Hello Everyone,

It has been a very tumultuous time since Troop 4 moved to postpone further our meetings in the face of the COVID on (3/12/ 20). Wow, has the situation evolved kinetically since then. So, I wanted to share a few thoughts with everyone to talk about where we are, what we can do and future directions.

Due to the ongoing challenges we face here in San Diego and across the nation due to the novel coronavirus, we will continue to postpone all of our in-person meetings for the time being. That being said, the Patrol Mentors got together and had a conversation last week. We talked about how to proceed in this new reality. So the plan is for Patrols to meet using Zoom, FaceTime and other medium to facilitate patrol level meetings.

Trying to have a Zoom meeting with 70 scouts sounds beyond challenging. So, you can look for emails from your Patrol Leaders and Patrol Mentors in the near future as we get operations up and running with a renewed focused on our patrols. Patrols are the most important part of the Scouting program so I have no reservations about this. All of the available Patrol Mentors got together via Zoom last week and vetted the technology and capability. Personally I was very surprised at how well it worked. I’m sure that the boys will be even more adept at utilizing the technology than us awkward adults.

Speaking of ADULTS, I would like to reach out and ask EACH and EVERYONE of you who is a parent to sign up to help counsel at least one merit badge. We have a lot of boys and it is impossible for our current med badge counselors to work for everyone. We frankly need each of you to step forward and sign up for an Eagle Required Merit Badge. It’s honestly not that hard and should not be that scary a proposition. The material that we asked the boys to learn is an introduction to the areas. It’s not attempting to create mastery. But rather introduce them to important concepts and skills.  So what are Eagle Required Merit Badges?

  • Camping
  • Cooking
  • Citizenship in the Community
  • Citizenship in the Nation
  • Citizenship in the World
  • Communication
  • Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
  • Environmental Science OR Sustainability
  • Family Life
  • First Aid
  • Personal Fitness
  • Personal Management
  • Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling

So how do you (the parents) actually do this?  Well, I’ve put together this Peter’s Simple 4-Step Go0-By to help you Become a Troop 4 Merit Badge Counselor 

1.   Save a copy of your BSA Youth Protection Training to your desktop


2.  Then print, compete, sign and scan the Adult Leader Application (Position Code 42) (save to your desktop if this your first time signing up)


3.  Then complete the SDIC online Merit Badge Counselor Application & Indicate which Merit Badges you will be counseling for


4.  FINALLY upload the YPT Certificate and Adult Leader Application (if this your first time signing up) from your desktop when requested at the bottom of the application. 

To you help you navigate this process we are very lucky to have BOTH Dr. David Fogel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Mr. Mark Bertagnolli (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). So please reach out to them if you have any questions.

I would also like to discuss a couple of critically pressing needs in our community. First, there’s the issue of food insecurity, aka hunger. With all the millions of jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our state’s food banks are dependent on the generosity of our communities to help provide nutrition for those less fortunate. The number of those less fortunate has grown sharply in the last few days. So, if you still have your door tags and can distribute them in your neighborhoods that would be much appreciated. Alex took door tags around and added a special personal note to help our neighbors understand the impact of the pandemic is having on our community. The QR Code on your Door Tags allows your neighbors or anyone else to donate to the Food Drive from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Sometimes it just takes someone reaching out to make people look up and realize what is happening around them. I will attach a copy of Alex’s note at the end of my email. If you should collect any non-virtual donations, please weigh anything your neighbors donate and then take the donations directly to the San Diego Food Bank (9850 Distribution Ave, San Diego, CA  92121). Please send a note to Mike Kincaid (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with how much you collected so he can keep track of everything.  

In addition, if anyone is able to volunteer time at any food bank that would also really help. Since the beginning of the pandemic, essential community services like the food banks have seen a mark drop in volunteer workers. So much so that the governor has called up the National Guard to help fill-in. Those guardsmen and guardswomen Have been yanked from their day jobs to fill in here. As a result there are holes in all the places where they used to work. If we can help fill the need at the food bank, then these dedicated men and women in uniform can return to the families and communities that need them in this time of crisis. If you can lend a hand, please record your efforts in your Scout Book and I will sign things off when conditions merit. 

Second, I would like to direct a very special request to the parents and any emeritus Scouts (those older than 18) in our troop. Our local San Diego and state of California healthcare systems have suffered a collapse in blood donations. Blood products are crucial for so many of our patients in extremis. So if you have a little extra time and blood, our Red Cross donation centers in San Diego would love to have your visit. Yes, there is a stay at home order, but this translates into an essential service for our community. Without blood, people will perish. The equation it’s just that simple. So please consider helping and let myself and Mike (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) know how it goes. This is a service projects for parents (or Troop graduates) not the Scouts.  

Participation in any efforts to support the Food Bank and the Blood Bank are very personal decisions. These operations have made their facilities safe and compliant with the latest COVID mitigation recommendations. The need is undeniable, but everyone has a different family situation. Some of you live with older parents or immunocompromised family members. So, I support whatever choices work best for everyones’ individual situations. 

I would also like to take a moment to discuss the latest guidance coming from the CDC. You may have heard that our President announced that people should wear masks when outside. I would like to make sure everyone understands what the actual guidance states.  So as if 4/3/20 the CDC has issued new guidance on the use of things called “Cloth Face Coverings” (CFCs),  These are NOT surgical or N95 masks.  

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”   “It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.”  “The Cloth Face Coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.”

To read the entirety of the CDC recommendations follow this link:


I would also like to share a thought for everyone receiving this email. These are extraordinary times. A pandemic like this will probably never happen again in our lifetime. As a result, I would like to suggest that all the boys and parents consider beginning a journal or diary. Activities like journaling can help us all make sense of events that might otherwise seem overwhelming. You can think of your diary as a tool to help capture your thoughts so that sometime in the future you can help make sense of these days and events for future generations and even for yourself. Hopefully, we will never have to live through an ordeal like this again. That being said, I hope that the challenges we face today help each and everyone of the scouts grow in ways they never could have foreseen and better prepare them for the challenges they are certain to meet in the future. It’s an opportunity to learn how to deal with uncertainty which is a very large part of being prepared.

Finally, I want to end by asking if anyone needs a hand with anything or has any questions. I know we’re in La Jolla, but that doesn’t mean our folks are immune to the challenges of these extraordinary times. If you find yourself in need of anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to help and yes, we have some Costco toilet paper to spare if you are running low. 

Do A Good Turn Daily, Maintain Your Social Distance, & Stay Healthy,

-Peter Park, MD