May 15, 2020
Update #7 on COVID-19 and its Impact on Program Delivery
To Our Scouting Family and Friends,
With summer fast approaching, families are asking; “Do I still sign up my Scout for camp, will there be alternatives to onsite camping, when will Scouting get back to normal?” These and many more like them are great questions. Rest assured the Orange County Council staff and volunteers are working hard to ensure Scouting thrives through this extraordinary time.
The safety of our members and families continues to be our top priority. On May 14, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a decision tree to guide camp operations, and while the State of California has entered Stage 2, neither has made it any easier to open our programs. We are anxiously awaiting further information from California and Orange and San Diego Counties health departments, the Boy Scouts of America, and the American Camp Association (ACA) to make a more informed decision regarding allowing Scout activities and opening our properties.
Per the announcement in Update #6, here is the upcoming schedule for meetings and programs:
- Council Offices will remain closed through June 15th.
- In-person unit, district and council meetings, activities, and programs are closed through June 30th.
- Council properties are closed through June 30th.
We sincerely hope the shelter-at-home restrictions will be lifted soon. Our next update will be June 1st.
Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner has moved to August 21st.
Preparing to Restart Scout Activities and Meetings
The Council has been working on ways to reopen Scouting in a way that meets prescribed safety protocols and ensures the safety of our members. One idea would be to open unit meetings in a phased approach such as Phase 1 – den and patrol could meet, Phase 2 unit could host meetings, and Phase 3 larger events such as district program and gatherings could happen. Guidelines will be shared with all adult leaders and families as we get clearance to open our programs in the future. If you have ideas on how to best reopen our programs, please email email@example.com.
Summer Camp Operations
Orange County Council and Outdoor Adventures leadership for the Newport Sea Base, Oso Lake Scout Camp, Schoepe Scout Reservation at Lost Valley, and the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center have been hard at work to identify potential operation models that would allow some fashion of summer programs while maximizing our ability to prevent a spread of COVID-19 to our campers, staff, and their families at home.
Each of these models include modifications that go beyond our normal safety protocols such as:
- Wellness checks upon arrival at camp each day
- Safety briefings for all campers and additional training for staff
- Requirement for all attendees, staff, and campers to wear facemasks
- Increased sanitation and disinfection of high traffic areas, program areas, classrooms, and equipment
- Reduced capacities at camp as well as in classes and program areas
- Selection of tracks rather than individual classes to limit the number of people campers encounter
- Modification or elimination of programs offered that do not fit social distancing models
Once we receive the complete guidance from the CDC, California and County health departments, ACA and BSA, the Orange County Council will finalize operation plans and submit for approval to the County health department the best model that allows for the safety of our campers, staff, and their families.
In addition to these steps, we have been offering and will expand virtual camping programs. If necessary, these virtual programs could also be implemented in concert with our onsite programs to meet the needs of families that do not want to attend an in-person camp.
Families asked, “do I still sign up for camp?” The answer is yes. “Be Prepared” is our motto and we need to prepare staff, materials, food orders etc. to deliver a high-quality experience. Please continue to sign up. The Council refund policy will fairly return your registration fees if any programs are cancelled.
Scouting Needs Your Help
Scouting in Orange County is dependent on income from donations, activities fees, property revenue, and product sales. A large part of the council budget comes from donations to the annual family Friends of Scouting (FOS) campaign. Unfortunately, income needed to support council operations has become very limited.
As a result, Council leadership has created has prepared various budget scenarios and staffing models to maintain Scouting as best we can. These scenarios account for limited summer programs, delays in reopening Scout meetings, and reduce fall participation in fall scheduled events. What has not changed is the reliance on our members to support FOS with a charitable gift.
Staff and volunteers are working hard to remotely providing service to units, delivering virtual programs, providing support to council operations, and preparing for a full return to Scouting. If you have already given to Friends of Scouting this year, thank you! If not, please consider making your online FOS gift right now. We fully recognize that times are difficult, but we simply ask that you make a meaningful gift to help Scouting thrive in Orange County.
Support our Virtual Giving Platforms:
- Online Adventure Card Sales to Support Hometown Heroes
- Digital Dash – 5k Run, Walk, Row
- Exercise is Essential Challenge
- Pancake Flip Challenge
- Online Friends of Scouting Gifts
We know these are unique and challenging times for many, but please help if you can.
There has never been a time in the history of the Boy Scouts that a monetary gift will be so impactful and so critically needed. Thank you for your kind consideration!
Be Safe. Be Strong. Social Distancing is keeping us apart, but Scouting is keeping us connected.
Visit the Council Resource Hub at ocbsa.org/resourcehub #ScoutingSafeAndStrong
This remains an evolving situation our Council will post new information on our website and social media as it becomes available. In addition, please connect with these resources: