Area Boy Scouts losing 20 percent of funding

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

The Boy Scouts of America Calcasieu Area Council will lose $121,000, or 20 percent, of its current income — which will present

a “major financial challenge” after losing funding from United Way of Southwest Louisiana, a council member said.

“Without significant new donations being received, the Boy Scout board will be faced with raising costs and cutting services

and programs to the current membership,” said Council President Tom Price.

The council board is required to balance its budget annually, he said.

“We teach our youth in Scouting how to face challenges and overcome them,” Price said. “That is exactly what the council shall

do. Scouting will continue in Southwest Louisiana.”

In December, the local United Way board

voted to adopt the focus of its national organization to identify and

support the

“at-risk” population in the area. United Way funding to all 35

agencies was restricted to only those individuals and programs

that meet this new criteria.

“We have a long history of partnership

with the Calcasieu Area Council Boy Scouts of America and believe that

they provide

meaningful service to young men throughout Southwest Louisiana,”

Denise Durel, president/CEO of the local United Way, has

said. “It is not our intent to withhold funds for the Boy Scouts

or any other United Way organization — as long as they meet

the criteria established by our board of directors.”

This change in focus and funding restrictions presented one of the challenges for the council officials as they tried to present

a viable allocation request to United Way for this year, Price said.

“Although the Scouting program certainly serves youth who would qualify under the ‘at-risk’ definition, the Scouts do not

designate its members based on this definition,” Price said. “Simply put, a Scout is a Scout in the Boy Scouts.”

After multiple failed attempts at presenting a request within the new criteria, the Scouts presented a new program to United

Way involving a free Scouting program at a Title I school in a low-income area in which United Way would provide complete

funding, he said. The new program would meet the new focus, and all funds received from United Way would be restricted to

this program, meeting all of the new requirements.

Price said the proposal was accepted and is in the review process. The council board awaits the decision of the local United

Way and will then make a decision on implementation.

The council has sponsored Scouting in

Southwest Louisiana for more than 100 years. Its mentoring program

provides character

development and values-based leadership training, Price said. The

group is the largest youth-serving organization in the area

with a membership of about 5,000.

The council board recommends that any organizations or individuals who support the Scouts send future donations directly to

its offic, 304 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601.