Local Boy Scout Council Unsure of Financial Future

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

The Samoset Council of the Boy Scouts of America doesn't expect to see any changes happen to their core scouting programs.

That's despite the United Way of Marathon County's decision to cut $28,500 in funding to the organization next year, and $25,000 additional the year after.

The council doesn't plan to conform to the United Way's new focus.

"Tha'ts not something the Boy Scouts of America is gonna do. We're gonna stick to our core values, our scout oath, our scout law and we're gonna develop a program around that," said Dr. Frederick Prehn, council president.

The United Way is now focusing on four specific areas including: supporting young children, at-risk youth, helping families meet basic needs, and improving health and wellness.

The Samoset Council believe they fit in the new criteria.

"It isn't that scouting isn't a great program. And they do offer some programs that we will continue to fund that are specifically targeted to at-risk youth," said Joanne Kelly, executive director of United Way of Marathon County.

But despite signifcant reductions in funding, the boy scouts will remain true to their motto, 'be prepared,' and do everything they can to make sure they continue their programs.

"We have seven other agencies that we work with that are very happy with our program and there have been no proposed funding cuts to date and we wanna hopefully maintain that relationship with the other seven," said Dr. Prehn.

The United Way maintains agencies who will receive less funding in the next two years may re-apply, if they can show they fit into one of the four new categories.

"Where this has happened in the past, boy scout councils have never been restored to a level of funding prior to the cut," said Mike McCarthy, Samoset's executive director.

Which means the boy scouts need new funding sources, and may begin to reach out to the public directly.

"It did hit us, blindside us and we're gonna have to change the way we raise money," said Dr. Prehn.

Currently the Samoset Council works with 13 counties, serving 6,000 boy scouts.

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