For the past few weeks our Executive and Camping Committees have been agonizing over whether we can safely operate our resident and day camp programs this year. This process has involved dozens of hours attending National BSA camp leadership webinars; speaking with State officials, reviewing information from our Council Health Officer, Vermont Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and privately deliberating over what our camp programs would look like in light of the public health limitations. It is with a heavy heart, we announce that our resident camp programs at Frontiers Camp, Mt. Norris and Camp Sunrise, NYLT, and our Cub Scout Day Camp programs will not open this year.
While we sought at each step of this process to find a way for our camps to open, we were always guided by the fact we need to deliver our camping program in a way that protected the health and safety of our campers, volunteers, and staff. Ultimately, we concluded such programs were simply not possible.
This decision is not an easy or a wanted one. For all of us, summer camp is the peak of the Scouting experience. It is where Scouts put the skills and principles they have studied into practice. It is where life-long friendships are born. It is where our love of nature and outdoors begins. Our Council camping programs have developed into an incredibly diverse group of Scouts and Scouters from not just Vermont but all over the region, stretching to New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee and the West Coast. Our strength has become this expansive program.
But none of this can outweigh our obligation to do what is right. We teach our Scouts that doing the right thing often means making hard choices. We teach them through the Scout Oath and Law, and most importantly we teach them through our example. Doing what is right is almost never the same as doing what is easy. But doing what is right will keep our children, our Scouters, our volunteers, and our dedicated camp staff safe.
This is a difficult time, and we recognize that for many Scouts this decision leaves a hole in their summer plans and Scouting life. Know that we will reunite around a campfire again and shall quickly renew the bonds that we have forged, which are stronger than this distance. Scouting has endured for over a hundred years and has seen its flame kept safe in times of war, social and racial strife, and through struggles that threatened the very foundations of their communities. Now it is our turn. Now is our time to meet the challenge and to preserve our values and love of Scouting. We charge you to re-dedicate yourself to Scouting this summer and to keep its flame safe and secure.
We have already begun the task of establishing a refund process. We ask for your patience as we finalize procedures to work with the almost 800 fees we have collected to date. We will be following up with each family and Scouting unit to ensure that the refund procedures are communicated clearly to you in the next few days.
Let us end on a note of hope. While our camping programs have been cancelled, the Council leadership and Camp Directors are working hard to develop alternative programs for our Scouts. Based on emerging guidance from our health authorities, these programs could include webinar-based merit badge courses, virtual campfires, possible family camping, and other offerings designed to help you and your Scouting unit to continue your Scouting journey safely.
Until our paths meet again, we wish you good health and safety and continued success in Scouting.
Yours in Scouting,
Daniel Richardson David McAllister
President, Green Mountain Council Past-President, Green Mountain Council
Ed McCollin David Sem
Scout Executive VP of Camping, Frontiers Camp Director
Leslie Sanborn John Dyer
Council Commissioner Camp Sunrise Camp Director
Mt. Norris Camp Director