Cast your mind back to the warm breeze from the evening campfire, huddled together with your friends as you sit on logs and rocks, chanting and singing loudly through the air. That smell of dewy grass in the morning as you crawl out of your tents at sunrise. There is no doubt, camping is one of the most exciting activities in our calendars! As we know, this time last year, the Scouts institution unfortunately had to make the decision to suspend all face-to-face activities across the UK.
So how could we ensure that our young people were given the opportunity to enjoy the spirit of camp, from home? Across the year, we’ve had to think up new and innovative ways to keep this spirit of scouting alive. Virtual camping has been one of the many ways through which MSF have committed to ensuring scout groups are making the most out of lockdown measures; maintaining a sense of community with one another.
One of the most notable virtual events was our MSF virtual summer camp ‘Scout around the world’, which took place on the 6th March 2021, where attendees were taken on a trip to meet different scout groups from all over the world. Streamed on Facebook live, our young people were able to experience the beauty of different cultures and scouting practices from the comfort of their homes.
From Canada to Italy, we were able to provide young people with a chance to see the different chants, scout promises and activities that each place delivers to their groups. This was just another way to bring us all together during this time and enjoy an international adventure. Over 15,000 streamers joined us through Facebook live as our hosts took us around the scouting world!
Every group brought their own unique and interesting perspective of scouting to the livestream. Malaysian and Indonesian scouts started off the session as they introduced us to scouting promises in their respective languages, as well as interesting facts about their cultures. We then travelled along to the Maldives where we learnt about the picturesque scouting experience on the island. We were then taken across to Egypt where we learnt about the many adventures Egyptian scouts undertake! A fascinating experience for the viewers was witnessing scouts from Saudi Arabia, marching down the streets while chanting Arabic scout songs. As the day continued, our scouting community witnessed songs, food, and much more. Scouts from Tunisia, Luxembourg, Italy, USA and Canada shared the scouting spirit with us all as they contributed their practices through Zoom.
We may be in a lockdown, but scouting has not stopped, and neither has our work. Hundreds of young people have moved up to Cubs, Scouts, and Explorers throughout the months. Not to mention there are many young people who have started their scouting journey for the first time within lockdown!
While some of them have not yet experienced the joys of a physical camp, it is important that we allow them to feel the spirit of scouting nonetheless. The virtual work that our volunteers have undertaken has shown us that the spirit of a scout has no boundaries, it crosses all borders, and it lives within us all.