A message from the Scout Executive

We hope that your family is safe and healthy during these uncertain and challenging times.  Scout families in Southwest Florida continue to impress us with community service projects, scouting at home initiatives, virtual troop meetings and campouts, and participation in on-line merit badge programs. The BSA has endured for 110 years and it is so encouraging to see our members using Scouting in these innovative ways to teach their children perseverance through the tenants of the Scout Oath and Law.    

The SWFL Council continues to observe all orders by the National B.S.A., State of Florida and recommended guidelines by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  As the State of Florida restrictions are relaxed, we will begin a gradual return to Scouting operations. 

The State of Florida has developed the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. recovery plan with a phased approach to get all of us back in business.  Over the last few weeks, staff and key volunteers of the SWFL Council have been hard at work preparing for the eventual reopening of facilities and restarting of programs both district and council-wide. While we do not have all reopening dates established, as we are still in State of Florida Phase I guidelines, we are busy working on new procedures, timelines and alternate plans to facilitate a safe return to Scouting programs.  

The Southwest Florida Council will continue to make decisions based on the most readily available and reliable information to ensure our youth and volunteers are in the safest and healthiest environment possible when participating in Scouting activities.  We know our Scouts and families want to get back to Scouting but in safe manner.  Scouting is important to our community and we all anticipate returning to Scouting as part of our everyday normalcy.  
Given the State of Florida’s current Phase I transition, below is an update on Southwest Florida Council operations. Our next SWFL Council Newsletter Update will be at the end of the month or earlier if warranted. 

Summer Day Camps & C.S. Residence Camp 
We have made the difficult decision to cancel June Cub Scout Day Camps and Cub Scout Residence Camp.  We are reviewing potential July activities that would allow safe activities for our Scouts that meet CDC, BSA and local health guidelines. More information will be forthcoming.

Camp Facility Operations
Both camps are closed in June for Scouting and until further notice.  We are looking at potential options for limited, council managed unit week-end usage in late July pending further State of Florida Phase 2 guidelines as well as being able to accommodate normal July camp maintenance summer schedules.  Phase 3 will be back to full operation but will likely still require new protocols in the interim regarding capacity, program and campsite management. The SWFL Council is continuing the planning and development of programs for the Fall/Winter seasons as scheduled but are also preparing for alternate scenarios as guidelines may dictate.  

Our key program staff and volunteers are currently receiving extensive training by the National BSA to navigate the pandemic from a both a health-safety and program standpoint that will ensure we provide safe and quality programs that our Scouts, parents and volunteers are accustom to in the SWFL Council.  Unit camp reservations on the council website are not being accepted until further Phase 2- 3 guidance is available.  

SWFL Council Scout Service Center 
We are welcoming visitors back to the Service Center Wednesday, May 20.  Visitor hours moving forward will be from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm –Monday-Friday until further notice. Our staff will be implementing sanitation protocols prior to opening (9:00 am) and after closing (4:30 pm) and no services will be available.

Recommended CDC Sanitation and social distancing protocols will be in place which include the following:

  • Access to the council office will be limited to the front reception area with social distancing protocols in place.
  • If you need to drop off items, there will be a drop box at the Service Center to the right of the reception desk upon entering the property.
  • One-on-One meetings with professional and office staff are by appointment only set up in advance (no-walk-in appointments) and will be in a designated office location at designated time(s).
  • Please consult the council staff directory for service and contact information.  
  • No food or drinks allowed in building.
  • No public restrooms available.
  • We request that you wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing.

 *The preceding protocols will be in place until further guidance is given on Phase 2 transition.   
 
SWFL Florida Council Scout Shop 
The SWFL Florida Council Scout Shop will be opening limited days-hours beginning Wednesday, May 20th.  Hours will be Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am-6:00 pm and Saturdays 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. 

