Coronavirus Update

BSA National Coronavirus Resource Page


May 21, 2020

Dear Occoneechee Council Scouting Family,

Thank you for your patience during these unparalleled times. We wanted to ensure that our youth members, staff, board, adult volunteers and community were safe and that we did our part in flattening the curve.

We are pleased to announce, effective June 1, 2020, we are lifting the existing orders which closed our service center, the scout shops and prohibited any in-person meetings and activities.

Please keep in mind as we begin to reassemble under Governor Cooper’s three phase plan to reopen North Carolina, we are currently within Phase 2. This means we need to adhere to the maximum gathering of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Therefore, decisions about unit meetings and activities should be made by unit leadership and chartering organizations based on the unit’s individual circumstances and current CDC and local health department guidelines. Units should check with their local charter organization or other organizations that provide meeting space to Scouting units to see what their current policy is.

We need to continue:

  • Wearing face masks
  • Waiting (Maintaining our 6 feet distance) responsibly
  • Washing our hands frequently

We will require that these procedures are followed while visiting the Raleigh Service Center and the Fayetteville Scout Shop in order to not only keep you safe and healthy, but our employees also.

If Governor Cooper revises his Phase 2 plan, we will be required to change our policy and follow the new guidelines. We will keep you informed if there are any changes.

As we enter into Phase 3, we will keep you posted on how it applies to us.

Thank you for your partnership in helping us keep our youth, volunteers, staff and community safe.

Scout On!
Charles L. Flowers


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dear Scout Leaders;

These are certainly unprecedented times for our council and Scouting in general. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic effect on how we all live and work and may continue to do so for some time to come. The health and safety of our Scouts, volunteers and staff is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution and in-depth discussions regarding our Summer Camp Program, we have decided to cancel our Scouts BSA Summer Camp and Cub/Webelos Summer Camp programs for this summer.

This decision was not reached easily and involved a lot of conversation amongst our Executive Board Members, Risk Management at National BSA, our Council Attorney, local physician and our Vice President of Program. Our primary goal has been and will always be to operate camp in the safest manner possible.

We understand that Scouts BSA troops have been unable to meet for several months and that leaders and Scouts are ready to have more than a virtual camp out. Many troops graduated Webelos, who came to only one meeting, before face to face meetings were suspended. In support of the Scout units, families and leaders of the Occoneechee Council, Camp Durant has developed, what we believe to be a Win/Win situation for everyone involved since Summer Camp is not an option.

So, beginning July 3rd and concluding August 3rd, we will be running a series of weekend troop events that will be supported by the Camp Durant program areas. These weekend unit camp outs will offer one day instruction for certain merit badges, primarily those that cannot be earned online, as well as unstructured activities that are available to everyone. The resources that we have at camp will make these weekends less stressful for leaders and more fun for scouts than just a normal troop weekend camp out. These weekend events will operate within the stated guidelines of the State of NC and the Moore County Health Department. We anticipate the following will be critical components of the safeguards for this camping opportunity:

  • social distancing
  • group sizes restricted to 50 and
  • strict sanitation strategies

Regarding sanitation, and other safety measures, we are currently planning to follow the same guidelines of the Summit Bechtel Reserve to operate our base program. If the Moore County Health Department adopts guidelines issued by the state that are more stringent, then they will become our primary guidelines.

Troops can use this opportunity to bring their Scouts together, fellowship and perhaps earn a merit badge. Troops are encouraged to use this trip to offer new scout skills in the campsite, as well as merit badges such as Cooking and Camping. Troops will be responsible for providing and cooking their own meals in the campsites, this will remove the challenge of social distancing in the dining hall. Each program area that is opened will be limited to 50 people. The scouts that sign up for a merit badge session will stay in that session all day. We will not be rotating to different sessions throughout the day.

