By Shannon Evers
We’re all working through an unprecedented time. The Covid crisis has turned our world upside down, and as we all take steps to safeguard our families in the short-term, there is growing concern about what this time period will do to our culture and our individual families in the long-run.
The University of Oxford recently released information showing 1 in 5 people diagnosed with COVID-19 are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within three months. This can include things like anxiety, depression and insomnia.
These findings are similar in children, as they too are experiencing changes in their normal routines, missing life celebrations and events due to social distancing and struggling with lost security and safety as the economy sputters.
As parents, the best thing we can do for our children is provide structure and connection amidst our current normal.
Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma recognizes the challenges of these difficult days, and we’re offering opportunities for connection and enrichment virtually and in-person.
Our annual event, Geekapalooza, was held virtually last week. When we were planning this event, we recognized the need for smart virtual programming, but also flexibility for families.
Our sessions were held in the evenings, and registered participants could watch and learn live or on their own schedule by watching recordings later.
While the virtual setting isn’t ideal, it did allow us to aim high when selected our speakers. The girls and their families heard from astronauts and engineers, from meteorologists and musicians.
The event was interactive too, as participants were provided with a list of necessary supplies to conduct experiments designed to foster a love of STEM and get our girls moving, engaging and interacting.
Working with our national organization, we’ll be providing Girl Scouts at Home, an age-appropriate virtual curriculum designed to keep girls learning and preparing for a lifetime of leadership and growth. Each age group includes specific lessons and activities of all kinds. Have a home scientist, home chef or a future astronaut under your roof? You’ll find activities for free on our website to meet their interests and spark imagination.
Socially distanced activity is also safely available at our new 17-acre camp, Camp Trivera, which is located just east of the Oklahoma City Zoo. At Trivera, girls can explore animal footprints, learn about conservation and burn some energy on our rock wall. Masks are required and sanitation is diligent and ongoing.
It’s true that we are physically separated during these strange times, but that doesn’t mean we have to be stagnant. Learning can still happen; connection matters. For these reasons, I would encourage parents to choose an activity each week to foster something new for your family and your children.
With some extra effort, you just might find sweetness among the struggles as you connect in new ways with the young people in your life.
Shannon Evers is CEO of Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma. Located in 39 Oklahoma counties in the central, southwest and northwest region of the state, Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. More information is available at www.gswestok.org.