Council Response to COVID-19

Montana Council

Updated August 26, 2020 – Montana council is doing what it can to keep up to date with the rapidly changing information and safety recommendations concerning COVID-19. In an effort to help you find the most recent information, we will update this page as information becomes available. We recommend referencing the Montana DPHHS and the CDC for additional and specific coronavirus information.


Updated Aug 26, 2020

Updates have been made to address Scouts BSA advancement requirements that are scheduled to expire in September 2020. We are in the process of updating these changes in Scoutbook. These updates will address Rank requirements, Camping merit badge along with a request for time extensions.

Updated May 15, 2020

All councils, chartered partners and units are expected to comply with the guidelines provided by local and state health departments to implement the appropriate protocols to help keep our members, volunteers, and employees safe.

As a reminder, during Phase One, the Office of the Governor, State of Montana, is mandating all individuals, apart from members of a household, should:

  • When in public (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others.
  • Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to Montana guidelines regarding quarantine.

Please take these precautions – along with other recommendations listed in the Governor’s directive and by the CDC – when determining the appropriate structure of Scouting activities. These guidelines also include camping, hiking and any other outdoor activity.


2020 Summer Camp Update

Montana Council has taken every consideration in determining how to move forward carefully, safely and thoroughly regarding 2020 council summer camps. We are and continue to weigh health department recommendations, government protocols and financial responsibilities to create a plan for the summer. All of this is done with the health and safety of our Scouts, volunteers, Scouters and staff is our utmost concern.

First and foremost, the state must be in Phase 2 of reopening. We recognize we must be flexible as new information and recommendations come to light. It is with that in mind that we move forward with the following plan.

<LEARN MORE>


Updated May 4, 2020

Store Hours & Access

Curbside pickup will be available through Missoula, Great Falls and Billings stores starting Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Please call or email your local store to make special arrangements for pickup and payment.

Montana Council Service Center & Scout Store Great Falls
Phone: 406-761-6000
BSAgreatfallsstore@scouting.org

Billings Field Office & Scout Store 
Phone: 406-259-4513
BSAbillingsstore@scouting.org

Missoula Field Office & Scout Store
Phone: 406-926-1810
BSAmissoulastore@scouting.org

The Bozeman Store will remain closed. Those customers will need to contact one of the other stores for mail service. Thank you for your patience.

You may also call (406) 541-1009. Thank you for your understanding.


Updated April 14, 2020

BSA Modified Requirements for Covid-19. Virtual campouts count for BSA Advancement until September 1, 2020.

COVID-19 FAQ
The most recent updates are indicated by a diamond in front of the question.


Updated April 3, 2020

National Statement on COVID-19

As always, the safety of our Scouts, volunteers, employees and communities is our top priority. 

As we monitor and adjust to the ever-changing Coronavirus pandemic, we must uphold our promise to help other people at all times. Today, that means continuing to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19which is now present in all 50 states.  

Updated Guidance: The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) strongly advise that in-person meetings, activities, events and gatherings be suspended through April. 

Here are the current resources to help you continue Scouting at home.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: In-Person Unit Activities, Camping This Summer &  Advancement


Updated March 27, 2020

Montana Council Office Closures due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the safety of our employees, volunteers, and participants, the Montana Council shall support local government and community efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have updated office operations due to recent Stay-at-Home orders. More information regarding these orders is available at: Civic Alerts online

As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both locally and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Council Headquarters and Field Offices
The Great Falls Headquarters and Field Offices in Billings, Bozeman and Missoula, and all camp properties are closed until at least April 10, 2020. We will continue to share updates through email, social media, and our website.

The Council is still here to support Scouting. Likewise, council governance will continue. Our office staff will be working from home and email is the recommended form of outreach with any questions. Contact information for your district team is available on our website. Following is a list of office support staff detailing what they can help you with.

Scout Shops
Our Scout Shops are also working on solutions to continue to provide services and support and fulfill orders. Please reach Deb Kovalicky directly with any questions at deb.kovalicky@scouting.org or 406-544-7850.

Activities and Events
“Keep Scouting Going!” We strongly encourage that districts, units, and council committees consider using technology to continue with as many of their normally scheduled meetings and events as possible through at least April 10, 2020. ZOOM is one FREE resource available for virtual meetings. The FREE option hosts up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes.

Social distancing is critically important, and so is the need for Scouting to continue.  Many units are utilizing these virtual options, and the Montana Council is directing all face to face gatherings to cease until further notice.

There are still many opportunities to continue Scouting activities. One option for Cub Scouts is the 30-Day Cub Scout Challenge. This is a great way to keep your Scouting skills sharp without leaving home. Daily checklists provide an opportunity for adventure and ideas to achieve elective requirements. Visit our website for details and other ideas.

We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Yours in Scouting,

Dirk Smith – Scout Executive/CEO


Updated March 23, 2020

Questions and Answers: Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouting, Rank Advancement and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The following questions regarding advancement have arisen as we deal with closures, cancellations, or other issues caused by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Although there are difficulties and constraints, advancement can continue. Youth, parents, and leaders should work together to implement creative, common sense ways to facilitate advancement while adhering to the Guide to Safe Scouting and following the rules of Youth Protection training.

Read: COVID-19 Questions and Answers


Updated March 17, 2020

All Montana Scout stores and offices will be closed through April 1, 2020, due to COVID-19. Safety and health are our utmost concerns. If you are in need of items in our store, please send an email to one of the four store email addresses listed below and we will contact you in regards to your needs. You may also call (406) 541-1009. Thank you for your understanding.

