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Who owns the troop's equipment?

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  • Who owns the troop's equipment?

    Who owns the troop's equipment the charter organization or the troop?

  • #2
    I'm guessing here, but would imagine that in most cases "the troop" (or pack or crew) is not a legal entity in the eyes of the Secretary of State of the home state. Given that, "the troop" can't own anything. It is not a legal person or entity in the legal world. Which is undoubtedly where unresolved questions in this area would end up. So... who owns it? IMHO, the Chartered Organization. They're the ones that are going to be on the hook if there is any mishap and people start getting sued.

    Suppose you lean towards "the troop" as the answer. Ok, who is the troop? The Scoutmaster? The COR? The boys? What if one or more (or a majority) want to leave the troop. Can they take stuff with them? I would say no. Having said that, suppose you have a church or civic group where everybody has decided to leave the troop and go and form their own troop (or join another). Would that chartered org want to keep all that stuff? Probably not.

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    • #3
      BSA Gary: Welcome to the forums. I hope your sojourn at our virtual crackerbarrel is pleasant .

      Danbrew has the most of it. In the BSA franchise system, the CO owns the Scout unit, hence the unit's equipment. 99% of all COs just let the Scout Unit do what it will with whatever equipment the SU buys for its use. SOME COs take a more pro-active position; the SU is an extension of their childrens ministry, for instance, If the SU is dissolved (the CO has no use for it, all the Scouts age out and there is no more Scouts, the Council revokes the units charter for whatever reason, etc.) then the CO at ITS descretion, may do whatever it likes with the units equipment and useful property. Sell it? Donate it to a charity, pass it on to another Scout Unit? Lock it up in a closet and ignore the pleas of the units use-to-be leaders? It is possible.
      If your Troop is "self chartered", ie., Friends of Troop XYZ, that can be a whole different kettle of wormy fish.

      Check with your District Executive for the specific legalities in your area. Look at your Councils website for names and numbers.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yep, SSScout is correct EVERYTHING the troop has is legally owned by the CO, including the bank account. One of the best reasons to have a good relationship with your CO is just that. When my troop had it's storage locker broken into and supplies scattered everywhere, CO didn't do anything about it b/c the supplies that were in it was theirs and one of the groups needed some stuff. Didn't matter to them that the lock was broken, a mess was made, and supplies that we needed were no longer there. While that incident didn't look for us to find a new CO, the brand new fiber glass shed that we bought for storage that was used as a dartboard so that it had so many leaks everything in it had mildew or was broken, that did it. Luckily the CO let us take what little was left with us.

        But I know of one troop/CO relationship that was so horrible, that when the troop when they heard that the CO was going to disband them, they spent every dime in it's account on gear and then sold it super cheap to another troop so that the CO would not get the money or the gear.

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        • #5
          Is this information I can find in 'Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America', if so where?

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          • #6
            You can find this info if you ask your council. They will confirm that SSScout is correct: the CO owns the unit assets. The only exception to this would be if a donor or a business or a private individual was allowing unit use of equipment, essentially a loan. In that case ownership is retained by that entity.

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            • #7
              The troop owns the equipment in the same way that a corporation owns their assets; that's why we are all required to obtain a tax ID number. The State expects us to collect and pay Sales Tax on the stuff we sell, Popcorn, Honey, Christmas Trees, hotdogs at RenFair, etc. And we have to submit earnings statements to the IRS. When an SM, ASM, CC, or other leader leaves they turn in their keys and no longer have access to "Troop Equipment." The CO owns the building, but the equipment belongs to the troop, provided it was purchased by troop funds. If the CO purchased the equipment, then they would own that as well, but if it was purchased by the troop and logged in the annual expense reports, it belongs to the troop.

              Comment


              • Papadaddy
                Papadaddy commented
                Editing a comment
                I believe the above is true only if the Unit has incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. MOST units have not, and operate as an arm of their CO. (I am not an accountant nor an attorney, so seek proper legal advice).

            • #8
              The following may help regarding official policy:
              http://www.scouting.org/filestore/fi...its-9-2010.pdf

              Comment


              • #9
                Rules and Regulations of the BSA, Article XI, Section 1.
                "(b) Unit Obligations. In the event of the dissolution of a unit or
                the revocation or lapse of its charter, the unit committee shall
                apply unit funds and property to the payment of unit obligations
                and shall turn over the surplus, if any, to the local council, if there
                is one, or if there is no local council, dispose of the same in accordance
                with the direction of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts
                of America. In the case of a chartered organization, any funds or
                equipment which may have been secured as property of the unit
                shall be held in trust by the chartering organization or the chartered
                local council, as may be agreed upon, pending reorganization
                of the unit or for the promotion of the program of the Boy Scouts
                of America."
                This has been discussed here many times in the past. The above is part of the Charter Agreement. The CO is granted a license by the BSA to use its program and materials for its youth program in exchange for an agreement to follow the Rules, Regulations, Policies and program of the BSA. Therefore, a Unit is an entity of the CO, not of the BSA. If the unit is dissolved (charter not renewed), the CO agrees to give it all to the Council, if they want it.

                Comment


                • FrankScout
                  FrankScout commented
                  Editing a comment
                  In our units, the CO policy is that all equipment purchases are made in the name of the CO, never "Troop/Pack XXX" In the event that the units were to fold, the CO has paperwork showing that they own everything, and were "loaning" it to the scouts--with the paperwork to prove it. The CO in turn distributes the property to whom they feel would most benefit by it---The other packs/troops in our town, There's no guarantee that the local council would do the same..

              • #10
                Papadaddy, in theory perhaps. What I observed locally was the CO disposed of it the way they wished; in one case keeping gear for the youth program and a local camp; in another a neighboring Troop.

