Troop 77 Covid-19 & Recruitment

There have been a lot of changes in the Scouting world since everything came to a grinding halt mid-March here in Switzerland and France Voisine. Troop 77 stopped meeting face-to-face immediately but has been able to hold most events virtually (via zoom or gotomeeting) since the beginning of confinement. We have held Troop meetings every few weeks for the whole troop, we’ve held a virtual campfire, we’ve had leader meetings (PLCs), parents meetings, etc. Whatsapp messages have also been exchanged between patrol members on a regular basis (small groups of 5-7 scouts and their parents), between parents and the committee and the PLC. We’ve also held Scoutmaster conferences and Boards of Review virtually, with several scouts advancing to the next rank!

The adults who support the Troop (Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Committee and parents), have also put an emphasis on helping scouts work on and achieve merit badges, specifically those that can be started and sometimes finished by the scout, at home. Alongside badges that had already started (Personal Management, Cooking, Family Life), we are running a “Bird Study Merit Badge” group at the moment, as scouts can still get out in their garden or go for short walks to go bird-watching. Similarly, most of our scouts were able to participate in the Virtual Merit Badge university, a weekend of badges, offered by the Barbarossa district based in Germany. This was held over the first weekend in May via Zoom. Each scout is now well on their way to achieving 1-3 badges after they did their zoom sessions, working on final requirements at home (e.g. one scout built a rocket for his Space Exploration badge and several were in the kitchen that weekend cooking for their cooking merit badges).

Now, mid-May, as security measures lessen and scouts go back to school, the Troop is planning for the summer. Depending on confinement measures, the Troop hopes to restart meeting face-to-face at the end of June, first in small groups and then if things ok, as Troop. Always, of course, following safety measures.

Unlike in other years, we have decided not to take a summer pause in July and August, as most Scouts likely here this summer. Fun activities in small groups will be held, such as hiking, camping, water sports, cycling, etc. We’ll also start various merit badges. Of course, a zoom meeting will be thrown in here and there for organisational purposes too. For now, we continue to hold out Troop Meetings on Zoom.

As we are here this summer, we are hoping to hold a zoom event for new scouts and interested scouts sometime at the end of May or beginning of June. Boys and Girls 10-17 who like the outdoors and live in Geneva, Vaud or Neighbouring France can join our Troop at any time and should contact us if they want to sit in on our zoom meeting. Date TBC.

Yours in Scouting,

Michelle Walz
Chair, Troop 77 Geneva