We wanted to take a moment and explain why the Board and Executive Staff made the difficult decision to close K-M for the remainder of the season (2 weeks).
Last week, we received word that an adult and youth at camp were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. They were sent to town and tested positive for the virus.
Immediately, we dispatched the Fergus County Health Department who administered additional tests at which point an additional 6 persons tested positive. Under the guidance of our Council Health Officer and the Fergus County Health Department, we decided to close for week 3 of Scouts BSA camp and additionally would re-evaluate for week 4 of Scouts BSA at the end of this week.
In the meantime, two of our staff members mentioned feeling symptoms of COVID 19 on Sunday afternoon. Testing facilities were not available to us until Monday. We quarantined these individuals and their tent-mates to be safe.
Lastly, we were informed of a forest fire that started Sunday afternoon less than 15 miles from the Scout camp. The Fergus County Fire Marshal suggested that we be cautious as the North Moccasin mountains are extremely dry and are due for a large-scale fire event. Today that fire (Taylor Fire) is more than 20,000 acres and moves towards camp from time to time with the wind.
Council Leadership and Camp Leadership had a meeting to discuss these factors and decided with input from the health department, our council medical officer and the Fergus country Fire personnel that the best course of action to ensure the health and safety of our Scouts and Scouters were to close week 4 of Summer camp and begin the process of sheltering our tents and materials if the fire moves closer.
This was not an easy decision and financially will impact the council significantly. We are refunding the participation fees for all attending units and in addition, have agreed to pay all summer camp staff through the end of their scheduled contract.
This is not the way we wanted summer camp to end. Even as we type this letter, we are disappointed that we were unable to offer the full summer camp experience for the final two weeks at camp. Rest assured, we will do everything in our power to protect youth and the adults that we serve. We hope that this communication helps clear the air. In addition, we will work with you in any way possible to help redirect or reset your reservations for the next possible opportunity.
This is a fire season like none other. We hope and pray that you all remain safe and secure in your homes during this difficult time.
In Good Scouting,
Key 4 – Montana Council BSA