National Boy Scout bankruptcy will have ‘no effect’ on local Scouting programs, CEO says
“Scouting is strong in northern South Carolina.”
These words, written in bold and underlined, were emailed to the Board of Directors and Advisory Council of the Blue Ridge Council, the organization that has provided Scouting programs in northern South Carolina for nearly 100 years old.
The email was sent just hours after the national organization Boy Scouts of America announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to deal with the economic implications of thousands allegations of sexual abuse suffered by Scouts.
“All local scouting programs will continue as usual, and we are more committed than ever to providing an impactful scouting program for upstate youth,” wrote Blue Ridge Council Director of Scouting Greg Balog. , in a separate press release. “While we understand the economic reasons for the bankruptcy on a national level, the bankruptcy does not impact the local Scouting programs we provide in northern South Carolina.”
In an interview, Balog reiterated that Local Scouting is and always has been an independent 501(c)3 legal entity operating financially separately from the national Boy Scouts of America organization which has filed for bankruptcy.
“Our funding model is a grassroots model,” Balog said. “So we operate independently of the national organization when it comes to finances. We do all of our fundraising locally and operate primarily through generous local donors.
The Blue Ridge Council Scouting program operates under a national organization charter, paying the national organization fees for membership registration, program manuals, and uniforms.
There are currently approximately 6,000 youth members and 1,500 adult volunteer leaders in the upstate.
Emphasizing that Blue Ridge Council is not filing for bankruptcy, Balog noted that all local camps, volunteer service center and finances are owned and controlled by Blue Ridge Council and are all secure.
Nonetheless, Tim Kosnoff, the attorney representing nearly 2,000 clients alleging abuse, told the New York Times that he finds it “difficult if not impossible” for the organization to continue to function, adding that “it would require transforming into something that people would not recognize as Scouting”.
In a statement, the national office of Boy Scouts of America expressed “outrage that there have been times when individuals have taken advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children.”
The statement goes on to call the process of filing for bankruptcy an “important step for the organization and for the victims of abuse.”
Chapter 11 protection should freeze all pending lawsuits related to boy scout sexual abuse, set a deadline for future abuse claims and create a victims compensation trust, as opposed to thousands of case lawsuits per case.