Local Boy Scouts won’t have summer camps this year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 May 2020 at 10:11 am

File photo: Boy Scouts from Troop 175 from West Barre attended Camp Dittmer in Phelps in July 2017. Eli Pask, left, joins five other Scouts in erecting a lean-to for their overnight campout.

BATAVIA – The Iroquois Trail Council has decided there won’t be summer camping programs this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The safety of our Scouts, volunteer leaders, Scouting families, and summer camp staff is our top priority,” according to announcement today from Council leaders – Jim McMullen, Scout Executive; Bob Confer, Council President; and Paul Fleming, Council Commissioner.

The Council will be suspending traditional camp programs this year with day camps and overnight programs at Camp Sam Wood in Pike and Camp Dittmer in Phelps.

“We are guided first and foremost by safety concerns, and also by the knowledge that the precautionary procedures we would need to put in place would greatly reduce the summer camp experience,” the Scout leaders said in their letter. “We know that camp is an important part of every Scout’s program, and did not make this decision lightly.”

The Scouting leaders said about 200 local families completed a recent camp participation survey.

“The overwhelming number of respondents (nearly 70%) shared their concerns that there were too many unanswered safety questions and that our traditional programs would be far too altered by precautionary measures; more so than what any of us would anticipate,” according to the letter from McMullen, Confer and Fleming.

The Council is giving Scouting families the option of rolling the camp deposit to summer camp 2021, receiving a refund, or donating a portion of it to help support the council and the camps.

“Our staff are saddened that we are not able to serve your Scouts at our camps this summer,” the Council leaders wrote in the letter. “The team looks forward to providing the full range of Scouting programs, including outdoor adventures, as soon as the situation allows.

“In the meantime we will be partnering with our neighboring councils to offer digital, virtual programs and outdoor programs as circumstances allow. We look forward to sharing those details with you in the coming weeks.”

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