Given that virtually all councils have either cancelled or reduced their summer camp programs during summer 2020, creating a situation where a high proportion of Scouts did not have the opportunity to attend an in-camp summer camp in 2020, a temporary provision to allow for “virtual” long term camping credit for OA eligibility is necessary.
The requirement for a long-term camp of five (5) consecutive nights is relaxed. While council long-term camps should be utilized if available, any combination of short-term and/or long-term nights, in camp or virtual, that are part of a BSA unit-organized unit camping event held within the two years prior to election may be counted toward the 15 night requirement. However, no more than five (5) nights of virtual camping are to be credited in any month in which government- or council-imposed COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
This virtual long-term camping authority is not meant to substitute for attendance at traditional council summer camp programs, but rather to provide an alternative for Scouts who fit in one of the two categories mentioned above.
The long-term camping changes are only in effect for the 2021 election cycle.
This change is in addition to the change announced earlier this year regarding virtual camping nights. From the National OA website:
Virtual camping (i.e., backyard or solo camping) may be counted toward the required nights of camping for OA election eligibility if all the following stipulations are met:
· To be counted, all virtual camping nights should be a direct result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and be part of a BSA unit-organized unit camping event (i.e., multiple members of the unit are involved and camping simultaneously at remote locations).
· Some form of unit-organized communications should occur either during or immediately following the event.
· All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines should be followed.
· No more than five (5) nights of virtual camping are to be credited in any month in which government- or council-imposed COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
These changes are in effect until further notice. Visit https://oa-bsa.org/coronavirus/temporary-camping-night-policy-due-covid-19 to read all the information available.