You have by this time, no doubt, received many emails from organizations and companies regarding their response to the COVID-19 virus, including cancellations of events. The upcoming Troop activities will also be affected:

  • The Cooking campout was canceled this weekend
  • The Maintenance Day scheduled for March 21st is canceled
  • The troop meeting and PLC meeting scheduled for March 22nd is canceled. The OA Elections will be postponed
  • The Fish Fry Service at IHM on March 20th will be drive-in only, therefore the troop will not be participating
  • All Patrols should postpone any in-person Patrol meetings until further notice

Beyond our troop there have been announcements from the Dan Beard Council:

  • The Merit Badge Challenge Day 2 has been postponed. A future date will be announced.
  • The Council Camp Conservation Day has been postponed
  • The Dan Beard Council has closed their camps until at least April 6th. The Scout shop and Achievement Center will remain open at this time
  • The Camp Card fundraiser end date has been extended to June 1st

This is an evolving situation, so further changes may occur. We are not scheduled to meet as a troop again until April 19th; however, we do have the Advancement/Traditional campout planned for April 3rd-5th, as well as Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST) scheduled for April 18th. The Fish Fry Service at IHM on March 20th will be drive-in only, therefore the troop will not be participating. The Committee and I will be discussing these events soon to make a determination on if they will proceed or not.

This is a trying time as we as a community, nation, and world respond to the threat of the COVID-19 virus. The measures being put in place around the closing of the schools, limiting gatherings, etc. may seem drastic, but they are all in an attempt to slow the spread of this virus so that we do not overwhelm our ability to manage it. A Scout is Clean, Helpful and Courteous, and you can demonstrate those tenants now by following the recommendations and guidelines from the CDC, which includes washing hands (which you were doing anyway because a Scout is Clean!) and social distancing.

Recently, I’ve heard, or read comments, from people on social media that this virus isn’t a big deal, and those that get sick are mostly suffering very mild to moderate symptoms. While our scouts are not in the high-risk group for this virus, they often have those at home who most definitely are high risk. I am approaching this situation with the mindset of if I did happen to contract this virus, I do not wish to spread it to anyone if I can help it, regardless of if they are in the high-risk population or not simply because they may then pass it along to someone who won’t be able to recover.

While we may not be able to gather, it shouldn’t stop us from moving forward. Maybe arrange an online gathering (with parent permission) of your patrol to plan something for later in the year, or just to have fun. Services like Free Conference Call let you set up a free call that multiple people can be on (Check with your parents before signing up for an account or service). Your generation are digital natives. Not being in the same location likely won’t slow you down too much.

I also challenge each of you to come up with a way to bring some cheerfulness to your community and let me know what you’ve done. Ideas include:

  • Calling an elderly neighbor to check on them, and just to talk for a couple of minutes
  • Organize a board game, or another fun activity for your family at the house
  • Post a yard sign with something funny (and scout appropriate 😉 ) on it to bring a smile to your neighborhood

In times like these we humans tend to fall back on protecting ourselves and our families as our first instinct (which is might be why there is an inexplicable shortage of toilet paper), while we as scouts need to remember that we help other people at all times. Even if we can’t be close to others, it doesn’t mean we can’t show them a Friendly face, be Cheerful, and Kind. Even in trying times we can show others what it really means to be a Scout.

Be Well,

Mike Wood