A Note From the Founder – Virtual Meetings
by Kerry Cordy
Thanks to the COVID 19 virus, it looks like many clubs will not be able to meet in person for the foreseeable future. As a result, I have been trying out different methods for holding virtual club meetings, field trips, sleep overs, etc. to keep the kids connected. My favorite format is definitely Zoom.
Zoom’s free version allows a 40 minute meeting for up to 100 participants. This amount of time is usually sufficient for a virtual meeting as getting kids to sit still for longer than 40 minutes can be a challenge. At the very least when your free 40 minutes is up, you can have a snack break and have everyone come back in 15 minutes while you set up another 40 minute free session.
Zoom is a virtual meeting platform that does not require an app to actually be downloaded for your members to participate as they can access the meeting from a simple link that is emailed to them. If you wish to purchase the paid version for $14.99/mo your meetings have no time limit and if someone has no access to the internet, they can still call in via a phone line and at least hear the audio portion of the meeting which is helpful if you have low income or rural families as part of your group.
While downloading an app to your mobile device or computer is not necessary to participate, it is definitely helpful as the platform can have some delays in audio or video when too many people are accessing it via the website. If you plan to use Zoom often, I would recommend having your members register a profile and download the app.
I have posted an entire article on getting started with Zoom complete with recommended settings and 10 different virtual meetings ideas.
New Badges Posted
Upcoming Video Series
by Kerry Cordy
Keep an eye on your inbox for link to our upcoming video series, Curiosity Untamed. I will be posting weekly videos beginning next week on a variety of topics. Just a few will include:
- How to conduct a virtual meeting and virtual stay in touch ideas
- How to write your own badge
- How to adapt badges for multiple ages
- How to keep order in the chaos
- How to sew on patches and ribbons
- How to layout a uniform and put on ribbons
- Making custom Quest paper dolls for Flat Stanley projects
- Make a magnetic travel game
- Turning math into games
Don’t forget that all Badge of the Week resources that are posted on our Facebook page each week are consolidated into blog posts on Curiosity Untamed for quick references.
Using Badges to Supplement Schoolwork
by Kerry Cordy
Many Quest Members only earn badges when they attend club meetings, but earning them from home can be much more exciting. Earning badges at home allows kids to explore topics in ways that interest them specifically rather than compromising with group activities. Now that most kids are homeschooling in one form or another, using badges to supplement schoolwork can make learning much more fun. By tying in badges to topics the kids are already studying in school the basic knowledge based requirements for many badges are already completed via school assignments. That leaves the fun optional requirements to help kids take their schoolwork to the next level while at the same time earning a badge for their uniform.
For example, if you are in 4th grade and are currently learning about erosion, you can tie it into working on your Geology Badge, the Weather Badge, or the Water Badge. Instead of just filling out worksheets for school, you can make your own simple erosion table and see how water or wind moves soil first hand. If you love art, you can draw or paint a picture showing erosion or even create a diorama, or if you love to move, you can create a game about it. If you live near a stream, creek, or river, take a field trip and watch erosion first hand. If you love maps you could study geologic maps and identify how erosion helped to create the contours. Whether you are the artist, the scientist, the athlete or the explorer, you can twist the badge activities to things that interest you. Not only does this make learning more fun, but it has been proven that more information is retained when we interact with it physically and even more when it holds an interest to us.
Take advantage of this time of schooling from home to have a little fun, stay busy, and earn badges!
Ideas for Staying Connected While Keeping Apart
by Katie Lundquist
As a club leader, it is important to me to maintain contact with my club kids in some way. Especially during this uncertain time, the kids need encouragement and stability, so I and my co-leaders are looking for ways to do what we can.
At the suggestion of one of our club parents, a team of us went out after dark armed with several buckets of chalk. We spent a few hours driving around to the houses of all our kids and chalked encouraging messages for them on the sidewalk/driveway/walkway.
Tips for success: contact the parents ahead of time so they can quiet their dogs, keep the kids away from the front windows, or just be aware in case they hear noises outside. Also, map out your route ahead of time to avoid a lot of unnecessary backtracking. Depending on your club size, you may need to bring snacks and water – we have 15 families and it took us three hours. Our motto was “swift and silent“ – plan to spend only about five minutes per house. I assigned each Chalker a specific thing to get us in and out quickly – hearts, smiley faces, flowers, messages, etc.
Several of our kids have birthdays in April and May. We purchased small plastic lidded containers from the dollar store and filled them with gifts and trinkets. We drive out to their home the night before their birthday and chalk encouraging messages and birthday greetings, put up homemade signs and leave the gift box. If possible, we also go back on their birthday with a decorated “party van” to sing to them, say hello, wave streamers, dance, etc.
