From: Jeff Hotchkiss, Catalina Council Scout Executive and Jack Winger, Camp Director for Camp Lawton 2020
Subject: May 25 Update on Camp Lawton for 2020
Though we have many constraints, we continue to plan for summer camp from July 5th through 11th.
With the help of volunteers, we are preparing Camp Lawton for summer camp. The focus has been on the mess hall, trading post, and kitchen and conducting a deep cleaning of these areas. We are also cleaning, disinfecting and storing our cooking and eating utensils.
We continue to work through many rapidly changing requirements from the government and the National BSA Council, but we are certain of one thing; the summer camp program of 2020 will be totally different than that of past years.
There have been several recent developments which we feel we need to share with you, and we will ask for your feedback which will weigh heavily on our GO/NO GO decision for camp on June 1st. Be aware that this information is a snapshot of our planning which is based upon what we know as of today. Things are changing rapidly as we receive updates from government agencies and the National BSA Council.
The following camp programs are eliminated:
- The Aquatics Program Area. This includes Swimming and Lifesaving Merit Badges. We are unable to operate the pool due to government restrictions.
- Rifle Shooting Merit Badge. A recent Forest Service memo prohibits “discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun” in the Coronado National Forest until July 31st. This includes Camp Lawton.
In addition, the National BSA Council has issued clearer guidance on the operation of all BSA summer camps. This guidance significantly impacts the operation of Camp Lawton. Some highlights of that guidance and our reactions to it are as follows:
- Social distancing will always be practiced during summer camp. Face coverings must be worn when practical.
- Camp bunks must be no closer than 6 feet. Our Adirondacks do not meet that criteria. We need to house our campers in individual Adirondacks. Those who overflow would need to sleep in tents with one Scout per tent.
- Campers will be organized into groups of 20 to 30 Scouts plus leaders. These groups are called “cohorts.” There will be multiple cohorts in camp. A cohort may be comprised of multiple units since we will have a variety of both large and small troops at camp. Once assigned to a cohort, a Scout or leader will stay with that cohort for the duration of the camp. Cohorts will camp, eat, and attend program areas together for the entire week while maintaining social distancing within the cohort. Cohorts will not interact. You, the Scout Leaders will, by necessity, play a major role in the movement and operation of each cohort.
- Each cohort will be scheduled to visit a camp program area for a specified time each day. During that visit, Scouts will work on one of several Merit Badges offered at that program area.
- Hand washing will be mandatory prior to entering and after leaving each program area. Items which are touched during instruction will be cleaned and sanitized between classes.
- We are exploring options for conducting Trail to First class instruction to our younger Scouts during camp. A stand-alone Trail to First Class area may not be feasible with the implementation of a cohort system.
- Dining will be done in shifts by cohort.
The US Forest Service is still under Phase 1 of its restrictions for the Coronado National Forest which includes Camp Lawton. There are three phases which regulate our camp activities. Among other rules, Phase 1 limits us to gatherings of 10 people or less within the camp while maintaining social distancing. Phase 2 restricts us to gatherings of not more than 50 people with social distancing. Phase 3 lifts limitations on group sizes but still requires social distancing. We have no indication of if or when the USFS will move from Phase 1 to Phase 2. We must be in Phase 3 in order to operate Camp Lawton. We have been and will continue to monitor this closely.
We are planning for camp through the current situation with the information we have. We feel we can conduct a safe camp based upon the guidance we have received to date. However, we will rely heavily on you, the leaders, to make this this camp work. Bear with us, its like trying to build an airplane while we are in flight.
Your feedback is especially important for us in order to make an informed decision on whether to go forward. A link is provided for you to provide your comments to us.
Keep on Scouting
Jeff and Jack