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Connecting during COVID-19: Scouts NZ

Rātā Foundation loves hearing about all the ways community organisations are adapting to the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels and continuing to provide services and innovative initiatives online, and over the phone.

This story is part of Rātā’s Connecting during COVID-19 series. Visit our Community Stories page for more.

For more than 100 years, Scouts New Zealand has been an integral part of the community, so when the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 came into effect they decided to go digital.

They may not be able to connect in person, but Scouts across the country have found new and innovative ways to keep scouting during COVID-19, this includes opening up their programme to the wider community.

As the Level 4 lockdown began, they launched a free Scouting From Home Programme, which is open to anyone in New Zealand  to keep them connected and engaged.

Opening up the programme to everybody in the community is Scouts NZ’s way of paying back its local communities and saying thank you to New Zealand for all the support they have given Scouts over the years.

Each week, Scouts NZ sends out a programme via email with three fun activities focusing on personal development, adventure and community engagement.

The programme is tailored to a range of ages and abilities to ensure each young person in the whānau can take part at whichever level they are able to.

Scouts NZ is in 320 communities across the country with more than 13,000 young members.  Globally, it is the world’s largest non-formal educational movement.

Since Scouting From Home launched more than 950 children have signed up to the online programme.  While the programme does not provide all the full benefits of the community-based programme (such as weekly group meetings, camps and connection to international movement) it gives children an active and educational experience.

Scouts NZ Youth Programme Developer Jaime Hutton says Scouting From Home is a flexible programme, recognising whānau’s may have limited resources on hand; one task in particular was to build a shelter, which saw some Scouts pitch a tent in their backyard and others build a blanket fort in their living room.

Jaime says while members may not be able to obtain all of their badges at the moment, they had the opportunity to learn new skills.

She says some Scouts had been learning sign language, taking part in cooking challenges, going on ‘hikes’ via Zoom and going camping in their back yards.

And although Scouts NZ has had to adapt quickly during the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels, she says the scouting community is as strong as ever.

Rātā Foundation funds Scouts NZ under the Support focus area, which aims to enable positive youth development and engagement for rangatahi.

For more information on Scouting From Home and to sign up, visit the website: