Manhattan Boy Scout Troop 422 usually meets inside a Catholic church on Second Avenue, just south of 22nd Street. But for the last few weeks, it's been meeting virtually, on Discord, a platform popular with the gaming community. 

"It's not so much of a challenge to me," said Boy Scout Declan D'Aleo, who helped set up the platform for his troop. "I thought it was so much fun to make and to figure out all the kinks because I feel like we're going to be using this for the indefinite, upcoming future due to the numbers we've seen with coronavirus."

The 16-year-old and his fellow troops customized the platform basically overnight once it became clear they would no longer be able to meet in person. 

Like so many organizations and business across the area, they've had to get creative.

For the Boy Scouts, adapting is almost second nature. They're taught early on to help others and to be brave while facing difficult situations.

The platform the scouts in Troop 422 crafted uses video and text chats, and allows them to conduct meetings almost like they're in person.

"We have this huge meeting on there and we kind of virtualized the troop," D'Aleo told us. "Everyone pretty much has an account, they have roles."

The platform has different channels for different activities, from teaching skills to testing them.

It's all monitored by adult scoutmasters, who make sure things stay on track.

"Picking the rights skills to teach has been a challenge," said Troop 422 Scoutmaster Mark Alhadeff. "We did really well with first aid. We're sure that pioneering skills, or knot-tying skills, can be good, as long as all the kids have rope at home." 

Troop 422 was among the first in Manhattan to go virtual, and it gave a presentation earlier this week to other troops looking to do the same. 

According to the Scouts, at least half of the borough's 45 troops are now using platforms like Discord and Zoom to conduct meetings. 

"It's really important that we keep this going for the guys," Alhadeff said. "They need to stay as a community. It's way to easy for them, given their age and attention span, to drift off."

D'Aleo told us the virtual meetings allow him to continue moving up the ranks. 

"It's important to keep meeting because there are kids who are trying to get their eagle, like me," D'Aleao said. "And kids who just want to rank up, in general, because it would be unfair to kids to say, we're not going to meet for maybe two months."

He hopes to become an Eagle Scout by fall, when, perhaps, the world is no longer virtual.