Some of you may have read one or more stories recently published by Hearst Newspapers which address a variety of the Boy Scouts of America’s practices and call our character into question. Representing the BSA’s volunteer and professional leadership, and on behalf of our Scouts and Scouters, we want to take this opportunity to address these reports and defend the Scouting movement.

First, we want you to know we are proud of our organization and the tremendous volunteer leadership across America who live and lead by the Scout Oath and Scout Law. We welcomed the opportunity to participate in these stories, and for the past six months we have responded to multiple requests and inquiries from various reporters. We have granted more than 50 interviews at the local council and National Council levels and have spent hundreds of hours preparing information to have an active voice in these stories.

Today’s story focuses on some of the most difficult and emotional decisions councils must make in order to be good stewards of their resources. So why does an organization like the BSA harvest timber and sell property? There are many reasons councils harvest timber, including safety, health of the forest and wise use of the income to serve our youth. Similarly, local executive boards have the duty to use all council assets in the best interests of Scouting – which might include the sale of properties, but in both cases, the real reason goes back to why we exist, our mission -- to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Throughout the more than 300 local councils in the Boy Scouts of America, thousands of great volunteers spend countless hours ensuring wise use of Scouting resources, whether they be land, facilities, financial contributions, or volunteer time. We are extremely disappointed that their efforts have been portrayed in such a negative light.

We encourage you to click here to download a PDF to read where we address the discussed topics in an unfiltered, detailed manner. In the next few days, our organization will continue responding to these reports as appropriate.

Most importantly, we want you to know that our professionals and volunteer boards who oversee and approve all of the BSA’s activities remain committed to living by the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Our commitment to teaching and living these principles has not and will not change.

Yours in Scouting,

John Gottschalk Bob Mazzuca
National President Chief Scout Executive