Update on the Coronavirus and Impact on Programs

April 5, 2020

To Our Scouting Family,

The Orange County Council remains vigilant in keeping our Scouting family and friends protected. We want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to keep Scouting safe now and in the future.

We are excited to see the outpouring of creativity, leadership, and service amongst our volunteers, staff and members to keep Scouting moving forward. The use of digital resources have kept our members engaged, empowered, and equipped to have a quality Scouting experience. There are more and more FUN resources being added every day to the council Resource Hub and on the National BSA Scouting from Home site. We strongly encourage all families and volunteers to use these ideas and share your own ideas with others through our social media sites.

As we follow the direction set by government and heath care officials addressing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, we remain committed to ensuring that we continue to support you and Scouts. To that effect, the Orange County Council will continue keeping our offices, properties, all in person unit, district and council meetings, activities and programs closed through April 30th. We will announce each month changes and extensions if needed.

Due to these closures, too many of our excellent activities have been cancelled or postponed. We would like to do a shout out to all our volunteers and staff who had spent hours planning and preparing for these events. Thank You to each of them for their leadership and patience. We look forward to participating in these activities soon.

Service to units and volunteers CONTINUES

  • Like so many impacted, the loss of income is real, and it has created a significant cash drain on council operations. The council is doing everything in its power to reduce expenses to get through the next few months. We are working with our vendors to delay payments, and we have implemented salary and staff reductions including an entire staff furlough for the week of April 19th thru 25th. We ask volunteers and families to respect this week by not reaching out to staff with calls or emails. Due to labor laws, we will be unable to respond.
  • In addition, the council team is continuing to seek donations though social media, calls to past donors, and direct mail campaigns. Districts are helping to fundraise through online virtual events, and our program teams will begin charging for online Merit Badge classes. Every dollar raised now helps to reduce further cuts to program delivery going into the summer and fall. Help keep our virtual merit badge classes affordable, make a donation here.
  • The council staff remains focused on helping our units thrive during this time. While the Council Service Center is closed, we will continue to process registration, charters, Eagle Scout applications, donations and payables. Please scan and email paperwork to council staff as needed.
  • Supply orders are only being handled directly through the National Distribution Center now. Click here for instructions on how to order advancement and other supplies.
  • The council field, program and support staff continue to work remotely via phone and email. Please click here for the staff directory.
  • Fundraising donations are still being processed. Click here to make your annual Friends of Scouting donation.
  • Summer program registrations are still being processed. Day camp, summer camps, NYLT, etc. are still being planned at this time.
  • New families are still being invited to join Scouting. Please help spread the word about Scouting to children from online classes, your neighborhood, social media etc., and invite them to join your unit. New members can join by going to BeaScout.org for the online application and fees will be collected through bit.ly/joinocbsa.

 

Do a Good Turn Daily!
As our society looks for leadership in times of challenge, we look to Scouting. Scouts have always been prepared, helped other people, strived to be good citizens, and worked to be brave.

Right now, Scouts and Scout Leaders are mobilizing to help our neighbors and serve as a force for the greater good for our community. We ask our Orange County Council family to show your appreciation to essential workers, pride in America, and help where you can safely.

We could not get through these difficult times without the everyday heroes who go to work each day to ensure that we care for the sick, we have food to eat, our mail is delivered, and so much more. We encourage all Scouts to demonstrate their appreciation for essential workers (health care, grocery workers, law enforcement, etc.) with letters, posters, social media postings, or other ways you can.

Fly your America Flag at home, give blood, collect food for those who need help, or make face masks for neighbors and essential workers. If you go outside, wear your uniform. Share your actions of appreciation and service at #OCBSAGOODTURN.

To our Scouting family we say thank you for your continued support of the Scouting program. Together we will make a difference in our communities.

Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives. Be Scout Strong.

 

March 18, 2020: Update #4

March 18, 2020

Update #4 on the Coronavirus and Impact on Program Delivery

Dear Scouting Family,

The safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees remains our top priority.  We understand that the fluidity of this situation is causing uncertainty among units and volunteers in relation to its impact on Scouting programs.

Council leadership continues to monitor the situation in real time and is monitoring changes to guidance and recommendations of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and county health departments and will continue to communicate updated recommendations as new information becomes available.

Here are some recent developments and information for our Scouting family:

Effective immediately all Orange County Council offices, properties and Scout Shops have been closed to the public until further notice in accordance with the meeting guidance from the Orange County Health Officer.  Our staff will remain available via phone or email.  Click here for our staff roster.

Per the new guidelines issued by CDC and the County Health Department, all District and Council events as well as programs at our properties will be postponed through May 10, 2020. Events such as Camporees and Scout-O-Rama will be moved to the Fall. The Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner has been moved to Friday, June 26th. The Men of Character Dinner has been rescheduled to Wednesday, June 17th. Please review the council calendar for meeting notices and new dates for other Scouting events.

Unit, District, and Council meetings must use conference calls and online video services. Click here for links to suggested services. Please adhere to the current youth protection guidelines already in place for digital communications.

In order to continue to serve our Scouting families, the Orange County Scout Shop in Santa Ana will be offering weekly curb-side pick-up of all your Scouting supplies. Please e-mail your order to orangecountyscoutshop@scouting.org. Don’t forget to include contact information and DO NOT include payment information in the email. At this time, all orders placed by 10:00 pm each Sunday will be ready to pick up from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm the following Monday, or as arranged.

We all know that Scouting teaches us to be resilient and flexible to successfully and confidently face life’s many challenges. Today, we are launching a resource hub for parents and leaders to help support Scouting at home and keep Scouts productive! The site has loads of stay-at-home educational activities for each Scout rank, tips for continuing to work on advancements and youth-friendly content that connects Scouting with their daily lives. The council will continue to develop and add new content and free resources to the hub regularly.

