- BSA has hired a Chicago law firm to explore Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection
- BSA membership has declined to 2.3 million members; peaked at 6.5 million in 1972
- BSA recently extended their program to girls
- BSA is being sued over handling of sexual assault cases from the 1970’s
The Boy Scouts of America may soon be bankrupt. Reports show the organization has hired Sidley Austin to look into potential Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protections.
The Boy Scouts of America has been a national youth development program operating since 1911. Their aim is to promote leadership in young men through outdoors training, and countless fun activities and merit badges which give scouts the opportunity to learn new skills and advance through the ranks.
Over the last few years, the organization has been struggling with maintaining membership and fighting off controversies. With membership peaking in 1972 at 6.5 million members, they have steadily declined since the 1990’s to about 2.3 million scouts today. It is understandable for an organization based around outdoor activities will loose membership with the national technology shift in today’s youth. However, BSA’s money troubles likely lie elsewhere.
As early as 2013, President Obama had been pressuring the private organization to change their policy on letting openly gay scouts and leaders joins. This was followed by several large corporations and donors following in-step. The negative publicity for a terrific youth organization was not good for membership.
Membership was hurt again earlier this year when the Boy Scouts of America changed their name to Scouts BSA following a motion to include girls in the program. The Mormon Church, in response, pulled 425,000 Mormon scouts from the program, cutting all ties with Scouts BSA. Mormons represented almost 20% of the scout membership. This ended the organizations hundred year run as an all boys club despite an all girls youth development program, the Girl Scouts of America, already existing.
The name change has led to a lawsuit from the GSA. The Girl Scouts have claimed in their suit that by rebranding themselves as “Scouts,” they blur the lines between gender and their organizations, taking away membership from the GSA. They want the newly named Scouts BSA to stop using the term “scouts” without any gendered distinction before said term.
While that lawsuit is sure to drain their bank accounts, Scouts BSA is also being sued by 4 former members for being complicit in their sexual assaults in the 1970’s and sitting idle while pedophiles infiltrated their ranks.
There is no telling if Scouts BSA will survive incoming bankruptcy filings or if they can reverse the membership decline. If they were to go under, America would lose one of its greatest male development organizations which has cranked out future leaders and innovators for the last hundred years.
Categories: U.S. News