Northern Lights Council Updates on COVID-19
Updated April 7, 2020 - 3:45 pm
As the pandemic progresses in the U.S., our council will continue to be proactive and make decisions that will protect the communities and families we serve. As this situation continues to evolve, we will evaluate daily and share any updates as they become available on this website and through our social media channels.
We are committed to a safe Scouting environment. We have made virtual communication channels available for district and council level meetings in an effort to continue to share information effectively and safely. As Scouts and Scouters, it is our duty to be prepared. Our council leadership will continue to monitor the situation alongside local health officials in regards to the operations of Scouting programs.
We need to keep our community and Scouts safe.
National Council Statements
Statement Regarding Summer Camp and Resident Camp
The council is committed to providing you and your Scouts with an exciting and safe summer camp experience in 2020. We are continuing to plan and make arrangements to that end. We continue to monitor and will follow all CDC and MN Department of Health guidelines in place at the time of camp. Key camp leadership is discussing how to best implement social distancing guidelines in a camp setting.
At this time, there has been no discussions about canceling summer camp or resident camp other than to guarantee that if canceled, all funds paid would be refunded 100%. This includes non-refundable Scout and campsite deposits.
Closings, Postponements, Cancellations or Meeting Format Change:
All Scout groups must discontinue their in-person meetings, activities and camp outs through the month of April (May 3 in Minnesota)
All Northern Lights Council facilities will be closed through April 20. Updates regarding re-opening later in April will be posted here.
At the recommendation of the CDC and our community leaders we have ended the Scouting for food campaign. Gate City Bank has closed their lobbies and are not available for food drop off’s.
District Roundtables in April
Lake Agassiz Unit Support Team meeting - April 2
Oxcart Trails District: Breakfast for Scouting in Fergus Falls - April 2
Oxcart Trails Eagle Boards of Review - April 2
Tomahawk Commissioner meeting - April 2
Merit Badge Weekend at Camp Wilderness - April 3-5
Roughrider District - Scout Show & Pinewood Derby - April 4
Council Recognition Luncheon - April 4
Tomahawk BALOO Training - April 4
Roughrider District: Recognition Dinner & leaders meeting - April 7
Lake Agassiz: Breakfast for Scouting event in Grand Forks - April 7
Lakes District Committee meeting - April 7
Lakes OA Chapter meeting - April 7
Great Plains District Commissioner/Operations meeting - April 7
Council FOS meeting - April 8
Northern Sky Eagle Boards of Review - April 9
Oxcart Trails District Committee meeting - April 9
Oxcart Trails Commissioner meeting - April 9
Roughrider District Leaders meeting - April 14
Northern Sky Youth Protection Training - April 16
Northern Sky Eagle Boards of Review - April 16
Frontier Trails Volunteer meeting - April 16
Lake Agassiz Direct Contact Leader Training (Cub Scout Leaders) - April 16
Council Executive Committee meeting - April 17
Northern Sky Youth Protection Training - April 18
Great Plains Awards & Recognition Dinner - April 18
College of Commissioner Science - April 18
Northern Sky District: Breakfast for Scouting in Fargo - April 21
Camp Grafton Merit Badge Weekend - April 24-26
Council Tiger Cub Camp - April 24-26
Lake Agassiz District: Cub-o-Ree in Roseau - April 24-25
Council Good Scout Award Luncheon - April 30
ââCouncil Staff meeting - May 1
Merit Badge Weekend at Camp Wilderness - May 1-3
Council Tiger Cub Camp - May 1-3
Oxcart Trails Spring Camporee - May 1-3
Lakes Spring Camporee - May 1-3
Great Plains Field Day & Recruitment (Culbertson) - May 2
Northern Sky District: District Recognition Dinner - May 3
OA Eastern Spring Conclave – May 8-10
OA Eastern Spring Conclave – May 15-17
Lake Agassiz Spring Camporee - May 15-17
Lake Agassiz Breakfast for Scouting (Fosston) - May 21
Roughrider District: Day Camp - June 5-7
Lake Agassiz District Day Camp (EGF) - June 10-11
Lakes Day Camp - June 16-18
Lake Agassiz Day Camp (Devils Lake) - August 15
Virtual Scouting Options
During this time, we'll do our best to give suggestions and guidance on ways Scouting can continue virtually (digital meetings, at-home advancement, etc). Stay tuned to nlcbsa.org and our social media channels for updates. In the meantime, follow our Facebook pages for other fun ideas. Share your ideas for virtual meetings on social media using #ScoutingFamily and #ScoutingAtHome.
Visit our Home Base Camp for Scouting @ Home activities (page updated 3/22/20)
Conduct Virtual Scout Meetings
If you are not familiar with what is available to help you conduct meetings remotely, check out our Video Conferencing Tools and Tips page.
Advancement FAQ from National Council BSA
Q: How can advancement be tracked remotely?
Scouting units should use Scoutbook to record and track advancement.
To track advancement remotely, parents should:
Learn more about how to start using Scoutbook and how to connect parents to their Scouts at Scoutbook.com.
Advancement - Cub Scouts
Q: May parents sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements?
