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BSA bankruptcy to have nominal impact locally

AP Photo This July 22, 2013, file photo shows one of the twenty-three original, Boy Scout-themed Norman Rockwell paintings during an exhibition at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection as it faces a barrage of new sex-abuse lawsuits. The filing Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Wilmington, Del., is an attempt to work out a potentially mammoth compensation plan for abuse victims that will allow the 110-year-old organization to carry on.

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy.

That doesn’t mean that the program is shutting down nor that the local council will see sweeping changes.

“Only the national organization is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” according to a release from the Boy Scouts of America National Council. “Local councils… are not part of the filings. Councils are legally separate, distinct, and financially independent from the national organization.”

According to the release, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is intended to help organizations address financial challenges while continuing operations.

“The Chief Cornplanter Council, BSA (CCC) has not filed for bankruptcy,” according to a Tuesday release from the local council. “Meetings and activities, district and council events, other Scouting adventures and countless service projects are taking place as usual. In short, there should be no change to the local Scouting experience.”

The Chief Cornplanter Council covers Warren County, according to the release, and serves boys and girls in kindergarten through 12th grade. There were 388 youth members in 2019.

“The national organization of the Boy Scouts of America is the only entity involved in the Chapter 11 filing,” Chief Cornplanter Council Scout Executive and CEO Raymond Tennent said Tuesday. “The Chief Cornplanter Council — which provides programming, financial, facility, and administrative support to local units and individual Scouts in our area — is separate and distinct from the national organization. Our camp, properties, and all local contributions are controlled by our council.”

“The community and our scouting family need to know that their investment in scouting at CCC is secure, both donations and gifts in-kind stay local,” Council President Mike Barrett said. “The Council will continue to strive for the safest educational scouting experience that we can deliver locally.”

Even national events and support are expected to continue through the process.

“Scouting will continue to move forward as the National Council reorganizes,” according to the council release. “Some of the current support the Council receives is the opportunities to attend National BSA high adventure bases and National Jamboree, which is still expected to continue in 2021.”

“Online volunteer training programs, technical support, summer camp inspections and other program support will continue from the National Council,” Tennent said. “We do not expect the national bankruptcy to affect local operations. Much of the support we receive such as conferences/trainings for board members and key volunteers regionally will continue.”

According to BSA, “we took this action to address the increasing financial pressure the BSA is facing from litigation involving past abuse in Scouting. The BSA believes we have a social and moral responsibility to equitably compensate victims. We also have a duty to carry out our mission to serve youth, families, and local communities through our programs. This process enables us to do both.”

Part of the proposed restructuring process includes 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,” according to the national council release. “It is important to know that Scouting is safer now than ever before. Approximately 90 percent of pending and asserted abuse claims against the BSA relate to abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago. The safety of children in our programs is the BSA’s absolute top priority.”

“The BSA understands that no apology can ever repair the damage caused by this abuse or take away the pain that the victims have endured.”

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