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Major Change in Chartered Organization Relationship


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14 minutes ago, GrammaScout said:

Hello.  I am just curious as to how it works when the Church is not the CO but the Troop uses its facilities.

Did the Church refuse to Charter because of 'liability'?   We recently had a similar go-round with our Church and our Troop....we are strong advocates of both by the way...but Church leadership has not been given valid info, thus the discussion.

View it this way ... 

The old charter agreements were used as a marketing tool by BSA to get more buy-in from local organizations ... to get those local organizations help with BSA's youth program objectives ... to get local orgs to view packs and troops as an extension of the local church/school/other.  Many local orgs took it with a grain of salt and never did anything.  Most everyone knew that's how it worked.  Even the document itself looked pretty weak and light weight.  

Think of it this way ... US GOV charter to BSA is honorific.  Just really good marketing with little effect.   Charter between BSA and local orgs was mostly honorific too.   

Then over the last few decades, it's inferred more and more.  Lately the signed charter agreement has been used as a legal liability too.  It's a contract right?  I doubt many churches viewed it as a very significant contract.  Just an honorific thing.  

NOW ... Scouting is a real  liability.  Real risk.   You could get sued.  So ... is that scouting youth program that critical to your own purposes as a local organization?  If so, you should actively manage it and be involved.  

I myself am recommending our church change from a charter agreement to a facilities use agreement.  We've had discussions.  They have zero interest in overseeing the scouting program.  They are glad to lend use their facilities though.  They just don't want to own and be responsible.  

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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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20 minutes ago, GrammaScout said:

Did the Church refuse to Charter because of 'liability'?   We recently had a similar go-round with our Church and our Troop....we are strong advocates of both by the way...but Church leadership has not been given valid info, thus the discussion.

First, welcome.

Second, the Church can refuse to be a CO but enter into a facilities use agreement that, in effect, makes it nothing more than the rental unit for the unit. The Council becomes the de facto CO.

And the Church doesn't need to give a valid reason: they cannot be compelled to be a CO.

The entire Diocese of Dallas, for example, directed local parishes to end their roles as COs but did allow them to continue to rent facilities.

These are the official forms from national https://www.scouting.org/resources/forms/

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30 minutes ago, GrammaScout said:

Now I read here that there are many versions of the 'Charter Agreement' and am rather confused.  Isn't there just one? 

There are now two because there are two types of charters. Both are at https://www.scouting.org/resources/forms/t

Traditional: The unit is chartered by a CO.  Annual Charter Agreement English

New: The unit is charted by your Local Council. Annual Council Unit Registration Agreement

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On 6/8/2021 at 1:40 PM, CynicalScouter said:

There are now two because there are two types of charters. Both are at https://www.scouting.org/resources/forms/t

Traditional: The unit is chartered by a CO.  Annual Charter Agreement English

New: The unit is charted by your Local Council. Annual Council Unit Registration Agreement

I am very challenged in being able to 'open' a pdf. that I can copy and email.    A poster stated that he had copies of about 10 versions of the Charter Agreement.  Is there a way that I could also view them? thanks

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On 6/8/2021 at 1:37 PM, fred8033 said:

View it this way ... 

The old charter agreements were used as a marketing tool by BSA to get more buy-in from local organizations ... to get those local organizations help with BSA's youth program objectives ... to get local orgs to view packs and troops as an extension of the local church/school/other.  Many local orgs took it with a grain of salt and never did anything.  Most everyone knew that's how it worked.  Even the document itself looked pretty weak and light weight.  

Think of it this way ... US GOV charter to BSA is honorific.  Just really good marketing with little effect.   Charter between BSA and local orgs was mostly honorific too.   

Then over the last few decades, it's inferred more and more.  Lately the signed charter agreement has been used as a legal liability too.  It's a contract right?  I doubt many churches viewed it as a very significant contract.  Just an honorific thing.  

NOW ... Scouting is a real  liability.  Real risk.   You could get sued.  So ... is that scouting youth program that critical to your own purposes as a local organization?  If so, you should actively manage it and be involved.  

I myself am recommending our church change from a charter agreement to a facilities use agreement.  We've had discussions.  They have zero interest in overseeing the scouting program.  They are glad to lend use their facilities though.  They just don't want to own and be responsible.  

