As BSA Files for Bankruptcy, There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be Involved Locally with Scouting

Ken Knickerbocker

On Tuesday, the Boy Scouts of America, the national organization headquartered in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a means of working out a compensation plan for abuse victims while continuing operations and maintaining its mission to serve youth, families, and local communities.

Filing for bankruptcy enables the BSA to carry out what it believes is its social and moral responsibility – to equitably compensate victims of past abuse. (Approximately 90 percent of pending and asserted abuse claims are related to abuse from more than 30 years ago.)

As part of the restructuring, the BSA has proposed the establishment of a Victims Compensation Trust that will be used to equitably compensate victims in a way that protects their identities and brings resolution to their claims.

“As our nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, we have an important duty to keep children safe, supported, and protected while preparing them for their future,” the BSA stated. “We have every intention of continuing to fulfill these responsibilities.”

It is important to note that only the national organization is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Local councils – which provide programming, financial, facility, and administrative support to Scouting units in their communities – are not part of the filings. Councils are legally separate, distinct, and financially independent from the national organization.

“We do not anticipate that the national organization’s bankruptcy filing will have any direct impact on the local Scouting experience,” said Jeff Spencer, the Scout Executive/CEO of the Chester County Council. “This means that unit meetings and activities, district and council events, other Scouting adventures, and countless service projects will take place as usual.”

There has never been a better time to be involved with Scouting:

  • In the past year, the BSA has recognized 61,353 new Eagle Scouts, all of whom completed at least 21 merit badges, made significant contributions to their local communities, and embody the Scout Oath and Law.
  • The BSA’s members and volunteers provided 13 million hours of service to communities across the country last year.
  • Scouts earned more than 7 million merit badges in 2019, introducing them to a spectrum of hobbies, careers, and life skills.
  • In 2019, nearly 900,000 Scouts attended day camps and summer camps across the country.
  • Since 2017, the BSA has welcomed more than 160,000 girls into Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA.
  • More than 40,000 participants from more than 150 countries attended the World Scout Jamboree.
  • Throughout the BSA’s history, 6,534 Scouts have received one of three national-level lifesaving awards, recognizing extraordinary heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save life.

Amidst news of the BSA’s filing for bankruptcy, National Public Radio interviewed a 17-year-old Eagle Scout in Michigan who urged the country to not turn its back on the Boy Scouts.

“I wish more people would see … the power that this organization has for teaching values that carry people throughout the rest of their lives,” he said.

Click here to learn more about the Boy Scouts of America’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.