BSA Updates

Updated 8/31/2021

As you may know, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is currently going through a bankruptcy process. Representatives of The United Methodist Church and the North Georgia Conference are monitoring the proceedings closely.  There has not been a final decision or ruling made in the matter.

We want to communicate that the partnership between the BSA and United Methodist Church remains strong and we are working to see that this partnership, which has borne so much fruit and ministered to so many young people, continues to flourish for years to come. Scouting is an important and vibrant ministry of the church. As such, we celebrate the large number of churches in the North Georgia Annual Conference that have a scouting presence and would love to see that number continue to grow. 

Given this, Conference and denominational leaders offer a few recommendations at this time:

  • We strongly encourage churches to continue supporting their Scouts BSA (and Girl Scout) packs, troops, and crews. 
  • Although it is still early, we ask that churches not renew their charter agreements with the BSA in 2022. Your current charter agreement is good through December 31, 2021. (More info will be forthcoming to provide additional guidance over the coming weeks and months).
  • We propose that churches consider a "Facilities Use Agreement" in 2022 and going forward. 
     

UMCOS Q&A Session

The North Georgia United Methodist Committee on Scouting invites clergy and scouting leaders to a Q&A session on Thursday, September 9, to answer questions about how the evolving relationship between the UMC and BSA affects where and how United Methodist Scouts BSA units in North Georgia will meet and grow in 2022. 

  • Hosted by the North Georgia UMCOS
  • September 9, 7:00 pm 
  • Register here (pre-registration required; link will be sent 2 days before event)

A Letter from Our Bishop and Conference Scouting Coordinator

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and Scouting Coordinator Chris Karabinos wrote a letter to North Georgia United Methodists and friends of Scouting in our Conference. Read that letter below. 

READ LETTER


An Update from The United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church released the following update on the BSA Bankruptcy case and the questions that remain on how the outcome will affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations.


An Update from The General Commission on United Methodist Men

The GCUMM offers an update, sharing that United Methodists are urged to delay renewing charters with BSA units. 

 


Ask A Question

The North Georgia Conference is working to develop an FAQ on this topic.

Click here to ask a question or click below.


Q&A


Why not extend our charter beyond December 31?
Representatives of The United Methodist Church are reviewing the charter agreement program that has been in place for years and have been working to draft agreements that better reflect the relationship between the local church and its BSA packs, troops, and crews today.

While churches typically provide facilities and support, and clergy and church members may help with programs like P.R.A.Y. (God and Country) and serve as scout leaders, churches do not run or oversee the activities of a scout unit. Scouts BSA provides a program to do this which includes Youth Protection Training (YPT), background checks and membership authorization, and is ultimately responsible for the safety of Scouts. 

We expect future agreements will likely resemble Facility Use Agreements, such as ones most churches use with other organizations (e.g. YMCA) and better reflect today’s needs.

While our representatives are working on a new document, we ask that churches not extend their current charter agreements with the BSA beyond December 31, 2021.
 

Who makes the decision about whether our church will charter our scouting unit?
This is ultimately a decision of the Board of Trustees of each local church.

 

If our church elects not to re-charter our unit(s) in 2022, can the scouts keep meeting at and recruiting out of our United Methodist church? 
Yes, in the vast majority of cases troops, packs, and crews will be able to continue meeting and recruiting at your church. The scouting leader, senior pastor of the church, and COR (Charter Organization Representative) will want to talk through this together. 
 

Can our BSA Council charter our unit(s)?
Yes, most councils can charter individual units. You will want to talk with your DE (District Executive) about whether your council is willing to do this at this time and what the procedure is. 

 

If our church elects not to re-charter our unit(s) in 2022, can our unit’s Scout leadership start looking for another partner? 
Yes, you can. We do recommend waiting though as additional information will be forthcoming which may have a bearing on your decision. We also recommend speaking with the senior pastor of your church and COR (Charter Organization Representative) to walk down this path together.    

 

What other organizations can we consider as charter partners?
The BSA requires charter partners to have a national Charter or MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) with an organization before councils can charter local units to the local organization. Check with your local BSA council DE (District Executive) to find out if an organization you may be thinking of has been approved. Some organizations that already have been approved include:

  • Boy Scouts of America (BSA) – local councils
  • Civic organizations (Lions Club, Rotary Club, Elks, Civitan, Kiwanis
  • Veterans Groups (VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans)
  • Youth Organizations (Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA)

 

Is there someone I can contact with more detailed questions?
Chris Karabinos
North Georgia Conference Scouting Coordinator
Chriskarabinos1@gmail.com
770-490-4940

 

Questions added 8/18/2021

Have the North Georgia Conference been in contact with the BSA Councils within our Conference?

We are in the process of reaching out to all 9 BSA Councils within the footprint of the North Georgia Conference about this upcoming change, but we have not yet contacted them all. 


If the relationship between a United Methodist Church and a Scouts BSA unit changes to a facility’s use agreement, who will fill the role of Charter Organization Representative (COR)? 

The new Charter Organization will appoint a COR (Charter Organization Representative). Scouts BSA units will need to find a new charter partner, whether it is the BSA council or other BSA-approved organization. 


Who are the “Representatives of The United Methodist Church”? Is this an Annual Conference, Jurisdictional, National or Global recommendation? What organization is making this decision?

This is a denominational level conversation which includes an “Ad Hoc” committee with representatives from several national church bodies, including: the GCUMM (General Commission on United Methodist Men) which is responsible for Scouting in the UMC and the General Council on Finance & Administration of the UMC. Additionally, each U.S. Jurisdiction is represented. The North Georgia Conference Treasurer, Chancellor (legal counsel), Bishop, and Scouting Coordinator have all been briefed and updated as the bankruptcy process has progressed.

The members of the Ad Hoc Committee are:

Buzzy Anding (Louisiana)
Sandy Brown (Greater New Jersey)
Mark Hanley (Florida)
Gil Hanke (GCUMM)
Bill Hewig (New England)
Rich Marsh (Mountain Sky)
Leticia Mayberry Wright (GCFA)
Bryan Mills (GCFA)
John Moorlach (Iowa)
Jay Rosenlieb (Cal-Nevada)
Steven Scheid (GCUMM)
Andy Vorbrich (Michigan)

 

Why make what feels like a dramatic change?

The chartering system was set up more than a 100 years ago. Going forward this system will need to match today’s legal settings allowing for the church and BSA to stand strong. We are working to find the solution that promotes the best for everyone involved and reflects the needs of today for both organizations. 

Most importantly, we are working to ensure that the vital ministry partnership between the BSA and United Methodist Church remains strong and vibrant. 

 

Why share this now when units are in the process of re-chartering and not announce earlier in the year?

The United Methodist Church is making this decision now because of the timing of BSA bankruptcy activities. There is a momentum building for a resolution. The need to be proactive in working through this process has driven the timing. We are actually making this announcement now, before the impact of bankruptcy outcome is known, in order to give advance notice to churches and BSA Scouting units. 

 

What does this mean for the relationship between churches and Scouts BSA?

We want our churches partnering with youth in Scouts. We encourage Scouts BSA units to continue meeting on church campuses, participating in P.R.A.Y. (God & Country) programs in our churches, participating in Scout Sunday Services, assisting with service projects with our churches and more. We want to ensure that the vital ministry partnership between the BSA and United Methodist Church remains strong and vibrant. 

Changing the legal relationship between a Scouts BSA unit and a United Methodist church doesn’t change the rest of the relationship. We absolutely want to maintain a strong relationship with our Scouts, their leaders, and their families. We want to continue growing Scouts BSA programs at more churches in the North Georgia Conference and at churches where Scouting currently exists.