Carole Blog #7                   

Returning to face to face Scouting

Changes in how we think, behave, and relate to one another — some deliberate but many made unconsciously, some temporary but others potentially permanent. When the Coronavirus outbreak is under control, aversion to strangers or large groups and the threat of infection they could pose might echo in our minds for years. People may struggle to regulate their emotions, finding anger and panic come more easily. Over the coming few weeks I hope to be able through my blog to support our amazing adults as we all navigate together the ‘new normal’.

Week 1 – Returning to Face to Face Scouting

Understandably, as Scouting starts to slowly ease lockdown restrictions, leaders around our County are challenged to understand how to best respond and plan for the new era that we are all on the brink of. It would be great if we could just flick a switch and fast-forward a few months to see what we need to deal with, but of course we can’t, so we need to figure out what to do in real-time.

It’s clear that the transition back to face to face Scouting is likely to be a slow one. There is a body of evidence that suggests that cases of the virus will need to be near zero and a vaccine available, in order for people to really feel comfortable and that’s completely understandable. But this is a sensitive topic, fraught with huge health implications on a scale that we’ve never had to contend with before and frankly no one on Earth is an expert in.

As a result, it’s already noticeable that the return to face to face Scouting will be staggered and phased, with different approaches under different circumstances. 

County, Districts and Groups will be concerned about how we will we need to consider physically redesigning our current Scouting environments to facilitate social distancing that could remain a restriction for a long time to come. Every one of our adults is experiencing this crisis differently, some are juggling childcare, some are caring for vulnerable people, some will feel comfortable with social distancing requirements and others won’t. All our adults will have a renewed appreciation for personal health and hygiene.

Many of our adults will be feeling excited and raring to go about the prospect of returning to face to face Scouting, to ‘get back to normal’ as soon as possible but we need to recognise that what we considered to be ‘normal’ pre-crisis, won’t be ‘normal’ post-crisis. This pandemic will change forever what we have, in the past, all taken for granted as being ‘normal’. The problem is, we just don’t really know what the next version of normal will look like, yet – and we might not for some time. 

Some of our adults will be feeling anxious about the prospect of returning to face to face Scouting as well as some parents and our young people. What we can do is sensitively and proactively gauge their feelings and provide support in the immediate term.
Over the coming few weeks I will look at How to Help your teams, how to manage strong views and opinions sensitively, how to support our young people and parents.

Please feel free to contact me at any time if you want to chat through anything.

Carole O’Donnell
DCC People