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Bankruptcy not likely to affect Scouting in east Idaho, says local official

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IDAHO FALLS — Despite the Boy Scouts of America filing for bankruptcy, a local Scouting official says the program will continue.

Rumors that the BSA planned to file bankruptcy have been circulating for years, and on Tuesday morning, those rumors came to fruition when The BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But the CEO of the Grand Teton Council says the bankruptcy will have minimal effect on local Scouting organizations.

“We expect Scouting will continue on as it always has in the Grand Teton Council. We have a strong tradition and great local leadership. We’ve got a strong council. We’ve been financially stable for many years,” Clarke Farrer said.

Farrer said local Scouting councils throughout the United States are similar to franchises. Although they are connected to the national Scouting organization, they are owned, operated and funded entirely independent of it.

“We’re an independent 501c3. We have our own local board of directors. We have our own bank accounts,” Farrer said.

He said his biggest concern with the bankruptcy is that local supporters will mistakenly believe that it means the BSA is out of business and will no longer help fund local organizations.

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“If they don’t understand the difference between local and national, and they decide they don’t want to make a contribution because the organization is in bankruptcy, all that does is impinges or hinders our ability locally to serve local kids and Scouting,” Farrer said.

He said if people continue to support their local Scouting organizations, those organizations will continue serving local youth.

And although the national organization has filed for bankruptcy, that does not mean it is going out of business.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows an organization to restructure its debt under the supervision of the court and its creditors, according to bankruptcyinbrief.com.

The national organization’s bankruptcy filing comes amidst sexual abuse lawsuits, dwindling numbers and the loss of support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Farrer said, locally, the LDS Church accounted for 80 percent of its sponsorship.

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“We’re already at a time of significant transition anyway. This comes on the heels of that, but we expect Scouting will continue on. We have over 100 Scouting units, approximately 1500 youth registered currently in Scouting, and we’ll continue providing programs for them,” Farrer said.

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