After about 60 years following Scouting, I have never heard of folks thinking that the Boy Scout Troop they sponsored was an extension of the 'church'.   They do NOT need to oversee the Scout Program..hopefully, they do not.  'Owned and Operated' is not appropriate and very, very few Churches would have the manpower to 'Own and Operate'.  It is also a bit 'dangerous' when the Staff person and even their Councils consist of folks who have no knowledge or working experience of the BSA program...procedures, policies, and programs.   Being a 'Cub Scout' once...does not an expert make.  This is what is happening right now in our Church and commotions abound with some decisions that almost punitive in nature.  The word OWN is no longer in the Charter Agreement.  Most successful Troops can manage just fine...and the District is available if they cannot.

The misinterpretation of the scope of 'own' over the many years has caused more grief than it is worth.  Please...read the 2021 Charter and put your faith in the Adult Troop Leaders.

 

 

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Just now, GrammaScout said:

After about 60 years following Scouting, I have never heard of folks thinking that the Boy Scout Troop they sponsored was an extension of the 'church'.   They do NOT need to oversee the Scout Program..hopefully, they do not.  'Owned and Operated' is not appropriate and very, very few Churches would have the manpower to 'Own and Operate'.  It is also a bit 'dangerous' when the Staff person and even their Councils consist of folks who have no knowledge or working experience of the BSA program...procedures, policies, and programs.   Being a 'Cub Scout' once...does not an expert make.  This is what is happening right now in our Church and commotions abound with some decisions that almost punitive in nature.  The word OWN is no longer in the Charter Agreement.  Most successful Troops can manage just fine...and the District is available if they cannot.

The misinterpretation of the scope of 'own' over the many years has caused more grief than it is worth.  Please...read the 2021 Charter and put your faith in the Adult Troop Leaders.

 

 

I have also read that from now on, it is the District that 'owns' the Troop, the gear, and the Funds, if necessary.  Finally, they got it right.  

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6 hours ago, GrammaScout said:

I have also read that from now on, it is the District that 'owns' the Troop, the gear, and the Funds, if necessary.  Finally, they got it right.  

That is 100% not true.

Districts are geographic areas of a Council. They do NOT own troops. Chartered Organizations own the troops. Until 2020, COs were all entities independent of BSA National or Councils (e.g. Masonic lodges, Catholic parish churches, etc.)

In 2021 there was a second option introduced where the CO was your local Council (not district, Council). That is the EXCEPTION, the vast, vast, VAST majority of units are still "owned" by COs. independent of BSA National or Councils.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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6 hours ago, GrammaScout said:

 They do NOT need to oversee the Scout Program..hopefully, they do not.

The failure of COs to oversee the program is precisely why so many COs are being sued as well. Remember: every leader in a unit was approved of by the CO. They own the problems of these units.

6 hours ago, GrammaScout said:

I am very challenged in being able to 'open' a pdf. that I can copy and email. 

I'm sorry then, but they are in PDF form. You cannot open the PDF?

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6 hours ago, GrammaScout said:

Does anyone know when the word 'own' was taken out of the Charter Agreement?

"Own" was never in the agreement. However, the text and context made it clear that the CO was owner of the unit.

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6 hours ago, GrammaScout said:

I am very challenged in being able to 'open' a pdf. that I can copy and email.

What kind of device are you using to try to open the PDF with?  On a PC, clicking on the links CynicalScouter provided above should open the file in another browser window.  You should then have a 'save' icon in the top right of that browser that will allow you to save a copy to your computer, which you can then attach to an e-mail.

When on my phone (Android, so not 100% sure for iPhone users) clicking the link also opens the PDF, and by using the 3 dots in the upper right, I again have the option to save a copy of the file, which I can attach to an e-mail.

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5 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

"Own" was never in the agreement. However, the text and context made it clear that the CO was owner of the unit.

 

Agreed.   Also, look at the money ... BSA's advice.   https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/financeimpact/pdf/fiscal_policies_and_procedures_for_bsa_units.pdf

  • "...the tax status of your unit is usually the same as that of your chartered organization if the chartered organization includes the unit in its tax-status."
  • "... shall turn over the surplus, if any, to the chartered organization or the council."
  • "Should our unit consider insuring our unit equipment? Yes. Remember, the chartered organization owns the assets"

Even without the financial advice, it's clear because the CO selects the charter org rep / charter head.  That rep then selects the committee chair and signs off on every unit leader application.  

There is vagueness.  The charter partner agreement is written more as a friendly agreement than a strong contract.  

That's why I'm actually advocating our charter org partner using the facility use agreement.  It's more accurate to how the church and scouting partner.  We can still do pretty much the exact same things.  Help the church with projects as a thank you for using their space.  Sell flowers / popcorn.  etc.  

