Pawhuska Boy Scout Troop Looks To Future Despite Bankruptcy At National Level


Tuesday, February 18th 2020, 8:48 pm
By: Amy Slanchik


The Boy Scouts of America said in a news release Tuesday that scouting will continue throughout the country despite the organization filing for bankruptcy. 

Troop 43 in Pawhuska just recently started meeting at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the same place the first Boy Scout troop in the nation used to meet more than 100 years ago.

Leaders said despite the bankruptcy filing, they expect to continue to grow their troop for years to come.

Inside the church, Boy Scouts in Pawhuska meet on Wednesdays to sit in the same room where it all started back in 1909.

"I get cold chills just thinking about it. It's just so cool that we're getting to be a part of that history now,” Boy Scout Troop 43 Scoutmaster Bruce Hendren said.

But another side of the Boy Scouts of America's history is being unveiled, as the organization prepares to face hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits, after several thousand men say they were molested by leaders.

Ralph Morse, who said a leader in upstate New York started molesting him when he was 11, told CBS This Morning his reaction to the bankruptcy filing.

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"It's an admission of guilt. By filing bankruptcy, you're admitting that in all probability you're going to be liable for these victims, these documented victims. And it's going to cost you a great deal of money,” Morse said.

Back in Oklahoma, Scout Executive Philip Mba Wright doesn't expect an impact on the troops he oversees in six counties through the Cherokee Area Council #469.

He said they do not receive any money from BSA, and emphasized independence from the national organization.

"We're a local organization. Everything we do is local. All our funding stays local,” he said.

He and Hendren point to strong leadership over the past century and look forward to the future. 

"It's only gonna be what you make it. And so we're trying to make it good. But we're making it for the kids. It's not for the adults. Its for the kids,” Hendren said.

The Boy Scouts released a statement saying in part: 

"The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.  We believe the Chapter 11 process will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA's important mission."

 

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