These can be carried out using a variety of platforms, the most commonly used seem to be MSTeams, What’sApp, Facebook, Skype and Zoom.

There are some safeguards you need, here’s what others have done:

  1. Tell the parents you’re going to hold an online meeting; the parents have to join/sign-in on behalf of their children. Make sure parents know that any children online are to be under the parent’s supervision.
  2. The aim is to treat it the same as a meeting, don’t be in a 1:1 with YP online.
  3. Set-up meeting in chosen platform and add another leader immediately.
  4. Agree some rules to set the standards of behaviour. Include a rule about parents accessing for their children.
  5. Inform the parents and record the meeting to check back on any incidents.

Hints and Tips:

  1. Recommend no longer than 45 minutes
  2. Have a bit of structure or a plan
  3. Expect that the main excitement is seeing each other and waving and chatting!
  4. Have a practice with just your leaders first and have a good play with the software

Example using Zoom.

  • Leaving the mic open with a bunch of Scouts ended up with 5 – 7 minutes of ‘hellos’ which while nice was a bit wearing… write off the first 5 mins of your meeting
  • Be a despot with the mute button – mute all when giving instructions and get them to put their virtual hands up using the buttons and unmute individuals
  • The chat function, I disabled anything other than send to public – saw that issue coming before it happened – they’d have been on chat the whole time privately otherwise!
  • Switch off the chat function when they get giddy
  • Public chat function worked well to run a quiz (created by a scout for personal challenge, she had another 2 weeks to do)- very funny.
  • Record the meeting to check back on any incidents – we didn’t have any but I’m glad we recorded it anyway (Yes, parents were told it would be).
  • They got to the point of volunteering information and agreed to run part of the call next time.
  • The virtual backgrounds function was fun but became a bit distracting when they found how to do it – suspect the novelty will wear off (hope).
  • We launched 2 ‘offline competitions’ a photography one that runs for a month and a weekly one to come up with a logo for our cyber-Scouting sessions. They seemed to like that.
  • Parents seem to like the idea – already had 5 ‘thank yous….’ via email and text and a load more I just spotted on our Facebook page.

Example using Facebook

  • Tell the parents you’re going to do an online meeting; they are to join it on their Facebook account for the purposes of accessing Scouting material for their children. If the children access it, it is to be under the parent’s supervision. No children’s Facebook accounts will be approved.
  • The aim is to treat it the same as a meeting, don’t be in a 1:1 with Scouts online.
  • Create a Facebook Group (not a page).
  • Add another leader immediately.
  • Use the rules to set the standards of behaviour. We added a rule about parents accessing for their Children.
  • Use the approval setting to ask which child the Fb user is related to.
  • Use the function to agree with the group rules.
  • Tell the parents to search for the group, it has to be ‘visible’ in the settings for this. We have changed it to hidden once everyone has joined.
  • Plan the session, play around with the other functions on the group. Have polls ready for the Scouts to make decision about things.
  • Use the other leaders to stage manage in the background, we were able to post content whilst I was talking.
  • Set your own traditions for ‘flag break’ we got the Scouts to post a selfie of them in their uniform as the meeting started. At the end of the night each of them posted a sign off video.

Live stream your content and have fun, it’s as demanding as a normal meeting though.