As a nation, we are experiencing what I perceive to be the most widespread and debilitating event to impact our country during my lifetime… the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated quarantine in place recommendations. This virus has impacted all of us, just not here in the United States, but globally. Schools and non-essential businesses closed down, concern and uncertainty in the face of economic slowdowns, looming fears of all-enveloping disease felling broad swaths of our community.
Boy Scouts of America and other youth organization activities have essentially been frozen. Various national, state and local health and governmental bodies have recommended or mandated limiting group meeting sizes to a few as ten persons. While many councils are encouraging virtual meetings to promote fellowship and advancement, my opinion is that this is merely a placeholder, an excuse to keep Scouts treading water until the situation changes.
Scouting should be bigger than this. Scouting IS bigger than this!
In times of emergencies, Scouts have the training and knowledge to step in and help. Sometimes we help directly, by providing first aid and other care. Other times we support local services and communities with tasks like directing traffic or distributing water. This is a time when we should be helping.
How you can help
We cannot directly do anything about the virus, or its spread. Apart from handwashing recommendations and limiting contact with others, our options are limited. But we can still promote mental health in this stressful time, by providing a purpose to the youth (and adults) in our country.
Pollution and ecological health is a continuing challenge facing mankind. We have a unique opportunity to improve this. While large meetings are eschewed, while many people are idle because of school or business closures, we all have the ability to make a difference. Let’s get out and clean our neighborhoods, our parks, and our wilderness areas!
It has been shown time and again that stress levels can be reduced by providing individuals with a sense of purpose. Being outdoors has also been shown to help. Too many people are feeling despondent and shut-in, staying in their homes, wondering what the future will bring. Let’s solve that NOW! We HAVE a purpose, and we CAN be outdoors!
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