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Grant Story: Gateway Area Council BSA – Shifting plans not values

January 9, 2022

Katie Berkedal, Program DirectorBy Katie Berkedal, Program Director

Boy Scouts of America, Gateway Area Council

A mission to withstand the test of time

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Just as the rest of the world has had to adjust to life during a pandemic, the scouts have had to do the same. Although difficult, program directors found that their youth members were able to pivot and adjust quickly to the new virtual programming that replaced in-person activities and events. Virtual programming included online merit badge classes, a virtual campfire for families to share songs/skits/stories, a virtual Pinewood Derby and a “scouting at home” patch program where youth could earn recognition by participating in programs at home.

Providing safe, in-person experiences

In the summer of 2020, with the help and guidance of the La Crosse County Health Department, State of Wisconsin, American Camp Association, and BSA National, a new program model was implemented to ensure a safe and successful summer camp experience. This model eliminated large group gatherings of campers, required masks for both youth and adults as well as mandatory health screening upon arrival, including a 14-day pre-attendance temperature and wellness log.

Overall, parents loved that their children had some normalcy back in their lives, stating “my son had so much fun in what has been a disjointed year,” and “the kids were able to have fun in a safe environment.”

LCF grant helps reduce the gap of revenue loss

As a result of the pandemic, key fundraising programs such as the annual popcorn sale, camping attendance, and fundraising special events were either canceled or shifted to virtual-platforms. This shift ultimately lead to a significant loss of revenue for the Gateway Area Council. An unrestricted grant from La Crosse Community Foundation was just one piece of a larger puzzle to help offset the loss of revenue in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Check out how you can help support our local Gateway Area Council here.