We Reflect: COVID Two years on

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Regional Commissioner Update

Today is the the National Day of Reflection 2022, marking the second anniversary of Scotland entering COVID lockdown for the first time. Like the rest of the world, our lives were thrown into turmoil as we came to grips with a range of restrictions and unknowns so we invite you to join the South East Scotland Scouts Regional team as we take time to connect, reflect on the last two years and the sacrifices so many of us have made and for some of us to grieve. 

RED READINESS LEVEL:

Scouting had already responded to the emerging crisis and had taken the difficult decision the previous week to suspend all face-to-face Scouting, and quickly provided guidance on how Scouting could continue whilst we were at Red readiness level.

The response from adult volunteers, parents and young people was incredible as we all adapted to a new way of Scouting and innovative ways were found so that members could keep on Scouting through the lockdown. Exciting and engaging Zoom meetings were developed to keep connected, activities were sent out to young people to do at home and badgework continued in different ways. 

 

Camping face-to-face came to a halt to be replaced by Virtual Camps run by both the Region (#SESSleepOut and #SESLongestDay) and by Districts and Groups. It was fantastic to see camping in gardens and in bedrooms and the great ways to still provide campfires and singalongs.

Others in Scouting adapted too. Training moved on-line, appointment committees went virtual and our recruitment activity depended on meeting people via screens. Whilst some activities have or will return to face-to-face, we have proved over the past two years that other ways of working are effective and, in some cases, easier for our volunteers so these will continue to have a role to play as we move forward.

AMBER READINESS LEVEL:

As the situation improved, we moved to Amber readiness, and we had to get used to COVID Risk Assessments which were a necessary requirement to make sure that socially distanced, outdoor Scouting allowed for “Getting Back Together Safely”. We recognised that not everyone was comfortable meeting together and thus a blended approach was introduced with some sections continuing to meet virtually while others met in person outdoors.

Many Sections found that our young people thrived when they were outdoors more often – the pandemic certainly helped to promote the “Out” in Scouting! As we moved to Yellow readiness and gradually moved indoors, we adapted to new ways of Scouting with precautions like masks, sanitiser, increased ventilation and reduced Group sizes where required.

GREEN READINESS LEVEL:

We eventually reached Green readiness level in November 2021 and things have begun to return to some normality albeit some restrictions like mask wearing and ventilation will continue for the time being.

We can begin to look forward to more outdoor activity as we progress through the summer with our centres at Longcraig and Bonaly open for business, camp planning and activity as well as some Regional and District/Group events.

Please take a moment to reflect, and/or come together to remember, support and look with hope for our brighter future. As Regional Commissioner, I would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you, our amazing volunteers, for your resilience, creativity, and adaptability during the last two years. It has been a challenge for all of us and we need to continue to be aware of the ongoing position and guidelines, but we are in a strong position in South East Scotland to provide our young people with great experiences that will help them to continue to develop Skills for Life.

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
South East Scotland Scouts

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