Bankruptcy of Boy Scouts of America, letter from the National Council

February 18, 2020

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.

Boy Scouts of America

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,

Jim Turley
National Chair

Ellie Morrison
National Commissioner

Roger Mosby
President & CEO

 


Why kids sign up to be Scouts: "New Scout on the Old Trail"

January 31, 2020

It’s something I’ve seen in a thousand kids. Why do they sign up to be Scouts?

Girl or boy, it’s the adventure they sign up for. Parents like the idea of a kid learning how to be a good citizen, but the kids like the adventure.

It’s an old story, it turns out. Browsing images at the Library of Congress, I came across this one.

"A New Scout on the Old Trail," "Put her there, Pard! You do us proud." Image by Crawford Will, June 5, 1912; published by Keppler & Shwarzmann
“A New Scout on the Old Trail,” “Put her there, Pard! You do us proud.” Image by Crawford Will, June 5, 1912; published by Keppler & Shwarzmann

It’s a color print drawn by Crawford Will (1869-1944), for Keppler and Schwarzmann, a print company in the old Puck Building. Published on June 5, 1912, two years after Scouting got going in the U.S.

According to the description from the Library of Congress, the image shows a young Boy Scout coming out of his tent and meeting “Davy Crockett, Buffalo Bill, Texas Jack [Omohundro], Kit Carson, California Joe, [and] Dan’l Boone.” Better, that group of frontiersmen welcome the new Scout as one of them.

Know what? With just a bit of luck, that’s what a Scout gets: A lifetime of adventure. Scouting, I went all over Utah, and got to the wilds of New Mexico at Philmont National Scout Ranch. Scouting got me a job chasing air pollution in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, got me a job tramping New York and canoeing the Adirondacks. As a Scout leader in four different councils I’ve camped long term in Colorado and Tennessee, Texas (a lot!). Scouting opened doors for me all over Washington, D.C., and gave me a boost on jobs in policy and journalism. Scouting delivered good adventures to our sons and my wife who joined one son on an 86-mile trek at Philmont.

I’ve been to those places haunted by Davy Crockett, Buffalo Bill, Texas Jack, Kit Carson, California Joe and Daniel Boone, and I’ve learned what they did wrong as well as what they did right.

More than once we’ve arrived at a camp at dusk or later, pitched tents, gone to sleep — then awakened in the morning to see young Scouts coming out of the tent and realizing they are on a big mountain, next to a grand lake, deep in a forest, in redrock country — somewhere adventures happen every day.

Like that young Scout in the picture.

Its the same for the girls in Scouting, too.


Something about a campfire: Boy Scouts, Order of the Arrow 2018

October 21, 2018

It’s a great photo, chiefly.

Another in our series of campfires.

From the Twitter feed of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts' honor camper organization; the tweet honored the 103rd anniversary of the service group, in July of 2018. Photographer, location and date not revealed.

From the Twitter feed of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts’ honor camper organization; the tweet honored the 103rd anniversary of the service group, in July of 2018. Photographer, location and date not revealed.

No, it didn’t escape me that the campfire itself appears not to be lit. One of the mysteries of the photo.

As might be expected in an organization dedicated much to camping with a good group of boys and men, several organizations sprang up not long after Scouting got a start in the U.S. Carroll A. Edson and E. Urner Goodman initiated the Order of the Arrow (OA) at a summer camp near Philadelphia. The honoring of good campers and good citizenship, and the dedication to service to Scouting had wide appeal, and other councils outside of Philadelphia adopted the practices and program.

In Circle 10 Council BSA, the organization in Dallas, Texas, and surrounding counties, another service group started about the same time, the White Sharks of Takodah. Over time, Texas Scouts and Scouters moved into the national movement of the OA, though the White Sharks traditions continue with a day of work dedicated to improving the council camps annually.

OA members have three levels of membership, Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil Honor. Ordeal includes Scouts and Scouters nominated by their Troops, Crews, Ships or other units, who have endured an ordeal that includes a day of service to BSA camps. Brotherhood membership can be obtained with additional service and time. Vigil Honor requires that an Arrowman keep vigil over a campfire for an entire night, a sometimes daunting task in wood-scarce locations, and a trial always just at staying awake.

After two years of exceptional service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow committee, a Scout or Scouter may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for their distinguished contributions to their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.

I learned and practiced building great program campfires as a young Arrowman. My mind goes back to a hundred such great opportunities for camaraderie in and outside the OA, and in and out of Scouting.

There is something about a campfire that puts the soul at ease, and opens it to the glorious brotherhood of fellowship with other people, under a great sky, in the dark.

Tell us about your campfire experiences and memories in comments, please.

Tip of the old scrub brush to the Order of the Arrow Twitter account.

 


110 years ago: First “official” Boy Scout Troop, January 24, 1908?

January 25, 2018

From the archives.

There are those who argue that the the first Boy Scout Troop was organized on January 24, 1908.

History is not so clear on that point, however.  There may have been earlier troops organized, but records were unclear, or lost.

