Here’s what the BSA’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing means for you

If you’re reading this, you have probably experienced the positive impact of Scouting.

And I’m guessing that – like me – you want Scouting to be around to serve kids in our communities for many years to come.

I’m hoping you also agree that it’s important that the BSA supports victims of past abuse in Scouting. Quite simply, it’s the right thing to do.

But what does that have to do with filing for bankruptcy? Isn’t that what companies and people do when they run out of money?

A common misperception is that “bankruptcy” means a company or organization is shutting its doors. But for non-profits, it’s just the opposite. In fact, you can expect to continue your Scouting experience, complete with unit meetings, service projects, campouts and the many more adventures that fill your schedules.

So, what’s really going on?

The national organization has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (which is also known as a financial restructuring) to achieve two goals:

  1. Compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting, and
  2. Continue carrying out the mission of Scouting for at least another 110 years. (I hope you remembered to wish the BSA a happy birthday on Feb. 8!)

OK…what do I need to know about this process?

First, Scouting continues.

Second, Scouting is safer today than ever before.

It’s heartbreaking that individuals took advantage of youth-serving organizations – including BSA programs – to harm innocent children. Even the deepest apologies can’t possibly make things right, but the BSA is taking responsibility for what happened in the past and doing all it can to protect youth in our Scouting programs.

The BSA has made major strides in youth protection and there’s a lot that we can be proud of, including the commitment of our wonderful volunteers and staff who work every single day to make Scouting the safe and amazing program it is today.

Starting in the 1980s, the BSA put in place some of the strongest barriers to abuse of any youth-servicing organization and has continued to evolve and improve these policies to prevent abuse and to ensure volunteers are able to recognize, respond to and report any suspected abuse.

For Scouters, planning to always have two-deep leadership has become a normal part of Scouting– and some may even encourage it at non-Scouting events.

Because so much of our youth protection training is relevant for all parents, the training is now available publicly on, a website that you can share to help friends and family who may have questions about the BSA’s youth protection program.

What to do now

The short answer is – keep Scouting. And do so with pride.

Remind others why you believe in Scouting, how the program has benefited you and your family, and why you dedicate your precious free time to the movement.

Make it a point to remind our communities why Scouting is an important pillar. Ask local leaders what projects they need help with and encourage units to plan service projects to help meet the goal.

Scouting shines brightest when we help others. With your support, I know the BSA will be serving youth and communities through our vital mission for many years to come.

If you’d like to learn more about the BSA’s restructuring, you can watch this helpful video that explains the Chapter 11 process and visit for more information.

About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.