Following the recent #SESSleepOut where nearly 900 young people achieved over 2,000 nights away, both Craigalmond and Midlothian Districts have also recently held successful virtual camps.

Craigalmond Virtual Really Big Camp

The Really Big Camp was an event that Craigalmond District had been planning for more than a year. An opportunity for young people across all sections in the district’s 15 groups and 7 Explorer units to camp together over a weekend with an exciting mix of activities for all participants as well as opportunities to meet with other young people from across the District. The organising team had worked hard to plan every detail of the event and had prepared for every eventuality – apart from a global pandemic and the suspension of face to face Scouting!

Following Tim Kidd’s announcement about the suspension, the team reviewed the event and it was quickly clear that it would not be possible to run it given the lockdown. Given this the organisers firstly looked at when they could reorganise the event – a date has already been set for 14th – 16th May 2021 – and then attention turned to what the District could do instead of the Really Big Camp – and very quickly the Virtual Really Big Camp came into being.

Running over the same weekend as the Really Big Camp was scheduled – 1st-3rd May – all members of the District were invited to camp outside in their garden or in an indoor den for either one or two nights over the weekend with participants encouraged to upload photos on to the district Facebook page over the course of the weekend using the hashtag #vrbc2020.

As well as camping over the weekend, participants had the opportunity to join in with a number of challenges:

  • A District-wide Necker Walk challenge ran throughout the weekend. Members throughout the District displayed posters with their Group/Unit/District neckers and the #vrbc2020 badge along with a set of letters at the bottom. Members were then encouraged, while out on their daily exercise to wear their necker and see how many necker posters they could find
  • District Commissioner Mark Hesketh set all members a challenge to get together (virtually) with some friends and put together a video of them passing something between each other. Mark gave it a shot (with some help from his friends) and challenged VRBC attendees to do better and share the results over the weekend. Some incredible videos were produced including the 21st Craigalmond (South Queensferry) group’s tribute to key worker.
  • A necker throw challenge
  • Haiku Challenge – to come up with a Haiku poem reflecting their thoughts about the VRBC, Scouting or the effects of the lockdown on Scouting.
  • Emoji Lifeguard Station Quiz

Over the weekend, more than 500 members of the District took part with nearly 800 nights away completed and the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive. Even Scottish Chief Commissioner Andrew Sharkey joined in, sending a video message to all attendees to congratulate them on a great event.

Mark Hesketh, Craigalmond District Commissioner, said:

“Given the current backdrop, its remarkable and humbling the amount of time, effort and support from across the District in supporting our Virtual Really Big Camp. I know many were disappointed after a year of planning when we had to postpone the planned camp, and so our virtual camp came to life. I know many of you added to the great programme of events and challenges at Group level and it was brilliant to see so many people across Craigalmond having fun during the event. A big thank you to everyone involved and for keeping our Scouting strong in Craigalmond.”

You can see more from the event on the District’s Facebook page

Martin Elliot
Deputy District Commissioner, Craigalmond

Midlothian MidJam

Midlothian District held a hugely successful Virtual Camp, MidJam, between Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th May where 300 took part. In addition, 28 took part as brothers and sisters of existing members.

Building on what we had learnt with #SESSleepOut and #CampAtHome locally, we ran it as a normal camp. There were meals to cook and 30 challenges to do throughout the weekend.

The challenges were published in full, so that they didn’t have to be done in order, or they may have already done some, it also took account of the fact that it was a very wide age range we were covering.

The Challenges were also published individually every 30 minutes on the District’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to ensure that momentum for a full 2-night camp was kept going.

A short opening video was published at 7pm on the Friday, which signalled the start of the Camp, followed 10 minutes later by the 1st Challenge. As well as the Challenges, we posted when it was bedtime and when it was time to eat, much like a normal camp.

A Virtual Campfire was edited together, and published on YouTube at 8pm on Saturday, this really did bring everyone together virtually.

On the Sunday we finished off posting the challenges, and we posted a closing video after lunch.

To achieve the regular challenge posting, we did automate the posts to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We found particularly on the Friday night a huge number of pictures and video were being shared, it really was as busy as a normal Friday night at a Camp would be.

A significant number of photographs and video were shared with the Midlothian District Social media channels, and that did not include all the fantastic photos that were shared with private Scout Facebook Groups.

Following the Camp, Parents were asked to record, using an online form, which challenges had been achieved, so that the young person’s badgework can be updated by their local leader.

Richard Fairbairn, District Commissioner of Midlothian said

“We were absolutely amazed at how much everyone got involved in MidJam. In these difficult times it does truly underline how powerful and flexible the Scout Programme is.

In what was probably the windiest weekend of May I have seen in many years, the young people still got really involved. Though understandably most of the sleeping was done in the house in a Den or Tent.

The event did really bring the whole District together with all of our Scout Groups taking part.

I would actively encourage other Leaders to consider doing something similar with your young people, it doesn’t have to be massive, it can just be local, the young people will still get as much out of it.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone that took part in MidJam, the young people, the Leaders, Parents and Carers, and the MidJam Team who helped me put it all together: Mac Fairley, Eoin Neil, Jo Whiting and Declan Lane.”

Richard Fairbairn
District Commissioner, Midlothian District

Breaking News

The #SESSleepOut badges will be sent to each District soon and will be distributed to all who took part in the SleepOut

We are planning to run another #SESSleepOut to coincide with the Summer Solstice/Longest Day on Saturday 20th June. Details of #LongestDay to follow soon.

Mike Treanor
Scouting Support Officer