WMass Scouting Updates on our COVID-19 response

As of June 22, 2020, the Western Massachusetts Council has lifed the suspension on all in-person unit, district, and council activities as outlined within Restarting Scouting in WMC Resources (July 27 update) and the Massachusetts Child and Youth Serving Programs Reopen Approach Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety.

 

Council communications regarding COVID-19 impacts are further below on this webpage.


Council & District Event Status

Please refer to our Online Calendar Events for current information.


 

 


Meetings and Travel Decision Guidance

BSA Guidance Document

BSA Safety Moments: Communicable Desease Prevention


Monday, June 22, 2020

Dear Western Massachusetts Council Scout Family, 

As always, we hope this finds you and your family well. Your safety and the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees continues to be the Boy Scouts of America’s top priority. Thank you for making the safety of your Scouts and Scouters, their families, and the members of your chartering organization's community a priority with your commitment to Scouting at Home these past three months.

As of June 22, 2020, the Western Massachusetts Council has lifting the suspension on all in-person unit, district, and council activities as outlined below and within Restarting Scouting in WMC Resources.

Trading Posts

  • Westfield Trading Post is open for in-store shopping with new hours.
  • Pittsfield Trading Post is open for in-store shopping with the same hours.
  • Moses Trading Post remains open online for shipping only. (An option for online purchasing with in-store pickup at a later time in Westfield and Pittsfield is being explored.)

Scout Service Center Offices

  • Westfield Service Center is open for employees and limited visitors, by appointment only. Employee hours may be modified where necessary due to shared enclosed workspace and may continue to include telework hours.
  • Pittsfield Service Center is open for regular hours with limited visitors.

Unit Scouting Activities and Meetings

  • Units may resume in-person unit Scouting activities after receiving written Chartered Organization authorization (ie. email, letter) that clearly indicates if they do or do not have their own restrictions or guidelines in addition to federal, state, and local requirements.
  • The chartering organization and unit leadership (committee and adult leaders) share full responsibility for ensuring all of the unit’s in-person Scouting activities comply with the minimum health and safety requirements of the chartering organization and federal, state and local governments.
  • Units must implement a pre-event medical screening procedure for all youth and adult participants to be maintained for at least 21-days for contact tracing purposes.
  • Overnight activities are not permitted at this time.

Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation

  • The camp property opens on Friday, June 26, 2020 for limited day use activities, such as hiking and fishing, by either small Scout groups or Scout families for Scouting at Home activities.
  • Visitors will be expected to log in and out in a binder at the Manor House, to include group contact information and a verification that a pre-event medical screening was completed and will be maintained for at least 21-days for contact tracing purposes.
  • Overnight activities are not permitted at this time.

Council and District Activities and Meetings

  • Decisions authorizing individual District and Council events during phase 2, that meet group size requirements, will be made in writing by the professional staff, in consultation with the Council Key 3 and chairpersons of the specific events.

We hope all our Scouting families stay healthy and positive in our current environment and join us in preparing for the upcoming Scouting program year.  

Yours in Scouting,

Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President
Joshua D. Hall | Council Commissioner
Gary Savignano | Scout Executive

Friday, June 20, 2020

Update on Trading Post Hours: Both Trading Posts will be be open starting Monday 6/22/20!

We have decided to make the following changes in our normal business hours in order to keep our customers safe and healthy. These changes will allow us more time to thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas. We ask that you wear personal protective equipment during your visit, masks and sanitizer will be provided if you do not have any. We thank you for all your support during this tough time, stay safe and we will see you soon!

Westfield Service Center & Trading Post, 1 Arch Road, Suite 5, Westfield, MA 01085 - (413) 594-9196 ext. 7005

  • Monday: 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM
  • Tuesday - Friday: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday: Closed 

Berkshire Service Center & Trading Post, 141 North Street, Suite 101, Pittsfield, MA 01201, (413) 594-9196 ext. 7018

  • Monday - Friday: 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Our Service Centers, Trading Posts, and Camp facilities will continue to be closed to customers and the public through at least Reopening Massachusetts Phase 1.