Recommended CDC Sanitation and social distancing protocols will be in place which include the following:

  • A maximum of 5 individuals will be allowed in the shop at one time & social distancing measures will be in place.
  • During phase 1 transition, face masks will be required for entry.
  • ALL advancement orders should be EMAILED in ADVANCE to the Scout Shop. General public will not have access to the self-serve Advancement-Merit Badge Award station.
  • Dressing rooms will be closed but uniforms can be tried on over clothes.
  • All orders are encouraged to be called in for quick pick-up or shipping (customer cost)
  • No food or drinks allowed in building.
  • No public restrooms available.
  • If you need to add funds to your Scout Shop Unit Supply account, please mail in a Unit check in advance. NO CASH WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
  • Scout Shop Manager Contact – Kelly Santo - Email: southwestfloridascoutshop@scouting.org or call 239-418-1603


New Camp Projects
Work continues every day at Camp Flying Eagle and Camp Miles with several new program area improvements our Scouts leaders will appreciate when we enter the re-opening phase of Scout activities.  At Camp Flying Eagle, we have almost completed the construction of a new covered archery range.  The range will also include a storage area and small restroom area.  We are also building a new canoe-kayak access area to the river which will be below the Roadkill grill pavilion area.  At Camp Miles, we are giving Adventure “Boat” Island a major face lift with the rebuilding of the bridge across the lake, the dock, new canoe/kayak racks, and landscaping. Both projects will also have various new program equipment in short order when we reopen.  See pictures below.

SWFL Council Professional Staff
Your SWFL Council staff are available to assist you as needed.  Please be mindful of social distancing and meeting protocols.  Please visit the council website directory for email and phone contact information.
www.swflcouncilbsa.
org

Regular Weekly Unit Meetings 
Consistent with physical distancing and the limitation of no more than 10 people gathered at a time, unit’s may consider occasional in-person meetings if permitted by the Unit Committee in consultation and approval by the Unit Chartered Organization. Scouting participants aged 65 or older or with compromised health conditions should remain safe at home and continue Scouting participation virtually. Scouting can continue at home, virtually, until government guidelines are updated, revised and restrictions for larger gatherings are permitted.

Stay Safe and see you back on the Scouting trail soon!

Greg Graham
Scout Executive and CEO

 


National Statement on COVID-19

As always, the safety of our Scouts, volunteers, employees and communities is our top priority. 

Our response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to be informed by the guidance of official bodies, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose framework for mitigation for community groups is based on the level of community transmission of COVID-19, as well as the latest White House guidelines.

As the national response to the coronavirus pandemic shifts to a state-focused and phased approach, the Boy Scouts of America is advising local councils to consult with their local and state health departments, as well as local chartered partners, in order to implement the appropriate protocols to help keep our members, volunteers, and employees safe.

We are taking similar steps as a national organization as we continue to evaluate the current environment with the best interests of our members, volunteers, and employees in mind. We are currently reviewing critical events that are scheduled to take place within the next six weeks. We will continue to update impacted groups about event decisions as they are made.

We thank you for helping meet the needs of our communities throughout these difficult times.  

 


Troops attending out-of-council summer camps

Scout Troops attending council summer camps outside of the SWFL Council should contact the camp and the local council that operates the camp for all questions regarding their 2020 summer camp operation plan and payment schedules.

 


Details on Annual Health and Medical Record exception for Summer 2020

In order to address several challenges presented by COVID-19 there will be a one-time exception in effect for portions of the Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) until August 31, 2020, to facilitate long-term camping.

Highlights of the exception include the following elements: 
•             Extends validity of Part C of the AHMR for 6 months if completed on or after February 1, 2019.
•             This does not apply to unit activities greater than 72 hours.

 


2021 National Jamboree Update

The council contingent for the 2021 national Jamboree slated for July 20-31, 2021 is full speed ahead.  There is limited space so visit swflcouncilbsa.org to sign up today. We will be announcing a Parent/Scout Jamboree Promotion Meeting in September to share with Scouts and parents about this once in a lifetime experience.

 


2020 Philmont Contingent Update

The SWFL Council's 2020 contingent is scheduled for late July is proceeding as planned per guidance from Philmont and the National B.S.A.

