Calcasieu Boy Scouts ‘thriving’ financially

Reports that BSA is considering filing bankruptcy is ‘speculation’

A recent Wall Street Journal report that stated the Boy Scouts of America is considering filing for bankruptcy "was written on speculation," Mike Beer, executive and CEO of the Boy Scouts Calcasieu Area Council, said Monday.

Additionally, the Calcasieu council is "thriving" financially, and there are more than 2,000 registered youth throughout Southwest Louisiana’s five-parish area, Beer said in an email.

The Dec. 12 WSJ report stated that Boy Scout leaders "have hired law firm Sidley Austin LLP for assistance with a possible chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the matter." Reasons behind the consideration include a drop in scout members and mounting costs tied to lawsuits claiming sex abuse, the article stated.

But Beer said he heard a different response from national BSA officials during a "structured call" on Dec. 13.

"They emphasized that this article was written on speculation only," he said.

Nationally, Boy Scouts is "financially solvent" and is "doing their due diligence as any organization or business would," Beer added.

"BSA is committed to communicate transparently and (officials) stated there are no imminent actions or immediate decisions expected by BSA in light of the WSJ news story," he said.

The Calcasieu Area Council has nearly doubled the number of registered youth since Beer started working there in February of 2015. At the time, he said there were 1,083 youth registered

"We have led the nation with a 183 percent increase in recruitment," Beer said.

Because the Calcasieu council is a 501c3 nonprofit, Beer said more than 99 percent of funds raised or received remain local.

Nationally, Boy Scouts gets its funding from membership fees, supply sales and attendance at the four high adventure bases, Beer said. He added that councils get no money from the national organization. They pay fees to the national organization as part of its charter agreement and for specific services, but less than 1 percent of each council’s funding supports the BSA national.

Boy Scouts has come under fire in recent years for several changes. They allowed openly gay youths in 2014 and lifted a ban on transgender boys last year.

In October 2017, BSA announced that girls could join the Cub Scouts. Beer said locally, roughly 200 girls have joined Cub Scouts. He said girls "are in separate groups by grade levels."

"(Girls) are having a great time in Cub Scouts," Beer said.

BSA announced in May that it was changing the Boy Scout Troops program to Scouts BSA, effective in February. The program applies to scouts ages 11 to 17. Beer said males will be in separate groups from females, but they will "have the same advancement opportunities, merit badges and requirements."

Beer said the council has spent the last three weekends cleaning out garbage and debris from the former YMCA building on Kirby Street, with plans for a large-scale clean out in late January or early February. The Kirby Street Center for Community Enrichment Board donated the property to the council in February of 2017. Beer said there are plans to turn the facility into "a hub for activity and leadership."””<p>In this Monday, May 29, 2017 file photo, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts salute during a Memorial Day ceremony in Linden, Mich. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. (Jake May/The Flint Journal – via AP)</p>