Perhaps Camp Durant’s greatest strength lies in the staff that brings camp to life each summer. We will be hiring Senior Staff and Area Directors and the Camp Medic for each weekend. We believe that by doing this we can insure the succession of Senior Staff Leadership for the Summer of 2021. Like the Troops in our Councils, the staff needs this opportunity to come together before the normalcy of college and school come back into the picture in early August.

We look forward to seeing you at Camp Durant this summer.

Henry Goodson – Camping Director
Occoneechee Council, BSA


Update – Tuesday, May 5. 2020

During these unprecedented times, the safety of our youth members, staff, board, adult volunteers and community drives the difficult decisions we are making regarding Council operations. It is our desire to help slow the spread and flatten the curve while keeping you safe during these challenging times.

After careful consideration of Governor Cooper’s recent announcement concerning his three phase plan to reopen North Carolina because of COVID-19, we are extending our Service Center and Camp closures and all previous guidance on meetings until Monday, June 1st. Specifically, we will continue prohibiting all in-person Scouting meetings and activities of any type through June 1st. Please continue monitoring our Council’s website for program ideas to do at home.

Thank you for your patience and continued understanding. We will continue to update you as the situation develops. We appreciate your partnership in helping us keep our youth, volunteers, staff and community safe.

Scout On!
Charles L. Flowers
Scout Executive/CEO

 


Friday, April 24, 2020

Dear Occoneechee Council Scouting Family,
We hope you remain safe and are doing well during these challenging times.
We are inspired by our Scouts and Scouting families for their determination to continue Scouting during this Shelter-in Place.Whether it is virtual meetings and activities, making personal face masks or face shields for care providers, or delivering food to local hospitals and First Responders, Scouting continues to thrive and make a difference across the communities in our Council.
After Governor Cooper’s recent announcement concerning COVID-19 and for the safety of our youth members, staff, board, adult volunteers and community, we are extending our Service Center and Camp closures and all previous guidance on meetings until May 8th. Specifically, all in-person Scouting meetings and activities of any type remain prohibited through May 8th. Please continue monitoring our Council’s website for program ideas to do at home.
Thank you for your continued understanding. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops. We appreciate your partnership in helping us keep our youth, volunteers, staff and community safe.
Scout On!
Charles L. Flowers
Scout Executive

Thursday, April 16, 2020

How to order ranks and badges during COVID-19 shutdown.

Units that would like to purchase items related to rank or badge advancement, can follow the following steps.

1.    Unit Leader emails in the Advancement report (pdf format) to NDCSupply.Orders@Scouting.org

Advancement report MUST be generated from either Scoutbook, or Internet Advancement 2.0, only.

No hand written advancement reports.

2.    Include a contact phone number for our Customer Service Team to contact for payment, in email

3.    A Customer Service team member will contact the Unit Leader for credit card information, shipping and billing information, along with verifying the correct Council and Advancement.

4.    Advancement awards will be shipped out in approx. 1-3 business days, and the Advancement Report will be sent via E-mail so the Council has this documentation


