This is a movement away from greed, power, extravagant shameful spending of our boys money, and toward building the character of the boys in the spirit of Scouting.
Below is the description of the movement and the letter to BSA
My name is Anson L. Service, and I am a Clinical Psychologist Doctoral intern in NC. Myself and 10,000 other Americans who honor the spirit of Boy Scouts have come together to ask that you change a few key elements of BSA that we feel is detracting from the Boy Scout experience. I am an Eagle Scout and have some great memories of the way Scouting used to be. Sure, we did fund raisers several times a year which helped teach us work ethic, but nearly all of that money went to fund our scout camps and outings. The rest went to pay dues and fees. Now, with the BSA CEO reportedly being paid more than 1.6 million dollars in salary, perks, and other forms of compensation, while some local Council Executives are making more than a quarter million dollars per year, it has been difficult for us to understand why some of the scout camps are in such poor condition, with latrines nearly unusable and extra fees charged for the fun things every boy looks forward to, such as shooting, rappelling, and horseback riding. It is also difficult to understand why the cost of supplies such as Scout shirts are so high. Finally, it also seems that we are being nickeled and dimed to death each time we turn around with fees and cost that resemble the U.S. tax system where we don't realize how much we are actually spending on scouting each year to the headquarters (not even including what we personally spend to make scouts run locally) until someone calls attention to it and we begin to add it all up.
Many of us are pressured by "Friends of Scouting" (FOS) each year to donate between $50 and $250 or more, but we have learned through sources outside of BSA that none of that money goes to our actual boy's troops or their scout camp. Why are we not told exactly where this money goes when we are asked to give? Transparency! It appears as though that information has purposely been hidden from us. We have heard that if we raise a certain number of thousands of dollars per each troop, our troop does get a small discount on scout camp from its already ridiculously high costs to just a high cost. Instead, we have learned that all of the FOS money goes to the high salaries and the top heavy bureaucratic organization that more closely resembles the money and power hungry U.S. congress (of which there is only a 9% approval rating of currently). Additionally, we have become aware from sources outside of the BSA that BSA has been taking land that has been donated to the boys for the purposes of scout camps and retreats and have been clear cutting the timber from them for profit and dividing the properties into smaller parcels and selling them to developers to place new homes, vacation resorts, luxury mansions, and strip malls on. Personally, I am certain that those who donated the hundreds of properties, such as the Leonard Scout Camp that was secretly sold off recently only for financial gain had no idea it would later be sold. Would have donated had they known that? This must be why BSA keeps these transactions as secret as possible. Now, many are forced to drive further away for scout camp where we sometimes cannot even use the toilets because they are in such poor condition. Many boys urinate outside in on trees next to their tents or beside a latrine rather than endure the dangers and unpleasantness of the unsanitary and disgusting toilets. This is just one of many stories I have found concerning the sale of properties with similar results but what is most disturbing is that these actions go directly against many of the things we are teaching the scouts, such as being good stewards of the land to name just one principle. Where is the transparency in that? Furthermore, while camping remains a staple of scouting activity, troops are forced to use paved and crowded state parks, back yards in the city, and other less than adequate camping facilities. Why do they do this when BSA owns millions of acres throughout the country designed for scouting? Because BSA charges too much and the troops cannot afford it! It is simply WRONG! Why can we not plan weekend scouting retreats at the local scout camp for free as part of being a member of BSA? Isn't that what all of the money we pay goes to? Not when the organization heads make the kinds of salaries they do.
Why does BSA choose to hide the truth from those who donate to "Friends of Scouting" that not a cent of the money will go directly to the boy's troops to help with expenses? With the millions in profit being made from selling donated land, yet a boy scout shirt costs $49, why is that money not going to subsidize shirts so all boy's families can afford them? Why are there dues when the CEO salary alone could pay for more than 100,000 boy's dues? Why do the adult volunteers have to pay fees on top of the fees to clear them for service for the privilege of giving their own time and money to BSA and the troop? Why are there fees for some of the activities at scout camp? Why does each boy have to pay $100 per day to go to scout camp? It honestly does not cost that much, yet you charge it. We thought this was a non-profit venture, not a way for the executives to pad themselves with exorbitant salaries and perks to be able to tout their power. We will no longer sit back and let this happen! We are only a fraction of those who will work together to Take Scouting Back!
We understand that BSA will have justifications for the clear cutting and sale of land and will try to justify paying the CEO 1.6 million, and flying executives around with $1,100 first class air fare tickets and buying first class tickets for their wives and friends by claiming it is a competitive compensation package (which is what the execs from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae claimed also), but the problem is, BSA must practice what it preaches. We are an organization with God as the head, and have we not been commanded to be in the world but not of the world? BSA salaries do not need to be "competitive" with the rest of the organizations out there, and especially does not need to be the highest in its class like it currently is. BSA is not a competition of who can pay their execs the highest salaries without their members knowing.
We are standing up for the true spirit of Scouting and are being “trustworthy with our boys, helpful in returning to the true spirit of scouting, thrifty in watching how we spend our hard earned money, brave in standing up for what we know is right, and courteous to those volunteers who work so hard and spend so much of their own money, time, and effort to make scouting work well for the boys according to the spirit of scouting.”
We know we will receive criticism from those who do not yet know these things about BSA (again, BSA must be transparent), and we understand some will defend the practices anyway citing the good it does for the boys despite the costs, but we as the Take Scouting Back organization are ready to consider what it would be like if we did not pay all of the boy's hard earned money to BSA executives and administration, but rather used that money to create local and independent scouting organizations that did not have overpriced uniforms, dilapidated camps, and overpaid CEOs. The local troops are already led by volunteers, so we only see positives from breaking away from BSA and becoming independent. We are not afraid to allow BSA to struggle to nothingness in their law suits from hiding pedophilia, discrimination, and greedy top executive leaders. Without us, there is no executive pay. Without us, there is no BSA.
This can all be avoided if BSA will simply:
1. Cut and cap their CEO salary to $250,000 per year including all other benefits ( that is still more than $20,000 in pay per MONTH - and if they cant live on that, they are not thrifty and have no business leading the BSA),
2. Cap executive salaries at $90,000 per year including all other benefits
3. Promise to stop extravagant spending on first class airfare, companion tickets, and private air clubs and any other needless spending
4. Be transparent about selling or transferring donated properties
5. Do more to improve the conservatories, habitats and scout camps for scouting, and other havens away from the city where scouts can learn, grow and thrive.
6. We would Iike the "Friends of Scouting" money grubbing drive to go away and allow the administrative operating costs to be included in scout dues each year in the spirit of honesty.
7. Lastly, we would like the price of uniforms and scout supplies to drop to a rate that reflects the core values of scouting of being thrifty. A $49 shirt with its basic patches is not thrifty.
Anson L. Service
and those who have
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