Monthly Archives: February 2021

Eagle Scouts Hiking Appalachian Trail

Ryan Arndt, Garrett Arndt and Tyler Bishop, all Eagle Scouts from Troop 436 in Long Valley, recently embarked on hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

The three Eagle Scouts, along with a friend, Eli Shepard, decided to take a gap year and hike the Appalachian Trail. Starting at the trailhead in Hiawassee, Ga., they began the 2,190-mile hike to Maine. It’s estimated that it will take them five months to complete the hike.

If anyone wishes to follow their adventure, they can be found on Instagram: appalachiantrail_2021.

The guys experienced their first ‘Trail Angel’ and were served homemade blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, and coffee! What a treat! Thanks so much to these awesome volunteers!


Stay Safe and Stay Healthy

An updated COVID-19 pre-event medical screening checklist (Revised December 2020) is available to help you determine whether to stay home or not during the pandemic. It shares symptoms to look for as well as defines “close contact.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, “close contact” means:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period
  • You had direct physical contact with an infected person
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • An infected person sneezed, coughed or otherwise got respiratory droplets on you

If any one of these happened to you prior to a Scouting event, stay home.

This checklist includes symptoms to look out for. If anyone in your household experiences any of these symptoms prior to an event, everyone in the household must stay home. Even if you think your symptoms are the result of allergies, stay home.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fever of 100 degrees or greater
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

You should also stay home if you’ve had a COVID-19 test and are awaiting results. The virus can affect people differently; you can experience multiple symptoms or none.

Symptoms and close contact aren’t the only considerations you should take into account before meeting. National’s COVID-19 page provides a Restart Scouting Checklist, which provides guidance on group sizes, travel, and dining and tenting protocols. Review these pages and also check local and state COVID-19 guidelines. In case of an injury or illness, promptly report the incident, including COVID-19 exposures. Utilize Incident Reporting Resources, including COVID-19 instructions.

The COVID-19 FAQs page has also been updated this month to include additional guidance on advancement and extensions.

Again, if you are experiencing symptoms or are awaiting COVID-19 test results, don’t attend any meeting or activity. When you meet, wear a face covering that covers your mouth and nose, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, and wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Black River Klondike Draws More Than 300

On January 30, the Black River District Klondike Derby was held at Winnebago Scout Reservation. Over 300 Scouts and their leaders enjoyed a beautiful, Artic-cold sunny day with enough snow on the ground to pull sleds and add to the feeling of a traditional Klondike.

Although the Scouts were confined to their sites during the day due to COVID-19 restrictions, everyone had a great time practicing their Scout skills and competing in a friendly way. Troop leaders acted as the judges, or mayors,  for their patrols.

This year’s Klondike was a critical program event the Scouts needed more than ever to get them outdoors to practice Scout skills, and provided a much-needed escape from growing COVID-19 fatigue and virtual Scout meetings.

Special thanks to Klondike team members Larry Gersten, Howard Gordon and District Chairman Dave Curtis, who adjusted the program content and agenda to meet current COVID-19 restrictions. The Black River District also would like to thank the following for their support of the event, and assistance with parking logistics and temperature checks at arrival, including Council Commissioner Archer Jones, District Commissioner Howard Wolkow,  and DOC members Jay Deboey, Pete Mullaney, Beth Draper, Mary Ann Simonenko, and Bill Stroh, who served as EMT for the day.

Sussex Scouts Get Outside for Klondike Fun

The Sussex District Klondike was held at Camp Somers at Mount Allamuchy Scout Reservation on January 30.  Thirteen troops with over 200 Scouts, Webelos and adult leaders participated in the event.

Scout troops were assigned to campsites and the “mayors” rotated to the sites to maintain cohort integrity under current COVID-19 restrictions. Rather than focus on the normal “competition” associated with the traditional Klondike, units performed the various tasks to the best of their ability in their sites.

Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and all units had a great opportunity to get outside, to exhibit their Scouting skills, and to have some fun.

The Klondike was chaired by Bob Reidmiller and Jeff Winkler, and was supported by many other volunteers.

FOS Campaign Offers Unit Recognition

The 2021 Friends of Scouting (FOS) campaign recently announced its Progressive Recognition Program for Units.

Support of the campaign through a unit’s campaign will add benefits to the unit in 2021.

Three levels of recognition are offered:

Friend of Scouting
Patron of Scouting
Benefactors of Scouting

For additional information, click here.

Scoutbook’s Leader Invite Process to Change

Effective March 1, 2021, Scoutbook’s leader invite process will perform a check for a BSA issued Member ID and active BSA registration when being invited to connect with the unit roster.

Prior to March 1, unit leaders should check their rosters in Member Manager at to ensure all adult leaders listed in Scoutbook are also registered on the official roster or otherwise with the BSA.

Action should be taken with the local council to ensure all adult leaders are registered with the BSA.