Tips for success: have an assortment of gifts ready for different age groups. Add a couple of things to share with siblings. Make sure to contact the parents ahead of time, especially if there is rain in the forecast. That way, they can choose to let them see it the night before in case it gets washed away before morning!
For the “party van“, we pull over before the last turn to decorate with streamers and signs. I have a kid friendly “happy birthday song“ playing on the radio through my phone (usually Minions or Mickey Mouse) and we get out and dance and sing along. Coordinate with the parents first, of course!
DRIVE-BY MOBILE COURT OF AWARDS
Our club was scheduled for a Court of Awards at the end of March. Since we are still banned from gathering in groups greater than 10 people in our state and will be for some time, our leadership team made the decision to drive to each family’s home and present them with their awards. We wanted to see the kids (safely, from a distance) and we didn’t want them to wait longer for badges and awards they had earned over the past several months.
Tips for success: Make it as fancy as you can under the circumstances! Each leader was in uniform, and we requested that the kids do the same. We printed out a list of the awards earned just as we would have for a regular ceremony with copies for each family since the kids love to see their name in print. I mapped out the route just as we did for Chalking so there was minimal backtracking. I contacted each family ahead of time, and again when we were on our way so they would be ready for us.
Although I had my coleaders with me, I was the only one handling items given to the kids. I used hand sanitizer before and after each house just in case although there was no physical contact. I asked permission from the parents before handing each child a gift bag with their badges and awards inside, and some families opted to have me leave it on the ground for them to pick up when I stepped away. Make sure each family is comfortable with the amount of contact!
We spent about five minutes at each house, chatting with the kids and parents, announcing their awards, taking pictures and clapping and cheering for them as we would have done during a formal ceremony.
MOTHER’S DAY TEA
We are planning to hold a virtual club-wide Mother’s Day tea! I will be dropping off gift bags this week at each family’s home filled with assorted teabags, poems to read, coloring pages with a Mother’s Day theme, a short reading on the history of Mother’s Day, recipes for easy-to-make treats, a few spring themed decorations and supplies for a simple craft. I will also include invitations with the details on our teatime, and encourage each family to dress up for the occasion and make it special.
Tips for success: most supplies can be purchased at the dollar store for those on a budget. We will either set a specific time and have a quick Zoom meeting to connect with each other during the tea, or set up an online photo album where each family can share photos of their mother/daughter teatime – or maybe both! I am planning to include as many supplies as possible in each gift bag so that this is not burdensome for the moms.
We are also planning to do something similar in June – a virtual family picnic! I plan to set a specific day and time for each of our families to spend time together at their own home and provide some fun activities for them to do.
Challenging times require some creativity. Don’t be afraid to change things up a bit as you reach out to your club families.
Social Distanced Service Project Ideas
“If you see a need, take the lead!” and there are plenty of needs in our communities right now. Even with stay at home orders and social distancing, there are ways to take the lead and help our your local community. Here are just a few ideas:
- Organize a food drive to support your local food bank.
- Sew masks to donate to those in need, especially senior citizens
- Write and share short meeting plans or activities to share with leaders that are appropriate for virtual meetings.
- Make cards or banners to say thank you to essential workers. In addition to health care workers and first responders, don’t forget workers such as grocery clerks, postal and delivery personnel, warehouse workers and teachers.
- Join one of the many movements to provide kids with activities they can participate in from a distance such as the Heart Hunters scavenger hunt where you post hearts in your window for kids to see while taking walks or drives. Similar scavenger hunts have been put together for teddy bears and other items.
- Random Acts of Kindness. Whether it is dropping off an unexpected treat to friend, calling and chatting with a grandparent or senior citizen, making kindness rocks, or helping mom with the housework, random acts of kindness brighten everyone’s day.
- Support your local small businesses. Get take out from your favorite restaurant. Buy online from local stores who are willing to ship products or have curbside delivery. Take virtual classes offered by instructors in your town. If these businesses are not supported during shutdowns, they will be gone when things reopen.
Unique Fun Patches for the Current COVID 19 Crisis
by Kerry Cordy
We are all living through a very unique piece of world history. Fun Patches, worn on the backside of uniform vests, are a great way to build memories for the kids so they don’t forget what life was like right now. These patches have no “requirements” attached and are simply to commemorate activities.
Snappy Logos has a good variety of patches currently on sale for $.55 each! Just a few are shown below. Click on the images to be taken to that page of their store.
Advantage Emblem has a wide variety of patches available. A few are shown below and most cost roughly $1.69 each. Click on the image to be taken to patch on their store.