From Wikipedia: Front cover of the first part of Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell, published in January 1908. Illustrations by Baden-Powell himself.

From Wikipedia: Front cover of the first part of Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell, published in January 1908. Illustrations by Baden-Powell himself.

We do know that the the first installment of the serialized Scouting for Boys was published on January 24, 1908.  By April of that year all installments were published, and we can say that the first Boy Scout handbook had arrived.

Either way, January 24 holds some historical significance for the Scouting movement.

Do a good turn in honor of the day, even if it’s a day or two later. (Scouts in the U.S. work to do a good turn every day.)

Who was really first?  Unfortunately, the records don’t exist to settle that issue.

Scouting, in England, arose from the popular clamor by boys after the 1899 publication of Col. Robert Baden-Powell’s handbook for the scouts he trained for the British Army in southern Africa, Aids to Scouting.  Though not written for a youthful audience, the book became a best seller among boys who wished to emulate the adventures of soldiers and rangers in the British Army.

By 1907, Baden-Powell seriously worked to translate his experience and wisdom in a book aimed at boys.  In the summer of 1907 he gathered a collection of boys to camp, to try out his ideas for outdoor activities for boys.  With aid of the YMCA and other organizations, troops were planned and organized at the end of 1907 and in early 1908; then the program skyrocketed, with 60,000 boy members by the end of 1908.

Which was the “first” troop?

In England, where history and firsts might understandably be taken more seriously for Scouting, a number of groups can make the claims — and it’s almost impossible to choose from among them.  Wikipedia explains the claims of each, without much blood (I’ve left in most of the links and footnote links):

The first Scout Troops were formed in the United Kingdom in 1907, and registered in 1908. There are a number of claimants to be the first troop. However, due to poor record keeping when the Scouting Movement started, The Scout Association does not acknowledge any single troop as being the first. The Scout Association maintains a list of all the Scout Troops who claim to have started in 1908.[1]

The Scout Troops with the strongest claims are listed below:

The 1st Glasgow Scout Group in Scotland holds the earliest known registration certificate, dated 26 January 1908, issued by the Scouting Association. The Group was formed from the Glasgow Battalion of the Army Cadet Corps; its Adjutant was Captain Robert E Young. In June 1907, they formed the ‘Cadets’ Winter Recreation Training Club’. The club was a success from the beginning, as ‘Boss’ Young related: “At first we met at my house, signalled up and down the stairs, tied knots around the banisters and always finished with a good tuck-in.” ‘Boss’ Young met B-P during Autumn 1907 who suggested that the Club could experiment with the ideas contained in ‘Scouting for Boys’. On 16 January 1908, the Club was formally disbanded and the First Glasgow Troop of Boy Scouts was registered with Scout HQ in London.[1][2]

The first Scout Troop to receive a visit from Baden-Powell was the Vaux’s Own Scout Troop in Sunderland. This visit was made on 22 February 1908, so it is assumed by The Scout Association “that it had already been in existence for some days at any rate”.[1] This was also the first Scout Troop listed in the Imperial records. The 1st Crystal Palace Patrol (now known as the 2nd Croydon, 1st Crystal Palace) is documented as being in existence on 28 February 1908. The group is still in existence.[3]

In 2007, 1st Henfield Scout Troop was named as the oldest surviving Scout Troop in the world for the centenary of Scouting. They were the hosts of the only place that the centenary flame stopped in England for the night before reaching its goal of Brownsea Island. However, it is not the oldest Scout Troop, as others were set up before Henfield. It is said that the boys that went to Brownsea Island on the first ever scout trip were from Henfield.[4]

The 1st Birkenhead (YMCA) has a claim to be the oldest Scout Troop as it was founded on 24 January 1908 when B P attended a meeting at the YMCA. Documents at the District Headquarters confirm this fact. Baden-Powell at the 1929 Coming of Age Jamboree in Birkenhead said “Here in Birkenhead that I first mooted the idea of Scouting”.

The 1st Croydon Scout Group (Addiscombe) were founded in the latter months of 1907. The Group was officially registered by Imperial Scout Headquarters on 16 June 1908 and can claim to be one of the earliest Groups.

1st Church Kirk, Church near Accrington Lancashire. Formed 1907. Baden Powell formed a link with Accrington during his opening of the Ambulance Drill Hall in 1904.

There is an entry in Baden-Powell’s diary on 4 February 1908 which mentions a Scout Troop in Nottingham.

1st Alsager, Cheshire were formed before 24 February 1908.

A troop from Hampstead was involved in various events in the first half of 1908.

