As you know, we reached out earlier this month to get feedback from the families about their experience with the 7th over the spring and to find out what kinds of activities they’d be looking for us to offer in the fall. From that, we had a few key findings:
- Only about half the families in the group would be comfortable with holding in-person meetings of any kind.
- A lot of families expressed concern that their kids would be “Zoomed out” from having to participate in online learning during the school week and were interested in activities with strong non-online components.
- Parents felt the “camp-in” event was largely successful and would be open to other events like it.
These points were very critical in helping us shape our offerings, with a focus on being inclusive and responsive to the needs of all our scouts. To that end, we plan to follow the model similar to what we used for the “camp-in” earlier this year. We are planning monthly weekend activities focused on getting outdoors and connecting virtually with other scouts. Before each weekend, we will deliver (either physically or electronically) activity materials to families’ homes. The weekends will include engagement in those activities integrated with virtual (Zoom) meetups to bring/show activity discoveries and creations, to participate in group activities, and to allow scouts some time to connect in fun ways.
To make this work, we will need your help and involvement with your individual scout(s) to make this a success. We’re still developing the curriculum, but if you want to mark your calendars, we will be holding remote events on the following weekends:
- September 26-27 (including a moving-up ceremony for scouts moving from Otter to Timberwolf or Timberwolf to Pathfinder)
- October 24-25
- December 5-6
Additionally, while group campouts do not appear to be something we can entertain for the fall, we have a number of individual campsites at Enchanted Rock reserved for the weekend of October 17-18. As we get closer, we are looking to make them available to families to use, and will open up the 7th’s gear inventory to lend out anything families may need. More information on that will be coming as we get a bit closer.
Finally, for families wanting to participate in socially-distant outdoor activities, we will be posting family-organized outings (namely hikes and/or park cleanups) that they will be putting together in the fall. These will not be official 7th Trailblazer events and will not be required for any scout badgework. If you want to plan an activity for inclusion in our newsletter, please email information to me (gsm@7thTrailblazers.com).
This is uncharted territory for all of us, so I thank you in advance for your flexibility and understanding as we continue to tweak and try to find ways to keep kids earning badges, building community, getting outdoors and serving their community.