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                • #11
                  Focus on what is fair. Who owns it, the charter org. BSA has zero ownership. Who has a right to it, the scouts in that unit.

                  *****************************************

                  Usually I tow the BSA line 100%. But in this case, I think about what is fair. Plus ... BSA Article XI has two sections that seem to contradict each other. The second starts with "in the case of a chartered organization"? Isn't that all units? They all have chartered organizations.

                  Fair ... IMHO, if BSA is not responsible for the debts and did not raise the money, it has no claim on the money. And, it is rather arrogant to think so especially after how much money local units route to the councils.

                  If a council rep came to me asking for the money or a statement of accounts, I’d tell them to go fish.

                  Chartered orgs are a little different. But not much. In most cases, the chartered org has no active interest in the unit. The chartered orgs usually have zero involvement in fundraising, using or maintaining the equipment. But if everyone in the unit “quit” scouting, I think the chartered org clearly has rights to everything … if they want it.

                  *********************************

                  So what is fair?

                  If a unit effectively dissolves and scouts transfer to a new organization, the money and equipment should transfer too. If they go to two different troops, apportion the money and equipment to the units.

                  *********************************

                  In my case, I'd ask the charter org exec to sign a letter "releasing" the unit. I would not even mention money or equipment.

                  Then, I'd get it chartered under the other charter org and after six months to a year dissolve one of the two units at that location.

                  Heck, I might even do it faster and ignore all the details. Often, when scouts transfer units, scouts take their scout accounts with them. I could see treating this whole situation like a scout account transfer. Just let the new unit know that some of the stuff is for the scout and some is for the general fund of the new unit.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    The Chartered Org Owns it, but in most cases, has no interest in keeping it if the Unit leaves.

                    Sure, they have the legal right to take everything out if the troop trailer, including the trailer itself and do anything they want to... But they very rarely have any interest in doing anything of the sort.

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                    • #13
                      Yah, I always get a chuckle out of da BSA's language on the matter.

                      So yeh license a program from Microsoft to help with your business. One of those click-through things that yeh never read. Then yeh go out and buy a computer and a monitor and a hard drive and a bunch of other stuff to run the program.

                      Later on yeh decide to switch to a different program and dump your Microsoft license. Now, in Microsoft's Corporation's Rules & Regulations, they say that if yeh stop using their software then they require yeh to turn over your computer and hard drive and monitor to them.

                      Actually, some of those click-through licenses are about that bad, eh? But they're really unenforceable nonsense. This kind of overbroad legal language has always been around, but it's gotten a lot worse in da last decade or so. Yeh should see some of da crap I see. I think it's dishonorable. Really it's a way of a big player with a lot of resources to try to coerce a small player with limited resources.

                      So to answer da original post, "it depends". Each case is goin' to be a bit different; the troop may be incorporated or recognized as a 501(c)(3) as an unincorporated association, yeh may have a big donor who gave things with donor restrictions, yeh may have "scout account" money that was actually paid by families that you're really holdin' on a custodial basis, yeh may have loaned gear, etc. Da person who has title to da trailer is probably da one who owns da trailer. In general, though, da troop is a youth program of the Chartered Organization; the adult leaders are volunteers for the Chartered Organization, and da Chartered Organization owns the money and gear, no matter what da BSA's internal Rules & Regulations (which da CO typically doesn't even have access to) state.

                      Now, to the OP, tell us what's really goin' on. I suspect perhaps your CO is dumpin' the charter over da membership policy change? In that case I think yeh sit down and be trustworthy, loyal, and friendly with 'em, eh? Yeh tell 'em da gear is theirs, and yeh ask what they want yeh to do. It could be they want it for da Royal Rangers or somesuch, in which case yeh behave like good scouts and clean it all up and pack it neatly and turn it over with a handshake, and then volunteer to help their Royal Rangers leaders if they need it getting set up. Havin' other groups takin' kids into da woods and teachin' citizenship and character is a good thing.

                      I suspect what's more likely is that they don't really need it or have any plans, in which case yeh can ask if yeh can take it with yeh so the kids can keep camping, and I bet they'd be amiable. Or yeh can offer to pay 'em fair market value, up front or over time.

                      Da point is to be friendly and helpful and courteous, like a good scout should be.

                      Beavah

                      Comment


                      • packsaddle
                        packsaddle commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Welcome back! Hope your 'vacation' was a good one.

                      • Beavah
                        Beavah commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I was just passin' through checkin' to see if this software was any better. Looks like yeh are gettin' a bit more traffic anyways. Mostly I'm contributin' here and there on one of da social network groups when I find some time, but other things are takin' up too much of it these days.

                    • #14
                      I mostly agree with you. There is a slight difference though from the perspective of not actively reaching out to open a can of worms.

                      I've seen five charter orgs. I've moved units between charter orgs too. Only one requested to get monthly copies of the bank statements and did an annual audit. With that single charter org, I'd absolutely ask how they want to handle the money and equipment and closure of the unit.

                      In the other four charter orgs cases, the charter org was never involved in any way other than providing space and signing the recharter form. They never asked to see anything. Likewise, they never helped raise funds or purchase equipment or adminster the program.

                      They stil absolutely have the right to be involved in the answer. But I would not change course as part of closing the unit. If they were not involved in decisions up until dissolving the unit, I would not "reach out" to bring them in now. If they asked, absolutely yes. But I would just not reach out to open a can of worms and create more work for myself.

                      ********************************

                      But this discussion is moot without knowing any details of a specific situation.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        I'm starting a new troop and offered CO spots on committee, finance audits, etc. and they said, all we want to do is provide a room for your boys to meet and store their equipment. So it varies from one CO to the other.

                        Stosh

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                        • Eagledad
                          Eagledad commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Be careful about what gets lost and stolen and asking for their insurance to pay. Barry
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