Department of Florida

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From the Chairman

Chris Ragusa

Chris Ragusa, Scouting Chair

November 2020

Refuting BSA Bankruptcy Filing & Camporee

Hopefully your Post Scouting units are getting back to program activities on a more normal basis. I know that in the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council, we’ve had to limit the size and scope of our events, but they have all been well attended by Scouts and their families. Everyone wants to safely resume camping, hiking, and enjoying the outdoor educational program that Scouting offers.

Two items for this month.

  1. Bankruptcy Protection/Class Action Lawsuit. As American Legion Scouting leaders, you need to be able to address the false narrative about the BSA bankruptcy filing, and the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of victims of abuse while participating in the Scouting program. With the November 16 deadline to join the lawsuit, it will be a news topic until then. Here is a series of “elevator speeches” that can be used to refute false informationThe BSA is going bankrupt. False. BSA National is a separate legal entity from the local BSA councils. BSA National assets are not the local BSA council assets and vice versa. BSA National filed for bankruptcy protection in order to ensure that all claims by victims of abuse while members of the BSA movement are compensated, and that the Scouting movement can continue. The bankruptcy court approved a structured settlement for those found to have been abused by leaders or adults while members of the Boy Scouts.

    The American Legion posts that charter Scout units can be held financially liable in the class action lawsuit. False. American Legion posts sign a charter…basically an agreement to conduct the program based upon the BSA mission statement…with the local BSA council. Since the local councils are not part of the lawsuit, the American Legion posts are not part of the lawsuit.

    It happened once; it can happen again. False. Most of the abuse claims date back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, before the Boy Scouts adopted youth protection policies such as mandatory criminal background checks for all leaders, mandatory reporting and required training in youth protection. Changes to how the Boy Scouts now protect our youth ensure that these incidents can no longer occur. All of the volunteer leaders are now trained in Youth Protection, instructed on the reporting requirements (including law enforcement), and have had a national background check before having direct contact with our Scouts. Two Deep Leadership is enforced, and no one-on-one contact between non-related adults and Scouts is permitted.

    The BSA is trying to hide from their responsibility to the victims. False. BSA National ran a nearly $7 million awareness campaign encouraging victims of abuse to come forward. The campaign included mail and email to those who have filed complaints, as well as national television and print advertisements. The notification program is expected to reach more than 100 million people, including more than 95% of the primary target audience of men 50 and older.

  2. Proposed Cub Scout Camporee for American Legion or SAL-chartered packs. Cub Scout Pack 1381, chartered to American Legion Post 138 in Port Tampa City, FL, will host a Cub Scout Camporee for Florida American Legion or SAL-chartered Cub Scout packs on MacDill AFB in Tampa, FL from Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7, 2021. The cost per participant for this event is only $20, which includes a beachfront cookout for lunch and a catered barbeque dinner on Saturday. Activities will include a tour of the MacDill AFB Control Tower and ATC training simulator, a four-station rotation at the Flightline Fire and Rescue station, a tour of the Maritime Patrol hanger and their patrol craft, a visit by the 6th Security Forces armory for a weapons orientation, and a demonstration by the 6th SFS K9 section on dog handling. We will also turn part of the base range into a BB gun and archery range for Shooting Sports qualifications. I am the COR for Pack 1381, and the POC for this event, so please contact me for more information about this opportunity. Yours in Scouting…

Chris Ragusa