Covid-19 and Canyon Camp

Updated: Jun 15

Update 6/15/2021

Phase 5 Program Plan

Please see below for the email sent out today to all unit leaders as lead registrant for summer camp. We can't wait to see you this summer!

Dear Unit Leaders,

On June 11, 2021, the State of Illinois officially went into Phase 5 in their COVID-19 Mitigation plan. In the process, they announced that all youth summer camps in Illinois need to follow the published CDC guidelines. The guidelines change a number of things that directly apply to the Scouts BSA program offered at Canyon Camp. This has required the program schedule to be adjusted for Compliance. The current plan is a hybrid between the proposed Phase 4 and Phase 5 models presented to unit leaders during the May Unit Leader Zoom webinar. On June 14, the Blackhawk Area Council Risk Management Committee approved the plan. Below are the highlights:

  1. Scouts and leaders will be able to sleep two to a platform tent. The campsites will be set up to allow this. Please follow youth protection guidelines on assigning scouts to a tent. We also ask that if the Scouts are unvaccinated, they must sleep in opposite directions in the tent.

  2. Masks will not be required for Scouts and leaders when troops are more than 6 feet away from other troops. Additionally, Scouts and leaders will not need face masks when in the Aquatics program area or when showering. Masks will be required whenever scouts or leaders are within 6 feet of scouts from a different cohort.

  3. There will not be an organized shower schedule for troops in the showerhouse. Troops may shower when it best fits their schedule.

  4. Outside visitors will not be permitted to attend our Wednesday night’s program for the health and safety of all of our Scouts. There is not a way to guarantee that all visitors will be COVID-19 free, and for purposes of contract tracing and cohort-management, it would be too risky to allow a potential outbreak unless current guidelines change.

  5. If a Scout does show symptoms of COVID they will be quarantined until they can be picked up by a parent / guardian for a COVID test. Parents will be called to pick their child up to take them for the test and may only bring them back to camp with proof of a negative test.

  6. Sunday check-in for troops is between 12:45 PM and 2:30 PM. This is in place of having an assigned time as proposed under Phase 4 guidelines.

  7. Temperature checks will still be checked daily at the Dining Hall during meals.

  8. Each troop will remain its own cohort (no matter the size) however; troops will not be traveling as a group from area to area for merit badges. Scouts will be free to sign up for badges that they want to attend. Camp will be following the Phase 5 schedule found on the camp website. When the scout arrives at the merit badge, they will be assigned a seat with troop members sitting together and keeping a social distance from scouts from other troops. For this reason, even if activities are outside, all scouts and leaders will need to wear a mask during the session. It may be necessary to cap some classes. To make it fair to all Scouts, if there is a merit badge that exceeds the cap a random drawing will take place Sunday to insure that each scout has an equal chance to take the badge. If a Scout is not chosen for a badge, they will be allowed to sign up for an open badge. If there is a cap on Eagle required merit badges the first criteria that will be used is age and rank of the Scout. Every effort will be made to accommodate the needs of all Scouts. If a Scout has and would like to bring their own camp chair to a merit badge, they are invited to do so.

  9. To speed up the check-in process, troops are encouraged to work with your Scouts to fill out the attached program sign-up card for each Scout in the troop. For troops that do not do this, they will have to visit the program sign-up station at the Big Oak tree during Sunday check-in.

  10. Dining will still be outside in cohorts (by campsite) with Scouts and leaders eating together in their area. When the meal is over, Staff will join the troop to assist in clean up. Camp will now use regular dishes rather than disposables due to the recent guideline shift.

  11. There will be a capacity-restriction in place for the Trading Post to maintain social distancing.

We are looking forward to an exciting summer experience with your Scouts BSA troops. We apologize for the delay in communication; however, we needed to wait until the official guidelines were finalized and posted between the State of Illinois, Jo Daviess County, and the CDC. This allowed us to respond with an updated plan that would be approved by the Blackhawk Area Council Risk Management Team. Thank you for your patience, and we will see you all at camp very soon!

If you have any questions, please contact us at camp this summer at (815) 491-2175 or to Dick Reynolds via email at

Yours in Scouting,

Dick Reynolds

Lee Binkley

Seth Kannarr

Update 5/27/2021

Covid Guidebook Published

The Blackhawk Area Council has released its summer camp covid guidebook. An e-mail has been sent to all unit leaders as the lead registrant. Would you like to learn more? Click here to review a copy today! Providing a fun, safe experience for your Scout is our #1 priority. We can't wait for this summer!

Update 5/19/2021

Unit Leader Meeting Recap

On Sunday we held our first ever online Unit Leader Meeting! Thank you to those of you who were able to join. In case you missed it, we have the full recording available on our YouTube Channel here. Also, if you're looking just for the Slides from the presentation, we have uploaded those here. We are doing all that we can to "Be Prepared" for this summer. If we're in Phase 4, we will follow the plans in place within the State requirements we're given. If we reach Phase 5 by June 11 as the State has set as a goal, we will run a more typical summer program and we're excited to hopefully do so! Please do reach out at any time with questions you may have at See you soon!

