STOW, Ohio — The decision by The Boy Scouts of America to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 will not affect hundreds of troops in Northeast Ohio, according to Scout Executive and CEO Pat Scherer from the Great Trail Council.
"Nothing is going to change," he said.
Scherer said Great Trail-- based in Stow-- represents about 10,000 scouts in approximately 400 troops throughout Summit, Medina, Portage, Mahoning, Trumbull and northern Wayne counties.
He said each council is its own 501 (c) (3) and operates financially independent of the Boy Scouts of America. The CEO added that since the council does not rely on the national organization for funding, local parents and scouts should not be concerned about Tuesday's bankruptcy filing in the state of Delaware.
"The Great Trail Council is not filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Only our National Council is doing that," Scherer said. "Boys and girls Pinewood Derbies are going to continue operating this month. There's still going to be courts of honor. There's still going to be Camporees. Summer camp is going to run this summer and kids are going to have a fantastic experience in the scouting program."
In a statement, BSA said it had two key objectives in the bankruptcy filing: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouts and continue carrying out its mission for years to come.
"The BSA intends to used the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims," the statement reiterated.
Hundreds of people have come forward in recent years and said they were sexually abused as Scouts. Some of the cases date back decades.
Scherer said he isn't aware of any allegations by Scouts in the Great Trail Council, but said he's troubled by cases reported across the country.
"We're outraged," Scherer said. "Anybody that would use scouting to harm a child, it's unacceptable."
Akron attorney Chris Niekamp, who specializes in bankruptcy law, said the filing allows the Boy Scouts to reorganize and come up with a plan.
"I think in this case, they're trying to set up a forum for claims for these victims so that they can avoid these lawsuits," Niekamp said.
As a result, Niekamp added that some victims could feel like they will miss their day in court, but others may see things differently.
"In some ways, it benefits the victims because it will keep all the assets, preserve them for their benefit," Niekamp said.
Scherer understands that regaining trust with the Boy Scouts will be an on-going issue for some. But he believes parents should take comfort knowing that they practice Youth Protection training, which started in the 80s and continues today.
"Scouting is safe. Scouting is an extremely safe organization," he said. "We still are the premiere character development organization. We still provide a high-quality program and changes young people's lives."
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