COVID-19 Updates

May 19, 2020

 

Dear Chester County Council Scouting Family,

 

We find ourselves in very difficult times due to various challenges created by COVID-19.  This letter provides an update on the status of Chester County Council’s current and planned operations for the balance of 2020, based upon current government guidance, and our reasonable forecasts of the impacts on our Scouting programs.

 

CAMPING PROGRAMS

We recently announced the cancellation of all summer camping programs due to safety concerns created by the virus. This decision not only affects the programs we deliver to Scouts but has a potentially devastating financial effect on our council.  Revenue from camping operations comprises approximately one-third of our council’s annual operating budget. As you may know, our council does not receive any of the fees paid by units through youth and adult annual registration fees; those funds go directly to the BSA’s National Office. The council’s operations are funded through multiple income sources, including camping revenue, donations, and special events.

 

FRIENDS OF SCOUTING

Council operations depend heavily on your annual donations to our Friends of Scouting Campaign. Donations to date are about one-third of what they were this time last year. Most of our Friends of Scouting unit presentations had not yet occurred by mid-March, when restrictions on in-person meetings were enacted. As a result, we cannot conduct this campaign according to our traditional model, and instead, we are relying on donations made online and through the mail. 

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

Special events are another significant income source that fund council operations. Our two largest events to date, the Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner and the Dick Vermeil Invitational Golf Outing, have been cancelled. These two events alone equate to a budgeted net loss of just under $300,000.

 

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE STORE

Our Outdoor Adventure Store, which operated at the Exton Mall within our Council Service Center, is another revenue source that is now gone. The mall is closed because of COVID-19 orders, and because of our council’s financial situation, we cannot afford to renew our lease at the mall, so we have closed that location permanently. We will set up our store at in the trading post at Camp Ware at Horseshoe Scout Reservation. We will also sell merchandise online and offer shipping options to have purchases sent directly to customers and offer store hours when customers will be able to visit camp and shop. More details about the store operation will be shared soon. 

 

COUNCIL STAFF

Most of the support services we provide to Scouting units are delivered by our dedicated council staff. The team has been working virtually since mid-March and I’m proud to say they’re performing tirelessly to continue council operation as much as possible during this pandemic. We are able to keep our full team in place through mid-June due to the funding the council received through the Payroll Protection Program. Unfortunately, it is not possible to keep the entire team employed going into the summer and for the remainder of this year. On Friday, May 15th, after an enormous amount of planning and analysis by our dedicated and hardworking finance committee, and many others, a plan to keep our council financially solvent through year-end was approved by our council’s Executive Board. This plan includes very conservative income projections due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the negative impacts it has both on our economy, as well as our Scouting families. It obviously requires that we drastically reduce our planned expenses. This reduction significantly impacts the number of staff we will be able to retain and the support services we will be able to provide until conditions improve, and until we are able to restore our service delivery capability to its pre-virus level.

 

FUTURE OPERATIONS

We have an operations plan to minimize support service disruptions as much as possible. Remaining staff will need to do more with less and perform functions they have not performed previously, many of which will be new to them. We’ll also continue to communicate with you through our website, social media, email, and our staff. Units and families can still access many on-line resources that can be found on our website, www.cccbsa.org, including information and registration details for our second Virtual Camporee. Click on the “Scout On!” link to find out more.

 

PARC UPDATE

You may be wondering about the status of our new Program Resource and Activity Center (PARC). I’m pleased to share that construction continues. Site work is now underway and building foundation work is planned to begin this week. You may also wonder how this is possible given the council’s current financial situation. The answer is that we have most (but not all) of the money raised to complete construction. This money was donated exclusively for the purpose of building PARC and legally can only be used for the construction of PARC. The good news is that if we remain on schedule, our new home should be completed by the end of this year.

 

****

So how can you help? By donating your time, talent, and treasure to help the Chester County Council weather this storm and enable us to emerge stronger than ever. Volunteers have always kept the Scouting program vibrant and healthy, and whenever times get tough, Scouters can be depended upon to rise to the occasion, because we our taught to “help other people at all times”.

 

If you have not done so already, please support Chester County Council by making a donation using this link: DONATE

 

Thank you for all you do for Scouting. Be prepared. Stay safe and strong. We will get through this together.

 

Yours in Scouting,

 

Jeff Spencer

Scout Executive/CEO

 

P.S. – Please note our new council address is: Chester County Council, BSA, P.O. Box 1179, Exton, PA 19341

May 15, 2020
Summer Camp Program Announcement

To our Scouting family:

 

First and foremost, we hope this message finds you and your family well. All of us are living through an unprecedented and concerning time. 