Be sure to share with us how your Scouts are Scouting at Home at #ScoutingAtHome so we can share this inspiration with our Scouting families to continue our mission of building leadership and character. You can share by tagging us in your posts on Facebook or Instagram – be sure you are following us too!

Just a reminder, if you or any member of your family feel sick, DO NOT go into the office or attend any gatherings. Contact your health professional to get care.

Also, unit leaders please be sure to periodically check in with all your families to see how they are doing. Encourage your families to do the same with their own neighbors and other family members. A Scout is Helpful, and at this time, Scouting needs to stand tall and assist others where we can safely.

“Be Prepared” is our motto and there is no better time to live this. We realize these decisions are not without their challenges, and we thank you for helping meet the needs of our communities in difficult times. Scouting can still happen even while we practice social distancing. We welcome your feedback and ideas on how Scouts can keep up on their requirements and stay connected. Please send your thoughts to communication@ocbsa.org and stay in touch via the ScoutWeek email and our social media pages.

Please do all in your power to keep you and your family healthy!

March 13, 2020: Update #3

March 13, 2020

Update #3 on the Coronavirus and Impact on Program Delivery

Dear Scouting Families of the Orange County Council,

Our top priority in Scouting is the safety of our youth members, families, volunteers and employees. First and foremost, the decision to participate in Scouting is voluntary, and each family should make a personal decision for what level of participation, if any, it will have in Scouting meetings and activities during the outbreak.

Our council leadership continues to monitor this situation closely alongside local health officials to determine the most appropriate response to the conditions at hand. Therefore, in accordance with the announcement of Orange County School District closures, the Orange County Council strongly recommends and expects an immediately suspension of all in person Scouting activities, meetings and gatherings until schools resume operations. This includes our four camp properties; Newport Sea Base, Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center, Schoepe Scout Reservation at Lost Valley and Oso Lake Scout Camp.

Orange County Council offices and Scout Shops will remain open during this period.

All Scout units, districts, council committees, etc. are to begin using conference calls, emails, and other communication channels to stay focused on Scout programs and postpone or cancel any gatherings until further notice.

Unit, district and council leadership should respect any family’s and individual’s decision not to participate during this outbreak and make plans to help Scouts that do not participate, re-engage after it is complete.

As Scouts and Scouters, it is our duty to Be Prepared. We also must not panic while making the best decisions possible for our Scouting programs and its members. Our council leadership is committed to being diligent with regular communications as this situation evolves. If you have not read the below updates, we ask that you do so to stay abreast of this situation and use the resources and guidelines that are designed to help lessen the chance of spreading this virus and protecting our communities.

March 12, 2020: Update #2

March 12, 2020

Officials at the California Department of Public Health announced new recommendations late Wednesday night to curtail the spread of COVID-19: large gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March.

The Orange County Council, including all of our properties, continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation. Based on this new information, the Council will enforce the following guidelines effective immediately:

  • Council and District activities of 250 or more will be postponed and rescheduled for dates after March 31st. This includes District Camporees scheduled in March and programs at our four properties including Newport Sea Base and Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center.
  • Smaller events can proceed only if organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. If the social distance cannot be accommodated, meetings/activities must be postponed or cancelled. The use of conference calls is highly recommended. Advisers to District and Council meetings will contact their committees with instructions for meetings scheduled this month.
  • Roundtables will continue for March 12. Social Distancing will be enforced, and we strongly request any individual who feels sick to not attend.
  • Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people while also following social distancing guidelines.
  • Some charter partners and unit meeting locations have blocked access to their facilities for the time being. Please contact your location to verify access and timeline. The information from the State recommends limiting access until March 31st. Should your unit be blocked, we recommend that families continue to use their handbooks at home to continue the program and update their leaders on their progress.

 

Click here to view the guideline from the California Department of Health.

The Orange County Council is committed to providing a safe environment for our members and will continue to update you as information becomes available.

March 11, 2020: Update #1

March 11, 2020

The Orange County Council which includes the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center and the Newport Sea Base, has received calls from individuals asking how the Coronavirus or COVID-19, might impact our programs. We are monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to act quickly should the situation warrant action.

While officials say the health risk to the general public in California from Novel Coronavirus remains low, the Orange County Health Care Agency acknowledges the situation is evolving, and our Council is closely monitoring developments. We are also working with the Orange County Department of Education and other agencies to stay alert to changes. Above all, we are committed to protecting youth, volunteers and staff in environments that are safe.

Our Council’s Response: A Scout is Clean

We encourage everyone attending our properties and programs to follow the California Department of Public Health recommendations to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If using hand sanitizer, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover cough and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like a fever and cough.

Individuals are encouraged to bring personal hand sanitizer. We will also provide hand sanitizer at restrooms and dining areas at camps where soap and water are not available.

Participation in Scouting activities, meetings and fundraisers: A Scout is Prepared!

For now, all programs will continue as planned. Should Public Health authorities recommend additional preventative measures, we will act accordingly. Unless directed by a Public health agency, it is the goal of the Council to not cancel any event without a 14-day notice. There has not been a change to the cancellation policy; however, we will reassess this if conditions change.

Here are some recommendations for continued program delivery:

  • Before leaving to an activity, check to see if anyone is feeling ill. If so, that person must remain home and seek medical attention. Upon arrival at the event, conduct the same medical preview screening.
  • If someone begins to feel ill at an activity, that person will be quarantined and removed from the activity. The Council will notify Public Health and follow additional instructions.
  • Additional bathrooms and hand washing facilities will be provided at district and council outdoor events.
  • Scout units and Groups are strongly encouraged to bring hand sanitizer to all activities.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning sprays and wipes.

Additional Resources

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: