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

General Statement from BSA

FAQ regarding Advancement


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

  • All district roundtables have been canceled for April
  • New Event - The council will be conducting a Virtual Roundtable on April 9 on Go to Webinar
  • Volunteers will need to register in advance to participant in the webinar
  • To register to participate, visit the webinar registration page and enter your name and email address. Once you are registered you will receive email reminders prior to the meeting with instructions on how to connect to the meeting

Lake Agassiz Unit Support Team meeting - April 2

  • Online only

Oxcart Trails District: Breakfast for Scouting in Fergus Falls - April 2

  • Postponed
  • A new date for September will be announced

Oxcart Trails Eagle Boards of Review - April 2

  • Online only

Tomahawk Commissioner meeting - April 2

  • Online only

Merit Badge Weekend at Camp Wilderness - April 3-5

  • Postponed to May 29-31
  • Refunds will be given for registered participants that can't attend on the new dates

Roughrider District - Scout Show & Pinewood Derby - April 4

  • Postponed
  • A rescheduled date will be set for May or June

Council Recognition Luncheon - April 4

  • Postponed to August 15
  • Refunds will be given to registered participants that can't attend on the new date

Frontier Trails District: Coin Collecting Merit Badge - April 4

  • Postponed to October 17
  • Refunds will be given to registered participants that can't attend on the new date

Tomahawk BALOO Training - April 4

  • Postponed
  • A new date has not been scheduled yet

Roughrider District: Recognition Dinner & leaders meeting  - April 7

  • Canceled
  • Refunds will be issued to registered participants

Lake Agassiz: Breakfast for Scouting event in Grand Forks - April 7

  • Postponed to September 15

Lakes District Committee meeting - April 7

  • Online only

Lakes OA Chapter meeting - April 7

  • Canceled

Great Plains District Commissioner/Operations meeting - April 7

  • Online only

Council FOS meeting - April 8

  • Online only

Northern Sky Eagle Boards of Review - April 9

  • Postponed to April 16

Oxcart Trails District Committee meeting - April 9

  • Online only after the Council Virtual Roundtable

Oxcart Trails Commissioner meeting - April 9

  • Combined with District Committee meeting (see above)

Roughrider District Leaders meeting - April 14

  • Canceled

Northern Sky Youth Protection Training - April 16

  • Canceled

Northern Sky Eagle Boards of Review - April 16

  • Postponed to May 14

Frontier Trails Volunteer meeting - April 16

  • Online only

Lake Agassiz Direct Contact Leader Training (Cub Scout Leaders) - April 16

  • Online only via Go to Webinar

Council Executive Committee meeting - April 17

  • Online only

Northern Sky Youth Protection Training - April 18

  • Canceled

Great Plains Awards & Recognition Dinner - April 18

  • Canceled

College of Commissioner Science - April 18

  • Postponed to October 17
  • Refunds will be given to registered participants that can't attend on the new date

Northern Sky District: Breakfast for Scouting in Fargo - April 21

  • Postponed
  • New date is September 29

Camp Grafton Merit Badge Weekend - April 24-26

  • Canceled
  • Refunds have been issued to those that were registered

Council Tiger Cub Camp - April 24-26

  • Postponed to May 29-31

Lake Agassiz District: Cub-o-Ree in Roseau - April 24-25

  • Canceled

Council Good Scout Award Luncheon - April 30

  • Postponed to June 2

​​Council Staff meeting - May 1

  • Canceled

Merit Badge Weekend at Camp Wilderness - May 1-3

  • Postponed to May 29-31
  • Refunds will be given for registered participants that can't attend on the new dates

Council Tiger Cub Camp - May 1-3

  • Postponed to May 29-31

Oxcart Trails Spring Camporee - May 1-3

  • Canceled

Lakes Spring Camporee - May 1-3

  • Canceled

Great Plains Field Day & Recruitment (Culbertson) - May 2

  • Postponed
  • Might be rescheduled for some time in the summer

Northern Sky District: District Recognition Dinner - May 3

  • Canceled

OA Eastern Spring Conclave – May 8-10

  • Postponed
  • A new date has not been set

OA Eastern Spring Conclave – May 15-17

  • Postponed
  • A new date has not been set

Lake Agassiz Spring Camporee - May 15-17

  • Canceled

Lake Agassiz Breakfast for Scouting (Fosston) - May 21

  • Postponed to August 20

Roughrider District: Day Camp - June 5-7

  • Postponed to August
  • Registration will reopen once a new date has been confirmed

Lake Agassiz District Day Camp (EGF) - June 10-11

  • Postponed to August 12-13

Lakes Day Camp - June 16-18

  • Postponed to July 14-16

Lake Agassiz Day Camp (Devils Lake) - August 15

  • Postponed to October 23-24
  • Will be a Cuboree instead of a Day Camp

 

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:

  • Connect with their child’s member profile via an invitation that the unit leader sends within Scoutbook. You may also connect to your youth via the Scouting app “Add a Parent connection.”
  • Once a connection is made, the parent should use the Scouting app, found in both the App Store and on Google Play, to stay connected with their unit.
  • The Scouting app provides parents the ability to report any advancement that was completed at home.

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 4.2.3.1.

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 4.2.3.4, “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 9.0.4.0 or for Venturing Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster as described in GTA Topic 4.3.3.0. Unit leadership must become familiar with the five tests under 9.0.4.0. 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:

  • It can be established that COVID-19 disruptions were the only circumstances that delayed work on Eagle Scout/Summit/Quartermaster advancement requirements, such as the service project or merit badges. If any other causes were involved, the extension request must go to the National Council following the process outlined in the GTA.
  • Extensions shall only be granted to youth in Scouts BSA who have already achieved Life rank.
  • When the council receives a COVID-19-related request for a time extension, the council reviews the request and approves it if appropriate. A written response stating the outcome of the extension request must go to the youth. If approved, the notification must be attached to the youth’s Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster rank application. For Eagle, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 18th birthday; for Summit/Quartermaster, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 21st
  • Upon turning 18, the Scout must submit a completed adult application and successfully complete YPT; their participant code will now be UP for SBSA or VP for Venturing and Sea Scouting.
  • Extension requests for more than 3 months beyond the youth’s 18th/21st birthday must be sent to the National Service Center following the process outlined in the GTA.

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 9.0.4.0 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 8.0.3.0.  As a rule of thumb:

  • 0-3 months after a Scout turns 18 they can complete a Board of Review without special approval
  • 3-6 months after a Scout turns 18 they must petition the Council Advancement Committee for approval to have a Board of Review
  • 6+ months after a Scout turns 18, working through the local Council Advancement Committee, they must petition the National Council for approval to have a Board of Review

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 8.0.3.1, “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday.”

See also, GTA Topic 8.0.1.6, “Boards of Review Through Videoconferencing.”

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.

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