2020 has been a tremendously difficult year on a variety of levels. Scouting can be an essential activity during difficult times as exemplified by our motos’ “be prepared” and “service”. The scout community , readiness, and service, are staples of resilience, an agent helping individuals in a community maintain their health and wellness during difficult times.
However, having the time and energy to schedule and perform another activity is completely overwhelming for many families. Though by shifting our lens one can observe scouting is not just wearing a uniform, dutch oven cooking, and group activities. The motto’s, promise’s, and scout law’s show how we apply the patrol method in our daily lives, in how we treat our friends and family, and in our neighborhood and community relationships.
I have been in contact with BPSA-US HQ, and our Western Commissioner. There are three main areas discussed: Covid 19, Stay at Home proficiency badge, and there is a discussion for starting anti-racism activity within the BPSA-US.
The Covid 19 recommendations for BPSA groups are to consult with our local public health and utilize their guidelines for meeting and scout activities. The discussions I engaged in were during the commissioners meeting. There are groups all over the U.S., from Texas, New York City, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. Each area has specific challenges and rates of infection,. One can also fall back on the CDC guidelines as needed:: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/activities.html.
The BPSA-US board decided to create a new skills proficiency badge. This badge would be placed above the left chest pocket, next to the 10 year and inclusivity badge placements. This is proposed to be the scouting at home award. Here is the first draft of the requirements:
1) Explore a local park on your own or with your family. Do at least one of the following:
a. Pickup trash along a trail (bring bags and gloves).
b. Find a Geocache (see http://www.geocaching.com)
c. Identify and record 5 different trees, 5 different flowers, or 5 different
2) Complete at least one requirement toward a proficiency or special proficiency badge(s) for your section.
3) Communicate directly with your section or patrol leader(s), either through a phone call, text, email, video call, or virtual scout meeting (remembering to follow Youth Safety Guidelines on Electronic Communications)
4) Do something to help a neighbor (unrelated to you). [Ex. Mow lawn, run errands, make a card or sign.]
5) Learn (or invent) a new outdoor game you can play with your family.
6) Take a selfie in your uniform, wearing a mask, and send it to your Scoutmaster
Here is a link of these requirements and art work drafts:
Regarding anti-racism activity the BPSA-US Chief Commissioner, Amber Wiley, wrote:
P roposal for Anti-Racism Plans, I think we will have the best chance for great outcomes if we divide the work into three parts:
Vision/Goal setting Action Plan Implementation
I propose we start with 2 meetings to develop a vision. Being mindful of the need to listen to and include people of color, I hope we can muster as many as possible for this phase. Being mindful of the diversity of our membership and their different places in the journey of understanding and involvement with DEI and particularly issues of race, I want to be sure to include them as well. It’s also necessary to include people from every region.
I am proud to be a scout leader in the face of these difficult times, however scouting has many challenges today. I am inspired by our leadership addressing and refining
Social Justice and equity. I am excited to continue our scouting with your families and in our communities.
I can stand behind all of the organizational decisions of the BPSA. I am inspired by the efforts of the Western Region Commissioner and our Chief Commissioner. Although I have low motivation and feel tired by the end of most days, my scouting is renewed and I am looking forward camping and scouting with each of you and your families.