AUSTIN (KXAN) – While the Boy Scouts of America faces dwindling membership numbers and thousands of sexual assault allegations, the local branch of the Boy Scouts is growing. Between 2018 and 2019, the group saw 309 new scouts join their ranks, according to Charles Mead with the Capitol Area Council. This brings the total to 22,624 registered youth members across all of Capitol Area Council’s programs.
The last few years have been difficult for the Scouts. Today, the national branch of the Boy Scouts of America declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In April of last year, the Capitol Area Council released the names of twenty-three volunteers accused of sexual assault here in Central Texas, a list that dated back to the 1960’s.
Those accusations were just a small fraction of the thousands of others made against the national organizations, accusations stretching back decades.
Impact of Boy Scouts bankruptcy on local councils
With legal costs mounting, the national organization is using Chapter 11 to ensure they can pay victims and continue the organization “for years to come”, according to a statement from the company. The move could lead to them selling off assets.
However, only the national organization is filing bankruptcy. On the local level, all scouting activities will continue as planned, according to Mr. Mead. The six campgrounds and the headquarters owned by the Capitol Area Council will remain open.
However, advocacy groups and lawyers for abuse victims are pushing for settlements and judgements to include local assets. Those decisions will be decided in bankruptcy proceedings.
Boy Scouts in Central Texas
The Capitol Area Council opened their doors in 1912, just two years after the Boy Scouts of Americas was incorporated. In 1916, the organization was charted by Congress “to provide an educational program for youth to build character.”
The Capitol Area Council serves 15 counties in and around Central Texas. The group is operated through individual and corporate donations and grants. Both boys and girls can participate in the organization.