Despite filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 18, local councils of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) want the public to know that its activities will continue as usual.
“Scouting programs, including unit meetings and activities, council events, other Scouting adventures and countless service projects, will continue throughout this process and for many years to come,” the organization said in a statement announcing the filing Feb. 18. “The BSA fully intends to maintain its commitments to its members, families, volunteer leaders, employees, retirees, donors and alumni to the fullest extent permitted by bankruptcy laws. The organization also will pay its vendors and partners for all goods and services delivered from today forward.”
In the wake of sexual abuse lawsuits, some dating back 30 years, the national organization filed for protection under Chapter 11, allowing it to reorganize, according to the statement.
The purpose of reorganizing, the organization said, is to establish a compensation fund for victims of sexual abuse while in the program, and to ensure scouting continues “for years to come.”
The Boy Scouts of America started in 1910 as a youth character development and leadership training for young boys, and currently serves almost 2.2 million youth members between ages 5-21 with some 800,000 volunteers in the local councils.
Local programs are separate and financially independent
While the national organization is anticipating a financial hit for claims, BSA wants the public to know that council organizations that operate local programs are separate and financially independent, and will continue to function during the bankruptcy process.
“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children,” Roger Mosby, president and chief executive officer said in the statement. “While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process – with the proposed Trust structure – will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA’s important mission.”
The Hudson Valley Council, which runs programming for troops in Orange County in New York and Pike County in Pennsylvania, posted information on its Facebook page that the council was not filing for protection and would continue to offer its programs including summer and year-round programs at Camp Bullowa and Camp Nooteeming.
In addition, the post makes clear that donations to the local council stay in that council.
The Northern New Jersey Council, BSA, issued a statement of its own, letting member troops know that it will continue its programming.
“While we do not anticipate the national organization’s bankruptcy filing will have any direct impact on the local Scouting experience or your involvement with our council, we understand you may still have questions about these issues and things you will see in the news,” the council’s statement said. “To that end, the national organization has established a dedicated restructuring website, www.BSArestructuring.org.”