May 2020
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Scouting at Home
Thank you for supporting local Scouting in the Pathway to Adventure Council. It is because of donors like you that Scouting continues, even amid COVID-19 social distancing. We are adapting our programs to offer Scouting at Home opportunities for the youth we serve. Scouts are now attending merit badge courses and weekly unit meetings online via videoconference. They are also showing off their best at-home campsites, taking part in 30-day Scout challenges and participating in virtual cooking contests and 5k events.
Some, like the Cub Scouts in Pack 773, are even having virtual campouts! What’s a virtual campout? It’s just the same as a regular campout except Scouts complete activities with their families in their own homes and backyards.

Lisa Sowa Downs, Pack 773 committee chair, thought it was important to offer the virtual campout “because our Pack is really close-knit. It has been very hard not to be together.”

Over the weekend of April 17-19, more than 20 Scouts and their families participated in a jam-packed schedule starting with camping site selection on Friday night. There were tents both inside and outside and lots of creative blanket forts in between. Youth creatively outfitted their campsites with camping chairs, backpacks, lanterns, fishing poles, den handbooks and even a bear (stuffed, that is).
For Kristal Stosich’s sons, Charlie and James, setting up a tent that filled their living room was a definite highlight. “Our tent was really comfy and our dog slept in there with us,” said James.

Scouts dressed in their uniforms to start Saturday morning with flag ceremonies in their living rooms, on their porches or their front yards. They joined one another on a videoconference to say the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as the Scout Oath and Law.

Throughout the weekend, Scouts could be found connecting with each other on social media and through videoconference, reading in their tents, working on requirements, making crafts, learning about science and making signs of appreciation for healthcare professionals, first responders and other essential workers. Some Scouts went on hikes in their neighborhood, while others were swinging from trees or flying kites.

The weekend also showcased some talented Scout chefs. Webelos Scout Isaac made guava and cream cheese empanadas. “I had the option of preparing a snack or cooking real food. I know at a real campout, you’d have to cook real food. That’s why I chose to make empanadas. They’re from my culture and they’re a great meal,” he said.
Isaac’s mom, Minely Medina, recorded him making the empanadas and uploaded the video to the Pack’s Facebook event page. “He’s made about 50 videos on YouTube and had roles in two community plays. He’s used to being in front of an audience,” she said.

And, naturally, each evening ended with roasted marshmallows! Charlie, who Kristal describes as a “s’mores connoisseur,” roasted his marshmallow over the stove top (under strict parental supervision, of course) on Friday night and over a fire in his backyard on Saturday. “The firepit s’mores was better than the stove top s’mores,” he decided.

More than anything, the virtual campout gave the Scouts a chance to return to “normal,” if even for a few days. “For many Scouts, whose lives have been turned upside down, the virtual campout gave them a bit of structure while at the same time having fun,” Lisa said.

Minely wondered how it was going to work. “I never thought of having a campout in my house before. But, it was a great experience. My sons [Isaac and Andrew] were so engaged in the activities throughout the weekend. They’ve been trying to do schoolwork and playing a lot of video games lately, so this was a nice break to that routine.”

Kristal added, “My kids had smiles on their faces all weekend long. We’d totally do it again.”

During these uncertain times, Scouting is a vital activity that our youth can participate in. It is because of your support that we can offer activities that give youth a chance to gain life skills, particularly ones that are so important now to being prepared.

Besides, what kid wouldn’t have a good time with a tent in their living room.