Montana Council Response to COVID-19

Hello, this email was sent by the Montana Council Key 4 this morning, March 15th. Cancelled District events include IOLS/BALOO training, Trail to First Class, and Scouting for Food.

The Lewis & Clark District Key 3 are working on a plan to hold the April District meeting digitally. It will be announced here on the blog as soon as it is ready.

While not the message we would have enjoyed sending on “Montana Council Day” (3.15) as always, your safety and the safety of all members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, could affect planned activities and events related to local Scouting programs in Montana. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both locally and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following information regarding local events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change. We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Status of Council Events

After much discussion and consideration, it has been decided that all in-person Council & District events, activities, and meetings of 50 people or more from March 14 to April 30, 2020 will be postponed or cancelled. This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health of our Scouts, Scouters, and their families.

This includes Merit Badge Universities, Camps, Fundraisers, District events, Meetings and Activities.  At this time, Council Convention in Missoula is still a go on May 1, but will be evaluated as the date approaches.

Status of Unit Activities & Events

We strongly encourage that districts, units, and council committees consider using technology to continue with as many of their normally scheduled meetings and events as possible. Free or low-cost options include Free Conference Call, Skype, and Google Hangouts.

The final decision on continued unit activities will be the responsibility of the unit committee in consultation with their chartered organization and, in some cases, their meeting facilities until such time as new guidance is issued by the CDC. Decisions can currently be based on your needs and circumstances. You may reference the following resources to make a decision regarding attending any public or Scouting activity:

Montana Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guidance for Businesses and Employers – CDC

Risk Assessment Guidance – CDC

Event Refunds

For events that are cancelled outright, we are in the process of reviewing our council refund policy. Given the number of events, and that many events have already incurred substantial costs for supplies and reservation fees, it may be difficult to issue full refunds. Our team is working to determine what is possible.

If you are able to do so, please consider not requesting a refund and allowing your registration fee to support Scouting. This will help us offset the costs and lost income from cancelled events.

We strongly encourage that districts, units, and council committees consider using technology to continue with as many of their normally scheduled meetings and events as possible.

Status of Summer Programs

Currently, all summer programming – day camps, summer camps, etc. – will continue as planned.

Status of Council Facilities

At this time, all offices and Scout Shops are open for business. If you are coming to visit a staff member, please consider calling instead.  All gatherings at these locations are suspended until further notice.

We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Yours in Scouting,

  • Chuck Eubank – Council President
  • Gary Ely – Council Commissioner
  • Dirk Smith – Scout Executive/CEO
  • Jory Dellinger – Deputy Scout Executive/COO