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BSA mortgages Philmont

The worst part is, this happened in spring, and the Philmont Oversight Committee just found out. Seems fishy with everything that has been going on lately that this has not been transparent, and that volunteers are being shoved aside.


@PeterChristy - I think based on this and other posts of yours that perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your participation in the program. Now that you are making statements without backup and reference that exit strategy is close at hand.


From what I understand, Philmont hasn’t actually been mortgaged, rather being used as a credit facility to secure debt needed to manage other properties or lines of credit. Essentially isn’t actually being used as collateral, mostly likely against the development of the Summit Bechtel Reserve property. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one.

It’s important because it’s common practice for basically all corporations to do this; use one property as a credit facility to raise capital against other ventures. It’s just the way modern business works. On the one hand I understand why it feels risky, but we’re also asking the leaders at national to modernize the BSA, and bring it into the 21st century … and things like this are how that’s done. Using business practices like this also prevent them from having to just raise dues even farther to cover costs.

I’d say it’s thinking outside the box, but it’s not even thinking outside the box, it’s just standard industry practice.

The next point I’d like you to think about is the source for this article. I’ve seen this reported in two places. The Salt Lake Tribune, and World News Group. WNG is far right religious webzine, with an invite axe to grind, and the article was full of references to the decline of the BSA being caused by them letting in the gays and the women. The Salt Lake Tribune is the source you bright us; and it’s properly the liberal news from Salt Lake City. It’s still news for the Mormon heart land though, and they know who their audience is. BSA is less than popular with the LDS crowd right now, so I’m guessing this is a controversy that will sell news papers and sell article clicks for them. That’s something they desperately need, considering they laid off over 1/3 of their staff last year.

Let’s not just assume this article is giving us a full unbiased view of the situation.

the practice of using a property of a credit facility in order to


Wow, I’m not allowed to have an opinion. Gee, real nice guys.

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I’m not saying you can’t have an opinion. I’m willing to discuss it.

For what it’s worth I aligned with you pretty well on that other thread, and too some abuse for my opinions a well.

I wasn’t referring to you @MatthewWalters1. And yes, I remember we were in agreement on quite a bit.

I edited my OP to be less judgemental.

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I would tend to agree with Matthew on this one. It is certainly standard practice to re-evaluate and rewrite any debt facility to gain and advantage on rate or terms. This happens every day with corporate, municipal, county and state debt. We can be suspicious of the transaction but in the end it is not our task to manage the event, venue or process. Does it directly impact you or your unit ?

In fairness, it’s actually an AP byline, rather than a local writer. That suggests that the story is less likely to be directly influenced by regional opinions.

ETA: Original AP article from the source:

You’re correct. I didn’t notice that, but now that you pointed it out I searched the author …

Aside from one article on women’s soccer, he seems to write exclusively about the BSA, and child child sex abuse scandals. Catholic, Jerry Sandusky, foster care sex abuse, BSA history, etc.

I would say he has an axe to grind. Search his name and see what you get.

He may work for the AP, but he may not be all that unbiased either. It did also show me that the Denver post also ran this story about Philmont as well.

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I realize that we’re wandering somewhat off-topic here, so if the mods decide to tell us to cork it, I wouldn’t be too surprised. That said…

To be clear, it wasn’t my intent to argue that the article was unbiased, rather that the perception of local bias was likely incorrect. I don’t believe that anything (or anyone) is truly unbiased, no matter how much we may strive to act in ways that minimize the effects of those biases. I actually prefer articles that show clearly where the authors’ biases are, so that I can seek out articles that demonstrate a contravening bias in order to get a more balanced story.

It’s unclear from the article (and I have so far been unable to ascertain through my own investigation) exactly what role the Philmont Ranch Committee plays. Presuming for the sake or argument that it acts as trustees for the property, I think it would be a fair criticism by one or more members of the committee of the lack of notice to the committee about any change in or renewal of its use as collateral. If the role is less executive and more advisory, it may be less relevant that the committee wasn’t consulted, presuming that is indeed the case. I’m not taking the assertion by Mr. Stinnett at face value, either. At the end of the day, if I understand the bylaws correctly. it’s the national executive board that makes the calls about how to operate the BSA as an organization. I may not appreciate that they don’t consult with the boots on the ground more often than they appear to. At the end of the day, however, my choices are to buck for a role on one of the national volunteer committees (something I severely lack the time to do), or accept that someone else is filling that role, hopefully to the best of his or her ability. That may include endorsing (or not) the idea of leveraging real estate assets like Philmont as collateral against loans for operating expenses, whatever those may be.

While I understand the argument that it’s perhaps not a direct impact on individuals or individual units, it does appear on the face to be newsworthy and reasonable for individuals both inside and outside of scouting to want to understand what’s going on. It may even be something about which people at the volunteer level would want to have their voices heard, for fear of remaining silent in the face of something they might see as wrong or ill-considered. At the risk of sounding trite, our individual units only exist because of the existence of the national organization, just as the national organization only exists because of the continued existence of the units which implement the program. Without the scouts, what would the purpose of the BSA be? Without the BSA’s intellectual property (handbooks, MB pamphlets, ranks, awards, etc), how easily would we as units be able to sustain the programs that we implement? I don’t mean teaching the skills and leading outings, as those are driven by the individuals leading the units, at both the youth and adult levels. Rather, I’m referring to the fact that youth and their parents, and the adult leaders, are attracted to the program for what it provides in terms of a shared vision and a shared sense of identity. No matter that we may scout in entirely different parts of the world, perhaps even in entirely different scouting organizations, our shared identity as scouts and scouters gives us an immediate kinship with every other scout/scouter that we may meet.

Back to the discussion of the reporting itself, I think it’s not necessarily reasonable to assume, however, that just because a reporter covers a particular beat that he or she has an axe to grind. He’s been in the biz for a fairly long time, and appears to have covered a wide variety of areas. (https://muckrack.com/david-crary/bio) Reporters in the White House press corps are most likely to report on what’s going on with whomever is the current occupant of the Oval Office. A crime reporter is likely to read like they think the world is full of criminals and LEOs. In Crary’s case, it appears that this is his beat, whether by choice or by assignment. Sadly, “If it bleeds, it leads” often governs what even experienced reporters end up getting for assignments. Abuse scandals are the “bleeding edge” today, aside from political intrigue.

Even I can tell I’m starting to ramble now, so I’m going to officially gag myself. At least for the moment. :wink:

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I don’t think we’ve actually wandered off topic here at all. If there topic is this article the financial dealings with Philmont, then discussion of the trustworthiness of the article based on the author is still quiet on topic.

That’s fair. He may of may not have a bias here, but if this is his area of expertise then that’s what he’s going to be writing about, and I need to look deeper than the just the subject matter to see if I think there is a bias.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. I think more importantly, at least from my perspective, the youth, and therefore the adult volunteers functioning at the unit level are scouting. The rest of the organization should exist to serve that. It often doesn’t feel that way. There is a separation between the volunteer and professional scouters, and it gets more pronounced the higher up the chain you go. It feels like dictums being passed down from on high, where national is supposed to be working for all of us, but it often feels the other way around.

I think that’s where a lot of the frustration is coming from right now, and people want their voices heard more than ever.

I agree, something stinks in the state of denmark. The fact that national kept this underwraps makes me paranoid. Before anybody goes on to defend the business practices of any responsible corporation, remember that no responsible corporation would cover up child abuse either. Bsa has a long track record of irresponsibilty toward its adult volunteer leadership and the youth it serves.

Some truthful answers from the chief scout exec are overdue


I discounted this when i first saw it because it kept popping up in utah papers but when i saw the article came from AP wire…

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Absolutely, people feel unheard and when that happens you get serious discontent and sometimes venting of anger.

Btw living 10 miles from irving, i know numerous professionals who work for national. Bsa treats its non executive employees in an abhorrent manner. When i see managers treat the workers unethically i question the ethics in other arenas like program management.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Now that I have been censored by the forum, I Will be starting a gofundme for legal defense of Philmont.

Matt Hinklin

Do you think the scout executives are reading this forum?

This is basically a group of all other adult volunteers. Even the few BSA staff that are here are all low level, and not making any decisions.

It’s like you through open a window and decided to curse into the night with the expectation the powers that be would hear you some how.

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I’d like some elaboration on the statement “Bsa treats its non executive employees in an abhorrent manner.” Do you have some examples?

Yeah i do. One of my woodbadge patrol members and one of the dads from my girls’s troop just to name two. I cant give details because of risks of supervisors reading this but i can assure you these guys are treated in a most unscoutlike manner by their supervisors