Montana Council Service Center & Scout Store 
BSAgreatfallsstore@scouting.org

Billings Field Office & Scout Store 
BSAbillingsstore@scouting.org

Bozeman Field Office & Scout Store
BSAbozemanstore@scouting.org

Missoula Field Office & Scout Store
BSAmissoulastore@scouting.org


Current known postponed and canceled events:

  • Sporting Clays for Scouting, April 25, Billings : Postponed
  • ICL Breakfast, Kalispell : Cancelled
  • ICL Reception, Lewistown : Cancelled
  • ICL Reception, Hamilton : Cancelled
  • Merit Badge University, March 21, Helena : Cancelled
  • Billings Scout Show, March 21 : Cancelled
  • Hi-Line Adult Pinewood Derby, April 4 : Postponed
  • Bitterroot ICL, April 8 : Cancelled

March 16, 2020

Subject: Montana Council Office Closures due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the safety of our employees, volunteers, and participants, the Montana Council shall support local government and community efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. After thoughtful consideration, the following will be implemented and/or recommendations have been updated regarding our Council. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both locally and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following information regarding local events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change.

Council Offices and Scout Stores

Effective immediately, the Great Falls Headquarters, Billings Field Office, Bozeman Field Office and Missoula Field Office and all Camp Properties are closed to non-employees. In addition, all employees who can work remotely are encouraged to do so until April 1.  We will provide more information on operational support in the near future.

IS THE SCOUT SHOP CLOSING?

The Scout Shops at all offices will also be closing in conjunction with the public access office closure. This Scout Shop is also working on solutions to continue to provide services and support. Orders can be placed during this time and we will do our best to process them as soon as possible.

BSAbozemanstore@scouting.org 
BSAmissoulastore@scouting.org
BSAgreatfallsstore@scouting.org
BSAbillingsstore@scouting.org 
For questions or additional information, call: 406.541.1009.

Status of Council Events

All in-person council & district events, activities, and meetings of 10 people or more should be canceled and/or postponed through at least April 30, 2020. This decision has been made from an abundance of caution and concern for the health of our Scouts, Scouters, and their families.

We are strongly urging units to follow these same guidelines; protect your Scouts, leaders and families to the best of your ability. The final decision on continued unit activities, including fundraising and camp card sales, will be the responsibility of the unit committee in consultation with their chartered organization and, in some cases, their meeting facilities until such time as new guidance is issued by the CDC. We encourage your unit committee to plan for and take the opportunity to utilize virtual options as listed below.

ZOOM for Virtual Meetings

We strongly encourage that districts, units, and council committees consider using technology to continue with as many of their normally scheduled meetings and events as possible. ZOOM is one FREE resource available for virtual meetings. The FREE option hosts up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes.

Lastly, we need your financial help. Many of the events where we raise money for Scouting have been paused and may not happen. You can help our council during this tough time by making a gift at the link below.

We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Yours in Scouting,

Chuck Eubank – Council President
Gary Ely – Council Commissioner
Dirk Smith – Scout Executive/CEO
Jory Dellinger – Deputy Scout Executive/COO


Updated March 15, 2020

While not the message we would have enjoyed sending on “Montana Council Day” (3.15) as always, your safety and the safety of all members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, could affect planned activities and events related to local Scouting programs in Montana. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both locally and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following information regarding local events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change. We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Status of Council Events

After much discussion and consideration, it has been decided that all in-person Council & District events, activities, and meetings of 50 people or more from March 14 to April 30, 2020, will be postponed or canceled. This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health of our Scouts, Scouters, and their families.

This includes Merit Badge Universities, Camps, Fundraisers, District events, Meetings and Activities.  At this time, Council Convention in Missoula is still a go on May 1, but will be evaluated as the date approaches.

Status of Unit Activities & Events

We strongly encourage that districts, units, and council committees consider using technology to continue with as many of their normally scheduled meetings and events as possible. Free or low-cost options include Free Conference Call, Skype, and Google Hangouts.

The final decision on continued unit activities will be the responsibility of the unit committee in consultation with their chartered organization and, in some cases, their meeting facilities until such time as new guidance is issued by the CDC. Decisions can currently be based on your needs and circumstances. You may reference the following resources to make a decision regarding attending any public or Scouting activity:

Montana Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guidance for Businesses and Employers – CDC

Risk Assessment Guidance – CDC

Event Refunds

For events that are canceled outright, we are in the process of reviewing our council refund policy. Given the number of events, and that many events have already incurred substantial costs for supplies and reservation fees, it may be difficult to issue full refunds. Our team is working to determine what is possible.

If you are able to do so, please consider not requesting a refund and allowing your registration fee to support Scouting. This will help us offset the costs and lost income from canceled events.

We strongly encourage that districts, units, and council committees consider using technology to continue with as many of their normally scheduled meetings and events as possible.

Status of Summer Programs

Currently, all summer programming – day camps, summer camps, etc. – will continue as planned.

Status of Council Facilities

At this time, all offices and Scout Shops are open for business. If you are coming to visit a staff member, please consider calling instead.  All gatherings at these locations are suspended until further notice.

We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Yours in Scouting,

Chuck Eubank – Council President
Gary Ely – Council Commissioner
Dirk Smith – Scout Executive/CEO
Jory Dellinger – Deputy Scout Executive/COO