The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and the resulting restrictions imposed on the activities of children and youths gave the Guides and Scouts of Finland the idea to arrange activities in a remote format digitally in the form of Seppo games. The use of Seppo has continued even after the restrictions have been lifted. The Guides and Scouts of Finland is planning to provide content more widely at the national level in the future.
Providing remote scouting
In the spring of 2020, the Guides and Scouts of Finland faced a new kind of challenge, as the Corona restrictions made it impossible to continue traditional operations. The organization started to think of means to provide opportunities for scouting without having to get together physically.
There were people in the Scouts who had used Seppo previously, and they introduced the idea of expanding the scope of Seppo within the Scouts. The idea matured during 2020, and in early 2021 the decision was made to allow local group leaders to start using Seppo.
Seppo is incorporated into local activities
With its 65,000 members, the Guides and Scouts of Finland is the largest voluntary youth organization in Finland. It includes 10 regional scout districts across Finland and the national Swedish-speaking organization Finlands Svenska Scouter rf (FiSSc). There are 750 local groups of Guides and Scouts in the country.
Local groups are at the heart of Scouting. Each group usually includes several troops, ranging in size from 5 to 15 Guides or Scouts. A troop leader is always in charge of each troop.
Seppo was immediately adopted in local groups, scout districts, and the national central organization. Locally, Seppo was intended for use by children and youth groups.
– Troop leaders have been using Seppo freely and creatively. For example, the Scouts like to set up various task tracks and nature trails. If earlier a troop leader would take the task checkpoints to a nearby park or forest on sheets of A4 paper, similar tracks and trails could now be implemented by using the Seppo platform, says Guides and Scouts of Finland Specialist Julia Parkko.
The completed tracks and themes are always available to others as well. The Scouts also set up their own game library, where all completed games can be stored for others to enjoy.
Gamifying scouting events and leader training
According to Parkko, the Guides and Scouts of Finland have made use of Seppo in connection with larger scouting events as well. This has allowed Seppo to be used for setting up a program around a certain theme.
The scouts have also used Seppo in their leader training programs.
– The main focus of Seppo has been on children and youths, but it has been utilized in adult training as well. For example, Seppo has been used as an auxiliary program to leadership training. Seppo has made it possible to create relaxing break activities or materials relating to the theme itself and to get introduced to the theme, Parkko says.
Julia Parkko admits that the traditional image of scouting is strongly associated with going out into nature and leaving smartphones behind. However, even without Corona, the Guides and Scouts of Finland have introduced digital tools into scouting as an important theme for the future.
– We feel that even the Scouts have a role to play in teaching children and young people how to use smart devices in a responsible and fluent way. Our aim is to expand the use of Seppo even further and provide more broadly available national content.
Help and support from Seppo specialists
When commissioning the Seppo platform, the Scouts were extensively trained by Seppo. Seppo customer support is likewise always available to answer any tougher questions.
– Working with Seppo has been very smooth. Any feedback, questions, or problems concerning Seppo coming from the Scouts are directed to me, and I also assist with user credentials and other things. If the questions are too hard, I forward them to Seppo, and they have always been very helpful, Parkko says.
Parkko also feels that Seppo is very easy to use at a basic level:
– My understanding is that people in the field are happy with Seppo. Of course, you can see the entire range of users of digital devices here; some may have been shy at first, whereas school-aged children for example have been very willing to learn. The platform offers plenty of possibilities for those interested in gamification.