The following tips have been put together by the National Diversity and Inclusion Team to support Scouting @ Home:
- Avoid making assumptions – many family’s situations have changed as a result of COVID-19. Check in with youth members and families regularly and avoid making decisions without consulting members.
- Be compassionate – many families are grappling with unemployment, financial difficulties, stress and anxiety, and domestic challenges. Some may wish to disengage from scouting during this time. Encourage them to stay involved (in a lesser role if needed), but also be understanding if they want to take a break and re-engage later.
- Consider fee relief – as a Group, consider whether you can provide fee relief to members who are facing financial difficulties and under what circumstances. Have discussions with families who you know may have lost work to see if this could help them stay involved.
- Technological inclusion – be aware that not all youth will have access to the internet and a device to allow access to video conferencing. Consider alternatives such as activity packs that can be mailed to youth, or activities that can be emailed. Be creative and check in with families to understand what technology they have access to and are comfortable with using.
- Inclusive video conferencing – Video conferencing can be over-stimulating, particularly if many youth are talking at once. Use mute functions to control the discussion, and ensure quieter members also get a chance to contribute. Some youth may also feel uncomfortable with video and may prefer to just connect through audio. Follow this link to read more about supporting people with disabilities with online learning experiences.
- Continue to implement inclusion strategies used before Scouting @ Home (with adaptions as needed)– many Units will have developed particular strategies to engage with and support youth participating in the program. Don’t forget these when planning your Scouting@Home program. This may include sending some youth extra detail about the program so they know what to expect, providing information in different formats etc. Discuss particular strategies with families and how they can be adapted.
- Consider mental health and wellbeing (of youth and leaders) – COVID-19 and social distancing is having wide-ranging impacts on mental health and on our ability to access our normal support networks. Include age appropriate activities or discussions on wellbeing and check-in on people in your Scouting Family that have become distant. Below are some useful links related to the COVID-19 pandemic and young people’s mental health.