May 1, 2020
The Digital Eagle: Weekly Talon
Welcome to the May 1, 2020 edition of the Digital Eagle: Weekly Talon! This is a weekly publication of the Greater Alabama Council, BSA to help keep you and your family on the Scouting Trail.

A Message from our Scout Executive

Update on Greater Alabama “Back to Scouting” Operational Guidance.

May 1, 2020

Scout Service Center Operations in Birmingham and Huntsville.

Beginning Monday, May 4th we will reopen the Scout Service Center in Huntsville and Birmingham. We will operate with minimum staff in each office to make sure we keep our staff and visitors safe. 

We ask if you need to come by the any of our offices you please do the following:
·         As a courtesy to our staff and each other, please wear a mask while in the building.
·         Please check in with reception, keep social distancing in mind when you do so, and they will help you out. Please do not try to access different areas of the office without first checking in.
Scout Shops.

The Scout Shops will remain closed until May 20 th . Both of our Scout Shops are managed by the Supply Division of the Boy Scouts of America and they have indicated that the soonest they can open back will be May 20 th . When they reopen they will operate on a reduced schedule:

Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 2 pm
Camp Properties.
All Greater Alabama Council Camps will be closed until May 15 th . We are anxious for things to return to normal at our camps and camping activities. Many of you are wondering if we will be able to hold Day Camp and summer camp this summer. Our approach is to plan for camp to open but be prepared for a camping season that will be very different. Right now we are in a holding pattern. We are seeking guidance from state and local authorities. We anticipate that the Alabama Department of Public Health will issue guidance to organizations that operate Day Camps and Summer Camps. We are preparing for a shortened camp season, no camping season, or some sort of hybrid camping season. Obviously the safety of our Scouts, Scouters and Staff is the most important thing to all of us and that will drive our decision making process.

In accordance with the updated guidelines from the State of Alabama and with safety in mind the Greater Alabama council is strongly advising that in-person meetings, activities, events and gatherings of 10 or more people be suspended through May 15th. Before any meetings are started back make sure you have the permission of your Chartered Organization.
Please also follow any restrictions outlined by our state and local health department or other local officials.

Eagle Scout Projects and other service projects should be carefully evaluated and abide by the State of Alabama and local guidelines. 
If there is an issue with the Scout not having enough time to complete project before they turn 18, then the Council Advancement committee will grant an extension.

In accordance with the updated guidelines from the State of Alabama and with safety in mind the Greater Alabama council is postponing all district meetings and activities until after May 15 th .
There will be limited staff and volunteer meetings at the council and district level during this period; please continue to hold meetings by phone or video when possible. When holding face-to-face meeting’s make sure you continue to follow social distancing and other guidelines.

Scouting Perseveres!
For over 110 years the Boy Scouts of America has taught our nation’s youth to face adversity, overcome challenges and to do their best! We have faced the Spanish Flu, two world wars, terrorist attacks, and conflicts at home and abroad; now we are Scouting at Home due to the current pandemic. Our mission has not changed through all of this and we are proud to continue instilling values based upon the Scout Oath and Law.

This week Scouts across the Greater Alabama Council continued earning Merit Badge online and making summer plans. Our Scouts have also been quick to respond to Scouting for Food needs in their neighborhoods, and they have helped neighbors who are lonely, shut-in or who have experienced loss. We also have need within our scouting family, recognizing that youth who are most at-risk and who have the fewest resources quickly lose their support base. These scouts depend on program aides and trained adult mentors from outside their immediate neighborhood for continuity of service. We call this Scoutreach and many in this program do not have devices or internet access at home. Scouting’s outreach effort makes sure that every child has an opportunity to learn, grow and overcome life’s challenges through the time-tested programs of the Boy Scouts of America. It’s not a perfect program delivery system but it works because of those who believe in helping others.

Next week, we will highlight how Scoutreach impacts individuals and local families on the Giving Tuesday Now platform. We will share how scouting teaches perseverance and how a $25 donation will provide lunch for one Cub Scout for a week of day camp. Please check out #givingtuesdaynow on May 5 or DONATE NOW to help us deliver the Scouting promise!

National Camp-in kicks off tomorrow morning!

Join Scouts across the country for a day of adventure! From friendly competitions to campfire singalongs, this virtual event will bring the best parts of Scouting to life with activities all can enjoy from their living room or backyard. This event is open to all families, so invite your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to join the fun!
Merit Badge Pamphlets are now online!
As more and more merit badge classes are popping up online, Scouts need to have way to access the Merit Badge pamphlets for their classes. The BSA announced yesterday that available through the Kindle Library, there is a growing list of Merit Badge Pamphlets available for download! To learn more and see what pamphlets are available, follow the link below.
New Updates for Rank Advancement and Camping Requirements

During these unusual times, the BSA has sought ways to ensure that Scouts are able to make progress on rank advancement. To help spread the word, the BSA has published a series of FAQs. Updated recently, the FAQs now reflect temporary modifications to rank advancements and camping requirements. Click on the link below to go to the FAQ page .
Looking for ways to help keep the Scouting adventure going at home? The Greater Alabama Council has put together a web page where you can find 30 Day Challenges, Helpful hints and activities, and more! To access the page, just click on the button below and keep on Scouting!
National Scouting At Home Resource Page

During these uncertain times, Scouting offers a way for Scouts and their families to maintain sense of "normal". To assist with this, a new website has been published with multiple resources and activities for Scouts of any age. To learn more and further your at-home adventures, just click on the link below.

Do you need stuff from the Scout Shop? Don't worry, you can still get your supplies, including advancement items, straight from the Nation Supply division delivered to your front door! You can email Michele, our local territory manager, directly and she will help take care of your orders. Unfortunately, she won't be able to work with existing store accounts, but she can handle credit and debit card transactions. To fill your order, she needs:

>A list of the items needed (a general description will work)
>Name of Person receiving the order
>Address to ship to
>Phone number of person receiving order
For advancement purchases (all rank, merit badges, and palms):  

You must send a copy of the advancement report, the Scout Book report, OR Printed PDF completed with Unit and Scout’s information, as well as signed by leader.

Are you ready for the National Camp-in on May 2? If not, click on the banner image below to see gear options and take advantage of big savings!
Did you miss Digital Day Camp?
Did you miss the week of Digital Day Camp? Are you looking for a quick refresher on the bowline with Jack, Sailing Program Mate at the Florida Sea Base? Still trying to perfect your DVD/CD artwork? Want to learn more about the cleansing power of vulture poop? All of our Digital Day Camp videos can be found at the link below!

Every Scout Deserves a trained leader!
The Scouting program thrives with trained leaders, like you! Now is a great opportunity to refresh your skills, learn new methods, and update your training on things like Weather Hazards or Youth Protection Training. Click on the image to the left or the button below to take part in training that will help you be the best leader for our Scouts.