A Year of Successful Pandemic Modified Activities
Planned Growth Depends on Volunteer Engagement
One of the major changes made under the Units First initiative was the shift from District to Council responsibility for organizing large-scale multi-unit activities and events such as Camporees. The first year of that transition was complicated by group size limitations demanded because of COVID-19. However, dedicated volunteers and staff working on the Northern Star Scouting Activities and Civic Service Committee planned and delivered three very successful events in the 2020-21 program year: a Pioneering themed Fall Camporee, a Klondike Derby in the heart of winter, and a Webelos Woods experience this past May.
Even with program restrictions, the organizing subcommittees for the Fall Camporee, Klondike Derby, and Webelos Woods events served 1,290 attendees this past season. Cohort programming was a common feature at each event and led to significant changes to how program was administered in a multi-unit format. A special thanks to each of the volunteer staff members that made programming possible this past year, either by serving as an in-unit volunteer instructor, or assisting with one of the many behind-the-scenes roles.
With each event, a single program plan was executed twice using two Council Camp facilities on different weekends. That approach provided flexibility to units to choose the event that worked best for their schedule and location. It also provides efficiency in program planning and supplies and equipment use. We served about 43% as many participants at these events as have attended similar events organized by Districts in recent years. Our percentage served in 2020-21 breaks down to 33% for the Fall Camporee series of events, 81% for the Klondike series of events, and 43% for the Webelos Woods series of events. We hope that after pandemic restrictions are lifted, we can grow the participation rate to meet or exceed the numbers formerly served by District organized activities.
However, in order to do this, we need the help of more of those who were involved in District Activities planning in this effort. On the program planning calendar, we have set dates for these three events to repeat each year as well as a spring Cub Scout Camporee event beginning in 2022. We would like to have standing subcommittees responsible for planning each of these events and we will need a pool of volunteers willing to serve as on-site event staff for them. If organizing and executing fun, exciting Activities is part of your passion for delivering the Scouting program to our youth, we need you! Anyone interested in serving in any of these ways is encouraged to contact Dave Yarusso, Activities Committee Chair, or Ben Coder, Activities/STEM Director ([email protected] or [email protected]).
In addition, we have instituted a process for consideration of support for other Activities which might be new program ideas, Merit Badge Days, one-time events, or events that were formerly run by a District. To seek support in terms of Council registration, staff support, and publicity, one can complete and Activities Support Application. You can find the application by searching for the “Activities Committee” on the Northern Star Scouting homepage (northernstar.org). An important element is identifying key volunteers willing to plan and staff the event. The Activities Steering Committee considers these applications as a part of its role in overseeing the entire portfolio of Activities and Civic Service opportunities. We are considering ways to support Activities targeted at certain geographical areas within the Council and how we would manage registration and/or publicity for them.
Although many things have changed or are changing, one thing we want to maintain is the quality of the program we offer to our youth. We look forward to continuing to do this through the efforts of this Committee and our dedicated volunteers.