Monday, April 13, 2020

BSA National COVID-19 FAQ



Monday, April 13, 2020

Request of Time Extension During COVID-19 Crisis

Time Extension Form – Occoneechee Only

In conjunction with the announcement from National this week, here are the procedures for a TIME EXTENSION REQUEST in Occoneechee Council pertaining to COVID-19.
All time extension requests, COVID-19 or otherwise, have to meet the five tests outlined in the Guide to Advancement 2019. Here they are, in abridged form for clarity and brevity. Notes pertaining to our council and/or specifically to COVID-19 are in CAPITAL LETTERS:
9.0.4.0 Time Extensions
If a youth foresees that, due to no fault or choice of his own, he will be unable to complete the Eagle Scout rank requirements before age 18, he may apply for a limited time extension…  When a time extension is requested, the Scout should continue working on the requirements as processing occurs…
The following five tests must be met:
1. The member (had enough time) joined to complete all requirements before turning 18.
2. A circumstance came to exist that now precludes completion before the deadline.
3. The circumstance is totally beyond the control of the youth member.
4. The circumstance is severe and not the norm of the Scout’s life.
5. The circumstance could not have been planned for or anticipated.
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9.0.4.1 Process for Submitting and Evaluating an Extension Request
1. The Scout, his parent or guardian, his unit leader, or a member of the unit committee may file the request.
It is preferred that the request be made by downloading and completing this form from the Council website.
2. The request must document the circumstances.
DOCUMENT THE SCOUT’S CIRCUMSTANCE — HIS DOB, WHEN HE MADE LIFE RANK, WHERE HE IS AT IN HIS TRAIL TO EAGLE (IS THE PROJECT THE HURDLE? IS IT MERIT BADGES?) WE WON’T NEED MUCH DOCUMENTATION ON THE COVID-19 SPREAD GIVEN ITS NOTORIETY.
3. The council advancement chair … two council advancement committee members who will research the request.
OUR RESEARCH TANDEM IS IN PLACE, AND HAS 3 YEARS EXPERIENCE RESEARCHING TIME EXTENSIONS.
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From the announcement from National via Bryan on Scouting this Wednesday (items in bold in the original are CAPITALIZED here due to Facebook posting standards) :
“BSA and its local councils will allow extensions for Life Scouts needing more time to finish their Eagle Scout requirements. The authority for councils to grant this extension is effective immediately and continues through Sept. 30, 2020.
Extensions also are available for Venturers needing to finish Summit Award requirements and Sea Scouts needing to finish Quartermaster Award requirements beyond their 21st birthday.
These extensions are reviewed case by case, and not all Scouts will qualify. To get an extension through a local council, Scouts must meet the following requirements:
1) It can be established that COVID-19 DISRUPTIONS WERE THE ONLY CIRCUMSTANCES THAT DELAYED WORK on Eagle Scout/Summit/Quartermaster advancement requirements, such as the service project or merit badges. If any other causes were involved, the extension request must go to the National Council following the process outlined in the Guide to Advancement.
2) Extensions shall only be granted to youth in Scouts BSA who have ALREADY ACHIEVED LIFE RANK.
3) When the council receives a COVID-19-related request for a time extension, the council reviews the request and approves it if appropriate. A written response stating the outcome of the extension request must go to the youth. IF APPROVED, THE NOTIFICATION MUST BE ATTACHED TO THE YOUTH’S EAGLE/SUMMIT/QUARTERMASTER RANK APPLICATION.
4) For Eagle, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 18th birthday; for Summit/Quartermaster, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 21st.
5) Upon turning 18, the Scout MUST SUBMIT A COMPLETED ADULT APPLICATION AND SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE YOUTH PROTECTION TRAINING. Their participant code will now be UP for SBSA or VP for Venturing and Sea Scouting.
6) Extension requests for more than 3 months beyond the youth’s 18th/21st birthday must be sent to the National Service Center following the process outlined in the GTA.
A note for council administrators: Once the council approves an extension, the council’s administrator will need to go into Member Manager to activate the COVID-19 extension. This will automatically add the three-month extension…
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Key points:
1) For COVID-19, the request for time extension will be evaluated in council, not at National.
2) If approved, the time extension is automatically 90 days.
3) Once the scout turns 18, he or she must register as an adult and complete Youth Protection training.
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We have worked closely with council and national leadership to provide you with the clearest understanding of these special procedures for COVID-19 time extensions. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact your district advancement chair or council advancement chair. We welcome the opportunity to assist our Eagle candidates in these uncertain times. Thank you and Good Scouting!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Eagle Scout Service Project Final Report Approvals During COVID-19 Crisis

For our Eagle Scout candidates in Occoneechee Council who have completed their Eagle Scout service project and are now completing the Project Report section of the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook (ESSPW). Here are the instructions for obtaining your final two approvals during the COVID-19 crisis.
You should continue to use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook that you used when you first proposed your project, and that you used when you planned and carried out your project. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MOVE YOUR WORK FROM ONE ESSPW FORMAT TO ANOTHER. It is an unnecessary expenditure of your time, and is not required by any district in our council, or by Occoneechee Council itself. Either the PDF fillable version of the ESSPW or a printed version of the ESSPW that you completed by hand is acceptable.
On Project Report Page C, there is a place for three signatures and two names. On the line where you sign, attesting that you were the leader of the project and executed it as outlined in your report, PLEASE SIGN AND DATE.
Below that, PLEASE FILL IN THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO IS SIGNING ON BEHALF OF YOUR PROJECT BENEFICIARY as well as the NAME OF YOUR UNIT LEADER. Those names will help your district confirm approvals when it comes time to schedule your Eagle Scout board of review.
For the two approvals (Project Beneficiary and Unit Leader), please obtain an APPROVAL EMAIL from each. The email from your Unit Leader and Project Beneficiary will serve as confirmation that they reviewed your finished project with you, and as stated in the Approvals section:
“In my opinion, this Eagle Scout service project meets Eagle Scout requirement 5, as stated on page 4 of this workbook.”
Once you’ve met with your project beneficiary and unit leader (by phone or video conference) and obtained an email from them signifying their approval, THAT’S IT! During this COVID-19 response, you do not have to scan or fax them a page to be signed, they don’t have to print the page and sign it, then scan or fax it back. In fact, we specifically do NOT want that to happen. It’s wasteful of your time, it puts a burden on others who may not own or have immediate access to both a printer and a scanner or fax machine, and it adds no value beyond the approval already signified by their email.
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Once you’ve obtained the EMAILS for your Project Report approval, please keep them in a safe place. Printing them and placing them with the rest of your workbook is best, as well as keeping them in a <saved> folder on your computer just in case.
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As a reminder, our council service center and Eagle Desk are closed, and will remain closed through April 30. In addition, Wake County (where the office is located) has enacted a stay-at-home order that takes effect at 5:00 PM today. While the final approvals are important, and while there is value in obtaining them promptly while events are still fresh in everyone’s memory, please don’t let this become a stressful thing when the world around you is already under stress.
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This special workaround is in effect in each of our Occoneechee Council districts, and each district is prepared to work with you to address questions or concerns you have as we navigate this unprecedented public health crisis.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Eagle Scout Service Project Approvals During COVID-19 Crisis

For our Eagle Scout candidates in Occoneechee Council who wish to prepare an Eagle Scout Service Project Proposal during the COVID-19 crisis, and who have not already obtained one or more approvals in preparation for meeting with your district Eagle board, here is the workaround that our council will implement to assist you.
You may continue to use either the PDF fillable version of the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook (ESSPW) or use a printed copy of the ESSPW that you complete by hand. If completed by hand, please be sure that it is legible.
For the first three approvals on Proposal Page E (your Unit Leader, Unit Committee Chair, and Project Beneficiary), please obtain these three APPROVALS by EMAIL. The email from your Unit Leader, Unit Committee and Project Beneficiary will serve as their confirmation that they have reviewed your project proposal with you, and that they approve what you have proposed.
If you have already obtained one or more of the approvals as a signature in your ESSPW, you do not need an email from that person.
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Please DO NOT use either one of the following methods as they are wasteful of your time, of the approvers’ time, and will eventually make things slower and more cumbersome at a district approval.
Please DO NOT scan the page, email it to your scoutmaster, have it printed and signed, then scanned by the SM and emailed back to you where you email it to your unit committee so they can print it, sign it, etc…. First, not everyone has both a printer and a scanner. Second, we did some testing using a default 200 dpi scanner and a household ink jet printer. By the time that page gets scanned, printed and scanned again four times, it’s almost illegible.
Please DO NOT scan the page and send separate copies to each of the three for approvals. Again, some may not own both a scanner and printer. And you’d just be obligating yourself and your district approver to keep track of three additional pieces of paper, with no benefit.
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Once you’ve obtained the EMAILS from the first three, simply contact your District Eagle board chair. He or she will advise you on how to forward those emails to the district to confirm the approvals. For approval purposes, nothing to scan or fax by the approver, nothing for you to have to scan or fax, or to print out. 100% electronic, simple and efficient, yet retaining the integrity of the approval process that provides you a foundation for success as you go forward with your Eagle Scout service project.
This special workaround is in effect in each of our Occoneechee Council districts, and each district is prepared to work with you to address any special challenges you encounter during this unprecedented public health crisis.
Good luck to our Eagle candidates, and Good Scouting!

 


Friday, April 3, 2020

Effective immediately, our Occoneechee Council Eagle Desk is CLOSED and will remain closed until May 1, 2020.
Wake County has issued a stay at home order that goes into effect Friday and will be in effect through April 17. As a result, the council service center is not only closed to the public, there will be no personnel on site.
For Eagle Scout candidates whose paperwork was in the pipeline prior to this week, we are putting plans in place for districts to conduct Eagle boards via video conference.
9 of our 10 districts were able to conduct their March Eagle boards in a traditional fashion, and the 10th has already scheduled its first videoconference Eagle board.
As a reminder, an Eagle Scout board of review can be conducted up to 3 months after the scout’s 18th birthday, no questions asked. And an additional three months is available to schedule the board if a letter of explanation is provided. These provisions are printed on the front of each Eagle Scout Rank Application.
IMPORTANT: Eagle Scout service project proposal reviews do not (normally) flow through the Eagle Desk. While we are having to identify workarounds for that review process, some of which may add an extra step, proposal reviews will not be stopped or significantly delayed as a result of the Eagle Desk being closed.
Please stay safe. Please follow the directives of our state government, our local governments, and those of our local council regarding Scout activities. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Good Scouting!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The camp card sale has been extended again until August 15.  Money from sales is due to council the week of August 17.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Dear Occoneechee Council Scouting Family,

First and foremost, I hope you are doing well and staying safe during this time of uncertainty. Our primary focus is to do our part to protect our youth members, staff, board, adult volunteers and community.

We are doing our best to limit the spread of COVID-19. To that end, effective Monday, March 23rd, be aware that within the Occoneechee Council the following policy is in effect until April 30, 2020:

  • No face to face meetings in the Occoneechee Council through April 30th
  • All in-person Scouting activities are canceled effective immediately through April 30th. This includes unit meetings (Troop, Pack, Crew, Patrol and Den meetings), campouts, activities, trips, Pinewood Derbies, Blue and Gold Dinners, in-person fundraisers, service projects, Court of Honors (including for Eagle Scouts), etc. There are no exceptions to this rule. Please continue to work with your Scouts via digital and electronic methods.
  • All in-person council-level and district-level events and meetings are canceled through April 30th. This includes Roundtables, district board and commissioner staff meeting, activities and training events, etc. There are no exceptions to this rule. Please continue to work with your Scouts via digital and electronic methods.
  • The Council Service Center and both the Raleigh and Fayetteville Scout Shops are closed through April 30th. Our staff will be working remotely and responding to all calls, emails and postal mail.
  • All Council Camps are closed through April 30th.

Below are some resources from ‘Bryan on Scouting’ to help you continue Scouting at home:

Bryan on Scouting: Scouting Remotely

Scouting Magazine’s Bryan on Scouting blog explores how some units across the country are using technology to meet and offers a few merit badges to consider working on.

Click Here!

Bryan on Scouting: Conducting Virtual Boards of Review 

Even though units can’t meet in person now, that doesn’t mean advancement has to stop. Here are tips on conducting a Board of Review using teleconference online.

Click Here!

Thank you for your understanding. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops. We appreciate your partnership in helping us keep our youth, volunteers, staff and community safe.

Charles Flowers
Scout Executive


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hello Scout Leaders:

We know that during this trying time, your priorities have shifted from the everyday issues and tasks.  Since all Scouts are out of school and looking for something to keep them occupied (and possibly the parents, too), they may be turning to Scouting for activities.  Camp cards are still currently on sale, and given the unique circumstances in which we find ourselves, we want to share some guidance and suggestions on how best to sell while maintaining the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations:

As a first step to address the changes brought on by the current situation, the Council has decided to move the turn in date for camp card sales to Friday, May 29th. We will continue to update our policy as more information becomes available and decisions are made.

Here are some ideas for alternate ways to sell:

  • Scouts should consider selling cards to their immediate and extended families.
  • While person to person sales are not currently recommended, Scouts may consider selling camp cards online or via social media and deliver via mail.

Recent studies have shown that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) may be able to survive on plastic for up to 72 hours. A recommendation is that each camp card sold be placed in a sealed envelope at least 3 days (72 hours) prior to mailing. (Source:  https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces)

Remind customers that cards can also be wiped with a disinfectant wipe (such as a Clorox wipe) as an additional safety precaution.

Yours in Scouting,

Alicia Embrey  |  Office Assistant


Tuesday, March 17, 2020 evening update

All Scout shops will be closed through March 31, 2020. They are tentatively re-opening on April 1st at 9 am.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Occoneechee Council Scouting Family,

There is no higher priority to me than the safety of our Scouts, Scouting families, volunteers and staff.

With the Executive Order announcement from Governor Cooper today and the rapidly escalating health concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the following is in effect beginning Tuesday, March 17th:

  • We will be offering reduced service at the Council Service Center through Monday, March 30. A small crew of our professional staff will continue to report to the Service Center while all others work remotely.   Note:  All will be available for our Scouting Family via telephone, video conferencing, or email.   Also, the Scout Shops will remain open until further notice.
  • Additionally, all district and council activities and events (indoor and outdoor) between now and March 30th are either cancelled, postponed, or will be conducted virtually. Please check with the respective event leadership for further guidance.  

These decisions (to offer reduced services and to cancel or postpone our events) were not made lightly. We are doing our part to try to limit the spread of the virus.

With regards to unit level activities (including meetings, outings, and other events), at this time the Occoneechee Council offers the following guidance:  If over 100 people anticipated to attend, cancel the event.  While individual Scouting units and chartering organizations have the ability to determine whether or not their regular meetings and activities should continue, safety should be the number one priority.  Please utilize guidance provided by your local authorities, school districts, and chartering organizations in determining whether to cancel your event or not.

Remember to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) .

Thank you for your vigilance and understanding.  We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops.  We appreciate your partnership in helping us keep our youth, volunteers and staff safe.

Bill Davis, Council President
Nick Long, Council Commissioner
Charles Flowers, Scout Executive


Thursday, March 12, 2020
The health and well-being of our Scouts, volunteer leaders, families, and staff continues to remain our number-one priority. As COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its impact continues to persist, we know we must maintain constant communication with you to address the growing concern by many in our communities.
As we all know, the information coming to us from state and national public health officials is fluid. So, we are discussing frequently all of our options. As the emphasis is currently on prevention strategies and protecting the overall public health of our communities, we have decided to change all council and district meetings from in person to conference call and/or video conference call. For example, in an effort to lead by example, our Council’s March Executive Board meeting has changed to this format. Additionally, all other indoor Council events and activities will be postponed and rescheduled for a later date and time effective tomorrow (Friday, 3/13/20).  Outdoor District and Council events, such as OA Spring Pow Wow, OA Webelos Day, and District Camporees in March are still taking place, at this time.
Decisions about unit meetings and activities should be made by unit leadership and chartering organizations based on the unit’s individual circumstances and current CDC and local health department guidelines. Units should check with their local charter organization or other organizations that provide meeting space to Scouting units to see what their current policy is.
Also, it’s important to note that additional information will be forthcoming to address future events and activities for our council and districts. We will be doing so based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation to reconsider hosting public events that could put our communities at risk.
We are cognizant of the effect this causes for those involved in these events. We appreciate your partnership in helping to address and mitigate this outbreak for all.
Bill Davis, Council President
Nick Long, Council Commissioner
Charles Flowers, Scout Executive
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