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An update from across the pond

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So it's been a while since I put my head in around these parts. Read a couple of things but not really had time to comment. As well as this covid nonsense life has also seen me move house, my business take off, my dad fall ill and generally be somewhat busy.

However I thought I'd swing by and see what's happening and let those interested know what scouts is looking like this side of the pond.

Back in March all face to face scouting was stopped due to covid. Some groups started meeting online via Zoom etc, some stopped meeting altogether. My lot have gone with zoom although as I'm sure you can imagine and I'm sure some of you have experienced it does have its limitations. We've managed cook offs, mini pioneering, had some guest speakers etc. But for an organisation based on the outdoors and team work meeting via a video conference does somewhat stump things. Nearest we got to a hike was getting everyone to climb their stairs at home as many times as it takes to get to the top of Ben Nevis (our highest mountain).

Anyway back in August we were finally allowed to meet face to face although with strict limitations. Groups of no more than 15 kids, had to be outdoors (that's fine in August) but the really tough bit is the amount of cleaning and sterilising of kit and having to keep all kids 2m apart. It wasn't until we had to do that it struck me just how much scouting involves small scale physical contact. Imagine pioneering but everyone has to be 2m apart. Getting a fire lit where your mates are trying to form a wind shield, again 2m away. We've got by but it's been somewhat difficult.

Then we had our second lockdown and back to zoom it was. In theory we could meet again face to face as of two weeks ago but as there has been a massive spike in covid cases at the school most of mine go to we're sticking with zoom till the new year. Even then I can't see us being allowed to camp till June at the earliest.

There have been some bright spots though, particularly tonight. NExt week we have guest speaker coming to tell them about the work of Jimmy's Night Shelter which is Cambridge's main homeless shelter. Despite Cambridge being one of the wealthiest cities in the UK it has a staggering problem with homelessness and Jimmy's do some fantastic work dealing with it. Anyway the guest speaker asked if we could get a few questions in advance. I've listed them below, copied and pasted direct from the chat section on zoom. I was really quite proud of how intelligent some of their questions are, something that I think adults can learn from, but also quite touched by the innocence of some of them. Our scouts mostly come from pretty stable, middle class households where they are pretty unlikely to see many of the issues that lead to homelessness and it's quite a stark reminder that not everyone has the same privelidges

how do the homeless keep warm.?

how do they get food?

how much has the homeless population increased during COVID 19?

why is it so hard to stop being homeless or to find somewhere to warm and safe to sleep?

why do they sometimes drink too much alcohol

What is the most common way to become homeless

Why do they smoke when they know that it's bad for them.

why do homeless younger people get taken into orphanages and stuff but adults and elderly people are just left?

Why do homies people beg rather than getting a small job

do people fake to be homeless?

what is the average number of years that people can survive being homeless?

how come homeless people are never in families and are usually by themselves?

can the homeless be dangerous

Genuinely wish I knew the answer to some of those myself!

Anyway hope everyone your side of the pond is looking after themselves ok.



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Thanks ‘skip. Our governor just increased restrictions.
Our streets are empty, not unlike yours, I suspect.

Switching back to online meetings hasn’t been as successful for us ... especially since next meeting was supposed to be our Christmas party.

We’ve got in a few more campouts than you, although I missed the last two.

Your scouts are asking some good questions. Hopefully the answers will inspire a few to do some great things.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's an update from an Indian SM on the "longer" other side of the pond:

Would love to wish you n your family and scout group a very happy new year ahead ❤️. Thank you for your lovely wishes n have conveyed the same to my Scouts too. Situation is under control n steps to ensure not to spread more is being done.
My group activities and meetings are non operational from March but do meet online. Missing my boys n activities a lot. I often go through the Jamboree pics n cherish it.
If things change will surely try to make it to the S Korea Jamboree.. wishing you all the best.

Hope it helps to know we are not alone in our trials.

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