Western Region councils meet pandemic challenges

No part of our country met the challenges of 2020 greater than our Western Region. Faced with a virus like no other, councils “Did Their Best” to offer a virtual outdoor experience and a limited in-person adventure. Here’s stories of how two councils that met that challenge.

Conquistador Council (Santa Fe NM): In compliance with local health orders, Wehinahpay Mountain Camp was not open for live camping this past summer. However, the council did offer a virtual activity with videos from the camp to scouts in 21 states. Wehinahpay Online provided some merit badge work on outdoor badges, as well as virtual achievement badges for work at home, fun evening programs like film festivals and mountain man stories and offered a virtual choose-your-own adventure game. Scouts were provided with a woodcarving kit and knife, camp patch and sticker.  The council looks forward to live camp activities in the mountains of Wehinahpay in 2021.

Greater Wyoming Council, Cody WY: Camp Buffalo Bill and the Yellowstone High Adventure Outpost were both fortunate to have county health officers who are both active Scoutmasters. Unfortunately, the decision was made not to offer program at Camp Buffalo Bill in 2020 due to the pandemic and units were given the option to roll registrations to 2021. However, Yellowstone HA Outpost did operate as they are strictly field based and could follow safety protocols. Cub Scout Family Camp was offered in late July with a cap on participation due to facility capacities. A third option was offered to units who wanted to provide their own outdoor experience. A 14-day prescreening, arrival and daily screening, increased cleaning, modified dining operation, smaller vehicle occupancy and a 2- week follow-up call to each unit made up the council’s Covid-19 strategy. All told, 55 Cub Scouts and families and 80 Scouts BSA members enjoyed outdoor adventure in 2020.