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Working with Kids

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    • June 1, 2020 from and about Orange County Council (CA) Update #8 on COVID-19 and its Impact on Program Delivery ...Summer Adventures Begin July 6th We are thrilled to finally announce that enrollment for summer programs at Newport Sea Base and the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center will be opening this week. It has been a challenging few months for all, and without a doubt there will be tough times for the foreseeable future. That is why we have worked hard to prepare programs and redesign curriculum in order to offer the opportunity for youth to regain some normalcy in their lives, like camp, even if it is a bit different this summer. We are preparing these properties and staff to deliver an outstanding summer program. It will however look very different than past summers. Newport Sea Base and the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center will reopen to the public on Monday, July 6 with summer day programs specially created for elementary age (Cub Scouts) and middle and high school age (Scouts BSA and Venturing) campers. The programs running Monday through Friday or consecutive Saturdays and/or Sundays will follow a strict set of enhanced safety protocols developed with guidance from the CDC, ACA, health departments, and the Boy Scouts of America. A major change in this summer program, besides maximum class sizes of ten or less, is the number of classes/tracks a participant can take per week. In order to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in our camp setting, we must limit interactions. This means participants can take only one class/track per week.  We have done our best to create half-day or full-day programs that are attractive to our general community youth as well as Scouting youth. These program tracks are predesignated and cannot be changed.  If there are multiple tracks that you would love to take, it will happen over multiple weeks. We hope you understand. Further information on these exciting programs including virtual camps will be released later this week with enrollment opening for all programs no later than Monday June 8. Overnight programs at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center remain closed and we hope to resume these in late August. The first programs at Oso Lake Scout Camp to reopen will likely be a family-based camping supported by our volunteer Campmaster Corps. Enrollment for this program should open in the coming weeks. Schoepe Scout Reservation at Lost Valley, including Scouts BSA summer camp, remains closed through July 15. This pains us as much as it does you. If your unit was scheduled to attend Lost Valley in a cancelled week you have several options. Troops will have the option to transfer to a later week at Lost Valley, transfer funds on an individual basis to Newport Sea Base or Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center summer programs , transfer their unit deposits to Lost Valley 2021, or receive a full refund for all monies not transferred. The Lost Valley staff will reach out to each unit to coordinate this process... More at source link: https://www.ocbsa.org/news/coronavirus/
    • Our pack has had good attendance. We had 1 pack meeting which was a get to know you again type meeting and show and tell. Since them we broke into dens. Both our Webelos and Bears were missing only 1 scout. How are you reaching out to the families? For us, emails don't work well. Not many parents check on a regular basis. We text the parents. We are small enough that it works. I think den meetings seem better.
    • Our CO is elderly, so scouts' use of the church at this time was a non-starter. I was inclined to disagree because I felt the boys could meet at least to help disinfect the church. But, since I was busy helping my own church negotiate this time, I felt in no position to add another discussion to the mix. It's taken two and a half months for the boys to really start interacting online. Hopefully we'll get in a few outdoor activities.
    • At the camp meeting for unit leaders they did make it sound like it was a go, but added at the end that still needs state approval. Yesterdays meeting had a different vibe, but they are still planning on it happening. We are a unit that was already scheduled to go there so we are still moving forward with fingers crossed.
    • I am involved in a pack, and a troop, and am registered as a merit-badge counselor. For the pack, we've had a few virtual meetings in place of our previously-scheduled pack meetings. The cubmaster played a silent YouTube video of a waving flag while someone said the Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath, and Scout Law as opening exercises, then we  did a discussion of some topic (giving each Cub Scout a chance to speak) or played some sort of guessing-game. We also opened the floor for any Cub Scout to "present" anything required by any Adventure, but no one took that opportunity yet. It seems like participation is similar to what you experienced... fewer than 10 Cub Scouts attending out of over 40 registered and probably between 20 and 30 attending our last in-person meeting. For the troop, we took a break of a couple weeks but then settled into having weekly meetings again in our usual time-slot.  An adult starts the meeting. The SPL calls people to order, turns the time over to the Scoutmaster for announcements, then introduces the main question/topic, and leads the discussion or practice, assisted by the adults as needed. On our scheduled Committee days, the boys are dismissed at a certain time, and the Committee convenes on the same call afterward. So far we haven't had all the boys on the call at the same time, but every boy in the troop has joined during at least one meeting. I also ran a "virtual" Merit Badge class organized by the local Council. I had Scouts from all over the State, and three from out-of-state. Once Scout's parent wrote me before the first meeting to inform me that their Scoutmaster had not approved their Scout's participation, and two others dropped out after the second meeting, bu most of the Scouts stuck with it through seven meetings, did the homework, and earned the badge. So for Scouts BSA and older, virtual meetings absolutely can work. For a Pack, they're one part of "do your best", but it's also important for your den leaders to check in with parents individually and understand their family situations. And I think the early resumption of in-person den/patrol activities, at least, is important. Formally, I've voiced my opinion that the C.O.R. of each unit I'm in should encourage the District to encourage the Council to allow at least limited in-person meetings again. The troop's C.O. is a church, and the Pastor never cancelled his services; so I think there's some agreement there. The pack's C.O. is the school "Parent Council", and the school took a long Spring Break and then pivoted to a little over a month of purely-virtual instruction, so any in-person meetings before the fall are very unlikely, and even in the fall itself there's some uncertainty.
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