Local BSA Flourishes, National BSA Plummets

Toni Arzaga , Feature Editor

Since December 2018, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have been on the verge of bankruptcy, but it was not until February 2020 the organization officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The problems have deepened with the BSA facing roughly 300 lawsuits from over 88,000 men who claim to be sexually assaulted as scouts. 

With growing legal claimants regarding molestation and assault, the BSA began to record pedophiles in the 1920s called the “Perversion Files.” Before this accounting, sexual predators were not reported to law enforcement, and had the freedom to move to another state and start again as a scoutmaster. 

Chapter 11 bankruptcy that was declared in February 2020 mandates that the organization compensate the victims while the organization is kept alive. Many troops have been affected by the scandal while others have not; it all depends on the region and the troops’ available donors. 

Those who have had a good experience while scouting are the reason the BSA is still a strong organization. With about 2.2 million members, the BSA still maintains its missions to prepare young boys and men to make moral and ethical decisions over their lifetime. 

Although BSA has lost members by the millions since the early 1970s, scouts local to Sonoma have maintained a tight-knit brotherhood.

“I joined in the sixth grade and I am still participating as a Senior Patrol Leader,””

— Mac Portello

explains senior, Mac Portello. 

For many boys, scouting has been a great way to make friends and to spend time in nature. BSA of America has created childhood memories as most Scouts remember “my favorite experiences going to summer camp for the first time when I was 12” reminisces Portello. 

When becoming a Boy Scout, millions of young boys and men have pledged to uphold Scout Law to “help other people at all times, to keep me physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” 

Friendships and brotherhoods have formed over this oath,

“it’s fun to see companionship form between the different age groups. Older scouts tend to hang out with each other while younger scouts do the same””

— Alex Hoffman

comments junior, Alex Hoffman. 

The enjoyment of the troop is the reason a handful of scouts  “have not paid too much attention to the bankruptcy stuff but it’s a bummer since BSA is meant to be an amazing organization that has been to me” contemplates Portello as senior patrol leader.

“I hope BSA continues and moves forward in a more positive direction.””

— Mac Portello

Troops with diligent funders and generous donations have not been affected by the bankruptcy-like those that relied solely on the organization. Sonoma locals have had the luxury and “so far there’s been no problem with the organization’s bankruptcy. Our troop is mostly independent with the fundraisers we do and amazing donors” asserts junior, Alex Hoffman.

As troops go on despite the bankruptcy and others do not, the BSA  has deeply apologized for the actions of several sexual predators and has agreed to compensate for the wrongdoings. Regardless, the organization still flourishes with the support of millions of boys and men who hope to properly execute the original mission of morals and ethics.