March 27, 2020
The Digital Eagle: Weekly Talon
Welcome to the March 27, 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.

Update: Council/District/Unit activities and meetings
March 26, 2020

As communicated earlier we have postponed all district and council activities and have closed our council office and camps. As the number of cases continue to climb in our state we are adjusting our closure schedule. Our offices will remain closed to the public until April 17th and our camps are closed until May 1st. All district and council activities in April will be postponed to a later date.  We will evaluate each week and obviously will adjust this timeline as we go along and as needed.

With safety in mind and based on guidance from national health officials, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is strongly advising that in-person meetings, activities, events and gatherings of 10 or more people be suspended through the end of April. This applies to youth and adults out of an abundance of caution. Please also follow any restrictions outlined by your state and local health department or other local officials.  This includes Eagle Scout Projects, projects should be postponed, if there is a issue with the Scout not having enough time to complete project before they turn 18, then the Council Advancement committee will grant a extension.
Obviously this is an ongoing crisis and things are changing daily and weekly, we will continue to monitor and expand the timeline on this as needed. Use common sense and abide by all local shelter in place, curfew or other guidelines.

·          As federal, state and local officials have recommended no gatherings of 10 or more people, all district activities in this time period need to be postponed.  Units and their chartered organizations should follow suit.
·          There will be no face-to-face staff and volunteer meetings at the council and district level during this period; all such meetings should take place by phone or video call.
·          Remember that any electronic communication involving a youth member must adhere to BSA’s “two deep” leadership policies.
It is imperative that you postpone meetings or switch to virtual gatherings utilizing conference calls or online video conferencing. Keep in close contact with your unit and district leadership to understand what has been postponed or shifted online. Please consider ways you can move Scouting forward by using technology.
A Message from our Scout Executive

During the good times and the challenging times, we must turn to God and then to each other. In Scouting we believe in the importance of a Scout being reverent and a Scout’s Duty to God. During this time at home, we encourage each Scout and each Scouting family to explore ways to incorporate Duty to God in their daily life. This video has some ideas on how to do that. Also here are some links to other resources you may find helpful.

Keeping each of you, our community, nation, and world in our prayers.
Scouting at home
Scouting continues in homes and neighborhoods across the Greater Alabama Council as we all learn how to work within new public health guidelines for social distancing. Individual Scouts have shared how they are working to update their personal first-aid kits and camping gear. Scouts are learning by using their Scout Handbooks and Merit Badge Books as never before and urban hiking is providing physical fitness and a much needed break for many families. Your support of Scouting is more important than ever and a Friends of Scouting gift provides hope during this time when many families have doubt.  
Stay informed on the GAC's response to COVID-19
At the Greater Alabama Council, we take the health and safety of our Scouting Family seriously. We've created a separate webpage archiving all of our communications related to Novel COVID-19 as well as providing resources and information to help keep you and your family as informed as possible so you can keep on Scouting. To find the webpage, click the button below.
Got paperwork? We have a dropbox!

Do you have paperwork to turn in for advancement, recharter, or any other need? There is a dropbox at the Birmingham office that will be checked throughout the day. If this isn't convenient, you can always mail the paperwork to us at the Birmingham office where we will be able to process it to help you and your unit. We have ordered a dropbox for the Huntsville office, and we will send out a special notice on our social media platforms and through email when the Huntsville dropbox is in place and ready.

We do ask, however, if you are paying for recharters, Scout Cards, or any other payment, please use the postal service to deliver checks.

Greater Alabama Council
516 Liberty Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35242
Special Jamboree on the Internet!

School's been canceled. Restaurants are closed. Libraries are closed. The gym's closed. Scouts? Still going strong!

Join us on April 3-5 for an opportunity to talk with Scouts from around the world during a special Jamboree on the Internet! This is a truly rare opportunity for Scouts and Scouters to come together, share ideas about keeping Scouting moving during this unique time, and learn first-hand from Scouts in other parts of the world what is going on in their backyards.

This will help meet requirements for Cub Scout and Scouts BSA advancement opportunities, so be sure to document your JOTI participation for credit! To learn more, click on the button below.
Summer Camp Staff Opportunities

The Greater Alabama Council is seeking Scouts and Scouters to answer the call of service! We are currently seeking candidates to fill positions as counselors for the 2020 camping season at Camp Comer and Camp Sequoyah. Serving on camp staff is one of the most rewarding experiences in Scouting! Your efforts will make an impact on over a thousand Scouts this summer! Do you have what it takes?

For more information contact Council Camping Director Seth Hill by clicking the button below.
Online Advancement Opportunity!

The Greater Alabama Council is excited to announce the offering of nine online merit badges during the month of April for Scouts to work on from home. The below merit badges will be offered during April.

The merit badges below will be offered. Each class will last one hour each session for three days. You must attend all three days. Note: Game Design will be held for four days.

Entrepreneurship Merit Badge: April 1-3 @ 7:00PM
Personal Management Merit Badge: April 7-9 @ 3:00PM
Mammal Study Merit Badge: April 7-9 @ 11:00AM
Art Merit Badge: April 13-15 @ 1:00PM
Scouting Heritage Merit Badge I: April 13-15 @ 4:00PM
Game Design Merit Badge: April 21-24 @11:00AM
Communications Merit Badge: April 21-24 @ 3:00PM
American Labor Merit Badge: April 28-30 @ 10:30AM
Scouting Heritage Merit Badge II: April 28-30 @ 6:00PM

We are excited to launch our virtual merit badge classroom via Zoom. You will receive an email notification after signing-up with more information regarding the merit badge and classroom setting.  To register, please click on the link below.

Calling All Cub Families!

The Greater Alabama Council is pleased to introduce Cub Family Camp a new event geared to the whole family! Mark your calendars for July 23-26 at Comer Scout Reservation. Families will have a chance to enjoy a fun filled four-day/three-night camping experience with activities planned for both youth and parents! So load up the car and come to Lookout Mountain for fun and adventure for Cubs, siblings, and Mom and Dad!
Join us in Mentone for a family vacation you soon won’t forget!

Helpful hints from Scouts at home

Charlie from Riverchase submitted this helpful idea for ways to Scout at home:

"I think it would be fun to use the app Zoom to hold an at home scavenger hunt. This would be a good way for our troop to meet and have fun together. First you would send out a meeting invite, have all of the scouts log in on their phones, and the scoutmaster on his computer. The scoutmaster would call out item (e.g. a scout book), and the scout would be tasked with finding this item in their house and holding it up to their phones camera. The first person to find the item gets a point, and the person with the mot points at the end of the game wins a prize."

Thanks for the great idea, Charlie! Do you have an idea on how to keep Scouting at home? Mail us by clicking the link below, and be sure to copy your Scoutmaster and Parents on the email!
Merit Badge Madness

In the spirit of March and brackets, you have a chance to play "Merit Badge Madness"- a merit badge based bracket competition to find the most epic, most fun, and most exciting merit badge!

The game is simple: follow the link below, cast your votes, and get ready for the next round!

Big thanks to Chris, a Scouter from the Talakto District, for coming up with this fun game!
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.