Scouting Tech: Using Zoom Breakout Rooms for Survival Situation Games

My oldest son is working to complete his Eagle and has the special opportunity to lead the newest Scouts (recent AOL graduates) in earning their Scout Rank virtually. He’s leaned heavily on the 30 Day Rank Challenge posted by the Heart of America Council, and over the last few weeks has learned a lot about the different tools available using Zoom conferencing.

I go into detail about how he’s leading his new patrol in my post “Pack-to-Troop Transitions: Preparing AOLs (and their PL’s) for Scout Rank“.

Despite the flood of creativity and generosity online, he was struggling to find a fun game that Scouts could play virtually. It wasn’t until I was invited to attend a Girl Talk, Inc. Zoom chapter meeting hosted by two dear friends that the light bulbs started going off. They were utilizing breakout rooms to get the girls in their chapter to work together to solve survival situations. It was brilliant, fun, and fostered team work. In the week that followed, my son and I worked to figure out how to best use those breakout rooms and tested it out on his patrol.

I would be remiss not to give full credit for three of the survival situations listed below to the RVA Chapter of Girl Talk, Inc. My heroes!

What Are Breakout Rooms?

These are little side meeting spaces that allow you to break your full meeting into smaller groups that can be called back to your full meeting with the click of a button. The Troop hosts full group meetings and uses the breakout rooms for separate patrol rooms, and since the meeting hosts can designate specific attendees to specific rooms, it makes keeping their group organized a snap.

My son purchased his own Zoom membership so his patrol logs into a regular meeting and they use breakout rooms to play games. They’re easy to set-up and use! Here’s a quick overview from the folks at Zoom.

Survival Situation Games

Before splitting Scouts into breakout rooms, my son read off a survival situation and provided a fun list of found items they would need to use to make it through their situation. He pasted the list in the Zoom chat and then used the broadcast feature to send it to them again once they were sent to their rooms. He gave them five minutes to discuss the situation, rank their items from most- to least-important, and brought them back together as a full group to discuss. He encouraged them to have fun together, and to choose a group representative to come back and share what they’d discussed. My son randomly chose who would go into each breakout room (literally just figured out how many would need to be in each room and started clicking with reckless abandon… a very teenaged boy thing to do) and sent them on their way.

The results were hilarious! First, they returned to the full group with giant smiles on their faces. They loved that they could go off together at random, that each of their voices mattered, and that they could decide who was in charge. (Surprisingly, they took turns with each situation, which made me one very proud former den leader.)

Without further adieu, here are some of the survival situations the Scouts worked on together.

Situation 1: The Deserted Island

Your patrol is sailing together for the very first time! You’re all learning the ropes when a storm blows in unexpectedly. You try to make it back to the dock, but the swells are too large and the wind blows you out to sea. Your boat begins taking on water, and in a flash of lightning, you begin to sink. You’re wearing life jackets, but you swim out to gear and debris that’s floating in the water around you to stay above water, and spend a long night riding out the waves. The sun rises over calmer water, and you find yourselves within swimming distance of a small deserted island. A Scout is brave! You swim to shore and immediately begin searching for items that might help you survive. You find:

  • a mirror
  • a book
  • a fork
  • a mattress
  • a roll of twine
  • your choice of one of the Scout Six Essentials

How on Earth are you going to survive? You have five minutes to discuss your situation and the items you have available to you. Rank them from most- to least-important and how you would use them. Choose a group representative to come back to explain your list and reasoning. A list of your found items will be pasted into chat and broadcasted to your groups. Ready, set, go!

Situation 2: The Zombie Apocalypse

It’s the summer of 2020 and the Zombie Apocalypse has begun. Before transmissions went down, scientists deduced it was spread by the Murder Hornets. Your group has managed to find one another and compile your gear into one large cache, knowing there is strength in numbers. Because the virus spread so quickly, you each have only what you were able to grab.

  • bug spray
  • golf club
  • shovel
  • night vision goggles
  • pile of lumber
  • your choice of one of the Scout Six Essentials

Use those brains while you’ve got ’em! You have five minutes to discuss your situation and the items you have available to you. Rank them from most- to least-important and how you would use them. Choose a group representative to come back to explain your list and reasoning. A list of your found items will be pasted into chat and broadcasted to your groups. Ready, set, go!