All in-person unit, district, and council activities will continue to be suspended through at least Reopening Massachusetts Phase 1, with virtual and Scouting At Home activities to continue.

Changes to these policies will continue to be announced on our www.wmascouting.org website and then by email and social media. The state's Reopening Massachusetts materials for phase 2 and beyond are being reviewed to determine when and how these policies will be modified, with additional guidance and protocols to come.

Look for registration information soon for the Council Wide Virtual Roundtable scheduled for Monday, June 1 at 7 pm via Zoom. The opening program will include the most up to date information from the Council and all three Districts.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dear Western Massachusetts Council Summer Camp Community, 
 
First and foremost, we hope this finds you and your family well. It goes without saying that we are living through an unprecedented and concerning time. As always, your safety and the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is the Boy Scouts of America’s top priority.  
 
It is with great regret we inform you that the Western Massachusetts Council will not operate in-person summer camp programs for the 2020 season as a result of significant uncertainties regarding the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, we simply do not have enough timely, clear, and data-driven guidance to safely operate summer camp with the quality program that you would expect from the Council during this global health pandemic. 
 
We had hoped to be the “Beacon in the Storm” for our Scouts this summer. Unfortunately, we now recognize that operating camp in the current environment would pose an unacceptable threat to our campers, adult leaders, and camp staff, especially those who may be classified in one or more of the high-risk categories. 
 
While nothing can replace the excitement and fun of our camp experiences, we are excited to announce a collaboration with the Connecticut Rivers Council to offer Camp Kinda-Like-A (tinyurl.com/kinda-like-a) as an innovative alternative experience providing traditional summer camp programs in a virtual setting. We are also planning to offer a variety of fall weekend programs at our Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation, in addition to our Woronoco Heights Outdoor Adventures. Find out more about the 10-weeks of summer programs at the Camp Kickoff on Saturday, May 30th – meeting details to be announced soon. 
 
Our council and staff are saddened that we are not able to serve you at the Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation and in Lenox this summer. This is an extraordinarily challenging time; unlike anything we have experienced. Our hope is we all emerge from this moment stronger than before. Most importantly, we look forward to providing the full range of Scouting programs, including outdoor adventures, as soon as we can and as the situation allows. 
 
There are sure to be questions unanswered in this message. Therefore, separate communications are being sent to the primary contact listed on each individual or unit reservation outlining the process and options for reallocating or refunding all prepaid camp fees, our campership recipients about usage at Camp Kind-A-Like-A, and our incredible camp staff. 
 
If you have questions that are not answered in these communications or on the website, please feel free to contact Greg Williams, at 413-594-9196 x7004 or greg.williams@scouting.org
 
We hope all our Scouting families stay healthy and positive in our current environment and join us in preparing for future great summer camp experiences in the Western Massachusetts Council.  
 
Yours in Scouting,
 
Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President
Sam Everett | Council Commissioner
Gary Savignano | Scout Executive

Friday, May 1, 2020

Summer Camp Status

As of May 1 our summer camp team is continuing forward with our plans to Be Prepared with high quality and safe programs at all our scheduled camps. Our next planned update is scheduled for May 15.
 
We are meeting weekly with a team of National BSA staff and council camp specialists, while monitoring the guidance of our federal, state, and local governments and health departments. Specific federal and state guidance for summer camps is anticipated soon. We will communicate any changes to our camps plans as soon as possible.

