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Is the Congressional Charter important?

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A quick check on that fountain of knowledge, Wikipedia, brought this response:

"Financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008." and that before bankruptcy "Lehman was the fourth largest investment bank in the USA"

 

Any more questions?

 

So...back to the Mormons taking the Congressional Charter: anyone have a problem with that?(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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NJCS: You mean to say ALL those organizations hold a "Congressional Charter"?

 

I am sure they are all worthy of that appellation, but we are back to the original question, I guess, as to what it means to be Congressionally Chartered, and whether the original language recorded in the Charter is "binding" on the organization. Ala Kudu, I would ask, has the BSA lost sight of it's original vision and purpose?

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NJCS: You mean to say ALL those organizations hold a "Congressional Charter"?

 

To really determine the answer to that, you would have to look at the statutes themselves. I found two sources that, for some strange reason, do not appear to be identical when it comes to the BSA, and I don't have time to actually read through all this and untangle it right now. So be my guest:

 

http://uscode.house.gov/pdf/1994/1994usc36.pdf

 

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/36/subtitle-II/part-B

 

 

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I don't perceive any significant value in the Charter that we receive. If there WAS to be larger schism in Scouting, here our my top 3 things:

 

- Eagle Scout. Lose this, and we lose a LOT. The Eagle is our brand, and serves to bring in a lot of parents (though sometimes with a price that we have all discussed).

- Be Prepared. This too is unique to us.

- Shared ownership of resources such as Council camps, Philmont, etc.

 

Other aspects of our program are easily copied (and have been by other groups):

Uniforms - easily duplicated

Citizenship - no monopoly on that

Outdoors, Patrol System, Org Chart - great system, but nothing trademarked

 

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Yah, da Congressional Charter matters because it grants the BSA exclusive use of the terms related to "Scouting" in the U.S. Trademark claims could be easily challenged based on da prior use of those terms, their common English usage, and treaty law recognizing WOSM and other organization trademarks. Da Congressional Charter figured fairly significantly in da court rulings against startup rival "Scout" organizations, which were interpreted to grant a congressional monopoly to the BSA. All based on one clause of da charter which actually has some non-fluff language. ;)

 

Of course, a competitor organization does not have to call itself "Scouting", eh? One might argue that among da youth population at least it would be better off if it didn't. Too much association with "gay" uniforms and such. ;)

 

Beavah

 

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Beavah is correct and IMO, the congressional charter is important (and part of what I feel makes the BSA a public organization in my eyes, but not in the eyes of the US legal system.

 

Also, the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS or "Mormon" to some) does not have their own youth program but has stated that Scouting is the youth program of their church. That is a big difference.

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How's this for an answer:

 

The Congressional Charter is important to the Business side of the Boy Scouts of America and has no importance at all to the Program side of the BSA.

 

As for who would get the charter, the answer would be the folks that didn't leave the BSA. If the LDS church were to decide to split off on their own, they would be leaving the BSA and the BSA would retain the charter.

 

 

SA: I'll just note that GM and Chrysler accepted being "forced" into a structured bankruptcy by the federal government as a condition of receiving taxpayer bail-out loans as an alternative to being forced into a bankruptcy they were unlikely to survive by their creditors.(This message has been edited by calicopenn)

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If the BSA split, the ownership of any trademarks would be part of the standard work that goes on with transfer of intellectual property. If the split was performed willingly by the two parties, then the ownership would be spelled out as part of the split, along with who gets ownership of buildings, pension plans, etc. If the split is a hostile split, then you're really just talking about some people leaving the BSA and starting their own organization, so all ownership of the existing items would stay with the BSA.

 

The charter may have been important for deciding who can call themselves a "Scouting" group, but at this point, I'd expect that the courts would follow precedent, even if the Congressional Charter was abandoned. If someone called themselves a Scouting group, and was organized to intentionally compete with the BSA, I'd think this would definitely be subject to a cease-and-desist ruling.

 

There are so many other names they could use, anyway.

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"has the BSA lost sight of it's original vision and purpose?"

 

I think so. Although the purpose of Scouting has always been to use camping and the other program features to attract boys so that their character can be built and their physical abilities be improved, in which case it doesn't matter what the program actually is as long as it accomplishes those goals.

 

I would argue that the BSA has really taken its' eye off the ball, though. The outdoors, camping and hiking have always been the mainstays and they worked pretty well in the past. All you have to do is look at a troop of Scouts and observe the number of overweight boys and leaders to see we are not accomplishing those objectives.

 

How many boys and leaders will not be able to go to the Summit next year because of their BMI?

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All you have to do is look at a troop of Scouts and observe the number of overweight boys and leaders to see we are not accomplishing those objectives.

 

Is that the fault of the program, the troop, or is it the fault of what scouts are doing in their time outside the troop, modern lifestyles being what they are?

 

I don't put much stock in BMI as mine is 29.5 (5'9" 200#).

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In the article, a BSA representative stated that allowing another organization to call itself Youthscouts would be "diluting the meaning of what it means to be a Scout in the United States." I find this ironic, as the BSA has been doing that themselves for four decades now!

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What is wrong with competing scoutlike organizations? Are we so paranoid that we see the Charter as some type of legal protectionist document, because that is not what it was ever meant to be. Beavah is correct the terms scout, cub, venturer, or explorer and others could easily be overturned in court. As could the ranks of tenderfoot, 1st class, star, life, and eagle because of their common usage prior to the BSA. Maybe as Sherminator so aptly put it, "diluting what it means to be a scout, the BSA has been doing that for four decades now."

 

At one time we had the Y-Indian Guides, Woodcraft Rangers,Young Pioneers, Sons of Daniel Boone, and the BSA all competing for the same boys and the BSA came out on top. Do you really think another scoutlike group could really get organized and offer any real competition to the BSA in todays world with todays youth? I think not. Look at the AHG trying to go head to head with the GSUSA, they are still a small group and not really showing any potential of getting much bigger. Some of the Catholic scouters here may disagree but in todays overly secular world a group which promotes a devotion to Christianity as its centerpiece and focus is going to have great difficulty recruiting girls from the 20-35 year old parents most of who are skeptical of all organized religious groups.

 

So to paraphrase a line from a classic movie, "Charter we don't need no stinkin charter".

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