Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Scouting Forums

Dropped from UMC chartered org; can we charter with a Council?

So it finally happened. After more than 65 years, our chartered org – a United Methodist Church in Southern California – notified us that it is ending its association with BSA scouting units (in our case, a cub scout pack, boy troop, and girl troop). It was the result of a board of trustees vote that was prompted by a memo from the local bishop. Essentially the memo said that BSA isn’t doing enough to shield the church from future claims resulting from the sex abuses case, and that the church’s only recourse is to sever ties with its scouting units. We were hurt particularly bad, because not only did our church say it wouldn’t re-charter us, it didn’t even want to offer us a temporary site use agreement, an option that was explicitly allowed in the memo. Literally overnight we were no longer welcome at the church. We are scrambling to empty our equipment sheds.

Some have said this move was posturing meant get BSA to offer the church more accommodating terms including I believe more insurance to cover potential damages. Either way, this has been a real blow to our units.

I have a few questions hopefully someone here can help answer.

  1. What is the chance that the BSA will do more to shield the UMC from financial liability resulting from the lawsuit? Can we expect the BSA to do something to help chartered orgs like United Methodist Church? Obviously, we’d prefer to stay with this church, but is that just wishful thinking?

  2. I’ve read discussions here and elsewhere about the idea that councils themselves will start charting units. Is this official yet? Where can I find more information? Our committee chair spoke with our district executive recently, but it appears chartering with the council isn’t an option yet. Has anyone on this forum successfully chartered with a council? Please tell me how the process works.

Thanks.

First of all I am so sorry that this is happening to your units. It breaks my heart to see this happening.

  1. I find it unlikely that anything will change from the BSA perspective that will alter the course of your CO.

  2. Yes this is possible. I am not sure, but it may be that they left it up to the local council to decide if they were going to charter units, and yours did not. I would try and get in contact with your council scout executive and find out what is going on. Try finding a local veterans organization and talk to them about chartering. They may be more apt to take your units in.

1 Like

These are mainly questions that only your District Executive can answer. No one in the forums will be able to help you specifically. They can make general comments and suggestions, but your DE is the only one who can really help.

5 Likes

That option started last year. Whether or not your particular council will participate is something as others noted you need to ask your DE or SE.

3 Likes

This is really the answer. They may not know about it or may not choose to do it. But in the end, it is all up to them.

My unit is in a very similar situation. While the church we are affiliated with has decided to drop our charter due to conflicting core values between Scouts BSA and their church. But, we’ve been afforded some time to transition and use of the facility. We are searching in the community for a non-religious organization to take us so we don’t have to deal with conflicting values of a specific religion.

What organizations are you looking towards as potential chartering orgs? We’re not in the position yet, but I want to be prepared in case something happens.

@SteveCagigas we’re looking at American Legion and Elks club at the moment. They seem to be the most promising prospects.

1 Like

I have a unit in my district that was dropped and they ended up with the county fair board.

1 Like

Thanks for the idea! We have a VFW Post in the next town over that charters a Pack and a Troop. That might be a good resource for you as well.

2 Likes

Michael K, Sorry to here about your being dropped. A statement was recently published at “SCOUTER Forum” about United Methodist Leadership and BSA agreeing to a joint statement that does several things, one of which changes the "Drop dead date (my term) from Dec 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022 for recharter, etc. please read. The link is for the North Georgia Conference of the UMC. On that forum is also a link to a statement by a Bishop in Michigan that includes “There is a team working on a new UM charter for Scouting ministries that may be used in the future.”
As the COR for 3 units sponsored by a United Methodist Church in Texas I have been following this issue with some concern. I recently received an E-Mail from our Council about this joint statement. I will be working with both Church Leadership, Unit Leadership and asking questions of Council about what to do going forward (No DE, Field Director has been acting as DE, but he has accepted a post at a different Council, so I will be asking questions about who is our Districts POC, etc
Lots of fun (not)

2 Likes

@ WilliamsburgScouter Thank you very much! That Unit Registration Agreement was the info I was looking for.

@ Matt.Johnson I understand our local district and council can answer our specific question, but I’m also interested to hear about any units that have successfully chartered with a council, and what their experience was like. I am genuinely curious to know if it’s happened anywhere at all.

Update: I’m happy to say that it looks like we will be adopted by an Episcopal church in our area where one of our families are members. Amazingly, they seem eager to welcome our units. It’s certainly not ideal, as the new location is some miles away from our original spot and will be less convenient to travel to. It’s also unknown whether we can move our storage sheds there or if we will have to put them somewhere else, which will also be an inconvenience. Still, at least we will have a charter and can keep our program going.

I have to say how frustrating this has been. Not only have we had to work around all the issues related to Covid and deal with the negative pr related to the abuse case, now we have to deal with finding and moving to a new chartered org! We leaders didn’t sign up for this! All we wanted to do is focus on scouting things, like running a great program, recruiting, having fun events like campfires, camping trips, and Pinewood Derbies. To deal with the additional burdens of coronavirus AND moving charters…has been so annoying! I have to hand it to our pack’s Key 3 as well as the troop’s scoutmaster. Had it not been for their resolve to make it happen, the fate of our units would be up in the air. Honestly, I’ve thought to myself, why am I dealing with this nonsense? Maybe its time to walk away. I can only hope and pray that all the units facing similar predicament can find a way to keep going.

For me personally, what keeps me going are experiences like the one we had two weeks ago, when we had a pack camping trip at a big lake a few hours away. It could not have gone better. The campsite was great, with a fantastic view of the lake. The food was good. The weather was ideal. The activities [hiking, fishing, fire building (Webelos)] were fun. The campfire was perfect, with great skits by the dens. One of our den chiefs is a bugler, so we had all the appropriate bugle calls. And it was capped off by a brief but meaningful Scout’s Own before departing Sunday morning. Driving away, one is filled with a sense of deep satisfaction. “This is what scouting is all about!” I kept telling myself. We need fuel like this to keep us going through the present difficulties. I hope my fellow leaders can have these inspiring moments to keep the momentum of BSA scouting going for a good long time, despite all the setbacks we are currently facing.

5 Likes

We are facing a similar issue with our CO, also a Methodist church. Our plan A is to recharter with the the Council but plan B is to set up a nonprofit “Friends of Scouting” made up of the pack and troops parents to be the chartered org

1 Like

Additional organizations to consider:

  • YMCA (charters one of our local Cub Scouts)
  • American Legion (host to a local Troop)
  • Ruritans (charters a local Troop)
  • Kiwanis
2 Likes

Great examples. I have heard locally of Elks, VFW, and American Legion groups being very welcoming.

2 Likes

This is a great idea. You will never have to worry about a charter “dropping” you again.

In today’s litigious society make sure to work with a good local lawyer to incorporate/form a LLC for the nonprofit “Friends of Scouting” and find someway to obtain Directors & Offices liability insurance to provide some protection to the members of the nonprofit “Friends of Scouting”.
You might want to look at the information in my previous post (If I counted correctly it is #11) and maybe point it out to your CO & COR the extension to March 31, 2021.
Good luck whichever way it goes.

2 Likes

We had the same thing happen here in Sacramento.

we had the same thing happen to troop 305 in the school charter rep and commtie chair found us a new place to meet and recharter and I know VFW post and American Legion post are always happy to chartter scouts

1 Like

Our CO dropped us about two years ago. This was the BEST thing that could have happened to us. With the help of an attorney, I formed a non profit whose board are all parents of Eagle Scouts. Our foundation carries the needed insurance for the directors and other coverage’s. In the last two years our foundation not only chartered the existing B troop and cub pack but have since chartered a G troop. We were able to help send 11 scouts who needed financial assistance to camp. We assisted scouts who were having issues covering recharter fees. We were able to provide funding for new camping gear for the troops as well. We also help with the rental fees of community facilities for meeting locations. None of this would have ever been possible with our previous CO.
Please let me know if I can be of any help to you.

3 Likes