Letter from the Boy Scouts of America late on February 17, 2020, regarding bankruptcy filing by the National Council. This letter is directed chiefly at registered Scout leaders.
Dear Scouting Family,
Today, the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to achieve two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue to carry out Scouting’s mission for years to come.
While the word “bankruptcy” can be intimidating, it is important to know that Scouting programs will continue. Your regular unit meetings and activities, district and council events, other Scouting adventures and countless service projects will take place as usual.
We took this action today amid increasing financial pressure on the BSA from litigation involving past abuse in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support them, we provide counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward. Our plan is to use this Chapter 11 process to create a Trust that would provide equitable compensation to these individuals.
As we go through this process, we want to make certain that all Scouting parents and volunteers know the following:
- Scouting is safer now than ever before. Approximately 90% of the pending and asserted claims against the BSA relate to abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago. As someone close to Scouting, you know the safety of children in our programs is the BSA’s absolute top priority and that one instance of abuse is one too many. That’s precisely why over many years we’ve developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization.From mandatory youth protection training and background checks for all volunteers and staff, to policies that prohibit one-on-one interaction between youth and adults and require that any suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement, our volunteers and employees take youth protection extremely seriously and do their part to help keep kids safe. You can read more about the BSA’s multi-layered safeguards and our efforts to be part of the broader solution to child abuse at www.scouting.org/youth-safety. In fact, this is a resource that you can share with friends and family who are interested in understanding what the BSA is doing to keep kids safe.
- Scouting continues. Scouting programs will continue to serve youth, families and local communities throughout this process and for many years to come. Just last year, communities across the country benefited from more than 13 million Scouting service hours, and young men and women earned more than 1.7 million merit badges that represent skills that will help them succeed throughout their lives. Studies prove and parents agree that Scouting helps young people become more kind, helpful and prepared for life, and as long as those values remain important to our society, Scouting will continue to be invaluable to our nation’s youth.
- Local councils have not filed for bankruptcy. Local councils – which provide programming, financial, facility and administrative support to Scouting units in their communities – are legally separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization.
We know you will likely have questions about these issues and things you will see in the news. We have posted information about our restructuring on a dedicated website, www.BSArestructuring.org.
This site includes a helpful Resources page, where you will find a short video explaining what Chapter 11 means for Scouting, as well as a FAQ and a reference document that will help you discuss this announcement with youth in our programs. The site also includes a Milestones page, which will be your best source for the latest updates throughout this process.
If these resources don’t answer your questions, please feel free to reach out to us through Member Care at 972-580-2489 or MyScouting@Scouting.org. We will do everything we can to provide helpful, transparent responses and ensure your Scouting experience continues to be a great one.
Yours in Scouting,
President & CEO
Tom Lehrer is a jewel.
You know, of all the songs I have ever sung, that is the one
I’ve had the most requests not to. I have time for one more here. This one is a little song dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America. (applause) We seem to have a convention here tonight. The Boy Scouts of America, those noble little bastions of democracy, and the American Legion of tomorrow. Their motto is–I would like to state at this time that I am not now and have never been… a member of the Boy Scouts of America–their motto is, as you know, “Be Prepared,” and that is the name of this song
Be prepared! That’s the Boy Scouts’ marching song
Be prepared! As through life you march along
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well
Don’t write naughty words on walls if you can’t spell
Be prepared! To hide that pack of cigarettes
Don’t make book if you cannot cover bets
Keep those reefers hidden where you’re sure
That they will not be found
And be careful not to smoke them
When the scoutmaster’s around
For he only will insist that it be shared
Be prepared! That’s the Boy Scouts’ solemn creed
Be prepared! And be clean in word and deed
Don’t solicit for your sister, that’s not nice
Unless you get a good percentage of her price
Be prepared! And be careful not to do
Your good deeds when there’s no one watching you
If you’re looking for adventure of a
New and different kind
And you come across a Girl Scout who is
Don’t be nervous, don’t be flustered, don’t be scared