The Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Pakistan (AKYSBP) organised the first Virtual Scout Camporee on the 27th and 28th of June, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on large gatherings and programmes that require physical presence have been enforced across the country. Utilising technology, this barrier was easily overcome, and Boy Scouts from throughout Pakistan had the opportunity to participate in a National Camporee. AKYSBP Chairman, Mr. Hassan Somani shared, “A Virtual Camporee during the challenging times of COVID-19 not only engaged youngsters from across the country in learning intervention but also enabled all of them to share best practices of the scouting movement.”

A total of 164 Boy Scouts and leaders took part in the virtual event that offered many activities and programmes. Each Boy Scout was required to set up a shelter using materials from home such as blankets and sheets to depict an actual camporee environment. Other activities included an online quiz competition, a logo-making activity and an opportunity to showcase individual Boy Scouts’ humanitarian contributions during quarantine activities at home. Boy Scouts also portrayed their culinary skills by recording themselves cooking and presenting it via video submission to the camporee organizers. Naveed Alam, a participant from Gilgit said, “I ‘arrived’ at the camp not quite knowing what to expect. Joining a virtual camporee was a new experience for me. The most special thing from the camp is the bond I formed with all members. I hope the AKYSBP Scouting Portfolio will come up with more programmes like this to engage us in this time.”

The Virtual Scout Camporee organized information sessions for the Boy Scouts on topics such as financial education, personal finance, entrepreneurship, smart internet utilisation and higher educational opportunities. Several Camporee Patshalas (classrooms) were also set up providing information by experts on topics such as the Aga Khan Development Network’s role, modern scouting, robotics and technology, sustainable development goals, freelancing and the performing arts.  The camporee also featured an online campfire wherein Boy Scouts prepared live performances and some shared pre-recorded videos of talent performances with the audience.

The first Virtual Scout Camporee proved to be a success for it was well organized, harnessing various online platforms. Moreover, it brought together Boy Scouts from across Pakistan to share and connect despite the pandemic limitations.