The COVID-19 closed schools and cancelled sports, but local Boy Scouts have remained active. Troop 145 of Christiansburg has been meeting virtually online every Monday and practicing weekly the Scout Oath and Law since the Virginia stay-at-home order.
Boys ages 10 to 17, have been working on merit badges like crime prevention and traffic safety via computers with their scoutmaster, James Belcher. New scouts, who had just bridged from
Cub Scouts in early March, have learned scout skills like fire building and knot tying using their web cameras.
For example, while guided by troop guide and life scout Grayson Semones, an assistant scoutmaster, demonstrated homemade fire starters in a cake pan so newbies could watch from their own homes.
Troop 145’s scouts continued to demonstrate their scout oath and law by completing weekly challenges to earn points. Scouts were required to show photos of their being physically strong, finding spare change to be thrifty, painting kindness rocks, picking up litter, writing letters to demonstrate loyalty and crafting cards to be helpful to senior citizens. To demonstrate bravery, scouts were encouraged to learn how to sew. To celebrate National Park Week, scouts were provided links to “visit” Yosemite, Yellowstone and other far away natural treasures. To be friendly, scouts were coaxed into making actual phone calls to check on and talk to friends.
The scouts of Troop 145 have been provided resources to advance in rank and earn merit badges being offered nationally by councils across the United States. Bingo cards and thirty-day calendars were shared with scouts from other states to inspire them to get ahead on rank requirements. The Buckeye Council of Ohio offered an interactive six-week Home Scouting program. A variety of virtual campfires and camp-ins have allowed Troop 145 scouts to see scouts across the nation share in the same activities and ideals while COVID-19 kept everyone at home.
The summer and the reopening of communities will allow Troop 145’s scouts to return stronger and with more activities. Youth ages 11 or older are invited to find and join a troop that will make the summer of 2020 a real adventure. Visit www.BeAScout.org or www.CburgTroop145.com for more information.