Area Boy Scouts may lose funding from United Way

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

United Way of Southwest Louisiana may stop funding Calcasieu Area Council Boy Scouts of America because the local organization

does not meet new requirements for at-risk children.

This is the first year the local United Way board of directors has decided to solely target the at-risk population, said Denise

Durel, president/CEO of United Way of Southwest Louisiana.

“Of the 35 agencies that have applied during this current funding cycle, 34 are within the scope of our objectives and have

provided clear assurance that all funds will be allocated to serve the at-risk population,” she said. “Unfortunately, the

funding proposal submitted this year from the Calcasieu Area Council did not target the at-risk population.”

As a member agency, United Way’s funding represents 19 percent of the Boy Scout’s $611,000 annual budget, said Kevin McMurrian,

executive director of the Calcasieu Area Council BSA.

In keeping with United Way’s national

initiative, the local chapter adopted four primary objectives to target

the at-risk

population in Southwest Louisiana — an area-wide graduation rate

of 81 percent or higher, an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent

or less, improved health rankings by at least 10 percent and

targeting critical community needs.

Boy Scouts of America, because of its high graduation rates among members, fits the United Way’s education criteria, Durel

said.

“We not only extended their initial

deadline, but we have now also met with our local BSA leadership on

several occasions,”

she said. “During each meeting, they conveyed that our objectives

were understood and would be incorporated in a revised proposal

for funding.”

The two subsequent submissions failed to meet the objectives, she said.

The local United Way has given the Boys Scout a third deadline, which is April 5.

“We are hopeful that the Boy Scouts

will have developed a plan that adequately meets our targeted goals for

the at-risk population,”

Durel said.

Currently, the Calcasieu Area Council serves about 5,000 young people and adults in Southwest Louisiana.

McMurrian said the BSA chapter is trying to meet the new education requirements for funding.

“Everything is still in the works,” he said. “The local chapter is trying to come up with new programs that will cater to

at-risk youths.”

McMurrian wants to withhold additional comments until the allocation review committee process on April 12.

“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,” Durel

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.”

United Way defines at-risk