Scouts Adapt in Changing Time
January 7, 2021
COVID-19 changed the world when it struck back in March, and one thing people were forced to do was persevere and adapt to a new world. One group that has done this is the Boy Scout troops in Fluvanna County, including Troop 154 which has continued to hold both virtual and in-person meetings during the pandemic.
“It’s been easy to adapt, as I was in charge of meetings before I was SPL [Senior Patrol Leader). The setting may have changed, but our plans remain the same, generally,” said Troop 154 Senior Patrol Leader and Life Scout Joseph O’Connor. Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and Life Scout Caleb Kimble agrees. “I think that Covid has affected the way I help [O’Connor] run the troop drastically. Now on Zoom, he does most of the heavy lifting by keeping the meeting in order because everyone can hear and see him at the same time,” said Kimble.
Usually, the role of Troop Guide is to help the newest patrol of scouts achieve their first class awards as soon as possible. However, 2020 has made this harder, as much of the in-person interactions and support couldn’t take place. “With the first years [the new scouts] there is a lot of trust between us to get things done. I have to count on them to do the work even though most of the time they do it, I’m there,” said Troop Guide and Life Scout Drew Cavanaugh. Now, he says, “sometimes I’m not, and I need to trust them. They also need to trust me to provide them with knowledge on what they’re supposed to do and that I’ll keep track with what they’ve done,” he added.
The troop ran virtual meetings on Zoom from April 6 to July 6, after which it held its first in-person meeting since March. “I’d rather have meetings in-person, as there are more things we could do and I can see all of the Scouts,” said O’Conner. Kimble shared some of the same feelings. “I personally prefer in-person because we can actually do hands-on activities,” he said.
Despite the change in meetings, the troop has managed to hold a Court of Honors, which acknowledges the merit badges, rank advancements, and new officer positions in the troop. One scout has also managed to attain the rank of Eagle, which only 4% of scouts achieve. “We’ve had one troop election since the pandemic began, and the process was undertaken as normal. I believe we did it at an in-person meeting with the precautions,” said O’Conner.
Flexibility has been key, as the Covid mandates have kept changing, including in mid-December. “The mandates have affected us primarily with the numbers. When things were relaxed, we were able to meet in-person, but with social distancing and masks. Since things have tightened in the last few weeks, we most likely wouldn’t be able to meet,” said O’Conner. The troop has run virtual meetings since.
Students who join either Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts learn survival and other practical skills like knot-tying, cooking, wood and leather working, and welding, as well as discipline, planning, and leadership skills. Students interested in joining the Boy Scouts have two options in Fluvanna County, Troop 138 and Troop 154. There are also two Girl Scout troops in the Fluvanna: Troop 1138 and Troop 1154. For more information, see the contact information below.
Troop 138: Troop Leader Chuck Palmer, [email protected], 571-212-4445
Troop 154 and Girl Troop 1154: Troop Leader David Seal, [email protected]
Girl Troop 1138: Troop Leader Gator Shiﬄet, [email protected], 434-531-7311