Cayuga County Council Loses Charter Becomes a District in Hiawatha Seaway Council

Posted on 16 July 2009 by Dan

hiawatha_seawayYou may have seen the news about Cayuga County Council losing its charter, I wanted to wait until there was a little additional information out there before posting anything.

The national council did not renew the Cayuga County Council’s charter when it expired June 30, Director of the Northeast Area Steven Smith said this week. The national organization no longer recognizes the council and directed the regional branch to reassign all of the scouting units to the Hiawatha Seaway Council, which currently serves the counties of Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego and St. Lawrence.

Now it appears that Cayuga County Council has become a District within the Hiawatha Seaway Council. A letter from Rick Avery, Hiawatha Seaway Council Scout Executive, welcomed the families to the Council and tried to answer questions that have arisen.

Dear Cayuga County Scouting Family:

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and your family to the Hiawatha Seaway Council, Boy Scouts of America. As you may have heard effective July 1, 2009, the national office of the Boy Scouts of America transferred all membership and units of the former Cayuga County Council to the Hiawatha Seaway Council. We are happy to join with you to meet the goals of a quality Scouting program.

Simply put, the Cayuga County Council, BSA, was deemed too small to sustain the functions of a full Council. The Cayuga County Council had been counseled by national headquarters since March 2005 that its enrollment trends and resulting size placed it on a “Critical Care Council” list, requiring certain benchmarks of progress to be made as a Council. Those benchmarks were not met.

Earlier this year both the former Cayuga County Council and the Hiawatha Seaway Council were informed by the Boy Scouts of America that the Cayuga charter would not be renewed and the Council would cease to exist as its own entity as of June 30, 2009. The Cayuga County Council was given the choice between merging with Hiawatha Seaway Council, or be assimilated with Hiawatha Seaway after the Cayuga County Council charter lapsed.

In an effort to welcome our fellow scouts before a decision was made for us, the Hiawatha Seaway Council conducted extensive outreach to the members, units, and Executive Board of the Cayuga County Council. On June 10th the Hiawatha Seaway Council voted overwhelmingly to voluntarily merge with the Cayuga County Council. Some leaders of the former Cayuga County Council were resistant for a variety of reasons and failed to ratify a voluntary merger, resulting in the forewarned lapse of the council’s charter.

The former Cayuga County Council is now officially the Cayuga County District within the Hiawatha Seaway Council. Not only will local Scouting continue, it will be enhanced with the strength of additional programming, professional staff, a national Scout Shop (with a Cayuga District satellite shop) additional training opportunities and the assurance that all of the legal, professional and accounting standards required of a modern Scout Council will be met.

Most of the Cayuga County District unit leaders and Scouting families that we have met and are working with seem genuinely happy for the merger. However, change can sometimes be difficult and some former Cayuga County Council leaders are still resistant to that which has already been decided. Rumors have been and continue to fly around the District. I only ask that if you have questions or concerns you contact the Hiawatha Seaway Council Staff to get the answer. We will do our best to put to rest to your satisfaction the misinformation that you may be hearing.

Please be advised that all registered youth and adults are covered by unit accident and sickness insurance as well as liability insurance effective July 1st, 2009. Tour permits and certificates of insurance for additionally insured events can be obtained by calling or faxing our council office.

The goal of a merger was to maintain and strengthen the Scouting program in Cayuga County. We are well on our way to doing just that. Please take a look at the enclosed flyer of enhanced programming that the Cayuga County District will now enjoy as a member of the Hiawatha Seaway Council family.

Our tent flap is always open – please call or stop by if you have any questions.

We’ll see you around the campfire.

Yours in Scouting,

Rich Avery
Scout Executive
Hiawatha Seaway Council

P.S. As a reflection of our growth we are considering changing the Hiawatha Seaway Council name.

Hat Tip: New York OA Trader

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