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For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization's long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting's mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change.
Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting's history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America's National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.
This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.
The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.
While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America's youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.
Comments or questions -Thomas.Harrington@scouting.org
Yours in Scouting,
Thomas R. Harrington
Scout Executive & CEO
May 3, 2013
Dear Board Members, District Leaders and Unit Scouters,
After nearly 10 years of legal disputes, the Cradle of Liberty Council and the City of Philadelphia have reached a settlement regarding the Boy Scout office at 22nd & Winter Streets in Philadelphia.
The settlement involves the Council’s professional staff vacating the property by June 30th, and the Scout Shop vacating by October 31st. In turn, the City will pay the Council $825,000 for capital improvements we have made to the building over the years.
Vacating the office was not an easy decision to make. Our Board has discussed this issue in-depth for many years and has decided that this settlement is in the best interests of Scouting and our youth. Although we won a favorable decision in a lower court in 2010, litigation has continued ever since with an appeal filed by the City, diverting our ability to serve Scouts in the City of Philadelphia as well as throughout the Council. In addition, the trial court judge informed us that, even though we may win future cases, the City could still find ways to evict the Scouts legally from the building. With the recently announced decision by the National BSA to change its membership policy only with respect to youth members, our Council faced the real prospect that we would ultimately need to leave the building under much less favorable terms.
Our goal has been and always will be to do what is best to serve the youth in the City of Philadelphia and throughout our Council. After much deliberation, the Council’s Board entered into settlement discussions with the City and reached this agreement that we believe will strengthen our ability to serve youth. We intend to use the funds in this settlement to support our city-based programs, and intend to purchase or lease a new administrative center to serve our Philadelphia Scouts and leaders. We will communicate our progress in securing a new office location through our on-line newsletter, the BSA Today, as these plans are finalized.
Attached you will find some further background information about this settlement, as well as some background information that you may find helpful. We realize you may have additional questions related to this decision. Please feel free to call or email your questions to Michael Oehmke, Director of Support Services at 484-654-9226 or email@example.com.
In conclusion, we want you to know that your Council leadership has fought long and hard to preserve the Marks Building for use as the Council’s headquarters. We realize the historic value in the building and how many of us have strong sentimental attachments to the building.
But we also realize that Scouting does not happen in an office – it happens in church basements, school lunchrooms, and parents’ homes. The more time and money we spent fighting the City for a building, the less time and money we were spending on supporting our Scouts. In the end, we have decided that it is the best interest of Scouting to end this litigation and focus on serving the Scouts and families of our council.
We hope you understand why we have made this decision, and we look forward to the continued growth of Scouting in the future.
Yours in Scouting,
Rod Henkels Chuck Bolger Tom Harrington
Board Chairman Council Commissioner Scout Executive & CEO
To learn more about the history of the Marks Building, click here
To download a copy of the letter above, click here
The first quarter financial statements were approved by the Executive Board on May 8th, 2013. Our final statements from 2011 and/or 2012 are available upon request by contacting the general office line: 610-688-6900.
Note from the research team at Tufts University:
We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Cradle of Liberty Council for their continued support, and to all the families and Scout leaders who have made this study possible. We have been welcomed into your Den and Pack meetings, District-wide Roundtables, and other Council-wide celebrations of Scouting! With funding from the John Templeton Foundation and the support of staff and volunteers in the Cradle of Liberty Council, we are continuing our exciting study of the impact of Scouting on the academic and personal development of Cub Scouts.
The Tufts Team, with the invaluable assistance of Pack leaders, has gathered pertinent information from Scouts, parents, and leaders throughout the Cradle of Liberty Council. We have completed our first round of data collection in January, and have already begun preparing for Wave 2. Through interviews, short-answer surveys, and focus groups discussions, leaders have shared their views about the role of Scouting in the development of character, as well as of the overall impact of Scouting on youth. We have also received thoughtful feedback on how to improve our data collection process. This information will be incredibly helpful as we plan for future waves of this study.
For those who participated in Wave 1, we will be contacting you in the near future about the upcoming second wave of data collection with Scouts, which will begin in May 2013. We are committed to meeting the unique needs of each unit so that participating in the study is as easy as possible.
From all of us at the Tufts Team, thank you so much for your support! We look forward to seeing many of you at Scouting events in the near future!
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Harrington to the position of Regional Director, Western Region, effective August 1, 2013.
Tom has been serving as the Scout Executive of the Cradle of Liberty Council, Philadelphia, PA since 2010. Under Tom’s leadership, the Cradle of Liberty team has attained traditional membership growth and a balanced operating budget for each of the past three years. The council has expanded its outreach to underserved communities and increased the diversity of its executive board and staff, and successfully increased its Journey to Excellence rating from Silver in 2010 to Gold Council status for 2011 and 2012.
The Western Region of the BSA covers 57 councils that serve the states of Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii, as well as the Transatlantic Council in Japan. The Region serves nearly 1 million Scouts and 300,000 volunteer leaders, and employs over 1,000 professional Scouters.
A Selections Committee will be appointed to conduct a nationwide search for a replacement for Tom, and we anticipate having this new person in place on or before August 1.
Please join us in wishing Tom the best as he joins the Western Region and works with their volunteers and staff in continuing to deliver quality Scouting experiences to all young people.
The third quarter financial statements were approved by the Executive Board on November 14th, 2012. Our final statements from 2011 are available upon request by contacting the general office line: 610-688-6900