Our calling to build Christ-centred boys and young men continues beyond our circumstances. In fact, as we face new challenges, we discover God-inspired opportunities to expand His Work into our communities. Together, we are...
Building Godly Men of Today and Tomorrow
Winning and Training Boys for Christ
Doing Brigade under COVID is subject to the rules established by government authorities, church leadership, insurers, and parents. These protocols change as experience is gained, but as temporary guardians of children, CSB leaders must always provide a safe environment for our charges. And where rules are unclear, we must default to a greater level of safety. We are called to a higher standard. Click on the file below to see our list of To-Do suggestions...
- IN-PERSON MEETINGS are how we've been doing Brigade for years. They involve the boys and men meeting together on a weekly basis.
- VIRTUAL MEETINGS are those where participants attend via the internet using personal computers, smartphones or telephones without video.
- OUTDOOR MEETINGS happen in-person and in the healthier out-of-doors, where social distancing is more easily achieved.
- ALTERNATING IN-PERSON & VIRTUAL MEETINGS use both of the these meeting types in alternate weeks, allowing 14 days between in-person gatherings.
- IN-PERSON MEETINGS WITH VIRTUAL OPTION allow children to attend the meeting in-person or virtually.
These are in-person meetings that are conducted out-of-doors where COVID protocols are less restrictive. These can be some of the most effective meetings you can have with your Brigade group. Most of the boys will feel right in their element; about as far away from their normal routine as they can get. Start with a cool October meeting around a campfire. Roast some hotdogs. BBQ some burgers. Play a widegame. At a later meeting, demonstrate (and make?) some firebrands - burning steelwool twirled on a coat hanger. When winter arrives, have snowball competitions, target practice, snow forts, etc. When it gets colder, go tobogganing. The cooler weather encourages the guys to wear layers of clothing, gloves, scarves, and balaclavas/masks. Doing stuff in the dark is always a big hit. Get several of the dads involved. They will be just as eager to participate.
ALTERNATING IN-PERSON & VIRTUAL MEETINGS
Under COVID, in-person meetings will not be all that inviting to some parents. And some boys won't be all that enthusiastic for yet another Zoom meeting. So combine the two efforts: an in-person meeting one week and a virtual meeting the next. This allows the boys to continue to build godly friendships with their leaders while still having the option to miss half of the meetings, if needed. The benefit is that when they are ready, they can join with the rest of the group in the other meetings. They will still feel like they are part of the Brigade family. Other benefits include there being 14-days between physical gatherings - the standard isolation period if someone were to get sick. And, should a second wave of the virus shut in-person meetings down again, you will be ready to meet exclusively on Zoom, Discord or Twitch.
IN-PERSON MEETINGS WITH VIRTUAL OPTION
This is probably the most interesting option for having a virtual meeting for those who are unable to attend in-person. You are simply live-streaming the activities of your group as they happen. You will need someone to hold the camera/smartphone and to look after the technical support, but it's fairly straightforward. The difficulty comes when you want to tailor the video feed to the remote participants. They may not be able to readily interact with the rest of the guys, and some active stuff may be not be transferable to the digital platform. Don't worry about it. See what the interest is before fine-tuning things.
It would be good to have a leader host a Zoom or Discord call from a remote location with good bandwidth (his home or the church), and then having the cameraman at the meeting participate on that digital platform, with headphones on. This can overcome some of the participation hurdles.
- Building Boys through Brigade
- YESTERDAY & TODAY.
More COVID-related suggestions are below:
In Brigade, you are building Christ-centred relationships with boys in order to show them what it is to be a man of God. This isn't as easy when you're physically distanced from the boy, but it can happen using a digital platform like Zoom, Discord or Twitch. You need to have the digital bandwidth, as well as cheap wifi, for this to be stable. You can't do this at McD's or at home on a 15mbts line when family members are surfing the web. You may need to invest in a service upgrade. That's going to cost you. But, it works. And you can continue to build a quality experiences for your Brigade using a computer, webcam, and microphone. Even a Smartphone will do.
Make your meeting real. Start with drop-in games, puzzles, contests, interesting factoids from the boys about their school or home life. The boys want to talk. And, though we may be concerned about their screen-time, this is an effective means of connecting. And digital technology is a key tool in their futures...
Start your meeting with a bit of a free-for-all.
Call the guys to order and welcome each one by name.
Introduce the meeting and open in prayer.
Move to Games. There are many good socially-interactive games that work on Zoom, Discord and over the phone. Click here for some suggestions.
Build a Project together. Unless it's as simple as a paper airplane, this will take some preparation, some cost and some delivery time. You will want to consider assembling a project kit for each boy: everything from the construction materials to the scissors, tape, glue, pencils and crayons, all in a large ziplock bag with the boy's name on it. Consider building the Stockade Catapult found in the SIEGE WEAPONS Outpost Adventure. It should take 6 to 8 weeks, comfortably. Check out other opportunities here.
Wind things down by gathering the guys together for a quick time of encouragement. Ask who is working on Achievements and what they did with them this week. Get some quick details. Highlight a couple of boys who were noteworthy earlier in this meeting.
Then wrap things up with a story, a Christ-centred Tree Climber Circle, Stockade Story Circle, or Battalion Council Ring. These are available through CSB's Leader's Guides for our three age levels. Click here to see some video examples of CSB Story Circles and Council Rings.
Note: Many groups do the story first, and then get into the other activities. That is a good compromises, but be sure to end by encouraging the guys about their involvement during the meeting and the week to come.
Here's an example of a Virtual Stockade Meeting using Twitch: