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Covid-19 & Eagle Projects Update

As of July 29, 2020 the State of North Carolina remains in phase 2 of the Safer at Home reopening plan. The policy of Occoneechee Council for in person activities, including Eagle projects, during phase 2 is outlined in Mr. Charles, Flowers’, the Occoneechee Council Scout Executive, communication dated May 21, 2020.  This communication was sent to all registered adult leaders in the Council and is linked here:

Note that all Eagle projects work sessions are official unit activities. As a reminder, two trained registered leaders are required at all activities.

As described in that communication:

  • “…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.”
  • Project workers should follow the “three W’s”
    • “Wearing face masks”
    • “Waiting (Maintaining our 6 feet distance) responsibly”
    • “Washing our hands frequently”
  • The ability to conduct Eagle Project work sessions is also dependent on the current status of the planned venue. For instance, some beneficiaries (e.g. schools, churches, parks) may have more stringent restrictions on access or group size at their facilities.
    •  As a result, candidates should ensure that access to any intended work site is allowed and any restrictions can be met before scheduling a work session. 

Virtual Merit Badge College

Calling all Merit Badge Counselors, we need your help!!

As some of you already know we are planning to offer a Virtual Merit Badge College (VMBC) this fall as the current pandemic has made hosting a traditional MBC quite problematic. The VMBC Steering Committee has created a venue for offering this VMBC through a series of group and 1-on-1 sessions using Google Classroom. Councils across the US have already started similar programs. Using research and guidance from National Scouts BSA and the Council’s merit badge history we have developed a list of those badges we believe will be appropriate for this learning venue.
As an Occoneechee Council registered Merit Badge Counselor we need your help in providing this program to our Scouts. We have developed a short presentation to tell you about our plans and answer most of your questions. Here\’s the presentation!
If you’re interested in joining this effort or have additional questions, please e-mail me at
Thank you!!
Bob Shelton
Chair VMBC Committee

Merit Badge Counselors must renew in April

A reminder to all Scouts BSA adult leaders:

ALL merit badge counselors must re-register annually in the month of April. Every registered leader should have received a message with the procedure via ScoutBook at the beginning of the month. In the event that you did not receive the message:

There is a special electronic procedure in place during the covid-19 necessitated shutdown of the Council office.

You can obtain the procedure at this link:

Existing counselors need to do the following:

  • Complete the merit badge selection form:
  • Scan or save the completed form as a pdf.
  • If you have not already done so, complete a Background check authorization
    • Do this ONLY IF you have not already completed the authorization for a position for which you (re)registered in January.
  • Ensure that your YPT is current/up-to-date.
  • Submit the completed merit badge selection form, a copy of your YPT certificate and the background check authorization (if needed) to the Council Registrar (

In addition to the above new merit badge counselors must:

  • Complete an adult application for the merit badge counselor position even if you are registered for another position.
  • Complete Merit Badge Counselor training. This course is available online through the myscouting training site.

Please forward this message to all current or prospective merit badge counselors associated with your unit.

Yours in Scouting,

Steven G Blanchard
Chair, Shakori District Advancement Committee
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 820
Council Executive Board
Occoneechee Council, B.S.A.
1903 Fountain Ridge Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Temporary changes to Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class requirements

The National Covid-19 FAQ at this link: were updated this morning, April 13, 2020.

Temporary changes designed to allow Scouts the ability to complete to some requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class by video conferencing are available through September 1, 2020.  The complete text is quoted here:

“Q: What changes have been made to rank advancement/camping requirements given the need to maintain social distancing during this time?
We have implemented temporary changes, detailed below, to allow Scouts to complete rank requirements, detailed below, by video conferencing through September 1, 2020. This deadline will be re-evaluated as needed.
The goal when using video conferencing must be to preserve the ideals and intent of each requirement as best as possible. Scoutmasters or their designee(s) should remain mindful of the Methods of Scouting, such as the Patrol Method, before implementing the modified requirements listed below. Some advancement activities can be completed by video conferencing but not all. For example, virtual visits to a city council meeting, national historic landmarks, museums, and art galleries may be acceptable, but swimming, rifle shooting, and motorboating merit badges cannot be completed virtually.
Even when using video conferencing, all virtual campouts and activities should consist of as many elements found on a normal outdoor campout or activity as possible. The most significant difference is that patrol or troop members are not all in the same location. All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines must be followed.
Tenderfoot rank requirements
1b. – Virtual patrol or troop campouts via video conferencing will be permitted.
2a. – During the same day as your virtual patrol or troop campout, assist in preparing one meal with the help of those with whom you live. Tell your patrol or troop why it was important for each person to share in meal preparation and cleanup.
2b. – During the same day as your virtual campout, demonstrate the appropriate method of safely cleaning items used to prepare, serve and eat a meal.
5a. – Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Verbally commit to following the buddy system on your next troop or patrol outing.
7a. – Tell how to display, raise, lower, and fold the U.S. flag.
Second Class rank requirements:
1a & 1c. – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted. 
3b. – Using a compass and map together, plan a 5-mile hike approved by your adult leader.
4. – Evidence of wild animals can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
5c. – May be completed virtually via video conferencing on dry land.
7c. – Learn about the dangers of using drugs, alcohol and tobacco and other practices that could be harmful to your health. Discuss what you learned with your family and explain the dangers of substance addictions. Report to your Scoutmaster or other adult leader in your troop about which parts of the Scout Oath and Scout Law relate to what you learned.
8a. – May be completed virtually using video conferencing.
8d. – May be completed by comparing costs at three (3) online sites or locations.
First Class rank requirements:
1a – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.
2e. – On the same day as your virtual campout, serve as the cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in First Class requirement 2a. Supervise the cleanup.
4a. – By drawing, computer software, or other virtual methods, plan an orienteering course that would cover at least one mile. Explain why measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.) is helpful. Explain how you would complete your course using a real map and compass.
4b. – Scouts do not need to follow their route.
5a. – Evidence of native plants can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
6e. – May be completed on dry land.
9a. – Visit may take place virtually or by phone.
9c. – Outings can include past or future plans.
10. – Invite the potential new member to a virtual meeting or future activity using video conferencing.”

Yours in Scouting,

Steven G Blanchard
Chair, Shakori District Advancement Committee
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 820
Council Executive Board
Occoneechee Council, B.S.A.
1903 Fountain Ridge Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27517


CoVid-19 related Time Extension Requests for work on Eagle Scout

Important note: In the interest of keeping this communication to a reasonable length, significant details are referenced below and in the hyperlinked documents. If you, or a Scout in your unit, is affected please read the entire message and all of the referenced text before proceeding.

In Occoneechee Council the procedure to request an extension is as follows:

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 in the form of a letter that is signed and dated by the author.
2. The request must document the circumstances. Relevant information to include:

  • Unit

  • Date of birth

  • Date Life Scout was earned

  • Where is the Scout on the Trial to Eagle? What are the hurdle(s): The project? Specific Merit Badges? Given the situation with Covid-19 the team won’t need extensive documentation, but please be complete.

3. Submit the request to Mr. Ed Miller, the Council Advancement Committee Chair at CC Bill Stonecypher, the Shakori Eagle Chair ( and Steve Blanchard, Shakori Advancement Chair(

4. A subcommittee of two council advancement committee members with three years experience in evaluating Time Extensions will evaluate the request. The Scout will be notified of the decision.

Requirements to qualify for a time Extension – From: Bryan on Scouting March 25, 2020

“Normally granted only in rare circumstances, the 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.”

Additional references:

For additional questions you may contact

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