Registration, Payment and Refund Adjustments due to COVID-19

Our planning and evaluation rely greatly on pre-registration numbers, which we acknowledge has been difficult with recent logistical and financial challenges related to COVID-19. Therefore,

  • Early Bird rate camp registrations and deposits will continue to be honored through May 31.
  • Full payment deadlines are extended to 14 calendar days prior to the start of your camp week.
  • Campership Financial Assistance applications will continue to be accepted and considered through May 1 while funds remain available (Note: in lieu of the required unit leader’s signature, unit leaders will be contacted directly for a phone or email approval by council staff).
  • The status of our 2020 camp programs are being carefully considered on the 1st and 15th of each month. The safety of all our campers, volunteers, and employees is our top priority.
  • Camp Refunds
    • All prepaid fees for council-made cancellations will be fully refunded within 30 calendar days of the cancellation.
    • All prepaid fees for camper-made cancellations made in writing 30 calendar days or more prior to the start of camp week will be fully refunded.
    • At this time, though under review for reconsideration prior to June 1, camper-made cancellations within 30 calendar days of the start of camp week are only eligible for a refund, minus the deposit, if one of the following is met.
      • The family moves out of Council.
      • The death of an immediate family member.
      • The registered participant has an illness or physical injury for which a healthcare practitioner provides a signed statement prohibiting participation in the event.
      • Additional reasons that do not involve choice will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
    • Registration fees can be transferred to another person attending with the same unit for the same event in the same year.

Event Postponement and Cancellation Decisions

Event postponement and cancellation decisions are being updated, as they are decided, on our website in two locations, listed below, and then later communicated via e-newsletter and social media.

  1. WMC Scouting Updates on COVID-19 and Events
  2. WMC Online Calendar

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dear Scouting Family,

We hope that you are staying safe and well. We continue to monitor developments regarding COVID-19, both locally and nationally within our organization, as well as through state and federal agencies.

The ban on all council, district, and unit in-person gatherings, as well as the closure of the Council Service Centers, Trading Posts, and Camp, has been extended through at least May 4 to protect our youth and adults and help stop the spread of the virus. Given the fluid nature of the situation, this will be extended, reduced, or lifted to be consistent with the current guidance from our local, state, and federal officials.

This means every in-person face-to-face Scouting interaction is prohibited, such as: program activities, unit meetings, roundtables, committee meetings, boards of review, Courts of Honor (including for Eagle Scouts), patrol and den meetings, service projects, and fundraisers. As a reminder, our guidance supersedes all other Scouting guidance, including the Boy Scouts of America National Office. Should any guidance from your chartered organization or your local community or health department be more restrictive, follow that guidance.

We understand that this is not the news any of us want to hear, but it is necessary and in the best interest of our families and communities. We all want to resume our planned Scouting activities, but only when is appropriate to do so. If we all do our part to stop the spread, we will all be better off.

The status of in-person Scouting events past May 4th is being evaluated on a rolling 30-days minimum basis by the professional staff and the chairperson of each event. The safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. Additional considerations include, but are not limited to local, state and federal agency guidance; BSA guidance; facility availability; purchasing and contractual timelines; pre-registration information; training, licensing, and permit requirements; and input from planning committees and other stakeholders.

Event postponement and cancellation decisions are being updated, as they are decided, on our website in two locations, listed below, and then later communicated via e-newsletter and social media.

  1. WMC Scouting Updates on COVID-19 and Events
  2. WMC Online Calendar

All prepaid fees for council events cancelled as a result of COVID-19 will be fully refunded within 30 calendar days of the cancellation. Refunds of fees collected by the council for cancelled district, national, and any other organization’s events will occur, according to their refund policies, within 30 calendar days of the council receiving notice of the cancellation and the event’s refund policies.

For impacted camp reservations, the contact person listed on the reservation will be contacted by council staff to either reschedule the reservation or arrange for a fee credit or refund.

NYLT and Summer Camp continue to be optimistically planned, though regularly evaluated, with the encouragement and support of BSA National Leadership. Our planning and evaluation rely greatly on pre-registration numbers, which we acknowledge has been difficult with recent logistical and financial challenges. Therefore,

  • Early Bird rate camp registrations and deposits will continue to be honored through May 31.
  • Full payment deadlines are extended to 14 calendar days prior to the start of your camp week.
  • Campership Financial Assistance applications will continue to be accepted and considered through May 1 while funds remain available (Note: in lieu of the required unit leader’s signature, unit leaders will be contacted directly for a phone or email approval by council staff).

