November 12, 2021
I hope that you have been having a nice fall.
What is Pine Tree Council? As a Scout and a unit leader I didn’t clearly understand what council did.
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
National BSA carries out that mission through about 250 local councils. Pine Tree Council’s mission is to fulfill the BSA mission within our area. All of the districts and units are chartered under the council.
To conduct our mission we need to financially sustain ourselves, support districts and units, recruit members, and provide program for units to participate in. In a more concrete sense PTC operates summer camp and Cub Scout day camp, raises money, supports districts and units, and deals with the thousands of administrative tasks that are necessary for Scouting to take place.
At the council level, we conduct our mission with a small group of professionals and many volunteers. The council professional staff is six people. The volunteers consist of a board and many committees. Most of the people on the board are, or have been, unit level Scouters. Please take a look at the board list on the website.
As you know we have some financial challenges. There are two major issues, one external and one internal.
The external issue is that the National BSA is going through a bankruptcy based on being sued over sexual abuse claims, most of which are decades old. BSA is committed to compensating victims. The claims are generally from before we instituted Youth Protection Training and standards, and before we did background checks. Our current Youth Protection program is considered best in class by experts. As part of the National settlement PTC will have to pay nearly $1M.
PTC also has some debt that has been created internally. PTC receives nothing from your annual registration, that all goes to National. Historically PTC, like most councils, funds itself primarily from three sources: fundraising, which includes Friends of Scouting (FOS) and special events; product sales, which includes popcorn and occasionally other things like coupon books; and camp revenue. When things are going well each of these three categories produces about one third of our operating budget. Looking back over several years prior to COVID, it is very clear that our debt was a direct result of poor camp performance. We didn’t have sufficient revenue from camps to sustain the council.
To be financially stable we need to do at least a reasonably good job on all three categories. We can’t afford to fail in any area.
Over the last two years PTC has dramatically cut expenses and reduced staff to offset the loss of camp revenue and the substantial reduction in FOS. That reduction in staff means that we have less staff available to support districts and units.
For us to achieve long term financial stability we need people to support FOS, sell popcorn, and attend camp. We will also try to increase the number of Scouts in camp by attracting Scouts from outside of PTC.
Pine Tree Council is here to help Scouting take place in the southern half of Maine. For us to be successful in doing that, we all need to work together to make things better. Please consider what you can do to support Scouting.