TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Jayhawk Area Council is reporting a large drop in scout recruitment due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group said recruitment is down by 75 to 80 percent this fall.
The Jayhawk Area Council covers ten counties in northeast Kansas. Scout Executive & CEO Wayne Pancoast said they normally recruit around 1,000 scouts by early September. This is down, he said, due to not being able to recruit in schools.
“With remote learning, hybrid learning and everything else,” Pancoast said. “A lot of cases the schools being concerned about how many people come in to the building, our recruitment processes are a little bit different this year. We’re doing a lot more virtual recruitment.”
Pancoast said scout groups are still meeting. Troops regularly meeting in small groups of six to eight kids called dens or patrols. He said full troop meetings are being done on video chat or outside social distanced.
Cub Scout Daniel McKee said scouts have been helpful because he’s been able to make friends outside of schools.
“A lot of kids, in my opinion, they have problems making friends outside of school because they are used to making friends inside of school,” McKee said. “Scouts gives you the opportunity to make new friends that you’ve never really seen before and maybe some of them are different, but that makes them even better friends to you.”
Jayhawk Area Council hosted Cub Adventure Day for scouts over the weekend. It also hosted summer camp in July and Pancoast said they were able to do this with no coronavirus cases.
Parents interested in signing their kids up in scouts can click here. If there isn’t a group close by, parents can call 785-354-8541. Scouts is open to boys and girls in Kindergarten through age 21.