March | April ’20: llamas, a pandemic & resilience

The month started off great – the theme was back to basics. And, our newest patrol met with our Troop Guide, Ethan to work on a patrol name, a patch, and learning some of the basics as they worked toward New Scout. They were quick decision makers, and after a few options were thrown around, they decided on a patrol name…the Flying Llamas.

Scouts signed up for upcoming trips to Resica Falls for our annual Iron Chef camping trip. The scouts were looking forward to camping on the beach and the patrols had their eyes on the coveted golden skillet. Six of our older scouts looked forward to spring break in April and their trip to Sea Base in Florida’s Out Island. Those heading to Florida successfully passed their swim tests and were getting things in order for the trip. And the troop was looking forward to ending April at West Point’s Camporee. Our newest Den Chief, Owen was meeting once a week with a local Den and everything was going great…

…until COVID-19 spread and we had a pandemic on our hands. By mid-March, schools were moving to remote learning, non-essential businesses were closed, large gatherings were halted and masks/gloves/hand sanitizers (and toilet paper) were in demand. On March 23rd our troop held it’s first successful online meeting. We had a great turnout from our scouts who logged in to Webex. Over the following weeks, the younger scouts logged on earlier to work with our our SPL and leaders to work on their rank requirements and at 8 p.m. the older scouts logged on to join the meeting. Each week we had a different theme – crazy hats, favorite sweatshirts, etc. Our SPL, Andrew even lead a scavenger hunt!

March 23 Troop meeting – our first online meeting with scouts logging on from all over northern Hunterdon County

The Scouts didn’t let the pandemic hold them back. They worked on merit badges – like Cooking and Public Health. Our Scoutmaster, Mr. Lutz works for NY Cities biggest health system, and shared stories of what work is like during this time, including how he helped set up the tent hospitals in Central Park.

Of course many of our plans were either canceled or postponed…the West Point Trip – canceled. Iron Chef will take place once things get back to normal! Sea Base in April – canceled (the Governor of Florida put in a mandate that anyone coming from the ‘hotbed’ zone of NY and NJ would have to do a mandatory quarantine for 14-days upon arrival in Florida). We’re working on rescheduling the trip at a later date – fingers crossed it happens, because we were really looking forward to it!