Scouts BSA Troop 1547, chartered by the Greenbriar Civic Association, was honored to have U.S. Rep Jennifer Wexton, who represents Virginia’s 10th District, join its most recent virtual troop meeting on May 4. The congresswoman talked to the troop about her job and answered questions such as her favorite part of her job, how often she is called to the House floor to vote and what motivated her to run for Congress.
"Rep. Wexton joining our meeting gave our Scouts an inside look at the legislative branch of our government on a national and state level as she's served in both,” said Troop 1547 Senior Patrol Leader Kyle Hogan. “She answered many questions from Scouts, allowing them to learn about our national representatives in an interactive manner."
Rep. Wexton encouraged the scouts and all young people to be involved in their community, particularly when it comes to causes and issues important to them. She spoke about how her job allows her to interact with constituents as well as with leaders from across the country, and that members of Congress often work together on important issues.
In addition to speaking with Rep. Wexton at its meeting, the troop also served as a guinea pig for a virtual Friends of Scouting presentation from the Sully District, which highlighted how giving to NCAC helps fund important scouting programs. To contribute, visit www.NCACBSA.org/Give.
The May 4th meeting was Troop 1547’s most recent weekly meeting held via Zoom. Attendance at virtual meetings has been the same and sometimes exceeds that of the troop’s in-person meetings prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The troop’s youth leadership changed right at the beginning of the pandemic in March.
"Taking on the responsibility of Senior Patrol Leader in the midst of a global pandemic is certainly a new challenge,” Kyle said. “Our virtual meetings don't exactly follow the schedule of a typical meeting, which allows for more flexibility in our activities, but also more planning. Ensuring our scouts are learning and leading during this time has been challenging to coordinate and organize, but the results have been magnificent so far."
Virtual meetings have included videos and presentations on knots, food safety and outdoor ethics. Kahoot games have been very popular. And a group of scouts led by the troop guide has been having weekly Zoom sessions with the scouts who crossed over recently to work on rank requirements.
Kyle also started a weekly photo contest for virtual meetings, with a theme each week such as nature for Earth week or cooking and a special topic for the May 4th meeting: Star Wars.
"Giving our Scouts a weekly photo contest has been a great way to keep them active and thinking, as they have to come up with new ways to innovate on the given prompt,” Kyle said. “The submissions are voted on by the other Scouts in real time, so they need to impress each other to win the week. The reward is a special role in our Troop Discord server, showing them their permanent bragging rights. It's all done in good fun and an attempt to keep our Scouts active."
For the Star Wars photo contest, scouts sent in photos featuring light sabers and lots of LEGO. Kyle’s brother Connor was voted as the winner for his photo titled, “Encounter on the Moon of Endor.”