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, we have been continuously monitoring the situation, gathering as much information as possible to aid in our decision-making process relating to offering summer camping programs in the Chester County Council.

 

Summer camp is where our Scouts can get outdoors, learn lots of new skills, earn advancement, have fun with their friends, and develop leadership traits.  For many Scouts, summertime at our camps is the highlight of their Scouting year. But, as always, the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority.

 

After much consideration of all the options before us, it is with much sadness that we inform you that the Chester County Council has decided to suspend our summer camp programs at Camp Horseshoe, Camp John H. Ware 3rd and all day camps for the 2020 season. 

 

Based on expected guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the PA Department of Health, and others related to COVID-19, it was felt that the mass gatherings at camp would simply create too much risk to the safety of our Scouts, leaders, and employees (as well as their families at home once they leave camp) to conduct resident summer camp programs responsibly.

 

We have a refund few options for you to consider:

Day Camps:

  1. A 100% refund will be issued back to each registrant
  2. The family may choose to use a specific amount of the fee to help sustain council operations. No amount is too small.

Summer Camps:

  1. Your unit will be issued a 100% refund for all fees paid for this summer.
  2. You unit will be issued a 100% refund less $250 to reserve your site and session is 2021, this will also lock in your fees to the 2020 rate.
  3. Please also consider donating a portion of your fees paid to help offset operating costs of the camps. No amount is too small.

A member of our staff will be in contact with each unit to discuss their decision, but we ask you to please discuss these items amongst your unit leadership:

  1. Choose your preferred refund model.
  2. We will have 2020-year segments available for your unit to purchase (pre-order is required).

Please stay safe and well. These are challenging times for everyone, including local Scouting, and we appreciate your support. Scouting is resilient and has persevered through many challenging times in the past. We look forward to everyone joining us in preparing for future great summer camp experiences.

Dr. Peter Motel
Council President

David Hohl
Council Commissioner

Jeffrey Spencer
Scout Executive

 

 
April 4, 2020
 
Dear Chester County Council Scouting Family,
 

I hope everyone is continuing to adjust to the new realities we face as we all do our best in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are continuing to study the impact of COVID-19 and are in regular communication with individuals who are working directly with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Philadelphia Health Commission, and Federal Emergency Response officials. We are making our decisions based upon this input and in the best interest of the continued safety of our Scouts and Scouters. 
 
Public health officials have shared that the Philadelphia region will see a spike in COVID-19 diagnoses over the coming weeks and extending through the month of May. Predictive algorithms for disease spread suggest that the Philadelphia region will see a surge starting in Week 2 of April and progress through the end of the month and beyond. Given the anticipated surge, public health officials are continuing the Stay at Home orders for the region and that all large group events be postponed. In addition, public officials continue to recommend the utilization of social distancing practices and proper hand hygiene. 

To protect the health and safety of all our Scouts, volunteers, staff and every member of their families we will be cancelling all council and district events, trainings and activities including weekend camping through May 30, 2020. 

These include:

  • Council Day of Service – rescheudled for Fall 2020
  • Upcoming OA Day of Service Weekends 
  • Wood Badge – rescheduled for – Weekend 1 – Sept. 11- 13 /Weekend 2 Oct. 2-4
  • ILST / ILSC 
  • Nation Youth Leadership Training Weekends 
  • Philmont Shakedown
 
Stay tuned for the status of the follwing events in the coming weeks: 
  • Scouts BSA summer camping programs at Horseshoe Scout Reservation
  • Cub Scout Overnight Camp at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd
  • Cub Scout Day Camps
  • Special Needs Camporee
  • Camp Xtreme
  • BSA National High Adventure bases
 

Also, a reminder to all Scouts and Scouters that Horseshoe Scout Reservation remains closed to the public. Please do not visit the property until further notice. Thank you for your understanding.

The Council Service Center and Outdoor Adventure Store in the Exton Mall remain closed. Our professional and support staff are committed to continuing serving our Scout famlilies and volunteer leaders through our “Virtual Service Center“, and having been working safely from home. Click here for a complete staff directory.

Please continue to look for additional communications from the Chester County Council througout the upcoming weeks via email, social media and cccbsa.org for ideas, updates and other important information.
 

Stay safe!

Yours in Scouting,

Jeff Spencer
Scout Executive/CEO
 
 
Everyday Preventive Measures:
Even with those important policies in place, it is critical that we all take these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
• Stay home when you feel sick.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after doing so.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve/elbow, not your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Do not share personal items such as cups, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
• Avoid shaking hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
 
If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate and not attend any Scouting events. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
The Council service center and Outdoor Adventure Store will be closed until further notice. All summer camping programs are cancelled for the summer of 2020.