May 8, 2020
The Digital Eagle: Weekly Talon
Welcome to the May 8, 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.

May 8, 2020 Operations Update

GAC Operations Update, May 8, 2020

Based on the updates today by the State of Alabama non-work related gatherings which state:
" Effective May 11, 2020, all non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from households are prohibited"
We still recommend that Unit/District and Council in person group meetings of more than 10 people should not be held. Units will need to communicate with the chartered organization if planning on holding meetings, outings service project, and camping trips. It is imperative that the safety of our scouts and families come first and you meet all the guidelines related to maintaining a safe distance and disinfecting the meeting space. We recognize that each unit is different, each meeting space varies in size, the size of our units vary from 5-100 youth. So please use common sense, work with your leadership team, your chartered organization, and the families of the youth you serve, to make the best and safe decision for your unit.
Unit/District/Council Meetings and Events:
We encourage you to postpone meetings and continue virtual gatherings, utilizing conference calls or online video conferencing. Especially those meetings or activities that are difficult to maintain the social distancing guidelines. 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.
We plan on updating everyone on or before May 15th, 2020 on our plan for Day camp and Summer Camp operations.  
Thanks to each you for your work keeping scouting going.

A Message from our Scout Executive

We recently learned that many of the BSA High Adventure bases will not be able to offer programs in June because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Our heart goes out to each Scout and leader that has been impacted by this. Links to updates from each of our High Adventure Bases can be found below the video.

We are still evaluating the status of Day Camps and Summer Camps this summer, we will issue guidance on our June program schedule next Friday, May 15th.

Meanwhile, I have asked Roger Hoyt, General Manager of Philmont Scout Ranch, to deliver our video message to our Scouting family this week.

Thank you Roger for all you and your team do to provide the ultimate Scouting experience to so many.

Scouting Perseveres!
As we look forward to reopening our state, our Scoutreach team is anxious to deliver Scouting’s mission while keeping our families safe. Cub Scout Day Camp and scouting activities provide safe and educational programs for our youth, but things may need to look a little different this year. We are asking the hard questions of what is a safe space, what does transportation look like and do our scouts have food in their homes? We feel that it is more important now than ever to reach out and help, and we appreciate your thoughtful consideration of scouts in need.

The Greater Alabama Council is thankful for our Scoutreach program, program aides and community partners such as the United Way and United Giver’s Fund, Alabama Power Company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Iberia Bank, Protective Life Corporation, Regions, Timberline Management, the Birmingham Housing Authority, Huntsville Housing Authority, Birmingham City Schools, Anniston Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Mark's Village Housing Community and countless churches, civic groups, and others across our area. We work collaboratively to identify and remove barriers to participation, which is difficult in the best of times. The most important part of our success is the individual who gives their time and resources to help a lone scout.

Scoutreach depends on the power of good within all of us, and of course, Friends of Scouting such as yourself who dare to make a difference!   

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!
Beginning May 20th, the Huntsville and Birmingham Scout Shops will be open to serve you and your Scouting needs! They will have modified hours and a modified schedule, so please take note:

Tuesday-Friday: 10am-6pm
Saturday: 10am-2pm

Until May 20th, you can still 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.
Logo OA order of the arrow
Updates on the Order of the Arrow
By now, you have heard about the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) that was supposed to be this summer at Michigan State University. After much discussion with the Michigan Department of Public Health, Michigan State University, and members of various BSA Committees, the decision was reached to cancel the biennial event. There will be more information coming soon about an alternative event to take place later this summer. Please stay in touch on Coosa Lodge's web and Facebook pages.
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.