Delaware Scouts BSA members still earned merit badges in the face of the pandemic.

From sharing your drawing skills to learning how to cook, members of the Del-Mar-Va Council Scouts BSA are keeping busy.

This has been made possible with the new Scouting at Home Hub at DelmarvaCouncil.org.

The hub is virtual resource for keeping Cub Scouts and older Scouts BSA advancing, connected and having fun during the stay-at-home lockdown.

For Cub Scouts, who are in kindergarten through elementary school, there are activities they can do at home, including a 30-day challenge.

Some of the criteria for that challenge might include playing a board game with their family, setting the table for every meal, or drawing a picture of what a leader looks like, and sharing it with their family.

Cub Scouts can help their family plan a balanced meal using food they have at home.

‘Racking up’ badges online

The Scouts can earn virtual merit badges such as one for animation, cooking for their family, or performing home repairs. There are videos on the virtual hub that show Scouts how to meet requirements for their badges.

Robert Nakagawa, Del-Mar-Va Council chief executive officer, said his Scouts have been able earn accolades, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are some kids that’ve been racking up merit badges left and right through these online merit-badge classes,” Nakagawa, of Middletown, said.

He explained most have a vocational component. For example, there’s a public health badge that’s connected to COVID-19.

“There are things the Scouts are looking into like, ‘What is government’ and ‘What do we have to do regarding public health to keep everybody safe?’” Nakagawa said.

The CEO of the Del-Mar-Va Council said there’s a merit badge that teaches life skills for personal management. It’s important because financial literacy isn’t a skill most kids acquire.

“Personal management is an amazing merit badge,” he said, because “They’ll have a counselor who might be a financial adviser, a banker or an accountant, or something else, who’s teaching them these skills about checkbooks, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and how the economy works,” Nakagawa added.

He said at least one member from Del-Mar-Va has advanced to Eagle Scout during the quarantine.

“Most of the work was done prior to the pandemic,” Nakagawa explained. “Then they were able to do a board of review using Zoom, which is like their final interview to make sure they knew what it is to be an Eagle Scout.”

Engaged at home

The council has nearly 5,000 members, with most based in Delaware. Nakagawa said the majority of the membership is in New Castle County (over 2,000), followed by Kent (around 600) and Sussex (around 500).

Nakagawa said the Scouting at Home Hub is a good opportunity to keep members engaged, while also showing non-Scouts what the organization has to offer.