Local Scouts waiting in limbo

Boy Scouts of America file bankruptcy for survival

Senior+Anton+Dahm+poses+in+his+Eagle+Scout+uniform.+Dahm+has+been+a+member+of+the+Boy+Scout+organization+since+kindergarten.

Dahm

Senior Anton Dahm poses in his Eagle Scout uniform. Dahm has been a member of the Boy Scout organization since kindergarten.

Preksha Kedilaya, News Editor

National news from the Boy Scout organization has many local scouts fearful of what legal battles and financial woes could mean for the future of a group many say has changed their lives.

The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 18 in response to sexual abuse lawsuits to attempt to save the century-old organization. The organization is facing hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits and thousands of alleged abuse victims. The bankruptcy will result in a suspension of all civil litigation.

The organization’s bankruptcy filing can be seen in one of two ways: either the organization is allotting themselves time to find millions of dollars to pay their victims, or BSA is yet another organization filing bankruptcy to avoid responsibility for abuse that occurred over the last century. The situation is reminiscent of USA Gymnastics’s case in 2018 following sexual assault allegations. 

Seniors Anton Dahm and Will Rolfstad have been involved with scouting for much of their lives, and say the organization has greatly impacted their lives in a positive way. 

In response to the lawsuits, Dahm said, “It’s very unfortunate that a program that promotes great programs and strong morals is suffering from something so corrupt; so much so that finances are being affected.”

“I’ve never had any problems with sexual abuse in the program so it’s sad to see all of Scouting being painted with the same brush,”  Dahm said.

All the sexual abuse claims coming to light occurred between 1910 and present day. Although an investigator hired by the Scouts found cases of over 12,000 victims and 8,000 perpetrators leading up to 2016, a majority of the cases are not from the last 2 decades. About 5,000 people were expelled from BSA between 1947 and 2005 on suspicion of sexual abuse. 

Rolfstad explained, “The recent sexual assault cases, while tragic, are usually men coming forth about issues from thirty-plus years ago. Almost all of the perpetrators of these incidents have passed away or been expelled from the BSA already through extremely strict child protection measures put in place by BSA over the past twenty years.”

But the recent investigation has brought thousands of previously unreported sexual abuse claim to the surface.

Dahm is grateful to be involved with Boy Scouts of America, as he said it has made him a better person. Rolfstad agreed and added, “The program gave me many life-changing experiences and skills that I find very helpful everyday.”

“The scouting community to me has been a family as I’ve grown up–some of my favorite adventures, including backpacking, kayaking, and skiing, have been in scouts. At the end of the day, my Eagle Scout rank is the most valuable thing I have as I leave high school because it demonstrates my work ethic and my ability to follow through,” Rolfstad said.

In terms of the future for Boy Scouts of America, the Washington Post stated that youth membership has declined more than 26 percent in the last decade.

And the backlash the organization is facing could make the statistic more severe.

Many Scouts like Dahm and Rolfstad agree that Boy Scouts of America has shaped the person they are today and will be a big loss to the community if the organization cannot recover. But others wonder if the organization ignored one of its cardinal values in this process: honor.