Editor’s note: This is one in a periodic series called Stepping Up, highlighting moments of compassion, duty and community in uncertain times. Have a story we should tell? Send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Stepping Up.”
The motto for Boy Scouts is “be prepared.”
That includes being ready for anything and adapting to circumstances, such as those presented by the coronavirus.
With campouts in the outdoors now not allowed, the Mount Baker Council, which has troops in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties, is hosting a virtual campout this weekend for Boy Scouts and their families. The goal is for it to be as much like camping as possible, from the food to the campfire.
Brian Lechner, senior development director of the Mount Baker Council, said he hopes to have 500 Boy Scouts participate via Facebook.
“There is really no telling how many people can show up online,” he said of the event, dubbed “Virtual CamporAll.”
The event starts at 4 p.m. with camp setup. Dinner starts at 6, with people encouraged to serve camp food. A virtual campfire will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. on Facebook, with prerecorded skits and songs by scouts. Then it is time for some s’mores or other dessert before sleeping in the yard.
A half-hour faith service Saturday at 7 a.m. concludes the local camp-in. The Boy Scouts of America will host a nationwide camp-in on Saturday.
“I think it’s extremely important to keep people interested in going forward, and with scouting, in particular,” Lechner said. “It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of other youth organizations doing very much right now. I think youth of our nation deserve something to get them going, especially in the climate we are in. And this is something they can look forward to.”
In another example of adapting with the times, the Mount Baker Council is adding a new option on the $10 Camp Cards (with discounts to local businesses) that it sells as a fundraiser. People can now buy them for people who are on the front line helping fight coronavirus.
“At the end of the sale, we are going to deliver them to hospitals, police stations and maybe grocery stores and thank them for everything they’ve done,” Lechner said.