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Local Boy Scouts of America troop makes do with the distance of COVID-19 health measures.

COURTESY PHOTO: TED STONECLIFFE - The scouts went on an outing to Mirror LakeAt a time when school is at home and most gathering spaces are closed, many kids are without an outlet.

Boy Scouts of America Troop 221 has been that outlet for a group of Lake Oswego boys.

Scoutmaster Ted Stonecliffe said the troop has been the link to the outside world for the boys during the pandemic.

"Ever since March we have been very creative in trying to keep our troop going," he said.

The scouts are able to congregate because of the precautions they take as a troop.

They always wear masks and meet outdoors when possible. Stonecliffe said they also practice the three S's: screening, sanitation and social distancing.

"Those are really important to us and important to the families that are participating as well," he said.

Stonecliffe said the screening involves a series of questions about exposure to the virus and a temperature check. COURTESY PHOTO: TED STONECLIFFE - The scouts visited Wildwood Trail in Washington Park's Hoyt Arboretum

"We've been doing a lot of outdoor activities," he said. The troop recently took a trip to Sandy River to go fishing. They've also done walks in Washington Park and to Pittock Mansion.

Up until the recent statewide "pause," the group had every other meeting on Zoom. Now all their meetings are on Zoom and Stonecliffe said the Zoom meetings go better than one might expect.

These "virtual outings" consist of a 90-minute session where the scouts work on skills like first aid and compass work in breakout rooms. Then they switch over to making dinner together over Zoom. One night they even had a brownie-making competition and played virtual games together.

Stonecliffe said these meetings allow them to form friendships and learn responsibilities along the way.

He said they emphasize leadership in the troop and each scout gets to practice responsibility by running meetings or running service projects.

"We try to give those opportunities even in our virtual experiences," he said.

Aside from their regular meeting, the scouts also do monthly adventures like fishing, hiking or helping a prospective Eagle Scout with their service project.

They recently had a successful overnight outing to Mount Hood. Stonecliffe said the outing took more work and time commitment from parents than years prior because the scouts couldn't carpool. Each scout had to be brought to the campsite by their parents on day one and picked up on day two. And each scout has to sleep in their own tent.

"It's been really worth it; the kids have been having fun," Stonecliffe said.

For more information on how your child can get involved, visit their website.


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