Yes. Through July 31, 2020, parents and other adults in the Cub Scout’s family, may sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements. We strongly encourage that parents use the Scouting App or ScoutBook to record completion of their child’s requirements.
Q: If my den is behind in advancement due to COVID-19, can my Cub Scout continue to work on advancement through the summer?
Yes. Cub Scouts can continue to work on their current den’s advancement through July 31, 2020. This is to provide any additional time a Cub Scout needs to complete their badge of rank; if they earn their badge of rank prior to July 31, 2020, they may advance to the next rank.
Advancement - Scouts BSA
Q: May merit badge requirements or rank requirements be modified?
No. All requirements must be completed as written. If meetings or activities are canceled or limited, youth should continue to work on requirements as far as possible. By employing common sense and creative solutions, many requirements–even Scoutmaster conferences–can be fulfilled through videoconferencing or telephone calls.
Q: Can merit badge counseling or Nova/Supernova counseling be done using digital technologies like Zoom or WebEx?
Yes, registered merit badge counselors or Nova counselors/Supernova mentors may work with youth using digital platforms, ensuring that all youth protection measures noted in the Guide to Safe Scouting and BSA’s social media guidelines are in place. In addition to youth protection, the advancement guidelines in Guide to Advancement (GTA) Section 7 are required.
Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward active participation requirements?
Yes. If youth are registered and in good standing, a disruption from COVID-19 virus can be the “noteworthy circumstance” that prevents participation. This policy has been in place for many years and is explained in GTA Topic 126.96.36.199.
Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward position of responsibility requirements?
Yes. If youth are registered and unable to meet the expectations of their positions because of COVID-19 disruptions, then units may need to waive or rethink the expectations. Just as youth must not be held to unestablished expectations, they must not be held to expectations that are impossible to fulfill. See GTA Topic 188.8.131.52, “Positions of Responsibility,” with its six subtopics.
Q: Can meetings / merit badges / or boards of review be completed on-line?
Yes, you can continue to meet through popular video conferencing systems. When using videoconferencing resources please remember that 2 deep leadership is still required. For additional resources on using videoconferencing check out:
Q: Does the National Council grant extensions of time to complete rank requirements beyond the 18th birthday for the Eagle or 21st birthday for Summit or Quartermaster?
Yes, but only for the Eagle Scout rank as described in GTA Topic 184.108.40.206 or for Venturing Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster as described in GTA Topic 220.127.116.11. Unit leadership must become familiar with the five tests under 18.104.22.168. The tests were designed to accommodate such obstacles as those presented by COVID-19 disruptions.
Q: Will youth who are not yet Life Scouts be allowed to apply for an extension to earn the Eagle Scout rank?
Extensions are considered only for Scouts who are Life rank. If, once a Scout achieves Life rank, it turns out that COVID-19 disruptions along the way have left them with insufficient time to complete Eagle requirements, then this may be cited when the time comes to submit an extension request.
Q: May local councils grant extensions?
Normally, that is not allowed. However, due to the current situation—effective immediately and through September 30, 2020 - council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the following limitations:
Note: A “month” in BSA advancement is defined as a day from one month to the next. For example, March 5 to April 5.
The authority for councils to grant extensions is temporary, lasting only through Sept. 30, 2020.
Q: Can I file a Time Extension for my Eagle Scout Project due to COVID-19?
Yes, Life Scouts can apply for a Time Extension to work on their Eagle Scout rank if their projects or advancement are slowed down by COVID-19. They must follow the guidelines found in the Guide to Advancement, section 22.214.171.124 and become familiar with the five tests. A written request must be submitted to the Council Advancement Committee (email to Tom Barry) that includes the length of extension requested and the circumstances of the delay. COVID-19 may be cited as the circumstance.
Time Extensions are only granted to Life Scouts working on their Eagle Scout Rank. If once a Scout achieves the Life rank, and it turns out COVID-19 disruptions have left them with insufficient time to complete the Eagle requirements, they may request a time extension at that time.
Q: Can an Eagle Candidate who has completed all requirements before their 18th birthday receive an extension on their board of review?
A: Yes, an Eagle Candidate can schedule a Board of Review after their 18th birthday following the procedures in the Guide to Advancement, section 126.96.36.199. As a rule of thumb:
Q: If youth have already received an extension, can they request additional time due to COVID-19?
Yes. Council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the limitations listed above.
Q: What should be done while an extension request is being considered?
Youth should continue to work on advancement in so far as they are able—e.g., independently, or over the phone or video conference—and at Scouting activities once they resume.
Q: Are extensions required when an Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster board of review must be delayed?
No. Councils may grant Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster boards of review up to six months after the youth’s 18th/21st birthday. See GTA Topic 188.8.131.52, “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday.”
Q: Are electronic or digital signatures acceptable for rank advancement or for the Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster packets/applications?
Yes. Electronic or digital signatures will be accepted through September 30, 2020.
Q: How can a youth continue to work on advancement requirements if they don’t have internet or high-speed internet for videoconferencing?
Youth may take a picture of their completed activity/requirement and share the work with unit leaders. In keeping with Youth Protection Training policies, all communications from youth should be sent to at least two adults. Parents or guardians may send advancement work on behalf of their child.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Northern Lights Council Advancement Committee staff advisor Tom Barry.