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Cburkhardt

You Solve It -- A likely Bankruptcy Scenario

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2 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Our "council" camp is in fact not owned by council, just managed. A wise decision done years ago not because of lawsuits but for fear council would sell it.  I expect our camp will become a totally separate business. Now whether the camp will run summer camp itself or contract with a scout council is a good question.  I suspect the former.

I found out the local camp is no longer in a trust, but outright owned by the council. Ditto two other camps.

The one camp that is not owned by the council is the one least used.  All infrastructure, waterlines, shelters, building, etc, were done by individual units and volunteers. Troops are very protective of their campsites there because the unit dug the ditches, laid the waterlines, and paid for connection to the water main. I know of 2 troops that had a long time arguement over a campsite. The original unit disbanded for a few years, and a new unit took over the campsite. When the original unit was restarted, with several of of the folks who dug those ditches, laid the pipes, etc came back, they wanted their campsite back It was a mess.

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The thrust of my concern is that the tort industry will have a roadmap to suit the going-forward BSA organizations at the council level.  They will know which ones have accessible properties, how much those properties are worth and what the YPT records of those councils were pre-bankruptcy.  When one of these lawyers hears about disgruntled volunteers or employees on just about any civil rights or other issue, the suits will flow against the councils known to have assets.  I am nothing other than a Scoutmaster these days, but if I were on a council executive board I would be encouraging an effort to transfer-away almost any hard asset to trustworthy entities and immediatly designate almost any contribution post-bankruptcy.  Big City Scout Reservation should indeed become owned by an organization governed by a very strictly-worded trust.  Big City council itself should become a nearly-pure cash operation, keeping what it needs for year-to-year financial stability, but urging the big gifts to go to the trust or be otherwise secured from lawsuit attachment.  Of course, the Trust will need to position itself in a manner to avoid liability, because the lawyers will name the trust as a co-defendant if any untoward allegations are made about activities on the Reservation premises.  

Hard to say much about Eagle and Remember Schiff's circumstances.  Eagle's council should consider transferring the camp(s) that survive the Victim's Trust Fund contribution activity.  If not, it ultimately will be in the position of Sad or Merger of Equals council.  Not much cash left, properties that probably need deferred maintenance, no big contributions in sight and a local trial bar praying for a program or membership slip-up.  This is not a formula for long-time existance.  Maybe that council should find a Big City council to preserve the viability of the property.

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11 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

When one of these lawyers hears about disgruntled volunteers or employees on just about any civil rights or other issue, the suits will flow against the councils known to have assets.  I am nothing other than a Scoutmaster these days, but if I were on a council executive board I would be encouraging an effort to transfer-away almost any hard asset to trustworthy entities and immediatly designate almost any contribution post-bankruptcy. 

The reason for having a council was to have a legal entity that could own the camp property.  If the council will no longer own a camp, then it has no purpose.  It becomes an entity without a purpose.  

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Another Outcome: Big City Remains Alone

I am trying to present outcomes that are realistic possibilities for different parts of the country.  This outcome would be a potential or even likely outcome where the big metropolitan council is reasonably well run and there are reasonable personal relations between most of the predecessor councils in the pretend Area.

Big City, Rich Folks and Happy councils get along fairly well.  There are good cultural ties among them caused by Happy council having encouraged their Scouts to attend Big City Scout Reservation and the common business and social links among Big City and Rich Folks board members and council volunteers.  The three councils realize that they can individually survive the national bankruptcy and the need to contribute to the Victim’s Trust Fund to get discharges.  They also realize that the other two councils and their properties are not going to be able to survive the process.  After a few meetings involving all councils and involving a representative variety of volunteer leaders from the unit on up, the following become clear:

·       Big City, Rich Folks and Happy councils want to merge.  They all prefer to put Camp Rich into conservancy and use it as a local version of a high adventure base during the summer.  They will lease it out for hunting in the off-season, something that will have to be specially arranged with the conservancy group.  The conservancy cash, Rich Folks endowment and Happy endowment would be folded into Big City council.  For liability avoidance purposes, Big City Scout Reservation will be spun-off into a separate ownership and management corporation not controlled by Big City council.

·       Merger of Equals council is a generally unhappy group.  Consistent with their record of not being able to process key decisions, the group seems hopelessly split about what to do, but really has no net assets other than the one worn camp.  Because the group is unable to decide its future, it is no longer able to effectively offer Scouting locally.  The group either voluntarily dissolves or BSA national withdraws their charter.  The camp is sold and a few other assets, leaving $100,000 after debts are paid.  The remainder reverts to national.  The local corporation files for Chapter 7 liquidation, so it receives a discharge.  After all of this is processed, Big City accepts national’s offer to include the old council territory into Big City council.

·       Sad council decides to go it alone and without contributing toward the Victim’s Trust fund for the discharge.  Two years later the two cases filed against Sad council for abuse in the 1960s go to trial and wipe-out Sad council’s assets and those of the VFW group that had been the CO of the involved Pack.  The council files chapter 7 liquidation and is dissolved.  Because of the bitter history of Scouting in Sad council, Big City will decide not to take on the old Sad council territory.  Units in the former Sad council territory directly contact with “new” national for program licensing.  However, COs in the area express reservations about hosting Scout units because of what happened to the VFW.  Many of the 30 units remaining in the council wither away.  Children interested in Scouting generally drive to a unit located in the Big City council.

Comment

This is intended to include some of the typical results for different types of councils.  The survival of councils will generally depend on the capability and willingness of the local volunteers to understand and address what is happening – and to make decisions that are future-oriented in the best interest of youth.  Next, the ability to maintain the confidence of the local families and community (COs, other volunteer organizations, business community) will help or hinder go-forward operations.  Where Scouting is divided, the result will probably be to shrink or disband the council.  Councils and their volunteers almost have a behavioral DNA that is a good predictor of these outcomes. 

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On 8/31/2020 at 10:15 AM, Cburkhardt said:

I am trying to present outcomes that are realistic possibilities for different parts of the country.  This outcome would be a potential or even likely outcome where the big metropolitan council is reasonably well run and there are reasonable personal relations between most of the predecessor councils in the pretend Area.

The problem with your scenarios is that they all focus on the council big wigs, and they almost entirely ignore the wishes of the scouting community and the Chartered Organizations.  Very much like the attitudes that have brought BSA into bankruptcy to begin with.   Business as usual.

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On 8/30/2020 at 5:59 PM, Cburkhardt said:

but if I were on a council executive board I would be encouraging an effort to transfer-away almost any hard asset to trustworthy entities and immediatly designate almost any contribution post-bankruptcy.  Big City Scout Reservation should indeed become owned by an organization governed by a very strictly-worded trust.  Big City council itself should become a nearly-pure cash operation, keeping what it needs for year-to-year financial stability, but urging the big gifts to go to the trust or be otherwise secured from lawsuit attachment.  Of course, the Trust will need to position itself in a manner to avoid liability, because the lawyers will name the trust as a co-defendant if any untoward allegations are made about activities on the Reservation premises.  

Hard to say much about Eagle and Remember Schiff's circumstances.  Eagle's council should consider transferring the camp(s) that survive the Victim's Trust Fund contribution activity.  If not, it ultimately will be in the position of Sad or Merger of Equals council.  Not much cash left, properties that probably need deferred maintenance, no big contributions in sight and a local trial bar praying for a program or membership slip-up.  This is not a formula for long-time existance.  Maybe that council should find a Big City council to preserve the viability of the property.

 

I'm seriously surprised that more councils didn't do this as soon as regular litigation started popping up in the news.  Transfer the camps to 3rd party non-profits with charters that forbid them selling the property and requiring them to be maintained as camps for youth activity and then lease them back to BSA.  There's a good reason why places like hospitals have technically separate corporate entities to hold title to property and conduct fund-raising and endowment building activities.

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On 9/3/2020 at 9:27 AM, elitts said:

I'm seriously surprised that more councils didn't do this as soon as regular litigation started popping up in the news.  Transfer the camps to 3rd party non-profits with charters that forbid them selling the property and requiring them to be maintained as camps for youth activity and then lease them back to BSA.  There's a good reason why places like hospitals have technically separate corporate entities to hold title to property and conduct fund-raising and endowment building activities.

A lot depends on the SE.  One of the former SEs in my former council kept bringing up an idea to sell property that had been specifically bequeathed to the council under condition it not be sold.  If the council ever decides the property is too much to maintain, it reverts to the previous owner.  Said SE also kept wanting to sell the land the current camp -- just 45-75 minutes from town) is on (prime real estate!) and replace it by buying land about 3-4 hours further west.  It's hard enough to get units to use the camp facilities outside summer camp -- add a 4 hour drive to that?  No thank you!  It always infuriated me that my units in Laurel, MD and Fairfax, VA had to go all the way to Goshen or file "out of council" to use closer camps.