The 1st City Of Aberdeen Scouts existed in 1908. 1st Arbroath Scout Troop (2nd Angus) dates back to June 1908.[5]

The 1st Norwich “Capt. Bower’s Own” Sea Scouts started in January 1908.[6] The group is one of few which has continuously run for 100 years and, remarkably, had just 4 Group Scout Leaders during that time. To celebrate their centenary year, the group published a book entitled, “It Can Be Done: The Hundred Year History of the 1st Norwich Sea Scout Group.” drawing from their extensive archives.[7]

In Poole, Dorset, there are strong claims from 3 current Scout Groups, that all have separate newspaper articles back to 1908 listing Patrols or Troops practicing Scouting. 1st Parkstone has got a registration number back to February 1908 for a Scout Troop. Hamworthy are listed as having a Boat patrol at the Local Church in November 1908 and Broadstone having an Ambulance Scout at the Gathering on Brownsea Island in December 1908.

Wycliffe Scout Group (Gloucestershire) claims to be the oldest continuously active school-based Scout group in the world (active September 2013). It is listed in the Scout Association database with a registration date of 1 February 1909, although the Group celebrated their centenary in 2008, implying that there had been Scouting activity at the school before the Group was registered.

Who was first?  The question remains, not yet satisfactorily answered for history.

How would you decide the controversy?

Scouts from several nations around a campfire -- photo from the website of the World Scout Organization.

Scouts from several nations around a campfire — photo from EraScouting page [replacing photo from the website of the World Scout Organization]. “Leave this world a little better than you found it” — Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. There are over 40 million Scouts in the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

More:

This is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. Defeating ignorance takes patience and perseverance.


BSA opens Cub Scouting to girls, the few details known

October 12, 2017

This will provoke a lot of unnecessary contretemps.

Before we discuss, can we hear out the BSA? Here’s the press release announcing Boy Scouts of America will open Cub Scouting to girls, with plans to open opportunities for older girls in 2018.

BSA’s Venture program for youth 14-21 celebrates 20 years of coed Scouting in 2018.

The press release:

The BSA Expands Programs to Welcome Girls from Cub Scouts to Highest Rank of Eagle Scout

October 11, 2017

Research reinforces interest expressed by families and girls nationwide as organization looks to offer programs that meet the needs of today’s families

A Scouting family outdoors.Irving, Texas – October 11, 2017 – Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting – to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.

“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before [1], making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family. Recent surveys [2] of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts.  Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.

“The BSA’s record of producing leaders with high character and integrity is amazing” said Randall Stephenson, BSA’s national board chairman. “I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization.  It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”

Starting in the 2018 program year, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack.  Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls. Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank. This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.

This decision expands the programs that the Boy Scouts of America offers for both boys and girls. Although known for its iconic programs for boys, the BSA has offered co-ed programs since 1971 through Exploring and the Venturing program, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. The STEM Scout pilot program is also available for both boys and girls.

For more information about the expanded opportunities for family Scouting, please visit the family Scouting page.

About the Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.®” The Scouting organization is composed of nearly 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.

[1] PEW Research Center survey conducted Sept. 15 – Oct. 13, 2015 among 1,807 U.S. parents with children younger than 18.

[2] BSA surveys included two external surveys and four internal surveys conducted from April to September 2017. Surveys were conducted online.

What do you think? Comments are open.

More:

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Flag of Wisdom

September 11, 2016

U.S. flag flying in a stiff, top-of-Cedar-Hill breeze, at Camp Wisdom, part of Camp Billy Sowell, in Dallas, Circle 10 Council BSA.

Feel free to use and distribute, though I would appreciate attribution if you do. Handheld iPhone6 video by Ed Darrell.

Update: Here’s a YouTube version, which may be easier for you to copy and embed.

 


Please give to Scouting for Food on Saturday, February 13

February 12, 2016

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in Southwest Dallas County will collect food for our local food pantries on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

Scouting for Food in Dallas, Texas area, February 13, 2016. Image from Yorktown Pack 200

Scouting for Food in Dallas, Texas area, February 13, 2016. Image from Yorktown Pack 200

(Of course, Scouts throughout Circle 10 Council, BSA, will be collecting in the rest of the Council, the counties around Dallas up to the Oklahoma border.)

Food pantries and outreach ministries in the Best Southwest Area some years rely on this February Scout service campaign to carry them through Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, in the past decade donations have not been sufficient to meet with demand. If you’ve given four or five cans of food in the past, please give eight or ten, if you can, this year.

Please give generously when a Scout knocks on your door.

Press release from the Council:

Scouting for Food is the largest single-day food collection event in Dallas and one of the largest in the nation. On one day, approximately 30,000 Scouts go door-to-door collecting non-perishable food items for the less fortunate. The food is then distributed to local food pantries and assistance agencies across Circle Ten Council.

Tom Thumb has sponsored this food drive for 28 years and collects food at their locations throughout the entire month of February.

What is Scouting for Food?
Scouting for Food is the largest door-to-door food collection effort in the Dallas-Fort Worth area benefiting more than 45 assistance agencies across the area.

Who helps with Scouting for Food?
Scouting for Food involves approximately 30,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, friends, family and volunteers from the Circle Ten Council, BSA.

2016 Scouting for Food Dates:  February 13, 2016

Food items can also be dropped off at any Tom Thumb Food and Pharmacy throughout the month of February!


%d bloggers like this: