By Bernie Kilcoyn     6/9/2020

Earlier this month the Boy Scouts of America hosted a national Camp-In day, presented live on Facebook. Thousands of American scouting families, including the Orange County Council, participated in the 7-hour event that unfolded in backyards across the country. 

The day started with participants setting up their campsites in backyards. Where weather was inclement or space not available, some set up inside homes, with makeshift tents built with chairs holding up large blankets. A list of needed equipment was listed on the BSA website and demonstration for setting up a tent was provided live online. Coleman, one of the sponsors of the event, offered camping gear prizes, including tent, cooler, sleeping bags and kick back chairs for the photo of the best outdoors campsite and indoor campsite.   

Next came the virtual 5K walk (16,404 steps), or as much exercise as participants could manage. The hiking could occur indoors, standing stationary, counting the steps or walks around the neighborhood while practicing safe social distancing. A walk bib was available for download for the participants to put their number on. The hike was also tied to a Covid-19 fundraiser, allowing participants to voluntarily make donations online to Feed America. One hundred percent of the donations go directly to Feed America. 

Preparing a meal for lunch was next in the timeline. Cooking with Life Scout Evan Robinson, who demonstrated recipes for cheesy pull-aparts and three sauces, lemon garlic aioli, spicy ketchup and honey mustard. Recipes were provided ahead of time for the participants to download so they could gather the ingredients and follow Evan along as he prepared each dish. 

Movie making was the next topic of the Camp-In. This segment featured Grammy Award-winning director/producer Francis Lawrence; “Captain Marvel” costume supervisor Jessica Pazdernik; and Shannon McIntosh, producer and production manager, known for “Once Upon A Time.” Francis Lawrence took participants behind the scenes of various Hollywood sets to see how they were made and shared some of the secrets of lighting a scene. Jessica provided a follow-along activity of developing a six-panel storyboard of a movie theme. Campers were encouraged to develop their own six-panel storyboard. Shannon explained how studios shoot separate scenes and piece the movie together to reflect a finished product. 

Next was a 30-minute presentation and Q&A with NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock who spent 178 days in space on the space station.  

There was a camper activity on how to build a flashlight using household items like the cardboard paper towel tube, wire, a flashlight bulb, duct tape and batteries, while campers waited for the next guest speaker. 

That speaker was Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. Steve spoke about how he became interested in building computers while in high school and as he shared his computer topics with the older scouts, the younger scouts worked on STEM projects. 

A group of five Team Eagle members provided survival tips, types of clothing, how to pack light and the process for layering to cover a variety of issues you may encounter while on a hike.  

There was even a digital campfire. The scene for this campfire was the backyard of scout husband and wife volunteers and was recorded on Facebook Live.  Finally, the event closed with the campfire and taps, played by Life Scout Alex Saldana, who was featured on NBC nightly news for his acts of service: playing taps for the deaths of 37 veterans who had passed away at a New Jersey Veterans Hospital. 

The digital Camp-In served as a fun substitute for the usual hikes, camp outs and events that usually make up the scouting experience. Scouting families were able to share a day of learning and fun and improve their skills while practicing safe social distancing at home.