Northborough scout troop is prepared to continue during a pandemic

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By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer

Troop 1 and Troop 823 at a pre-pandemic outing at Metro Rock in Littleton

Northborough – Scouts are resourceful and always prepared. When faced with a pandemic, members of Northborough Boy Scout Troop 1 showed their creativity in being able to continue to meet and engage in Scouting activities.

Committee Chair and 23-year Scouting veteran Ernie Wolshin said although the troop cannot meet as a large group, they have been able to meet via Zoom or outside in a parking lot, and plan trips that allow for proper social distancing.

Scoutmaster George Brenckle said a kayaking trip on the Charles River attracted a great turnout.

Socially distanced kayak trip on the upper Charles River

“Everyone was feeling cooped up,” he said. “It was an opportunity to get outside and the nice thing about a kayak is that you can paddle away from everyone else. Social distancing is easy on the river.”

The plan is to continue outings while following state, local council and the National BSA restrictions and guidelines to keep safety a priority.

Also planned for the fall are a fishing derby, hikes and bike trail trips. Winter plans are in progress for cross-country skiing and sledding. 

Although some of the Troop meetings have been held via Zoom, Brenckle and Wolshin acknowledged that Zoom fatigue can set in when students use it for school as well as for activities outside of school.

“One of the problems with this is that you are losing some of the social cohesion because you are not getting together and that has been a challenge,” said Brenckle.

Another challenge is that it has been difficult for new Scouts who crossed over from Cub Scouts to become acquainted with the troop and have the opportunity to develop basic skills, such as setting up a tent, building a fire and cooking. 

Troop outing at Boundless Adventures in Berlin

“They still want to get out and are curious about the world, but the traditions are a little different,” said Wolshin. 

In lieu of group camping, a virtual camp night was coordinated. Scouts camped in their own back yard, cooked and ate their meals outside, and connected with one another via Zoom.

“Scouting is all about being resourceful and having a Plan B and C, as well as A,” said Wolshin. “Kids want to get out to do something and it means more when you have been in a lot. We want to demonstrate that life goes on; it’s different, but it doesn’t stop.”

The annual Scouting for Food event will be held Saturday, Nov. 14. Unlike past years, residents will not see the usual door hanger reminders, but are asked to put bags of non-perishable donations in a bag at the end of their driveway. 

Additional information on Troop 1 can be found at www.troop1northboro.org and on all Scouting opportunities at www.beascout.org

Photos/Craig Cox

Whitewater rafting outing at Zoar Adventures in Greenfield