Our boys and girls’ lives were turned upside down when COVID-19 struck the US. Schools were closed, parents and students were home 24/7, and everyday life stressors were magnified to new heights. What scouts needed was consistency, leadership and a chance for normalcy. Scouts and their adult leaders in Troop 840 (T840), Coppell, TX, centering on the scouting principles of leadership, service and outdoorsmanship, have met the challenge during these trying times, while maintaining these principles and getting creative on how to achieve results while adhering to the CDC guidelines.
We are sharing the story of T840 to encourage parents and young people aged 11-18 to join us to have an opportunity to meet these stressors head on and make a difference in Coppell.
Since April 2020, T840 has met every Tuesday night to hold a virtual troop meeting. Scouts in troop leadership have been meeting every other Saturday to brainstorm ideas for virtual troop meetings and camp-outs.
After saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the troop meeting, the scouts move to separate breakout rooms for patrol time where they work on virtual physical fitness together, learn how to pack for a camp-out, participate in Earth Day e-activities, plan virtual campfire skits and work on rank requirements.
The troop has held two virtual campouts, held over Zoom, and met up for a biking trip, down the Campion Trail, where the scouts rode in small patrol groups, socially distanced with masks, and a kayaking and hiking adventure on Grapevine Lake. Each campout had a virtual campfire with skits and jokes while parents camped with their scouts in their backyards and cooked meals.
Troop Guides, scouts with several years’ experience, have been virtually meeting in small groups between troop meetings to help the most recent recruits rank up to Tenderfoot and Second Class. Adult troop leaders and parents have continued to complete Scoutmaster conferences, review Eagle projects, and complete Boards of Review virtually. Older scouts have been completing their merit badges with Merit Badge Counselors using virtual conferencing and attending small group sessions for Camping, Personal Fitness and Citizen in Community merit badges either in person outside or virtually. The Citizen in Community merit badge work has also led to opportunities for service and our Troop family has answered that call with great pride.
Every month the scouts have been participating in service projects such as decorating St. Joseph’s with American flags on Memorial Day, preparing meals at home to be delivered to the Genesis Women’s Shelter or local food banks, coordinating a toy drive, and picking up trash in the parks. They’ve also worked on helping younger children creating outdoor scavenger hunts and developing chalk-ercise game routes outside their homes.
If you have ideas for service projects you would like help with, or would like to join Troop 840, please email our Troop Scoutmaster, Craig Warner, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at: https://www.troop840.org/contact and we would be happy to invite you and your family to join us for a meeting to check us out!