, Yahtzee, Pictionary, and many more ideas plus Tech tips for how to implement these games.
  2. Scavenger Hunt Ideas
    There are any number of scavenger hunt ideas of on-line: This resource has 29 ideas. I think that there are some Cub Scout specific ones also, but this gives a broad range of ideas.
  3. 30 Day Challenge
    Probably the easiest way to get folks into scouting at home. There is a challenge for every Cub level with age appropriate activities for every day of April.
  4. Leatherworking–Tandy leather
  5. under boy’s life ‘stuck inside 25 fun projects’ look at:
  • How to make a paper fortune teller
  • How to fold your own pocket sized joke book
  • How to make a homemade snow globe
  • How to make an origami x-wing fighter
  • How to make invisible ink for writing tip-secret messages
  1. Morse code with a flashlight and phone or pc w zoom
  2. Webex, room or google hangouts meet
  3. Show and tell virtual
  4. Work on cyber chip
  5. Virtual campouts
  6. Theresa Garcia-Parks, White Oak District forwards:
    1. From Victoria Eisenberg, Cubmaster, Pack 33:
      I am doing a virtual campout for scouts
      So feel free to share that! ALL scouts are welcome to join. It lasts for 2 weeks allowing scouts to be able to do at home when they are able. I didn’t yet set up a zoom campfire for everyone on the event since it’s open to ALL scouts but I am doing one for our unit.
    2. Great website for Cubs from Narragansett Council


Opportunities to Serve

  1. Troop 33 Virtual Food Drive (recommended by Dr. Rick Manteuffel, ACC):

Troop 33 has set a goal of donating 5,000 food items to the Capital Area Food Bank to help provide meals to vulnerable community members during the COVID-19 emergency.   Scouts are encouraged to share the message with family and friends, who can participate.  The beneficiary is the Capital Area Food Bank.

UPDATE:  The troop reports that they are over halfway to our goal of 5,000 items now. There’s still a week to go!
The event page is

  1. Theresa Garcia-Parks, White Oak District forwards:

From Victoria Eisenberg, Cubmaster, Pack 33:
Virtual Earth Month Community Service & it encourages people to be able to give back in whatever creative way they can & of course is open to all scouts.

Interesting Stuff

  1. Sign Up for BL BAM!
    Boys’ Life‘s email newsletter is perfect to make your days at home more fun. Each email will blow your mind with cool projects, hilarious jokes and super fun games! Sign up to get drops in your inbox!

STEM Corner

  1. Franklin Institute Museums Offers:
    a.  What is Mixed Reality (MR)?
  1. What is Extended Reality (XR)?
  2. Augmented Reality Pokemon on the Street
    Augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone. Examples of augmented reality experiences include Snapchat lenses and the game Pokemon Go.
  3. Augmented Reality
  4. Marine Debris on Pearl and Hermes Atoll
    Step onto a beach where marine debris and wildlife life side by side. The Pacific trash gyre is a massive accumulation of marine debris that spirals in the North Pacific Ocean.
  5. Space Shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

BSA Resources Available Now!