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Robert Gates at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree
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Robert Gates at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree

Boy Scouts fall millions behind budget

Boy Scouts | President-elect Robert Gates looks to move Scouting past its ‘divisive ordeal’ over homosexuality and into recovery

The National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America met in February and learned that registration fees for 2013 totaled $1.76 million less than the previous year and more than $2.5 million less than was budgeted.   

Despite these shortfalls, overall revenue in 2013 exceeded $115 million, with registration fees accounting for about $45 million of the total. The Scouts last year had an “excess of revenues over expenses” of $2.986 million, according to the minutes of the meeting and other documents obtained by WORLD. This number was better than budget but significantly less than 2012’s excess of $5.431 million.

Meeting documents also indicate that the Scouts plan to pay the chief Scout executive Wayne Brock $442,900 for the coming year. Two other senior executives—deputy chief Scout executive Gary Butler and chief financial officer Michael Ashline—are in line to receive $330,000 in salary. In 2012, Brock’s base pay was $392,627. Butler received $270,919 the previous year, while Ashline’s base salary was $276,460.

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These raises come as the Scouts lost approximately 110,000 youth members in 2013. Total membership in Scouting, including Scouts and adult leaders, fell to below 2.5 million by the end of the year, the lowest level in more than a half-century.

Though many causes contributed to the membership losses, the most significant was a decision by the National Council in May 2013 to allow openly homosexual Scouts into the program. Almost immediately, a new alternative group called Trail Life USA organized. That group now has approximately 600 units of Trailmen in more than 40 states.

The Boy Scouts of America’s president-elect, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, told the BSA leadership at the Feb. 5 meeting that he had “no intention of reopening the BSA membership standards issue” during his presidency. “Scouting has been through a divisive ordeal,” he said. “I fully support the decision that was made last May, but I believe strongly that we need now to focus on healing our differences, restoring our unity, and returning our full attention to growing our membership, strengthening our finances, and delivering a Scouting program of the highest quality.”

Gates concluded his remark by saying, “It appears the greatest challenges are behind [the Boy Scouts]. Still, it seems to me we have been, as a movement and as leaders of that movement, distracted, divided, and defensive. Now it is time to refocus on the Scouts and on this unique program.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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