Czech Council of Children and Youth (ČRDM)
I could not be more proud of Czech civil society organisations, and especially scouts, for their involvement during the crisis. Thousands of adult scout volunteers have been involved in helping those around them in these recent months of crisis. At the local level, more than 120 volunteer teams were formed, and Junák – Czech Scouting, also launched a nationwide support system for the Elpida Seniors' Line – Scout Aid. 700 scouts registered for it. In a crisis situation, they had the opportunity to try out the very skills that scouting develops: independence and teamwork, work and time planning, empathy, effective communication and creativity in solving problems.
As the President of Junák – Czech Scouting, Josef Výprachtický said, the essence of scouting is education for values, which leads scouts to such things as an active search for opportunities to get involved and help where needed. During the coronavirus crisis, the scout volunteers did not hesitate and almost immediately began to help in their surroundings.
Thousands of scouts, boys and girls and adults, distributed information leaflets, sewed and distributed face masks and material for producing them, bottled and distributed disinfectant, printed protective shields on 3D printers, assembled them and then distributed them and have been buying food or medicine for the elderly. Dozens of them sat for hours at the phones, organising logistics and call centres to receive inquiries for help or calling lonely seniors.
Nationwide, scouts could participate as individuals in the system www.skautskapomoc.cz connected to the Elpida Seniors' Line. The line received inquiries from seniors, entered them into the online system and volunteers applied to meet them. Over 700 volunteers registered in the system, including me. Given that is was a telephone line, it was also suitable for seniors who are not used to working with the internet. Their reactions were very positive, as scouts are a trusted organisation and their service to the community was also widely appreciated by the public authorities.