When considering the impact of the pandemic on young people, media coverage has, naturally, focused on education.
But what of life beyond the school gates?
Almost half a million young people in the UK are members of the Scout Association, making it the largest coeducational youth work charity in the country.
Synonymous with adventure, as well as social life, the movement has nevertheless had to make the transition to the same slightly-less-than-pulse-racing method of meet-up as the rest of us: the Zoom meeting.
The video comms company has released figures claiming that 99% of the Scout Association has signed up to the platform since the first lockdown came into effect in March last year, with 7,482 Zoom licenses activated by local groups in the same period.
Collectively, they have clocked up 135 million Zoom minutes, from circa 300,000 individual programme sessions.
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“It’s easy to underestimate the positive impact this has had on the mental wellbeing of our young people,” said Matt Hyde, CEO of the Scout Association.
“Zoom hasn’t just helped us with regular meetings, it has also enabled us to try new things, such as allowing [UK Scouts] to take part in a virtual camp with other groups around the world.
“We have not only delivered our youth programme, but the experience has made us think about how we organise many of our internal processes. Even when young people go back to face-to-face meetings, we can see a future for Zoom in helping us carry out regular meetings of trustees, supporting our training and appointments process, supporting our volunteer management, and engaging with the parents of our youth members.”
“We feel incredibly privileged to be in a position to help people stay connected, especially during such a difficult and uncertain time,” said Phil Perry, head of Zoom UK and Ireland.
“The very nature of our platform lends itself to collaboration and teamwork, both central tenets of the Scouting Association. The organisation has such a positive impact and influence on young people across the UK, it’s essential for these services to continue.”
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Pic: 43rd Bristol Scout Group