The summer of 2020 in Scouting is shaping up to be very different from any other summer we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. With personal protection and social distancing the current norms, a lot of the activities that Scouts enjoy either cannot happen or need to be modified substantially.
Councils around the country are figuring out how to provide a summer camp experience to tens of thousands of Scouts while maintaining the health and safety we hold in high priority. Some may be pre-empted by state regulations or federal guidelines, while others may be able to continue with limitations. The best source of information is your own council. If you plan to go out of council for a summer adventure, pay attention to what they are doing, as you may not automatically receive updates.
The big news of the last few days has been the cancellation of this year’s National Order of the Arrow Conference, set to happen at Michigan State University during the first week in August. I’m personally disappointed in the cancellation because I had planned to assist with the amateur radio station, but it’s not entirely unexpected. MSU has been on shutdown since mid-March and nearly all the buildings are closed to all but the people essential to support staff and research experiments that need to be attended. Faculty and students are working from home and final exams are still being held this week, but the campus is, like most of America, a ghost town. It was doubtful whether over ten thousand participants could be kept safely distanced, so the difficult decision was made. NOAC returns in 2022 under hopefully much improved circumstances, and the OA plans to be a major part of the 2021 National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, planning for which is continuing. The Summit will also be the site of Momentum, an alternative OA program this summer in a much more spread-out environment, organized by council contingent only.
BSA’s four high adventure bases are still planning to offer programming this summer, but they have delayed the start of programming. Sea Base plans to begin summer operations June 1 in the U. S. Virgin Islands and June 15 in Florida. Northern Tier opens is Ely, Minnesota base on June 15, while bases in Ontario and Manitoba are scheduled to open July 1. Philmont Scout Ranch and Summit Bechtel Reserve are slated to begin operations July 1 also, with all treks and programs prior to that date cancelled. All bases are making accommodations to provide for heightened health screening and sanitation, personal distancing and asking those at risk to refrain from attending. That’s the plan as of today, but if you plan to attend an event at any of the high adventure bases, pay close attention for possible changes, updates or cancellations.
While these delays, changes and cancellations are disappointing, especially to our youth who are looking for adventure and camaraderie, we understand that they are necessary for our health and well-being. Scouts can continue to learn, participate and serve in many ways while being obedient of the restrictions and guidelines and maintaining cheerfulness.
This post A quieter summer first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.