National News

Parents, Volunteer Leaders and Scouting Supporters:

The Istrouma Area Council is committed to delivering a safe and impactful Scouting program. Despite challenges with the pandemic, Scouting in the Council has continued.

As a valued member of Scouting, our goal is to keep you informed about National Boy Scouts of America. In February 2020, National BSA filed for bankruptcy to equitably compensate survivors of past abuse and to continue the mission of Scouting.

The Chapter 11 financial reorganization only relates to National BSA. The Istrouma Area Council has not filed for bankruptcy. The Istrouma Area Council is a separate corporate entity which operates under guidelines provided by National BSA to deliver Scouting.

The Scouting community is outraged and saddened there have been instances when individuals used our organization to do the unthinkable, and in the worst of cases this led to heartbreaking acts of abuse. The Istrouma Area Council wants our Scouting community to know that we share in the Boy Scouts of America’s heartfelt support for victims of past abuse in Scouting.  

This week is significant in the National BSA bankruptcy case. National intentionally developed an open, accessible process to reach survivors and help them take the necessary first step towards receiving compensation.

Now that all claims have been filed, the next step will be for third-party advisors to review the claims in order to uphold the integrity of the process, while National BSA works to develop a plan of reorganization to fund the proposed Trust.

It is important to note that while any instance of abuse is one too many, the overwhelming majority of abuse claims filed in the National bankruptcy case relate to allegations of abuse that occurred before our modern youth protection policies were put in place more than three decades ago.

We want to underscore what many of you already know: The safety and protection of children in our program is our absolute top priority. The BSA has multi-layered safeguards in place, all of which act as barriers to abuse, and we can assure you that our volunteers and staff take these measures extremely seriously. We encourage you to review BSA’s safety policies and procedures found on the Scouting website, to better understand our commitment to youth safety and ask that you share this information with anyone who asks about this topic. 

Istrouma Area Council programs will continue with great strength led by a strong Board of Directors, thousands of passionate volunteers, generous supporters, and a dedicated professional staff. Investment in Character dollars will continue to be used to pay for necessary day-to-day costs to provide Scouting in our local communities. At the Istrouma Area Council, we remain fully committed to delivering Scouting’s unparalleled experiences to young people in a safe and healthy environment for all.

Thank you for helping make Scouting safe, fun, and impactful.  

Yours in Scouting, 

Gary Mertz

Scout Executive/CEO

Istrouma Area Council, BSA