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National BSA Financial Future – Update

You received a message yesterday in response to the Wall Street Journal Article.  I am sure by now that article across different outlets has grown both in publicity and inaccuracies based on journalism opinion instead of facts.

I did have a closed and structured Conference call yesterday afternoon with a report from National to all the Councils:

Here is a brief overview from that call.

  • The BSA has NOT declared bankruptcy – They are working with internal and external experts to explore all possible financial restructuring options available.
  • Our Scouts and Leaders will not be impacted – Every possibility being explored will ensure that the local and national programming continues uninterrupted.
  • Local Council will remain independent and National cannot touch or gain control over the local camps, council service centers, bank funds, or investments.
  • Our main job and focus is to continue providing quality BSA approved programing while keeping children safe, supported and protected.
  • The National BSA is still paying all its commitments to vendors and this will not be interrupted.
  • Your Local Friends of Scouting contribution continues to stay with the local council.  All Friends of Scouting contributions and Family Support go to your own council programs and services.  We do NOT receive, nor will we receive funding from National.  We as a council will continue to pay for set services and charter agreement fees to the National Office, but those do not go toward National penalties or debts. 
  • All options under consideration ensure that the BSA will continue and be stronger for the future.

I will continue to report and share communications and facts about the situation with our Board, Volunteers, and Donors.  It is critical that we stay positive and remain focused on delivering the scouting promise to our youth locally and that we grow stronger by increasing local donations and support to remain independent from challenges being face at the National Level.

Thank you for all that you do for the Shenandoah Area Council and do not hesitate to share this information with parents and friends.  It is important for us to not only get our own message out, but the correct message.






To:  SAC Board & Unit Leaders:

From:  Jason Stedman, Council President

             Frank Armstrong, IV, Council Commissioner

             Stuart A. Williams, Scout Executive

Date:  December 13, 2018

I am sure you may have seen or heard about the Wall Street Journal article (attached) and may have questions or concerns. 

This article release late yesterday states that National BSA has hired a bankruptcy attorney in light of the costs of defending sexual abuse lawsuits.  I anticipate learning additional information on a structured call with National BSA later today.

In a communication press release, National BSA reaffirmed its focus on keeping children safe and delivering our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training.

BSA stated its commitment to the social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting, and the deep care and concern for all victims of child sex abuse and the proactive steps to help victims heal and prevent future abuse.  BSA stresses that at no time in BSA history has the organization knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth and will always seek to act swiftly when alerted to abuse allegations.  

BSA is committed to communicate transparently and stated there are no imminent actions or immediate decisions expected by BSA in light of the WSJ news story. 

I have assembled a few items of information from a Local Council perspective that may be helpful considering the news story. 

  • The strength of Scouting for over 100 years has been its LOCAL COUNCIL domain.  Each unit is owned by its charter partner which is typically a place of worship, service club or educational institution.  Each Council is locally incorporated in the specific state where it operates.
  • The Shenandoah Area Council is a 501(c)(3) entity incorporated in Virginia.  Our Camps, or Volunteer Service Center, our bank funds and investments are owned and controlled by the LOCAL Shenandoah Area Council Board.
  • The nature of the relationship for a council with the national BSA organization is that our council is the holder of a charter to conduct the Boy Scouts of America programs in a defined territory.
  • Council’s receive NO FUNDING from the national organization; in fact, WE PAY FEES to National BSA as a part of our charter agreement and for specific services. We receive value back from the national organization, but we operate as a financially independent not-for-profit organization.
  • Areas where we partner with National BSA, for business purposes, include several insurance programs, services for IT and expertise related to camping accreditation and safety, Youth Protection, access to My.Scouting, child education research, brand licensing and so on.  Also, important to note is employee benefits such as healthcare and retirement are funded by the LOCAL council, but that money is held through programs controlled and operated by National BSA.
  • The Shenandoah Area Council is a strong top performing council in the BSA from perspectives of program quality, board and volunteer dedication, staff commitment and talent.  This news emphasizes the importance of our LOCAL community and families to continue their support in making sure the local council is self-sustaining in operational expenses so that if and when National Council challenges and struggles impact the local area – we are able to remain strong.     

It is our hope that the national organization can navigate these difficult waters that many organizations face over a century of existence.  We will stand ready to help - and we will continue our primary focus on bringing high-quality Boy Scouts of America programs to each and every neighborhood we serve locally.

You are welcome to call or email with thoughts or questions.


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