This is article is part of the Undisrupted series, a series of articles detailing our troop's response to the current COVID-19 situation, allowing training to continue even when physical CCA sessions have been postponed showing that our troop is truly prepared and unwavered even in the face of the pandemic.
By Joel Lim
The COVID-19 pandemic has left a tremendous impact on the routines of many scout groups around Singapore, suspending in-school training and thus foiling the training plans of many around Singapore. Here at Catholic High Scout Group, we are determined to be unfazed by this situation and come out stronger after this tough time, unshaken and undisrupted. In this edition of Undisrupted, the topic in focus is the Astronomy badge, one of the most intellectually demanding badges to attain among the proficiency badge electives.
In light of COVID-19, Ventures had to alter the requirements that were initially set to match the situation we are in and deepen the knowledge and understanding of Astronomy in Scouts. Astronomy, under normal circumstances, heavily involves the outdoors and is definitely not an easy badge to complete in the confines of one’s home.
In order to overcome the challenges imposed by the circuit breaker measures, Ventures used Google Hangout meets to continue meeting up online, conducting lessons the ventures had prepared for scouts to attain the minimum requirements for the badge as well as the extension of astronavigation. This further extension in learning brings the abstract concepts of Astronomy back in relation to scouting. Astronomy and Scouting today, are often seen as mutually exclusive. However, as Catholic High Scouts, it is important not only to learn astronomy concepts at the surface or theoretical level but also to apply this newfound knowledge into scouting and astronavigation.
Catholic High Scouts know never to take something at face value, but think outside of the box and challenge recognized perceptions. Through this journey, scouts were tasked to reflect critically through understanding the history of disproven theories such as the universe being static, posing questions such as “Is it justified to believe something is right based just because it is generally accepted?” Furthermore, scouts were humbled as they realized just how little humanity knew about the universe: there were so many undiscovered possibilities; so many unknowns about the universe. As we realize just how minuscule we are in the wide scheme of things, we become less egocentric and attain a greater awareness of ourselves and the world. As such, attaining the astronomy badge has also pushed scouts to think critically about moral issues that exist in our society today, inculcating values and principles to build them up as Scouts.
To address the elephant in the room, how is it possible to observe constellations from the four walls of our homes? This is a problem that stumbles many others who wish to attain this badge in the midst of the COVID-19 situation. In Catholic High Scout Group, no challenge is too tough, unachievable or unconquerable so long as one has the correct mindset and will to overcome it. Ventures leveraged on technology and utilised mobile apps with star-mapping capabilities to observe the movement of constellations. This not only allowed scouts to continue pursuing the badge indoors but also provided them the ability to observe other constellations that would otherwise not be visible to the naked eye. The use of technology has allowed scouts to go above and beyond the set expectations and hold their work to an even higher standard.
In conclusion, the Astronomy badge is not an easy feat on its own, let alone additional requirements and extensions put in place. In spite of this, Catholic High Scout Group will not let our standards drop nor let our guard down because we understand that the onus is on us to uphold the glory and bring honour to our troop by being the absolute best that we can be.