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Just one comment.   As I understand matters, a major portion of WOSMs funding comes from BSA. If Big BSA liquidates, WOSM will welcome any partner that puts cash in its coffers. 
 

Anyone able to say otherwise?

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4 hours ago, John-in-KC said:

Just one comment.   As I understand matters, a major portion of WOSMs funding comes from BSA. If Big BSA liquidates, WOSM will welcome any partner that puts cash in its coffers. 
 

Anyone able to say otherwise?

I imagine there is a vote required, but ultimately you are correct.

However, I suspect the selection of some other Scouting organization in the US would be met with a collective "so what?"  As a country we are inherently too independent to care what the WOSM says when picking an activity for our kids.  The competing Scouting programs in the US gave not gotten traction because they are not the BSA and have neither it's personal connections nor it's ubiquitous reach and facilities.

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8 hours ago, ParkMan said:

However, I suspect the selection of some other Scouting organization in the US would be met with a collective "so what?"  

Which is pretty much the same reaction most of the country had when the BSA bankruptcy was announced.  Scouting isn't as important to people as it used to be.

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17 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I imagine there is a vote required, but ultimately you are correct.

However, I suspect the selection of some other Scouting organization in the US would be met with a collective "so what?"  As a country we are inherently too independent to care what the WOSM says when picking an activity for our kids.  The competing Scouting programs in the US gave not gotten traction because they are not the BSA and have neither it's personal connections nor it's ubiquitous reach and facilities.

Question is does the USA need a National scouting organization?  The EU countries are roughly the same geographical size as the US, roughly the same GDP, but with more population.  The EU has how many scouting organizations?  30ish?  Why not have the mega-councils referenced in this thread form individual organizations, give them all access to the BSA IP and let them innovate from there?  Use the RBOC Model.  They could all be part of WOSM.

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4 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

Question is does the USA need a National scouting organization?  The EU countries are roughly the same geographical size as the US, roughly the same GDP, but with more population.  The EU has how many scouting organizations?  30ish?  Why not have the mega-councils referenced in this thread form individual organizations, give them all access to the BSA IP and let them innovate from there?  Use the RBOC Model.  They could all be part of WOSM.

I understand your point - I think you are defining a new Scouting model - a confederation of councils based on the same program and materials.  Maybe 50 or 100 different councils that all use the same program and function independently.  I would think that even if such a model were to occur that they would derive representation in the WOSM through a central organization.  From the WOSM website:

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The purpose of WOSM is to promote unity and the understanding of Scouting's purpose and principles while facilitating its expansion and development. 

What would be the value to 50 or 100 local councils in the US to all join individually?  What would be the value to the WOSM?  Does Scouts UK really want to have individual relationships with a whole bevy of US councils?  I suspect not.

I expect that if 50 councils buy the IP rights of the BSA, they will create a small central organization to co-ordinate that work.  Place the international representation of the US based former BSA councils in that entity.

 

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13 hours ago, David CO said:

Which is pretty much the same reaction most of the country had when the BSA bankruptcy was announced.  Scouting isn't as important to people as it used to be.

Scouting isn't what it once was, but it made national news for several days.  There are many millions of people with history with the BSA and it does have an emotional connection to many people.

An announcement by the WOSM might be lucky to get a mention in a "well that's cute" sort of way.

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The National Council forgot this, but it’s jobs should be

- Develop program and training materials for youth and adults.

- Develop and implement a compliance system (chartering, with further compliance at the council level)

- Manage recordkeeping. 

- Develop and provide professional service training to Councils.

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1 hour ago, John-in-KC said:

The National Council forgot this, but it’s jobs should be

- Develop program and training materials for youth and adults.

- Develop and implement a compliance system (chartering, with further compliance at the council level)

- Manage recordkeeping. 

- Develop and provide professional service training to Councils.

I love scoutbook for tracking advancement. Hopefully, the national council is dedicating significant resources to moving my.scounting.org functions over to this platform. Camping and service logs were perfect in scoutbook two years ago and I think the change made this year was a step backwards. If they need alpha testers, I can volunteer to do that.

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