To:       North Florida Council, BSA Scouting Community

Fr:       Jack Sears-Scout Executive/CEO

Re:      Update to Wall Street Journal News Article- December 13, 2018

 

Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal printed a news Article titled:

Boy Scouts of America Considers Bankruptcy Filing Amid Sex-Abuse Lawsuits…. Nonprofit has hired law firm Sidley Austin for assistance in a possible chapter 11 bankruptcy filing

Please note- this article is about the National BSA (BSA) and not the North Florida Council, Inc.

In a communication released today, BSA reaffirmed its focus on keeping children safe and delivering our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training.  A copy of that statement - Click Here.

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.  

In a conference call today with all Local Council Scout Executives, BSA committed to communicate transparently and stated there are no imminent actions or immediate decisions expected by BSA in light of the Wall Street Journal news story.  In other words, the BSA has NOT filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.  The BSA has hired a law firm to advise and work with the BSA on matters related to litigation amid Sex-Abuse Lawsuits.

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

 

  • The strength of Scouting for over 100 years has been its local domain.  Each Scouting Unit (Troop, Pack, Crew, Post) is owned by its chartered partner which is typically a place of worship, service club or educational institution.  Each local Scout Council is incorporated in the specific state where it operates.
  • The North Florida Council, Inc.  is a 501(c)(3) entity incorporated in the state of Florida.  Our Camps, Volunteer Service Center, bank funds and investments are owned and controlled solely by the North Florida Council, Inc.  Contributions and funds paid to the North Florida Council, Inc. stay in this area and are used to support program delivery in North Florida.
     
  • The nature of the relationship for a local 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 our defined territory.
  • The North Florida Council continues to offer the Scouting and Learning for Life program of the highest caliber to the greatest number of young people possible.  We do so in a safe environment with a commitment to background screening of all staff and volunteers as well as a mandatory Youth Protection Training.  https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection
     
  • Council’s receive no funding from the national organization; in fact, we pay fees to 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 significantly financially independent not-for-profit organization.
     
  • Areas where we partner with BSA, for business purposes, include several insurance programs, services for IT and expertise related to camping, Youth Protection and so on.  Also important to note is employee benefits such as healthcare and retirement are funded by each Council but through programs controlled and operated by National BSA.
  • The North Florida Council is one of the strongest Councils in the BSA from perspectives of fiscal health, program quality, board and volunteer dedication and staff commitment and talent. 

 

It is our hope that the national BSA can navigate the difficult waters that it and many organizations face over a century of existence.  In North Florida, we will stand ready to help- and we will continue our primary focus of bringing high-quality Boy Scouts of America programs to over 13,000 Scouts in each neighborhood we serve.

We are celebrating our second consecutive year of membership growth in North Florida.  Scouting is growing and thriving in this area!  This is due in large part to you with your contribution of time, talent and treasure. 

You are welcome to call or email with thoughts or questions.  Thank you!

 

Jack L. Sears, Jr.| Scout Executive/CEO
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA                  
North Florida Council

521 S. Edgewood Ave.
Jacksonville, FL 32205
P 800.232.0845  |  F 904.387.4148
D 904.265.3800  |  C 904.945.0050

Jack.sears@scouting.org
www.nfcscouting.org
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521 S. Edgewood Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32205
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