For the past six weeks during the COVID-19 lockdown, Adventurers and Pathfinders have never had it so good when it comes to receiving top quality presentations leading to various e-Awards and e-Honours.
With the prospect of cancelling the rest of the scheduled activities and camps for Adventurers and Pathfinders for the year 2020, and after the success of the online Union ABE & PBE finals, BUC Pathfinder Director, Pastor Dejan Stoković resolved to provide a regular weekend of activities to educate, engage and equip the club members to achieve awards and honours via social media.
The vision was to provide an online means of obtaining awards and honours while still retaining a sense of community. Running concurrently on the Zoom platform and Facebook live video and subsequently posted to YouTube, as many as 500 children are able to 'attend' each session. Highly interactive presentations are provided by guest speakers specialising in their given topics ranging from cryptology, fossils, honeybees and even chocolate. With Pastor Dejan as the host, presenters share their screens displaying PowerPoint presentations, video clips, pictures, and headline notes. Downloadable worksheets are also provided for completing the requirements and additional homework; live responses to questions and comments are possible during the presentation.
With the presentations made available on the social media platforms mentioned above, it allows for other Pathfinders and Adventurers from around the world to engage and join in. This has proved to be highly successful with as many as 8000 attendees following live or viewing the recordings over the weekend from over 50 countries representing each of the five continents. Pastor Dejan remarked that, “It is so beautiful to be part of this e-Club as it really shows what happens when you try to put Pathfinders and Adventurers in isolation: they make the walls of their rooms disappear so they can make space for an even larger Adventurer and Pathfinder family.”
Having attended a few of the sessions, you immediately sense a feeling of excitement and buzz from the children expressed through their engaged faces on Zoom and the interactive questions and comments whilst the presentation takes place. Each session lasts approximately one hour with two back to back sessions for Adventurers and three for Pathfinders with plenty of breaks in between. Children express their appreciation for each presenter at the end when the mics are unmuted. It is certainly a fulfilment of Psalms 100:1 to "make a joyful noise."
With all the numbers of children attending online and the coordination needed to run the programmes successfully, BUC Youth secretary, Natalie Davison, who works behind the scenes, commented, "there is definitely a lot of planning involved, but the rewards far outweigh the efforts. We want to give children a sense of a wider community during lockdown and also helping them to earn and achieve class requirements and some unusual badges as well."
One local church Pathfinder director, Janet White, commented in response, "thank you all for your consideration and thoughtfulness in ensuring that we are adequately supported as clubs. It is not easy and is no mean feat. We really appreciate what you are doing."
A parent, Mwiya Namakando-Moyo, from the BUC recently gave feedback saying, "My children are enjoying learning. Thank you to all the presenters and the admin team for giving up your time."
Kimberly Wilbur, Virginia, USA said, "Thank you so much for coordinating and running the e-Awards for Adventurers. My son is 9 and loved learning about ladybugs last week. Thank you so much! We watched you by Facebook."