12 ways leaders, parents, Scouts can plan now for the April 8 eclipse

scout-unit-at-eclipse

The solar eclipse sweeping the nation (literally) is one month away! That means it’s time for communities across the country to plan to make the most of this stellar event.

The path of totality (where you can best observe the phenomenon) will stretch from southwest Texas to eastern Maine.

Eclipse_map

But if you’re anywhere in the world, we have ideas and resources for you to make the day one of science, creativity and a whole lot of fun.

Won’t kids be in school that day, you may ask? We’ve heard many schools in the path of totality are out that day to allow young people a chance to see the historic event. Other schools are throwing viewing parties on and off campus. And some schools are still working to make plans for the day.

Help your Scouts learn about the eclipse with unit meeting activities, viewing parties or by encouraging them to earn the eclipse emblem. And since the big day is on April 8 (4/8) and  4+8=12, we’ve rounded out 12 ways leaders can get their Scouts amped on the eclipse!

12 eclipse-centric ideas for leaders to start planning now

  1. Study up on when the eclipse will be overhead. This is a key early step. Use NASA’s site to note when the eclipse will be approaching your area. Base all your plans around that because the moon slows down for no one. (In fact, science tells us that the moon’s shadow will move across the Earth as fast as 3,000 miles per hour.)
  2. Throw a viewing party. This one can be as big or small as you want. If you’re in the path of totality, survey your Scouts to see who will be out of school at the time the eclipse will be overhead. You could use any outdoor space to provide snacks, eclipse-themed crafts and a demonstration of how to safely view the eclipse. Consider using this as a bring-a-friend recruitment event. Or check with local Scout camps to see if they’ve already got a viewing party planned. If you’re not in the path of totality, you could still host a party. Just throw on the Scout Life Facebook livestream to catch eclipse coverage, add snacks and Scouts, and you’re set!group-viewing-eclipse-with-boxes
  3. Work through the emblem requirements. While the suggested requirements for earning the 2024 eclipse emblem listed below are intended to be flexible and fun, using them as a framework to educate your Scouts on the eclipse is key. You can do this in the weeks leading up to April 8 or during a viewing party. Youth earning the patch don’t have to live in the path of totality or even be Scouts to snag this emblem.emblem requirements
  4. Make sure your Scouts know about Scout Shop’s eclipse merch – it glows! Along with the emblem, there’s a T-shirt and fan-favorite patch set. Your Scouts (and Scouters) will want to know about this stuff before it sells out. Also, consider purchasing some extras if your budget allows. These make for great giveaway items at your viewing event.
  5. Go over eclipse-viewing safety with your Scouts. Check out NASA’s resources on the safe ways to see the eclipse in action. Then, read idea 6.
  6. Build eclipse viewers at a meeting. Make indirect eclipse viewers with your Scouts: go.scoutlife.org/eclipse
  7. Tune into the April 8 livestream on Scout Life social. Set a reminder in your calendar. The Scout Life team is going live at noon Central April 8 for an eclipse party! We’ll have solar eclipse-themed crafts, special guests and astronomical fun on deck. Watch the show at go.scoutlife.org/eclipselive
  8. Offer up a field trip to a Scout camp. If you’re connected to the schools in your area or work in administration, check in with your local Scout camps to see if they’re equipped, insured and interested in hosting a local class (or school) field trip to host a viewing event.
  9. Create a booth at a local eclipse event. Many cities in the path of totality are hosting public eclipse parties. If booth space is available, consider teaming up with your Scouts to teach others about how to safely view the eclipse and promote Scouting.
  10. Go camping in the path of totality. Not quite in the path of totality but within driving distance? Find a campsite along the path of totality and make it an overnight event. Be sure to reserve your spot ASAP and follow the Youth Protection program if you’re bringing Scouts.
  11. Stay tuned to Aaron on Scouting and #TrekOnTuesdayWe’re here to keep you informed on useful eclipse planning topics until the big day.

And finally … idea 12: Have your Scouts share their knowledge for a chance to be featured in the Scout Life livestream during the April 8 eclipse!

This is big: We need photos, videos and drawings from your Scouts to show during the big Scout Life livestream. You can use this as an opportunity for youth to complete requirement 4 of earning the eclipse emblem. Again, the prompts for a drawing or video can be specific to your Scouts’ ages or they can venture into another program’s topic:

  • Cub Scouts: Explain, draw or demonstrate the concept of a solar eclipse.
  • Scouts: Create a diagram illustrating the positions of the moon, Earth and sun during a solar eclipse.
  • Venturers: Share about Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 experiment, discussing how it confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Have your Scouts or their parents submit their creations at the form below:

Let us know below! How are you planning to make the April 8 eclipse part of your Scouting plans in the next month?

BSA file photos by Michael Roytek


About Gina Circelli 51 Articles
Gina Circelli is the senior digital editor for Scout Life. She loves sharing news about Scouts who shake up pop culture or contribute to their communities in big ways.