Like the rest of the country, Central Region councils had their share of challenges to face coming in to 2020 resident camp season. While many councils were forced to cancel programs in 2020, some were able to provide a quality in-person experience. Here’s a sampling of their success.
Buckeye Council, Canton Ohio. With numerous challenges to face and significant hurdles to cross, Buckeye decided in May not to have a traditional resident program. Instead, they offered a program at Seven Ranges Scout Reservation named “24/7Ranges”. Groups of 8 Scouts and 2 adult leaders came to camp for a single day to focus on offered merit badges. Many units came for a single overnight experience (under county health department guidelines). Several units came once a week for the length of the program. “It really helped to keep morale high and Scouts engaged throughout the summer” said Carl Gavin, Program Director. “Meals were served in campsites to meet distancing and contact guidelines while allowing youth to enjoy advancement opportunities in a traditional setting”.
Muskingum Valley Council, Zanesville Ohio. With the cooperation of the local county health department and council volunteers, Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation offered 3 full weeks of traditional resident camp. Camp Director Dominic Lehman credited communication with Coshocton County Health and his staff in providing a meaningful experience while again maintaining health standards and social distancing practices.
Three Fires Council, St. Charles Illinois. Camp Director Taylor Price was able to provide nearly 600 Scouts with a normal camp experience in a 6-week season, one of which was a Webelos camp. Camp staff, unit leaders and a cooperative relationship with local officials enabled Three Fires to have around a 60% capacity in 2020. Not bad considering all of the challenges faced and met!
Mountaineer Area Council, Fairmont West Virginia. It took a great deal of effort and communication for Scout Executive Scott Hanson and Camp Director Grant Rumble to proceed with an abridged program in 2020. Utilizing all resources, camp leadership met with unit leaders via Zoom meeting and found it to be quite successful. A pair of notable resources the council utilized was the local County Health Department and West Virginia University. WVU was extremely helpful with guidance on social distancing and teaching in addition to assisting with meals prepared off site. This enabled the camp staff to focus on cleaning the Dining Hall between the 2 shifts per meal and reduced exposure to campers by not having a kitchen staff travel in and out of camp. Another innovative measure used was to park a large flatbed trailer in the assembly field near the Dining Hall for use as a stage for camp wide campfire programs and ceremonies. This enabled all campers to enjoy a campfire program while maintaining a safe distance.
A positive by-product of the past season was the virtual National Camp School session. With input and interface with camp leadership from around the country, this allowed camp directors and key staff to experience something new. “Usually at NCS, most attendees are local or regional” said Grant Rumble. “In the 2020 format, it gave me the opportunity to chat and get ideas from leaders from all over that would normally not be available to me.”
Combined, these 4 programs alone served 1600 campers. These are but a few of the success stories from our challenging 2020 camping season!