Several times over the past week, I have had someone ask “When are we going to be able to return to Scouting as normal?” That’s a great question. Personally, I believe this will be soon. From a Council Commissioner’s standpoint, there are a number of indicators that lead me to feel that way. Let me share with you a few of the things that I see.
Programming is starting to ramp up again, although under guarded COVID guidelines. There is a whole list <Continued> of Council activities that is in this Guide edition, including Arctic Adventure, a Cub Winter weekend, Winter Amidships, Maple Syrup Days, Food Good Turn, 3 Council-wide Camporees, NYLT and more. Summer camps are preparing for a great summer. Sign up early to reserve your spot!
The rechartering process has been going better than had been projected earlier this year. Over 50% of Bay-Lakes Council units have turned in their completed charters, 76% have completed the on-line submittal step and only 32 units have not yet begun the process. These numbers are a bit behind, but comparable with where we were last year before COVID hit. We are forecasting that 393 of 423 units will recharter, a 92.9% retention rate. It’s possible that there might be a few more units that don’t recharter, but we should still net well above the 90% retention rate. While I would prefer that we add units and members, considering the pandemic year, this is a big win for our Council.
Close to 80% of our leaders are current in their Youth Protection Training. This number continues to grow. To me, there is no more important thing that we as leaders can do than to be trained to protect our Scouts. This is an integral part of a unit’s ability to recharter.
Packs and troops are being creative in the ways that they meet. Cub Scout packs are using ideas like Lego car derbies and field trips to keep Scouts active. Leaders are becoming used to planning and conducting virtual meetings, which are getting better and more engaging. On Facebook, I see pictures of outdoor meetings and Courts of Honor held around a campfire. Now that says Scouting! Are there units that are struggling? Yes. But we have always had units that have struggled. Leaders continue to work hard to overcome the challenges they face.
Scouts continue to advance. As an example, in the Voyageur District for 2020, 54 Scouts attained the rank of Eagle, the same number as there were in non-COVID 2019. My 6-year-old grandsons in Gathering Waters proudly let me know each time they have earned another belt loop.
There is a lot happening. It’s happening differently, but it’s happening. Hang in there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are well-positioned for a return to Scouting. Your efforts are making a difference.
Yours in Scouting
Any questions? Send them along to BAYLAKESCOMMISSIONERHELP@GMAIL.COM.