To support our #BBatHOME programme, we also want to encourage groups to consider running ‘Virtual Sessions’ – to enable leaders and young people to stay safely connected through ‘Virtual Sessions’ during this period.

We have put together guidance for leaders on how to set up and host interactive virtual sessions with children and young people.

Check out our ‘Getting Started’ Leaders’ Guidance to help you get going with Virtual Sessions, along with TOOLBOX article published in Autumn 2020 Gazette on ‘Delivering Virtual Sessions‘.

You can also watch recordings of recent online webinars which will help you get started:

Virtual Sessions Activity Packs & Resources
Access a bi-weekly activity pack full of programme ideas and guidance on running virtual sessions, accompanied by a downloadable resource pack including read-to-use PowerPoint/PDF’s and more – click here

 We’ve also asked some of our leaders who have already run ‘Virtual Sessions’ with their young people to share how they got on . . .

 

We feel it is important to maintain face to face contact at this time in order to help the young people retain a sense of normality in us meeting as a group.

This is particularly important for youngsters with additional needs.  We also know that if families get used to no BB they may not return after an extended break, something we experienced following major floods in 2007.

Our first virtual meeting on Zoom was a family quiz lasting about 35 minutes, simply a PowerPoint quiz with a bit of screen sharing by the host.  We followed the BB Zoom guidance and 14 families joined us.  In addition staff were issued with joining info about 15 minutes prior to the session to let us have a catch up before the families joined us and then the joining info was posted in our BB Facebook group 5 minutes before the session (and messaged to others who had requested it).

We are now running three 30 minute sessions a week and we will adapt these based on numbers.  Anchors and Juniors together, Year 6-Year 11 (our final year Juniors would be doing Company Section visits at this point so why not do them virtually too!) and the final session is for 16+.  We will be continuing family quizzes too as these were very well received.  

We are enjoying activities such as quizzes, Simon Says, Pictionary (even though I can’t draw), Show Me, Spot the Difference, Eye Spy, Who am I, Would You Rather, as well as working on some of the activities from the #BBatHOME activity packs as a group.  In addition to this it is great opportunity to just catch up on news!  

Be well planned, have a practise and think about everything including the what if and ‘Virtual BB’ can be a thing that really works!

Vicki Brownlee, Leader, 5th Hull

 

“We were a little slow off the mark but we’ve now been running weekly Zoom sessions for our boys in all sections since the beginning of April.

We thought it was a worthwhile investment to pay for a monthly subscription, which allows a little more control over hosting the meetings and removes the time/numbers limit. Meetings are shorter than our normal in-person gatherings but the time is so valuable. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from parents with e-mails/texts saying how important they can tell it is for their son to ’see’ his friends and share some of the banter back and forth that they so miss. We officers can also tell by the boys’ demeanour during the Zoom sessions that they are very keen to be there. 

We’ve encouraged boys to put on their uniform and Anchors & Juniors have done this reliably; Company/Seniors obviously feel a bit weird dressing up in uniform for 45 minutes in their house but we’re not too bothered. Leaders are putting on their uniform. Sessions with the Anchors/Juniors have usually consisted of a chat/catchup, devotions and some sort of craft or challenge that we e-mail them about in advance so they have the tools or materials – usually just paper, pen, scissors, etc. We’ve also used the time to encourage the boys to show their #BBatHOME activities to the others, in an effort to encourage their participation. 

With Company Section so far, we have tried a variety of activities but we always open the sessions with a chat and devotions with prayer. (I must say, I feel a bit strange almost being like a televangelist sitting in my house preaching to a webcam!) We have had trivia quizzes but there’s only so much mileage in this so we’ve also done an online version of ‘Heads Up’, played Scattergories, tried the game in which one person looks away and we have to get him to guess what animal/kitchen object/band tune he is without saying the word, doing a scavenger hunt and playing bingo. (Word bingo related to a bible story/theme works – you give them a screen-share with maybe 20 words to choose from for a 12-square grid they fill in themselves then ad-lib the story in random order so it’s fair.) 

We’ll have to keep being creative with it but at the same time it’ll be a balance to ensure that the boys always feel they have enough time to just chat and share what they’re (not) up to in a different way.

Fraser Boyd, Captain, 25th Stirling (Dunblane)

 

“At the 11th Northampton, we’ve been running zoom sessions once a week for our Company / Seniors.

Emoji Quiz Game on Zoom with our Company Boys

At first we just did it as a one-off trail to see how it went, but before we even finished the first call our boys were asking if they could do it every week.

During the sessions we’ve run so far, we’ve played quizzes, challenged them to the ‘find me’ game and run a music quiz. We’re also been using some of the #BBatHOME activities too. The fitness dice and emoji quiz activities worked particularly well over Zoom. Next week we are getting even more adventurous and having a cook along.

More and more boys have been joining us each week and we now have nearly a full turnout each time. Parents have got in touch after some of the sessions to say how much their son enjoyed catching up with his BB friends and how it had helped to give them a bit of a boost. We strongly believe that staying in touch with our members in this way will be a huge help in keeping our boys connected to BB and eager to come back when we can meet again.

Joe Harrison, Leader, 11th Northampton 

 

Share how you’ve got on running Virtual Sessions by emailing bbathome@boys-brigade.org.uk.