Local Scouting not affected by national bankruptcy

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Despite the national Boy Scouts of America filing for bankruptcy protection, local Scout programs should not be affected.

The Boy Scouts of America announced Tuesday that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This is seen as the step to establishing a compensation fund for the people who in their youth were molested by Scoutmasters or other leaders.

That national decision will not be felt locally, Kevin Powell explained. He is the chartered organization representative for Pack 130 and Troop 130, which are based in Ireland.

“I don’t think the national decision for bankruptcy will have any effect on the local Scouting program,” Powell said. “A local program is only as strong as the leaders and communities they reside in. We are so blessed in this community to have strong religious sponsorship of our Scout packs and troops.”

As chartered organization representative, Powell serves as the liaison between the chartered organization and the pack/troop. He is also an assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 130 and has a son who is a Boy Scout.

Powell talked to the leaders of the Buffalo Trace Council after the announcement was made and learned that the national decision would benefit the local programs. “A large part of National’s decision was done to protect local Scouting,” he said, “and ensure that it was around for years to come.”

The Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 amid facing lawsuits from people who claim they were sexually abused as kids decades ago. Recent changes in some states’ laws will allow people to sue over abuse that happened long ago. More than 12,000 boys have been molested by 7,800 abusers since the 1920s, according to Boy Scout files revealed in court papers. The Boy Scouts estimated 1,000 to 5,000 victims will seek compensation.

In the current age of Scouting, there are many protections in place to protect Scouts from harm, Powell explained.

“For example, all leaders are required to fill out applications and go through mandatory background checks. All leaders are also required to complete youth protection training every two years,” he said. “There is a ton of information provided to parents that they are required to review with their youth, both in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, to educate them on youth protection and what is or is not OK.”

There are rules for all meetings that must also be followed, for the protection of the Scouts and the leaders.

“As a leader and a parent, I’ve never been concerned for my son or any of our Scouts,” Powell said. “We have great leaders and parents that help ensure our Scouts’ safety.”

Local Scout leaders, who are volunteers, work to instill in Scouts the skills and mindset to become responsible adults. “Our local leaders put in countless hours to help our young Scouts grow into our future community leaders,” Powell said. “Our community believes in the Scouting program and the values it instills in our youth and I do not see the bankruptcy affecting that belief.”

Powell said that he hopes that people realize how much the local Scouting programs assist the kids involved, as well as the community.

“I’ve not been involved with Scouting for a long time like other leaders, but I hope this issue allows people to see that Scouting is not about a national organization or about the poor decisions and actions of leaders from decades ago,” he said. “Scouting is about community and instilling core values in our youth that are largely absent in the teachings of our current day society.”

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in February 1910 and now has numerous Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops under different councils. The troops and packs in this area are under the Buffalo Trace Council. Powell works with Cub Scout Pack 130 and Boy Scout Troop 130, which are based in Ireland. Cub Scout Pack 130 was formed in 1988 and now has about 50 active Scouts. Boy Scout Troop 130 was formed with a couple of Scouts in 2014, and currently has 16 Scouts.

“The Scout law states, ‘A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,’” Powell said. “The Scouting program teaches my son and his fellow Scouts that conforming to what’s popular is not OK. Scouts in our community, both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are held to a higher standard than others, which is why you see so many of our community leaders having earned top ranks in their respective Scouting programs.”




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