 

11 hours ago, GrammaScout said:

After about 60 years following Scouting, I have never heard of folks thinking that the Boy Scout Troop they sponsored was an extension of the 'church'.   They do NOT need to oversee the Scout Program..hopefully, they do not.  'Owned and Operated' is not appropriate and very, very few Churches would have the manpower to 'Own and Operate'.  It is also a bit 'dangerous' when the Staff person and even their Councils consist of folks who have no knowledge or working experience of the BSA program...procedures, policies, and programs.   Being a 'Cub Scout' once...does not an expert make.  This is what is happening right now in our Church and commotions abound with some decisions that almost punitive in nature.  The word OWN is no longer in the Charter Agreement.  Most successful Troops can manage just fine...and the District is available if they cannot.

The misinterpretation of the scope of 'own' over the many years has caused more grief than it is worth.  Please...read the 2021 Charter and put your faith in the Adult Troop Leaders.

... you've never heard of folks thinking, but it's happening currently in your church?   :)  

I've seen it twice in two local units.  Once during starting the unit and once was a church elder who loved scouting and decided to become the Charter Org Rep ... and then attended every committee meeting, troop meeting and camp out.  

Yeah, little good comes of it.  Churches don't have the manpower.  ... I can envision it working, but I just don't see it happening.  ... The trouble is the local churches don't have it as a core goal that they professionally monitor and grow.  Rather, it's usually some quirky situation that is slightly uncomfortable with someone exercising a bit too much influence in the wrong way.  

IMHO ... facility use agreement ... sounds like the right way to go.  The driving reason is liability.  The church accepts liability for pastors and their own employees.  They oversee their people.  But from what I've seen, the churches have never overseen the scouting program effectively.  In fact, in many units, most of the members are not from that church.  ... point is if you don't want want to oversee and manage it, then down pretend to own it.  Friendly documents from 1950s can be taken as legal contracts and proof of negligence now.  Get the right agreement for the right situation.  ... IMHO, most should switch from charter partner agreement to facility use agreement.  

Time will tell.  I'll have to see how this washes out with our charter partner.

 

Edited by fred8033
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12 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

"Own" was never in the agreement. However, the text and context made it clear that the CO was owner of the unit.

The word 'own' was near the top of the Charter Agreement that used around 2010.  The experienced Adults had an abstract/literal interpretation of what that meant.  However, when our Council and Staff became loaded with those with zero knowledge of the policies and procedures of the BSA...they went bisurek!   Our District Rep. made THREE  visits to the Committee meeting to...try....to explain the umbrella liability coverage.  We then moved to the extreme with the term 'OWNS and OPERATES' being used.  This exemplary Troop of 50 years has functioned well for over 50 years of autonomy but with a cordial relationship to the Church. 

Same people went ballistic when they learned that the church TaxID number was used to give a donor a tax-deductible receipt..!!! ... that practice being standard operating procedure since as long as anyone can remember.  They decided that any irregularities in the Funds would become a red light to the IRS and the Church would be audited, closed, and the Pastor sent to Prison. !!!!!

Sure...so ridiculous it is ludicrous.  The IRS never sees financial records of Scout troops anyway.  We have a member who is a retired Naval Intelligence Officer and is now also a retired Federal Agent of the IRS.   He grinned and chuckled when he heard of this 'paranoia'.  The IRS does not go after 'small fish' he said which most churches are considered to be.   But...they never approached him for his wisdom and expertise on the subject  !!    With the changes in wording and the resignation of the hostile Parish manager, we have hope this can become a smoother operation like it once was.    The Lutheran Churches who Charter who have been contacted are astonished that this non-issue became a big issue.    Again:  When the CO Staff, Clergy, and leaders have zero knowledge about how Scouting works, this is what happens when THEY are seeing themselves as 'OWNERS and OPERATORS'.

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6 hours ago, GrammaScout said:

When the CO Staff, Clergy, and leaders have zero knowledge about how Scouting works, this is what happens when THEY are seeing themselves as 'OWNERS and OPERATORS'.

Agreed.  It's why I think the facility use agreement is much more more accurate for how churches relate to scouting and is a much better match.  Not perfect, but better. 

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On 12/4/2020 at 4:59 PM, CynicalScouter said:

I

 

  On 12/4/2020 at 2:13 PM, 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.

 

t 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.

 

Sorry to be so dense, but what are all these 'waves of lawsuits' you mention?   I thought bankruptcy had a deadline as to claims.  Documenting Troops, etc...documenting what?  So people  are now going to start suing the Charter Organizations where the 'issue' occured?  I thought that was covered by the BSA Umbrella..... We've had the discussion wondering what would stop a family from suing the place where the Facilities are used.  So not being the CO wouldn't make any difference.

 

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