“Zoom meetings for Girl Scouts?” I asked in disbelief. We sped down the interstate, the thick trees flashing by in a blur. The warm sun gave the impression of a happy summer day, with a clear blue sky and fluffy clouds racing each other across it. The interstate was not extremely crowded, like even the cars were social distancing.
I glanced out the window at the green grass and fresh life budding around me. It was a beautiful day. The perfect day to have pool party with my friends from my troop. But you can’t exactly swim with a face mask.
“Well, we can’t meet at the church anymore,” said my mom, switching lanes, “And our house is a decent drive from where the other girls live.”
“But we can’t just meet up on a computer screen. That’s not the same,” I protested. Having been in Girl Scouts for almost nine years, I knew how much it means to some of these girls.
My mom’s role as a Girl Scout troop leader has made such a difference in the lives of up to seventeen girls at a time. We are all so different from each other, and we span a big spectrum of age, circumstances, and personality. If we didn’t share our troop, we never would have all met and gotten to know one another. Some of them, who might have felt alone, didn’t have to be alone anymore.
Separately, we are different girls living different lives. But together, we unite into more. We are a family.
And Covid-19 was going to make us divided.
“But the girls need to be able to meet up” I said, mechanically pumping hand sanitizer into my palm for at least the fourth time, “Zoom just isn’t the same.”
“I know,” my mom sighed, “and the parents don’t want it either. But if this virus continues to get worse, I don’t see much of a choice.”
As we drove in silence, I thought about it. Some of the girls were slightly less impacted by the coronavirus, because they were homeschooled and their families were at home a lot. They still had to suffer because of the way this virus has changed our nation, but at least they had people to lean on. Some of the girls didn’t.
Some of the others had parents probably left for work before they even left for school, and they probably came home to an empty house after. How did they feel now? Were they truly all alone, facing these trials by themselves? What if they thought no one cared about them? In this busy world, many people find it easy to overlook others.
But how could anyone deal with feeling like they were completely on their own, while also navigating the stormy sea of Covid-19? They needed one safe place, one shelter that would be unchanging in a world of uncertainty. But even that was changing. To imagine the pain they must have felt is heartbreaking.
I sat in the living room, shielded from the world by the walls of my house. I wasn’t thinking about the virus until my mom came in.
“We’re going to meet with the Girl Scouts on Wednesday,” she told me, “We’ll be outside.”
“Really?” I asked, looking at her for approval.
“Yes, there’s a pavilion where we can go and it will still fit the restrictions.”
“Yay!” I said, happy and relieved for the girls who would get to see the faces of friends after months of computer screens. I looked around the room, my head spinning from thoughts about the virus. Maybe things really would be okay.
“Our Christmas party is probably going to be on Zoom,” my mom informed me.
“What?” I asked, thinking back to our conversation several months prior where we had agreed that the girls needed to meet in person.
“It’s right before Christmas, and we don’t want any germs to spread,” she answered.
“But, how will we do a Zoom party?” I wondered.
“Everyone can do the same activities from a specific packet, and that way we won’t be all touching the same supplies and whatnot.”
I looked down sadly.
“I think it will be more fun than you think,” she added, “Plus, it won’t be cold.”
I remember our past few meetings outside: freezing cold, teeth chattering, shaking in the bitter November wind. But the girls had been so thrilled, wanting to talk and play and just hang out. I hadn’t forgotten the way they all jumped around like they had more energy than they knew what to do with. The way their eyes lit up, the dim sadness vanishing, replaced with a bright ecstasy. The way they all laughed so hard, just because they finally had a chance, they finally had a reason to.
“Yeah, maybe so,” I replied, still thinking about how it would feel to be restricted to only seeing them each other online.
Covid-19 has had such a huge impact on everyone. It has been like living a different life than we did before. The loneliness, sadness, and hopelessness that accompany this dragging year are brand new to us as a nation. But despite the virus, we will stay united. We will pull through together. Everyone always says to do your part by washing your hands and wearing a mask. But we also need to do our part by making sure others are okay. We can find the light at the other end of this dark tunnel if we just stick together. The sun will shine on a better day, and we will stay united.
This is based off the struggles of my Girl Scout troop this year. So many things have been unpredictable. But we will get through it!