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chartering a boy scout troop

7 years 10 months ago #162089 by texasebeth
As a Cub Scout leader -

I was informed by our local Council that public schools can not charter Scouts. There are legal issues involved because the BSA is a faith based private organization with membership requirements and restrictions. Public schools are ultimately a government entity and receive government money. As such, there is a conflict with church and state.

The Scout parents need to be discussing this issue with their local Scout district and Council. It is not a PTO/PTA issue.

Yes, private businesses can charter a Scout troop or pack.

Hope this helps although it is coming a little late.
7 years 5 months ago #163456 by pete
Replied by pete on topic Re:chartering a boy scout troop
To Rose
Please research the use of charters and the COR's roles in scouting before putting forth your opinion. You will have all of your answers with respect to liability and insurance. Scouts are grateful for the many PTO and PTA groups that believe in the boys.
5 years 9 months ago #166575 by I used to be a Buffalo
Replied by I used to be a Buffalo on topic chartering a boy scout troop
WOW, I read through all 5 pages of these posts and am taken aback at the systemic lack of understanding within PTO's about a variety of aspects of scouting and the relationship between a PTO and a unit it might charter.

If a unit (pack, troop, etc) asks a PTO to be it's Chartering Organization and all that is done is a once a year meeting to sign papers that is a total misuse of the chartering concept. Most scout units that operate like this eventually fail because of a lack of understanding of the Charter concept, lack of accountability, and a lack of oversight. Truthfully, scouting units that have the most tenure are most commonly chartered by faith based organizations.

A Chartering Organization OWNS the scout unit and needs to consider the unit as part of it's own organization. Someone from the Chartering Organization should serve as the Chartering Organization Representative and make regular reports (monthly would be good) to the Chartering Organization about scouting activities and progress. All money handled by the scout unit should be included in the Chartering Organization financials... the scout unit itself is not a legal entity, rather it is just a part of the Chartering Organization.

Has anyone actually read "The Annual Charter Agreement"? There has been some wrongful speculation about potential liability and the BSA provides primary general liability insurance as wells as indemnifies the Chartered Organization. Can bad apples attempt to gain access to any organization, including PTO's? Of course. The culture in scouting of safety to youth, training, background checks, mandatory two deep leadership, and a variety of other expectations related to adult conduct go further than just about any other youth serving organization.

BSA is proud of their long heritage of helping develop tomorrows leaders of America and instilling in youth values that will live with them for a lifetime. One of those values includes Duty to God, but that is in no way a conflict between church and state. Scouting welcomes and respects all faiths and religions and most scouting units include scouts from a wide variety of faith traditions. What happens during a scout meeting, even if the scout meeting is held in a public school, is different from the restrictions placed upon what may happen in a class room while school is in session. In fact many public schools in America rent out their facilities on Saturday and Sunday as a place for a variety of faith traditions to hold weekly worship.

If a PTO truly has a desire to further it's youth serving mission, a scouting program can be an excellent fit. However, it does take time to fully understand what is required, what is expected, and I encourage any PTO's who are interested to first educate themselves on the facts. To do that you need to reach out to the senior scouting leadership in your local scouting district and begin an open dialogue with highly trained and seasoned subject matter expects, someone you will not normally find in a local pack or a troop.
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