EVENDALE, Ohio — For more than a century, the local Boy Scout chapter has operated independently, so that means they aren’t on the hook when it comes to the bankruptcy filing by the Boy Scouts of America.
Locally, Boy Scout troops are thriving, says Andrew Zahn, Scout Executive of the local Dan Beard Council. The council, with its headquarters in Evendale, says it serves more than 30,000 youth and families in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
“We are locally governed and financially sound,” Zahn told WCPO 9 News on Tuesday. “The Dan Beard Council is funded entirely by local support and reinvests that local support right back into scouting troops in the Greater Cincinnati region.”
That’s in contrast to the national Boy Scouts organization, which is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid thousands of sex abuse lawsuits involving scout leaders across the country.
“I can’t speak to what the national organization may ultimately do. I know that they are weighing a multitude of options,” Zahn said. “But I can speak locally. In the Greater Cincinnati region we're very excited. We have thousands of kids signed up to attend a life-changing experience at Summer Camp.”
Zahn said the Dan Beard Council owns those camp properties and other assets local Scouts use, so they won’t be tied up in asset assessments that may take place because of the national organizations bankruptcy filings.
Bankruptcy attorney Robert Goering says the bankruptcy filing won’t kill the national organization as a whole.
“It will put a dent in their finances,” Goering said. “I don’t know anything about what assets the Boy Scouts actually have. I’m sure they are substantial, and I’m sure that there will be a substantial amount of money that will be available for the claimants.”
When WCPO 9 last reported on the allegations, we learned there were nearly 8,000 suspected perpetrators, but only a handful in our area – seven from Cincinnati and two from Northern Kentucky.
Zahn said his organization is staying vigilant and makes child safety a priority.
"We all agree that one instance of child abuse is one too many,” Zahn said. “We are vigilant in our continued priority to ensure scouting is safe for all of our participants.”
Zahn said there are mandatory adult leadership training sessions, and volunteers are required to pass a criminal background check to work with Scouts.
"We're excited for what scouting does not only for the young member but also their entire family," Zahn said.