 


Southwest Florida Council - Scout Family Activity Challenge (Deadline Extended)

Keep It Simple. Make It Fun.  That’s what this is all about.  Below are several fun activities and contests we will be running.  Pick one and have some fun individually or with your family!  There are also achievements in the Cub Scout handbook and Scouts, B.S.A. handbook that may apply.  We will post some of our entries on our Facebook page.

For contest consideration send your pics to: Bruce.Hassy@scouting.org 
Please be sure to identify the Scout(s) in the photo, the unit they are registered to and the contest category that you are competing in.  All submissions are due no later than 5/30/2020.

CONTEST CATEGORIES:

Wackiest Backyard Campsite Contest:  Build the wacky, but safe, model campsite that you always wished you could have on a camp-out but couldn’t! Send us your pics and explain why it is so wacky.  
Prize for best Wacky Backyard Campsite:  A New Tent

Inside Fort Contest:  Who can build the coolest fort in your room or home. Send us your pics and explain why it is soooo cool.  
Prize for best Inside Fort:  A New, Backpacking Style Sleeping Bag

Whittling Contest:  Find a tree branch or piece of scrap wood and carve anything you like.   Send us a pic of your creation!
Prize for best whittling project:  A New BSA Knife (Multiple prizes for Cub Scouts, multiple prizes for Scouts BSA/Venturing)

Top Scout Chef Contest:  Prepare you greatest campsite culinary masterpiece for you family.  Send a short video clip or photos to be judged by our expert panel.  
Prize for Top Scout Chef:  A New Lodge Dutch Oven (One prize for Cub Scouts, One prize for Scouts BSA/Venturing)

 


Camp Improvement/Construction in Progress Photos

 

Photos showing progress of the NEW Camp Flying Eagle Archery Range Building

 

 

Photos showing the NEW Camp Flying Eagle Canoe/Kayak Launch Entrance Area adjacent to the Road Kill Grill

 

 

Photos of the completed Bridge, Kayak Racks, Boat Dock and Lifeguard Tower on the Camp Miles Adventure Island

 


Keep our Scouts safe while online

As Scouting moves to virtual and online platforms during these times, we offer the following reminder to help keep kids safe.  

•    All youth protection policies still apply in an online environment. Ensure you always have two-deep leadership for online activities and meetings. Our ban on one-on-one contact between an adult leader and youth applies to all interactions, whether in person, online, through a web conference, over the phone, via text, or in any other form.

•    All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents, and the BSA suggests parents take part in online activities and meetings.
 
Please visit the BSA website for further recommendations on digital activities:
https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/safety-moments/digital-safety-and-online-scouting-activities/

 


National Summertime Pack Award

Overview
To encourage a pack to be active when school is out for the summer, by doing one activity per month in June, July, and August.
 
Who Can Earn This Award?
This is an individual recognition for Scouts.
 
The pack can qualify for the certificate and streamer by planning and conducting three pack activities—one each in June, July, and August, or during other school vacations if your pack is in a year-round school.
 
Dens with an average attendance of at least half their members at the three summer pack events are eligible for a colorful den participation ribbon.
 
Scouts who participate in all three pack events are eligible to receive the National Summertime Pack Award pin, which they can wear on the right pocket flap of their uniform.
 
How To Get the Award
Return completed form to council office; Council provides Unit Streamer and Certificate. Units provide all other(optional).
 
Supply Item Description & Uniform Placement
Pin, worn on the right pocket flap of uniform; certificate, No. 33731; streamer for pack flag, No. 17808; den participation ribbon for dens with 50 percent or more of their youth 

 


Other resources for your unit to explore

National BSA Office - Statement on COVID-19

National BSA Office - Scouting from Home website

Bryan on Scouting - Scouting Show & Tell: Scouting remotely

Bryan on Scouting - How to conduct a board of review through videoconferencing

Bryan on Scouting - Good Turns during the Coronavirus: Acts of Scouting service you can do from home

Boy's Life Magazine - Online Issues

The CDC is recommending to be careful with meetings and travel and use teleconferencing when possible. Here are some free or low-cost online communication tools:
Zoom
Webex
Go To Meeting
Join Me
Google Hangouts



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