The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Our aims are character development, leadership development, citizenship training and personal fitness. Central among the various methods that we use to achieve these aims are Outdoor Programs. These things we hold dear and seek to instill in young people through our training and our example.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone, including within the BSA because, while much of our program is delivered in the outdoors or in group settings, the safety of our youth and adults must always come first. In these unprecedented days, the desire to deliver our proven, life-changing program has been restrained by our concern for health, public safety and demonstrating good citizenship by following all governmental guidance.
Please know that Camp Rockefeller meets or exceeds rigid BSA national standards as well as state and local regulations for youth camps and public gatherings. We have an annual inspection from both BSA and state authorities and exceed over 200 very stringent standards. Safety has always been a #1 priority at Camp Rockefeller.
But the coronavirus pandemic has challenged all previous health standards and practices. A task force comprised of Physicians, Scoutmasters and members of our Program and Risk Management committees has been reviewing all available information. We have tried to be very patient to not jump to conclusions but rather continue to study and gather information. The COVID-19 situation is fluid and its impact changes daily.
However, at this point we have come to the following decisions:
- We will not be able to offer Camp Rockefeller during the originally scheduled window of June 6-July 4. This is because the State Department of Health directives currently prohibit camp operations and will not be re-evaluated until May 31.
- We are going to reschedule for two sessions of Camp Rockefeller Resident Camp on the weeks of July 19-25 and July 26-Aug 1.
- Units who are currently registered for Camp Rockefeller sessions in June will have the option to do one of the following:
- Transfer some or all of their registrations to one of the two sessions in July 2020.
- Transfer some or all of their registrations to one of our 2021 camp weeks and lock in 2020 pricing.
- Cancel some or all of their registrations and request a refund for fees paid.
Further decisions may be communicated as new information becomes available.
Questions and Answers
Q: What happens if we plan on one of the July weeks and you are still unable to open?
A: To prepare for the possibility that we are unable to conduct on-site camps in late July, we are evaluating options to deliver some portion of the Camp Rockefeller experience virtually. This would go beyond simple merit badge classes like those being offered by the Quapaw Area Council and other and would include a fun camp dynamic at a reduced cost. Of course, full refunds would still be available.
Q: Has the Early Bird deadline changed as a result of this?
A: First, we understand that many Scouting families have been financially impacted by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and reduced opportunities to do fundraising. We want you to know that we will work with families who, as a result, need a little extra time to make their early bird payment. They simply need to communicate that by email to the council at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, Camperships are available to help scouts who are struggling with the expenses.
Second, because we know that you may need a little bit of extra time to evaluate these new camp opportunities, we are extending the May 1 Early Bird deadline to May 15. We hope this allows you time to communicate with your scouts and families.
Q: What are you doing differently to prepare for camp in light of the coronavirus risk?
A: While our health plans always include procedures for screenings and contagious disease control, we are making significant changes to our cleaning procedures to include much more rigid sanitization of camp equipment and facilities, in depth health screenings and continual monitoring throughout the week. Leaders from the Arkansas healthcare community will be advising us on how to make the camp experience safe and healthy going forward.
Q: Will the same classes be offered?
A: At this point we will be offering the same class schedules. However, as we review the situation concerning staff availability in our new date window as well as any potential new safety concerns, we will reserve the right to remove individual class offerings. In the event that we are forced to do this we will contact any scouts registered for those classes and work with them to find new class opportunities.
Q: So, how do I get transferred to one of these new dates?
A: Adults who are serving as the registration contacts for their troops should indicate their preference by sending an email to Butch Walker at email@example.com.