With an uncertain timeline for when in person meetings can resume, scout groups can #GroupForward by hosting virtual meetings. One type of virtual meeting to consider is a virtual badge bash. As badge programs have set goals, activities, and outlines to meet the badge requirements, these programs can translate exceptionally well into a virtual environment.
Badge Bash Styles
The In-Depth Badge Bash
For troops where the scouts benefit from long term routines, the in-depth badge bash is the way to go. Explore more than just the required activities for the badge the troop is working toward. This format will give scouts more time to embrace and understand the core concepts for earning the badge over the full time of your online meetings.
The Badgeathon Bash
For troops where the scouts get the most benefit from frequent achievement, the badgeathon will fulfill that goal. Select a series of badges where the requirements can be completed over a short period of time. With this badge bash style, scouts can earn a different badge from each online meeting.
The Breakout Badge Bash
For troops with multiple ages and levels of scouts, this virtual badge bash is the way to go. Your troop can use this style with either the In-Depth or Badgeathon bash styles. This style utilizes the breakout session feature of Zoom to allow troops to join a main session for full troop activities and then break out into smaller sessions based on their respective badges.
Ideas for Keeping Scouts Engaged in Virtual Activities
When family, school, and social activities are all taking place in the home, it can be hard to keep kids focused but it’s not an impossible task. Here are our tips for keeping scouts engaged in an online setting:
Routine is Key
Match the structure of your online meetings and badge bash sessions as closely as possible to your traditional in person meetings. Keeping this timetable and organizational structure will help kids to feel as engaged online as they do in real life.
Bring the Outside World In
During social distancing, kids may be feeling the monotony of being stuck at home. Giving them variety in the people and places they can interact with is a simple way to help. Spark engagement and help them feel connected to the outside world by taking your scouts on a virtual tour.
When putting together online programs for kids, it’s easy to default to less physical activities. While worksheets and screen based programs are great, moving the body motivates the brain and adding projects with a physical element will improve focus and engagement. As well, varying activities amongst different types such as lessons, activities, and tours will keep stimulation and focus up too.
Sample Online Badge Activities
One example of badge activities that translate well from in-person to virtual are those designed for Junior level Girl Scouts earning their Detective badge:
Here’s how we’ve translated these sections into an online program:
1. Practice the Power of Observation
Visit: International Spy Museum
Take your troop on a virtual field trip to the International Spy Museum and enjoy their Spy School 101 program! Make sure to tell your scouts to pay close attention to the artifacts they see on your virtual tour for their observation activity.
Activity: Memory Match Up
After your virtual visit, ask the scouts questions about areas of the museum and the artifacts seen and see what they remember.
Continued Activity: Take Notice
Every day for one week (or until your next meeting) make note of things you never noticed before about your home and any changes to your home that you observe to share at your next meeting. Alternatively, have scouts play spot the difference, test your memory, and power of observation on CSI web adventures.
2. Communicate in Code
Lesson: Code Classics
Share some of the history of code with your scouts and teach them about classic, morse code. Scouts can practice sending short messages in morse code via video chat as a primer before moving onto making their own codes.
Game: Make or Break
Each troop member (or small group of scouts for larger troops) is provided a message and must come up with their code to write it in. Once each code is created and the message is typed, they are shared with all the other troop members (or troop groups) to crack.
Project: Invisible Ink
Troop Members learn about the science behind different types of invisible ink and make their own. Each scout is then paired up with another scout and they write and mail each other invisible uplifting messages to uncover.
3. Fingerprint for Fun
Activity: Classifying Fingerprints
Have your scouts follow the graphite pad method of this activity from ReachOut, but instead of comparing and classifying each other's prints, have the scouts identify the patterns of their own to make the activity conducive to the online setting.
Quiz: Do You Have What it Takes to be A Forensic Fingerprint Examiner
Troop Members can take the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s fingerprint examination skills test and compare results. Scouts can share how they solved each test.
Continued Activity: Dusting for Prints
Have your scouts dust for fingerprints at home before your next meeting. They can share their results on which surfaces they got the best prints from, how long their fingerprints lasted, and more.
4. Try Out Detective Science
Lesson: Learn About DNA
Teach your scouts the basics about DNA and how it can be used to help solve mysteries and crimes.
Activity: Create an Edible DNA Model
Once your scouts know what DNA is, make some edible “DNA” using directions from step three here.
5. Follow the Clues to Solve a Real Mystery
The Incredible Cookie Caper
The Orlando Science center has this covered for you and your scouts! Take part in their OSC at home series and your troop can solve the Incredible Cookie Caper. There’s a downloadable clue card, a concept overview, and a great video to follow along with to solve the mystery!
Organize Your Own Badge Bash
While the video chat platform you choose has the tools to run your virtual badge bash, GroupTools provides you with everything you need to organize and plan the event. You can create a detailed custom itinerary, invite your troop members, upload all the required forms and worksheets and receive complete copies back privately and securely, collect parent payments for a virtual field trip and more! Plus our Customer Success Team will be happy to help you every step of the way. Login or Register to get started today or visit GroupTools.com to learn more.