We are excited and encouraged by how many of you are finding creative ways to continue Scouting remotely. We hope that you have seen both the WMC and BSA Scouting at Home webpages and are finding them helpful. If you have ideas or resources for us to consider, send them to wmascouting@scouting.org or share them on our Facebook page. If you have questions on our COVID-19 efforts, please email wmascouting@scouting.org.

Yours in Scouting,
 

Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President
Sam Everett | Council Commissioner
Gary Savignano | Scout Executive

 

Sunday, March 14, 2020

We are reaching out to our Scouting units, leaders and committees. We find ourselves in unprecedented times as a society today dealing with COVID-19. This situation has towns, communities, states and our nation facing tough questions of what to do and how to handle this situation. Locally, many schools and businesses have already closed with more closing daily. What does that mean for our Scouting units in small towns and in our urban settings? What does that mean for Pack Pinewood Derbies and Pack or Troop meetings? All good questions!
 
As a council, we have decided to postpone all council related business by closing our Westfield and Pittsfield offices and both Trading Posts until April 1. Based on local school closings and the state of emergency imposed by our Governor, we feel that this is the most prudent and safest thing to do at this time. We will reassess at the end of the month and decide at that point as to when we will go back to normal operating hours.
 
We strongly recommend that all units postpone any Den, Troop, Pack, Crew and Ship meetings, committee meetings or any large unit outings, and follow the decision that the Western Massachusetts Council has made and reassess the situation at the end of the month.
 
The safety of our Scouting family is first and foremost in our minds with this decision and, given what we know, this is the safest path forward for all involved.
 
Does this mean Scouting has to stop during this time? NO! Scouts can continue to work through their Cub/Scout handbooks. Families can spend positive time together, and even take hikes as a family, play board games and do other Scouting activities. We will be posting on our Facebook different ideas of things families can do. We also want to hear what your families are doing during this time so please communicate your great ideas on our Facebook page. Our Executive Board will continue to meet virtually and we recommend that you utilize technology to continue Scouting locally.
 
Again, the safety of our Scouting family is our first priority, and we look forward to coming through this stronger than before.
 
Yours in Scouting,
 
Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President
Sam Everett | Council Commissioner
Gary Savignano | Scout Executive

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear Scouting Family,

As always, your safety and the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, could affect local Scouting programs in the Western Massachusetts Council. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both locally and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following information regarding events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, the information provided below is subject to change. We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Status of Council Events

Currently, some council and district events and activities have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Changes to this status will be communicated through our website and Constant Contact email newsletter, as well as through our social media channels. We encourage committee and roundtable meetings to be run electronically as webinars, and the chairs of these meetings should contact Greg Williams if they need help setting up conference calls and/or online meetings.

You may monitor our event updates here: https://www.wmascouting.org/COVID-19.

Decisions about Troop, Pack, Crew and Post unit meetings and activities will be made by the leadership of those units with input from the chartering organizations based on the unit’s individual circumstances and current CDC and local health department guidelines. Decisions about upcoming District and Council events will be made by the professional staff in consultation with the Council Key 3, Executive Committee, and chair-persons of the specific events.

BSA Polices to Prevent the Spread of Illness

The Boy Scouts of America continues to have policies and procedures in place that help protect participants from contracting an illness at large Scouting events. These include the Annual Health and Medical Record and the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist.

Everyday Preventive Measures

Even with those important policies in place, it is critical that we all take these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Stay home when you feel sick. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after doing so.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve/elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Do not share personal items such as cups, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate yourself and not attend any Scouting events. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Should you have any questions, concerns, or updates about a specific upcoming event or activity, please reach out to our local council program director:

Greg A. Williams: 413-594-9196 ext. 7004, greg.williams@scouting.org

We will do everything we can to answer your question using the information available to us.

Yours in Scouting,

Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President

Sam Everett | Council Commissioner

Gary Savignano | Scout Executive