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Major Change in Chartered Organization Relationship


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It appears that we are on the verge of seeing a major change in the model used by the BSA with organizations that host Scouting units. It would change the relationship from one where the sponsor “owns” the unit(s) to one in which the unit(s) is viewed as a distinct community organization “housed” by the organization. A tenant, so to speak. There would be a formal “hosting” agreement signed with the organization. This is similar to the model that has been used by the Girl Scouts.

Our understanding is that chartered organizations will be given the option of either continuing with the long-standing current model or changing to the new model. The specific date that the new option will be available is unclear but appears to be imminent. The sponsor must make the decision about which model they will use if they choose to continue an association with Boy Scouting.

This change in sponsorship models apparently arises out of major liability concerns expressed by some organizations and denominations.  Currently, some chartered organizations have declined to re-charter and attorneys have advised of a significant liability risk for continued sponsorship, especially if the BSA is overwhelmed by claims. This change would affect only future liability.

If a chartered organization chooses to continue with the present model, it is our understanding that there will be a revised agreement. It will specifically state indemnification and insurance coverage.

For units whose chartered organizations chooses to only provide meeting space in the future, the unit(s) would be “owned” by the council. If it follows the Girl Scout model, which has not been clarified, then unit assets would be “owned” by the council. This could have an impact in several areas such as bank accounts, titling of trailers and the ability to receive donations. This apparently is very much a work in progress at the national level in response to the threat of losing a significant proportion of community sponsors. We understand that there will be more detailed information available within the next week.

While this development was not unexpected, it still will have a profound impact on the nature of the organization in the future.

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For the most part, there was nothing unexpected. Some of my impressions: (1) The United Methodist Church remains very supportive of Boy Scouting and endorses the traditional chartered organizatio

Wonder why something like this wasn't in the Churchill project? Also the old form used to require an annual sit down visit with the CO.    Never happened of course so the solution is  let's just

I have confirmed all of this with our denominational leadership. I don't think that the word has gotten down to the council level yet in many instances.  We are clearly heading into a tipping point, p

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The new CO agreement released by national is a game changer.

New form released November 23: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/524-182_web.pdf

Old form: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/524-182WB.pdf

EDIT: As for "imminent", it would have to be within days or maybe a week or two in order to make the December 31 deadlines for recharter

Edited by CynicalScouter
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I have confirmed all of this with our denominational leadership. I don't think that the word has gotten down to the council level yet in many instances.  We are clearly heading into a tipping point, probably more rapidly than most of us would have anticipated. This is a route to attempt to deal with the recommendations by conference attorneys that churches distance themselves from Boy Scouting. The irony here is that the program is probably the safest it has been in the past fifty years. And needed more than ever, I believe. I understand the concerns but sense the danger of an over-reaction. The new option would allow our existing units to continue to function even if a chartered partner choose to cease sponsorship. 

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This looks new

"Actively participate in the local councils annual giving campaign and product sales to ensure quality Scouting throughout the community. (ex. Friends of Scouting campaign, popcorn, camp card, etc.) "

I wonder if the sales become mandatory going forward (like Girl Scout Cookies).

 

Edited by Eagle1993
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1 minute ago, Eagle1993 said:

I wonder if the sales become mandatory going forward (like Girl Scout Cookies).

That is essentially what is says.    Read it like this:  "The Charter Organization agrees to" "actively participate in the local councils annual giving campaign and product sales to ensure quality Scouting throughout the community. (ex. Friends of Scouting campaign, popcorn, camp card, etc.)"  

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3 hours ago, gpurlee said:

While this development was not unexpected, it still will have a profound impact on the nature of the organization in the future.

I agree.  It is not unexpected.  The council execs have always wanted to have direct control of the units.  The current crisis is the perfect opportunity for them to justify a take-over.

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12 minutes ago, David CO said:

I agree.  It is not unexpected.  The council execs have always wanted to have direct control of the units.  The current crisis is the perfect opportunity for them to justify a take-over.

A grab for unit assets?  Surely not. 

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7 minutes ago, tnmule20 said:

A grab for unit assets?  Surely not. 

I would simply note that the latest iteration of the BSA charter and rules/regs made some...interesting changes to the unit asset provision upon unit dissolution.

RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

June 2018 revisions and current September 2020

Quote

Council or Unit Assets Upon Dissolution

In the event of the dissolution of a unit or the revocation or lapse of its charter, unit funds and assets must be used to first satisfy any outstanding unit obligations. Any remaining assets obtained with funds raised in the name of Scouting must be redeployed for Scouting use in the local area. Any assets obtained with funds from the chartered organization or parents of registered members may be redeployed as agreed upon by the chartered organization and local council.

Compare the above to the 2007 version

Quote

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.

 

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From several conversations today, I think it is clear the the local councils would strongly prefer to get the traditional relationships in place. It will be a logistical nightmare to make a shift among hundreds of units right now at re-charter time. I think that the relationships with the local chartered partners is very valued in most cases. However, the new re-chartering option is in response to several chartered partners announcing that they would no longer sponsor Scouting due to liability concerns. Apparently the legal advisors for several church conferences have stated that the perceived risk to sponsor a unit is too high at the present time. This is an option to continue local units while this bankruptcy sorts itself out. We have been told to expect a lot more information within a week.  It is also very clear that at the national level, the  United Methodist Church strongly supports the traditional model.

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

The sad thing is the belief that, through more nuanced wording, somehow the CO's will be a safe haven from all of this.

If CO's have money, they will be at financial risk going forward regardless of wording.  I question, long term, if any charter org would be really interested in the traditional model.  Especially after they start seeing the waves of lawsuits in 2021 as the lawyers are able to start documenting Troops/Packs/COs/Councils.  Once the pull the meat from the bones of National BSA, they will descend on the rest.    The legal fees & bad press will be tough to handle.  I expect the charters dropping now are simply the first wave.

We had a "Friends of CO" that we ended this year.  I talked with the individuals (parents) who were running the "CO".  I asked them if they had consulted lawyers to understand their legal liability if something went wrong  with the Troop.  Blank stares.  I asked them how much insurance they had and if, as leaders of the CO, they were ready to be listed as defendants in future lawsuits if something went wrong.  Blank stares.  I asked them why we didn't simply use a fraternal org … I was told "control/not sure".  I began these discussions after talking with an attorney about what would happen if a scout got Covid at one of my outings (it went beyond Covid to any serious injury).  He told me that we would sue everyone and let the courts work out the mess.

After these discussions there was quick agreement to end the "Friends Of" and go with a traditional CO (a fraternal organization).  I think we were lucky to have one, I wonder if it will continue next year.  For those running Friends of Troop or Pack xxx COs going forward, I would be careful and recommend consulting an attorney and insurance agent if you plan to continue.

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2 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

Especially after they start seeing the waves of lawsuits in 2021 as the lawyers are able to start documenting Troops/Packs/COs/Councils.

It depends on if there are such waves in 2021.

The point of the bankruptcy is that there won't be any future claims against National and the participating Councils for actions prior to 2019 or 2020. That just leaves the COs who will argue that they are covered by insurance from National and/or the Council.

 

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