Every morning for a week and a half, seven-year-old Brayden Romo has been waking up to new scouting challenges.
Putting on as many clothes as you possibly can? Check. Making scrambled eggs in a bag? Check. Distributing door hangers in your neighborhood advertising a popcorn drive? Check.
Making armpit fudge? Romo is going to take a pass on that one.
“That sounds disgusting,” he said. (But if you would like to try it, the recipe is below.)
It’s time for Scout-O-Rama, an annual Cub and Boy Scout event that takes place across the country.
Under normal circumstances, thousands of boy scouts would gather for a one-day celebration in their district, giving them the chance to meet scouts from other areas and promote scouting to visitors. Each pack or troop would be given the chance to show off their skills and crafts, as well as compete for prizes in races and activities. There would be over 100 booths with everything from archery, tomahawk throwing, BB guns, giant board games, cooking demonstrations, metalworking and more.
The idea of competition between scouts is the same this year, but it’s being done online over the course of three weeks, maintaining social distancing while still allowing the Scout-o-Rama to proceed.
“The Boy Scout Council has been looking for ways to get scouts outside and participating in activities,” said Byran Feci, scoutmaster for Pack 444 of Hollister. “They have adapted Scout-O-Rama to fit the current situation. It is an important event that all the scouts and their families look forward to each year.”
One difference is that this year, families interested in scouting may join in the fun by signing up online. After registering, all of the activities, lessons and challenges are available through the scouting app. They are more in line with the current types of activities scouts do during their regular meetings, with a focus on individual tasks and family group projects. Scouts and guests can pick and choose which ones to accept and can proceed at their own pace.
“When they have finished a challenge, they can go on the app and post their accomplishments and get points,” Feci said. “They take a picture of what they made or a task they completed, so they get to showcase what they have done for all the other scouts to see.”
When BenitoLink spoke with Romo, he was sitting comfortably in fourth place for the district in individual points. Besides the accomplishments listed above, he had taken a silly family portrait, created a travel first aid kit, went on a bike ride, and cooked chocolate cake in a mug, among other challenges.
“The easiest one was putting on all the clothes,” Romo said. “I put on 20 shirts, three shorts, one underwear, and four hats. It was hard to walk around. I had to just take little baby steps.”
Ten-year-old cub scout Cody Silveira participated in the clothing challenge, with the same complication. “I put on nine shirts and six pairs of pants,” Silveira said, “and I had to stop because I could not move anymore.”
Silveira also participated in online trivia, posted a video of himself reciting the Cub Scout Law, and went door to door selling popcorn.
“We go around the neighborhood putting hangers on doors,” Silveira said. “We want to keep everything safe, so that way people can see the door hangers and call us if they want to order.”
Finding ways to keep things fun and to recruit new members is a challenge during this time of social distancing.
“We are working to keep the kids active and engaged in scouting,” Feci said. “We have the fun projects and we also have service projects, like making masks for hospitals or searching out invasive plant species. Then there are outdoor projects like building a wilderness shelter in your backyard. Scout-O-Rama is an important event for recruiting, to show kids the kinds of things they can do as a scout. We hope this sparks an interest and gets more kids to join in.”
Armpit Fudge recipe courtesy of Cub Scout Ideas
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons cream cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Put all of the ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Knead the bag until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Use your armpits, your knees, your hands—anything you can think of to smush the bag! After the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, open the bag and eat with a spoon.
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