Posted: Feb 18, 2020 2:26 PMUpdated: Feb 18, 2020 2:30 PM

Local Scout Council Emphasizes its Autonomy

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Garrett Giles

The locally operated Cherokee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America has discussed the just announced action by the national organization to file a Chapter 11 Reorganization plan.

That case is in the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Dale Copeland, the Cherokee Area Council President, said the local Council here in the Bartlesville area is not directly affected by the national Scout organization’s actions. He said parents and Scout supporters can be confident their financial support stays local.

The local council has its own staff, properties, and budget overseen by a board of local citizens just as it has been for almost one hundred years, according to Phillip Wright, the local scout executive. The national bankruptcy resulted due to legal issues from accusations of past youth abuse. The Cherokee Area Council BSA has extensive safeguards and training to address the issue.

As a franchisee of the National BSA the local Council benefits from the program materials, training and other support they have supplied. Scouting’s professional staff is also a strong asset.

The Cherokee Area Council is a completely separate and local non-profit legal entity. They are not a party in that filing for bankruptcy. While the national Scout organization reconciles its legal issues, Copeland said the Cherokee Area Council in Bartlesville will continue their commitment to serving area youth with a time-tested program instilling strong character values and life skills in our next generation of leaders.

The Cherokee Area Council BSA appreciates everyone that helps them with this task of building up the next generation of leaders by giving their gifts of time, talent and treasurer. Copeland said the Council could not fulfill their goals without you because the strength of the Council reflects the strength of their volunteers and the character of northeast Oklahoma.

It was noted that the local council was recently recognized with the 2019 Journey to Excellence gold ranking. Less than 8-percent of the 261 councils nationwide achieved this prestigious honor which measures the quality local programming. Copeland confirmed the local council is strong and growing with a desire to provide all youth access to the many Scouting programs.

The Cherokee Area Council is a member of the Bartlesville Regional United Way and Miami United Way.

Also released on Tuesday afternoon from the Cherokee Area Council was this release:

“The Cherokee Area Council, headquartered in Bartlesville, OK, has a long, proud history of exceptional performance and achievements in Scouting service to youth. The first local troop was founded in 1909, in Pawhuska, with a charter, books and uniforms sent from England since the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) had not yet been established. Local scouts are part of the larger worldwide Scouting movement. They share a common heritage and desire for a lifetime of growth and service.

The Cherokee Area Council joins the national Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization in condemning any and all abuse. We will continue to exert our very best efforts to maintain the high standards our youth, their families and our supporters expect and deserve.

The Cherokee Area Council is an independent non-profit corporation. It serves six counties across northeastern Oklahoma including Osage, Washington Nowata, Craig, Delaware and Ottawa. It has its own budget, executive board and staff. It is not directly connected to any issues being discussed by the national organization resulting from abuse allegations that might date to several decades in the past. The local council does not have any pending litigation, is not aware of and does not anticipate any legal actions against it. The local council remains strong as evidenced by the recent 2019 Gold achievement in the Journey to Excellence rankings which measure a broad cross section of performance criteria for a Scouting council. Ours is one of only 19 councils nationally (7-percent out of 267 total) to attain this coveted ranking - for our third year in a row. This accomplishment is the result of concentrated and continuous efforts by local volunteers and staff alike for which we are understandably proud.

Friends of Scouting contributions and all other gifts of support will continue to remain in the local council to fund local operations supporting our youth development programs. These do not get forwarded to nor shared with another entity. We pay a relatively small annual fee to national BSA for services they provide. You might think of this as a franchise fee, not unlike commercial businesses (ie, McDonalds, etc.) who receive training and marketing assistance that helps maintain strong and consistent operational quality across all areas of the nation.

Operational control of the Cherokee Area Council is local and that is not changing. This council and its volunteer board plan to continue that wonderful legacy passed along by the likes of Frank Phillips and Phil Phillips, H. H. McClintock, H. A. “Pop” Brewer, James Tarr, Rudie Janzen and many more of providing our youth the opportunity to grow in life skills and character development. They are our future!

We trust you will join us in supporting them. They deserve our commitment."

For more information, the Cherokee Area Council asks that you check out this website.

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