Boy Scouts bankruptcy to have little to no impact locally

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This week, the National Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

More than 2 million kids and 800,000 volunteers are involved in the scouts across the country currently.

The scouts filed bankruptcy for two main reasons, but leaders of the Chippewa Valley Council say the more than 4,200 youth in their programs and the 1,300 volunteers across ten counties won't see any changes.

Some major changes are coming to the Boy Scouts of America.

This week, the organization filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy mainly to create a Victim's Compensation Trust.

An open letter from the Boy Scouts National Chair Jim Turley says in part,

"I encourage you, and all victims to come forward and file claims so you can receive compensation from this Trust. We will provide clear notices about how to do so. I want you to know that we believe you, we believe in compensating you, and we have programs in place to pay for counseling for you and your family by a provider of your choice."

Chippewa Valley Council Scout Executive Tim Molepske has been fielding calls all day from concerned families about what the bankruptcy could mean locally.

He says there's no reason for panic in the Chippewa Valley.

"National is a separate non-profit organization. We do partner with them in the sense that we use their program locally, but we are an independent non-profit so our finances are separate. We are a separate entity, so locally it's not going to be any different impact," said Molepske.

The bankruptcy is the first step to address multiple sexual abuse lawsuits against the organization.

But Molepske says over the past several years, he is not aware of any victimization locally.

In part due to safeguards implemented throughout the scouts.

"The one thing that the national organization has done of the last 20, 30 years is really have great barriers of abuse in our scouting program," he explains. "To make sure that two-deep leadership, background checking all those that join our program. Things like making sure they take our youth leadership training, no one-on-one contact, all these different things that we have added to our program to help make sure our current program is very safe."

No local campgrounds or reservations are expected to be impacted by the bankruptcy.

"The youth in our program, like my son, isn't going to experience anything different in our program and that's the part that excites me. That the promise that we give to all the youth in our program is going to continue on," said Molepske.

As part of the filing, each council will have an opportunity to contribute to the Victim's Compensation Trust.

Molepske says the Chippewa Valley Council cares about the organization as a whole and will explore with the board how to support the Boy Scouts of America.