Chippewa Valley Council Boy Scouts provide safe summer experience for kids
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Friday marks the end of the summer camp season for the Chippewa Valley Council Boy Scouts.
With 70% of Boy Scout summer camps canceled across the country, scouts at Camp Phillips say they were able to enjoy a fun, safe experience this summer. For the last five weeks in Barron County, about a thousand scouts at Camp Phillips got a chance to forget about the stress in the world for awhile, all while learning life lessons and skills. Chippewa Valley Council Boy Scouts CEO Tim Molepske says Camp Phillips was the perfect place for scouts to be this summer.
“When you go camping, the whole purpose is to get out, get away from other people,” Molepske says. “We want to build young people into making moral and ethical choices over their lifetime. We do that through an outdoor experience and leadership. In that aspect, nothing changed.”
“For many of the scouts, this is their one chance to go away from home and to be out on their own and experience fun,” says Ken Johnson, scout master for Eau Claire Troop 175. “Especially this year more so than years past.”
Molepske says in order to make sure Camp Phillips could remain open, changes had to be made to how the camp operated. Some of the changes included requiring scouts and staff to wear a mask when social distancing wasn't an option, performing temperature and symptom check of scouts daily and encouraging scouts to wash their hands often. To ensure everyone was safe, Molepske says they also encouraged scouts and families to isolate before coming to camp.
“We had to cancel our first three weeks of camp to make sure we had all the safety protocols in place and met the health standards to make sure we gave a safe experience to all of our families who are coming out and visiting our camp,” he says.
In order to make sure scouts stayed healthy once at Camp Phillips, Johnson says they got rid of the dining hall, giving scouts a chance to social distance and learn a new skill.
“The in-camp cooking has been a great experience for our scouts,” Johnson says. “They’ve enjoyed learning new skills and being able to cook over an open fire or using a dutch oven to be able to cook their meals.”
The changes seemed to have worked. During the five weeks, Molepske says they did not have one single positive case of COVID-19. Johnson says he had no doubts about sending his children to camp this summer, despite the pandemic
“With knowing the extra steps and requirements the staff up here put in place to protect our children, I had full confidence sending them to camp,” Johnson says.
Molepske says the Chippewa Valley Council Boy Scouts are already planning for next summer.
“We learned a lot, even through the first week and made adjustments. Looking at next summer, we will have everything in place,” Molepske says. “We have a proven method now this summer that we could provide a fun, safe experience for the families that came out. We’re excited about it.”
If you’re interested in getting your child involved in the Chippewa Valley Council Boy Scouts, visit beascout.org.
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