23 November 2015

Gay Rights Are Shrinking Boy Scouts Donation

No Donation
Figures revealed that donations dropped so low in the nation's largest Boy Scouts of America local council — the Orem-based Utah National Parks Council. It left the officials with only one option: layoffs.

"We're substantially behind what we've done in the past," Stan Lockhart, volunteer president of the council that serves 90,000 youth, said about its annual Friends of Scouting fundraising drive. That began in September and will continue through the end of the year, but the bulk of contributions usually comes early.

So the need for layoffs among the council's 70 employees "is self-evident," he said, although he is unsure of the number.

The donations drop-off was a direct result of the national Boy Scouts lifting its longtime ban on gay leaders and — for a time — uncertainty whether the LDS Church would continue associating with it.

While Lockhart said, "We simply don't know exactly why" donations are down, Rick Barnes, Scout executive of the nearby Salt Lake City-based Great Salt Lake Council, said he has a pretty good idea.

"I think people may be kind of mad at the Boy Scouts, but there's a big difference between the National Council and the three local councils in Utah," he said.

In July, the national Boy Scouts rescinded its ban on gay leaders — which "deeply troubled" The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It initially said it was considering dropping its sponsorship of Scout units and creating its own international program.

Some conservatives left the Boy Scouts and created the group Trail Life USA. BSA enrollment had been declining for some time, and it dropped by 6 percent in 2013 and 7 percent in 2014. About 2.4 million boys and 1 million adults are currently enrolled in the Boy Scouts, but expected to drop and join Trail Life USA in a couple of weeks or so.

It is now time to bid farewell to Boy Scout of America and say hello to Trail Life USA!