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BSA Responds to Stories Recently Published by Hearst Newspapers

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Dan

The National Council has issued a response to the news stories published today as a result of a joint investigative project from five Hearst Newspapers.

While you can read the full article, Profit trumps preservation for Boy Scout councils nationwide, here are some “highlights”:

The Hearst journalists found that over the past 20 years, scouting councils nationwide have carried out clearcuts and other commercial timber harvests in and around sensitive and protected forests. Local Boy Scouts administrations across America have also reaped tens of millions of dollars from selling campgrounds and other properties.

Hearst Newspapers found some Scouts’ executive salaries and retirement packages were larger than those offered by many comparable non-profits.

Also, the reporters found examples of cozy relationships between councils and influential volunteers, including timber company employees serving in key Boy Scouts board positions.

The National Council issued a response, which appeared on front page of Scouting.org, to the stories recently published by Hearst Newspapers.

Today’s story focuses on some of the most difficult and emotional decisions councils must make in order to be good stewards of their resources. So why does an organization like the BSA harvest timber and sell property? There are many reasons councils harvest timber, including safety, health of the forest and wise use of the income to serve our youth. Similarly, local executive boards have the duty to use all council assets in the best interests of Scouting – which might include the sale of properties. But in both cases, the real reason goes back to why we exist, our mission — to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

You can read the complete response to the stories issued by the National Council.

The National Council has also made public a memorandum titled Response to various inquiries regarding the Boy Scouts of America which they sent to the reporters involved in the research of the stories.

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