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For Montana Scouts and Scouts all over the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we live every day and how we do Scouting. Here are some tips for how Scouters and Scouts in all programs can continue Scouting and work on advancement at home or with their units:

Virtual Merit Badges

I and other Scouters are using digital platforms, such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Discord, Google Classroom, and others to facilitate Merit Badges.

Scouts and Scouters should follow the rules laid out in the Guides to Advancement and Safe Scouting.

Scouts should talk to their Scoutmaster about the merit badge they want to work on and then find a registered and Yout Protection Training compliant merit badge counselor. Scoutbook’s merit badge counselor list search is a great place to start.

An industrious Scouter started a Facebook group for Scoutmasters and merit badge counselors to connect from all over the BSA. This is a great opportunity to work on merit badges with subject matter experts.

When working with a merit badge counselor, even virtually, make sure to have two-deep leadership by using the Scouts’ parents or another registered leader on the call/video.

Virtual Meetings

For Troop/Pack/Crew meetings, there are many opportunities to do meetings from home!

Discord is a great platform for doing voice meetings combined with old-fashioned chatrooms. It was originally built for gamers, so it’s lightweight – that is, it’s built to use fewer system resources and bandwidth. Perfect for rural Scouts and Scouters!

It can be used straight in the web browser, installed on Apple/PC desktops and has Android and iOS apps too. The Greater Los Angeles Area Council has published an excellent guide for meetings and other activities that can be done online, in the spirit of Scouting.


Scouts from the U.K. Northumberland Scouts Group are organizing a month-long virtual camp!

Starting April 1, they are challenging Scouts from all over the world to set up camp in their own back yard and participate in the Virtual Camp. Scouts who participate will be eligible for a custom badge, necker (Scout Scarf) and T-shirt.

Everyone who participates will receive a Virtual Certificate of completion! 

Here’s how you and your Pack, Troop, or Crew can participate:

  • Pack a bag
  • Build a den at home/pitch a tent in the backyard/hang up a hammock (whatever you can)
  • Sleep in your shelter of choice
  • Build a ‘campfire’ (real or virtual)
  • Take part in a “Scouty activity”
  • Help with cooking a meal
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: Each night you participate, share a creative photo, video, blog, etc. to our social media with the hashtag #CampAtHome!
    • Facebook: Northumberland Scouts
    • Twitter: @NorthlandScouts
    •  Instagram: @Northumberland_Scouts
  • Then share them with your leaders and friends to show that although we can’t meet “Face to Face” Scouting doesn’t stop!

Steve Dogiakos is a Unit Commissioner, Assistant District Commissioner and Digital Communications Chair in Lewis & Clark District. Thank you Mr. Dogiakos for putting this article together. 

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