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story.lead_photo.caption Executive director for the Great Rivers Council Scouts John Fabsits talked about what the scouts had to do during COVID-19, what they're doing now and where the council sees the program in the future.

At this week's Rotary Club meeting, executive director of the Great Rivers Council Scouts John Fabsits gave an update on what the scouts have been doing and where they plan to go in the future.

COVID-19 made it difficult for the scouts to meet, as with many things. But leaders thought it was important for the Scouts to be able to continue with their progress — so they went virtual.

Scouts continued to give back through service projects and collecting food donations which helped them stay active within their community. And though the usual camping trip was out of the question, everyone hopped on their computers for an eight to nine hour virtual camping experience with the help of YouTube.

But then as things started to open back up, leaders started looking at different health and safety precautions to put in place in order to host an in-person summer camp. The Great Rivers Council was one out of the 60 camps that opened last summer out of Lake of the Ozarks.

"Attendance was down," Fabsits said. "But we thought they needed to open for the Scouts so they could have that outlet."

The camp at the Lake of the Ozarks, Scout Reservation, has been open since 1965. It's located near Laurie at mile marker 44. There's 450 acres and 1.5 miles of shore line for the Scouts to learn, have fun and associate with other Scouts.

With a multitude of activities available, Scouts are able to have a summer full of adventure from archery to water skiing to scuba to robotics and even woodworking and welding.

They are currently adding to the camp. Under construction is a skills and trades building that will offer things like auto mechanics, farm mechanics, electrical, plumbing and more. The idea behind it is to help Scouts develop skills they can use in the work force. As of right now, construction is thought to be done around September.

This camp offers so much, but the Great Rivers Council has a new vision they would like to see come to light.

With the council being based out of Columbia, they thought it would be beneficial to not only them but the Scouts as well to have a space in Columbia.

MidwayUSA has donated a 1,400-square-foot building right off of I-70. The building is one big open space giving the council plenty of room to create what the program needs. And with office space already available, minimum reservation is required. The idea behind this building is to better serve families with activities, create a gateway into Scouting, create more programming for the Scouts, have hands on learning for schools and even corporate team building. They would also be able to offer lock-ins, weekend and evening programs and day camps as well as other camps throughout the year.

After putting in the obvious amenities such as cubicles, the Scout shop, a board room and storage; they're planning on creating a giant indoor climbing wall, an iLab, rope courses, archery and tomahawk space, woodworking and esports as well as space for heritage displays and an outdoor pavilion. The target timeline for this location is somewhere between January and February.

For more information or to learn how you can help your local Boy Scouts of America, visit

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