Hawkeye Area Council to resume scout camps this summer, adding sessions for non-scouts

Published: Jan. 24, 2021 at 10:37 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - After last summer’s camps at Howard H. Cherry Scout Reservation near Central City were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawkeye Area Council said it is pushing ahead with plans to hold camp this summer.

“We have a very good group of volunteers and staff that, this is really their one, main priority right now, is to make sure that we can hold camp and we can hold it in a safe manner for everyone,” Hawkeye Area Council CEO Sarah Dawson said.

In anticipation of camps resuming across the country this summer, the CDC has put out suggestions for how to safely run them, including prioritizing outdoor activities and keeping group sizes small.

Dawson said their safety measures could include reducing the number of campers at each session and campsite, among other steps.

“More sanitation in between times,” Dawson said. “We’re doing our food service probably differently, as far as we won’t have everyone in the dining hall at the same time, and we’ll probably do a lot more of those grab-and-go lunches, where you wouldn’t actually be inside, eating with everyone.”

Hawkeye Area Council — the Boy Scouts of America council serving Linn, Johnson, Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones, and Washington counties — held a few weekend events over the summer and in the fall that Dawson says clued them in on how to put on summer camp, which includes both day camp and overnight resident camp sessions.

“The nice thing is, we have 500 acres, and we’re planning to use all of them so we can be really spaced out,” Dawson said.

In the past, these camps have only been open to Boy Scouts and served as a time for them to earn their advancements.

But for the first time, the council will offer an overnight camp this summer for boys and girls who aren’t scouts.

“Just really go out and have some fun and get away from those screens and things that they’ve been staring at — Zoom — for the past year,” Dawson said.

While they’re moving forward with plans to hold camp this summer, Dawson said those plans are still flexible and could change in the coming months.

“We are designing plans A, B, C, D, through about Z right now to make sure that we have — we’re looking at all options, and no matter what happens and what stage we’re at, that we’ll still be able to hold things safely,” Dawson said.

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