Update 5/6/2021

Unit Leader Call and State Update

Two quick notes for you today, both are very exciting! If you haven't already, be sure to save the date for May 16 at 3:00 PM. Unit leaders will hear from our Camp Administration Team including co-camp directors Lee Binkley and Dick Reynolds alongside our Program Director Seth Kannarr. Important camp plans will be shared. An e-mail will be sent to all units registered for camp in the coming weeks with log-in information. As always, reach out to with any specific questions you may have.

Also, today the State of Illinois announced an expected change to Bridge Phase 4 and a goal to change to Phase 5 by June 11. We will continue to monitor this information and set plans in place for a safe, fun summer for you and your unit. As always, please contact us at any time at with any questions you may have.

Update 4/15/2021

Your Safe (and fun!) Summer at Canyon Camp

Additional updates below!

Update- 4/5/2021

Scouts BSA Summer Camp Update

Dear Troop Leadership,

The Canyon Camp Staff is very excited to have you join us at Canyon Camp this summer! As we move towards this special summer, we would like to give you, our troop leadership, an update on our current plans for a safe camping experience for all.

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 experience we have all learned and experienced many guidelines and mandates in our daily lives. Our summer experience will also require us to follow Illinois State mandates and mitigation plans. We are currently in Phase 4 which allows for overnight camping. As we move forward in this pandemic the science and guidance of professionals will help guide our delivery of the summer program to you.

Our camp and council’s COVID-19 task force, risk management committee, and professional staff continue to consider procedures and policies for summer camp. This includes everything from social distancing to sanitation procedures, mask mandates, group sizes, meal settings, campsite arrangements, and programming options.

We live by the Scouting motto of “Be Prepared.” Please note the following to help you be prepared!

  • Reminder: $50/Scout deadline is April 15. This can be paid online (3% convenience fee, over the phone, or through check by mail to our council service center). Full payment of summer fees will result in a nearly 15% discount per Scout.

  • A Unit Leader Pre-Camp Zoom meeting will be held online in late May to fully explain our plans for the operation of summer camp. This will give you the opportunity to ask and have your questions answered. Additional email information will be sent before and after the meeting leading into your camp week.

  • We are currently operating in Phase 4 of Illinois State Mitigations which allows overnight camping cohort style / pod programming (your troop will remain together while at camp). Please be prepared to bring your troop tents to supplement the tentage provided in the campsites. This will help us comply with the one person per tent restriction. Additional changes for dining and cooking will also be determined and announced.

  • As we finalize our procedures to adhere to the guidelines we will be in contact with more details.

  • Safety procedures will be in place with pre-screening prior to departing for camp, new arrival and check-in processes and more to ensure the safety of all.

  • We will do all we can to provide an adventurous summer for you, within the guidelines we're allowed, as we build upon the Spirit of Canyon Camp

The most difficult component is the delivery of programming under Phase 4. We have intentionally not made merit badge sign-up available at this time. The Illinois Phase designation for our June and July programming will be identified and announced the week of May 16th. We will communicate which program model we are permitted to use at that time. We are likely to have an in-person merit badge sign-up on Sundays as part of your unit’s check-in procedure.

Again, we will communicate the specific time and date of the Unit Leader pre-camp meeting as part of our April Update later this month.

The safety and well-being of campers is our number-one priority in our program planning. Although summer camp will look different than our traditional programming, we are thrilled to get back to camp and excited to see all of you soon!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at We will do our best to answer any questions and any concerns that we can with the current information available to us.

Yours in Scouting,

Dick Reynolds and Lee Binkley

Co-Camp Directors

Seth Kannarr

Program Director

Update- 3/18/2021

Overnight Camping has Returned!

The state of Illinois has officially allowed overnight camping again as part of the Phase 4 status of covid-19 mitigations. We are EXCITED to have you back at camp for unit overnight trips and summer camp in a few short months. Learn more about the BAC response here. Summer camp plans are well underway, and we can't wait to see you!

Update- 3/1/2021

Spring Update

We are approaching the one year anniversary of our pandemic response, and what an odd feeling it is looking back at our messaging in 2020. It is a major relief to be positioned where we are today as we prepare for summer camp season 2021. Inoculation has begun for much of the country and it's our hope those who want vaccines will have easy access to them even prior to our summer season physically begins. To that end, our planning process, or non-physical start of camp, is WELL underway! Many conversations are ongoing to determine the safest programming options available to you and your Scouts without sacrificing the outdoor experiences summer camp provides. At this time, April 15 is still our deposit deadline for units. Be sure to have your online information updated prior to April 15 and full-payments made for a discount.

Merit Badge information is being finalized for any potential adjustments needed. Additional updates will be made here and e-mailed to unit leaders in the coming days and weeks. Sleeping arrangements and dining hall procedures