During this COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and organizations have needed to adjust greatly to ensure the safety of their communities, employees, and participants. One of these corporations is the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), an organization I have been a part of for over two years.
As a Boy Scout, one starts off at the lowest rank of Scout and moves up to higher ranks through a process called Advancement, where Scouts need to complete a multitude of requirements to reach the prized Eagle Scout. The requirements include learning about useful topics and skills needed, such as first aid, citizenship, the outdoors, cooking, and many more, which are completed at weekly troop meetings. Furthermore, scouts need to earn a certain number of merit badges, awards or badges they can earn for mastering a specific area of knowledge, and organize and complete a service project that helps out with the community, before becoming an Eagle Scout.
However, due to the coronavirus, all Scouting meetings and outings have been suspended. At the same time, this hasn’t stopped the BSA and my troop from attempting to complete our normal activities. We have been using the now well-known app called Zoom, to communicate over a video-conference for our weekly meetings. While this change hasn’t necessarily been comfortable or easy, my troop and I have adjusted in order to allow the Scouts to complete the necessary requirements.
My troop has allowed its Scouts to complete Advancement online and rank up as efficiently as possible, in order for Scouts to reach Eagle Scout before turning 18 years old, the maximum age. They have also allowed Scouts to earn a number of merit badges to reach the necessary number of 21, with 13 of those being required from a specific topic, if they wish to become an Eagle Scout.
The process to earn the merit badges online is done by completing the necessary work and being tested on the topic through online interviews with certain merit badge counselors, who specialize or are familiar with that area of knowledge.
While this whole experience of trying to follow along with this new style of Scouting has been different and challenging, these times are what Boy Scouts are supposed to be prepared for and adjust to. And as people adapt and learn to find a balance in their life as they trudge through these difficult times, COVID-19 will hopefully end, and the world and Boy Scouts around the country will soon be able to go back to life as normal.
Jonathan Kim, Grade 8
Culver City Middle School