When the possibility of camps for Scouts BSA and Cub Scouts not happening live in 2020, Scout Executive Jim Kennedy of Juniata Valley Council, Reedsville PA shared his concern with others. Kennedy talked with Gregg Bennett, Scout Executive of Bucktail Council in DuBois PA and Ray Tennent, Scout Executive of Chief Cornplanter Council of Warren and Moraine Trails Council of Butler PA. After some discussion, they turned to their staff and volunteers to see what could be done. The result was a big boost for Scouting in Western, Northern and Northwestern Pennsylvania.
A shared virtual Alternate Cub Scout Program was offered by all four councils online. For a nominal fee, Cub Scouts at all levels received in-home materials sent to them to participate. Kits were designed to fit the appropriate age group and were a big success. All Cub Scouts who participated had base programs to follow, in addition to specific videos and rank appropriate activities.
“It really came together in two weeks or so” said Andrew Brock, Camp Director for Juniata Valley Council. “Volunteers made big contributions with instructional videos and over 150 Cub Scouts participated, some as far as California” said Brock. Also offered was a Cub Scout “STEM in a Box” online camp with materials and instructions on getting the most from a STEM experience at home.
Scouts BSA camp wasn’t forgotten either. Working together, “not your Typical Summer Camp” program was offered by six councils and conducted for three weeks. Northeast Region councils who partnered in this were:
- Washington Crossing Council, Doylestown PA
- Juniata Valley Council, Reedsville PA
- Mayflower Council, Marlborough MA
- Susquehanna Council, Williamsport PA
- Iroquois Trail Council, Lockport NY
- Five Rivers Council, Elmira NY.
Called “Camp in A Box”, the initial plan was to accommodate 300 scouts with this experience. However, the total number participating was over 500 and ran from July 20 to August 7. Five advancement sessions were held and participants received a package of materials that included a shirt, patch, camp swag and full access to the advancement/merit badge sessions.
Susquehanna Council Camp Director Jake Horner said, “Volunteers from all participating councils served as merit badge counselors and provided great opportunities for scouts. All councils had a good idea that traditional camping would not be offered in 2020. This allowed many youths to enjoy a camp experience and obtain advancement while at home”.
This is just one example of what can be accomplished in Scouting by being creative and working towards a single goal: to provide adventure to Scouts of all ages. Select the link below for more information: