Boy Scouts of America declare bankruptcy, but what does that mean for local troops?

Staff Writer

Boy Scouts of America (now known as Scouts BSA) declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but local troops think it will not affect them.

Spence Wright, 50, has been with the scouts for 42 years.

“I started when I was eight years old,” he said. “I believe this program is good for boys.”

Now Wright serves as the assistant scout master for Troop 327 in Sherrills Ford.

He said that even though the organization as a whole might not be doing well, the individual troops are.

“We have 55 boys right now,” Wright said. “We’re at the upper end of the troops -- we’re pretty large.”

He said his group is doing well and he wants to continue to see it thrive.

“I love helping boys,” Wright said. “I don’t believe the bankruptcy will affect us.”

He believes it actually has more to do with the recently changed laws concerning the statute of limitations on the sex abuse claims.

“The Scout Council is in the process of reorganizing,” Wright said. “I believe that they are taking advantage of the bankruptcy laws and trying to keep the money they need to help the boys who were abused years ago.”

He feels that lawyers are trying to “round up” as many victims as they can, and the organization wants to continue serving boys.

According to an email sent from Scout Executive Connie Bowes, Wright’s thoughts are aligned with the organization.

“The national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to achieve two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue to carry out Scouting’s mission for years to come,” she said.

Bowes made clear that the Piedmont Council (which Wright’s troop is a part of) did not file for bankruptcy.

“Our Council is legally separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization,”
she said.

Bowes made it clear that all programs and activities will continue.

“In short, we expect no changes to the local Scouting experience from the Piedmont Council,” she said.

The email stated that “scouting is safer now than ever before.”

Bowes said that through the years, the organization has developed “expert-informed” youth protection policies.

“I can assure you that our volunteers and employees take youth protection extremely seriously and do their part to help keep kids safe,” she said.

As for the monies necessary to continue funding the programs, Bowes said that the Scouts will still use restricted donations, Friends of Scouting (FOS) donations, and other annual donations.

“These will continue to fund necessary day-to-day expenses that are critical to local Scouting programs,” she said. “The Piedmont Council will continue to bring adventures, values and lifelong benefits to youth and our communities for generations to come.”