Situation 3: The Wilderness

Your patrol has been planning a camping adventure for the last several months and are finally ready to head out. You make it to your destination and set-up camp before heading out on a long, pre-dinner hike. The weather is beautiful and you stay out longer than planned. As the sun starts getting low, you decide to head back and make those delicious hobo packets you’ve been thinking about all day long. But as soon as camp is within sight, you know something is terribly wrong! A bear came by while you were gone, ate all of your food, and destroyed your gear. All that’s left are:

  • a flashlight
  • a yo-yo
  • some clothespins
  • a pocket knife
  • a pair of stilts
  • your choice of one of the Scout Six Essentials

It’s going to be a long two days and nights before your adult leaders arrive to bring you home. You have five minutes to discuss your situation and the items you have available to you. Rank them from most- to least-important and how you would use them. Choose a group representative to come back to explain your list and reasoning. A list of your found items will be pasted into chat and broadcasted to your groups. Ready, set, go!

Situation 4: The Extreme Adventure Injury

It’s a beautiful day for adventure, so you and your patrol decide to take that biking trip you’ve been talking about. It’s late December, so it’s pretty cold but the ground is dry and you want to head out to make the most of the daylight hours. You’ve double checked your bike and gear, and everything looks great, so you meet up on a remote bike trail and head out. Time flies when you’re having fun, and you realize you’re losing light and decide to call it a day when one of you falls off your bike and breaks an arm. “Great,” you think, “it’s cold and getting dark – how could this get any worse?” That’s when the snow starts. Just like any good Scout, each of you has the Six Essentials in your pack, but your buddy can’t ride back and is in distress. You have the following items that might help:

  • a small pile of lint you found in your coat pocket
  • a Troop neckerchief
  • your phone, but the cold is quickly draining the battery
  • a pocketknife
  • a bike lock and chain

You’re running out of daylight! You have five minutes to discuss your situation and the items you have available to you. Rank them from most- to least-important and how you would use them. Choose a group representative to come back to explain your list and reasoning. A list of your found items will be pasted into chat and broadcasted to your groups. Ready, set, go!

Would Your Scouts Survive?

Seems to me there’s nothing a Scout can’t do, and if their ability to be flexible and use new technology to continue on with the program is any indication, I think our youth are going to keep the rest of us moving forward no matter the situation. In fact, I think their ingenuity and creativity in these trying times will change the Scouting program forever, and in countless wonderful ways.

So what do you think? Would your Scouts survive? How did these survival situation games go over with your unit? What would you add or change? I want to know all about it! Don’t forget to follow, like, and share Look Wider Still to stay in the loop.

Yours in Scouting,
Rebekah

Scouting Activities: SCOUTERGORIES Zoom Game

Do you remember family game night growing up? Some games made for a fun evening, like Candy Land and Life while others turned typically sweet family members into wild-eyed logophiles, like Scattergories. Was that just my childhood home? I hope so.

As an adult, I’ve come to love the game again. My son (the PL) and I were talking about games he could play over Zoom this week, and in the midst of a pretty desperate brainstorm, a lightbulb went off. What about Scattergories for Scouts… Scoutergories? Learn more at Scouting Activities: SCOUTERGORIES Zoom Game!

Scouts BSA Patrol Activities: Virtual Whisper Game

“Scouting is not an abstruse or difficult science: rather it is a jolly game if you take it in the right light. In the same time it is educative, and (like mercy) it is apt to benefit him that giveth as well as him that receives.” Lord Robert Baden-PowellA jolly game sounds good about now, and if you’re several weeks into virtual meetings, you’re looking for new ideas, so I thought I’d share what my PL son is up to next. Learn more at Scouts BSA Patrol Activities: Virtual Whisper Game.

Scouts BSA Patrol Activities: Scout Rank BINGO Game

My son (PL) is wrapping up the 30 Day Rank Challenge posted by the Heart of America Council, with his brand new patrol of brand new Scouts, and as he mulled over how to test them on what they’ve learned. After careful consideration, we talked over his strategy and he decided he’d rather make it a game than outright quiz his patrol on Scouting details. Keep it simple, make it fun! Right? So we brainstormed games that could be played through his next Zoom meeting, and landed squarely on BINGO. Learn more at Scouts BSA Patrol Activities: Scout Rank Bingo Game.

Published by Look Wider Still

Rebekah is the mother of two wonderful sons, Michael and Nathan. She and her husband, Mike, married in 2002 and have built their family on a foundation of adventure. Between geocaching, camping, hiking, cooking, and loving their Irish Terrier, Bentley, the family has a long and happy career in Scouting. With Eagles on all sides, the boys are both experienced Scouters, Mike has extensive den leadership and Pack Committee experience under his belt, and Rebekah has served as den leader and Cubmaster for Pack 521 out of Mechanicsville, Virginia.

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