Q. What is the reason for this merger of Councils?
A. Our focus has been on what we can accomplish together that
goes beyond what we can accomplish apart. The Task Force has
tried to be objective, open and thoughtful about what the
challenges will be.
Both councils are
blessed with strong programs, great camping facilities and
infrastructure, and engaged volunteers. However, both are
experiencing significant financial challenges which limit our
ability to provide our quality program to more youth in our
communities. Merging unlocks about $750k in annual operating
expense reduction that is not possible by either of the Councils
operating alone, and these savings can be redeployed to better
serve our scouts and volunteers in the field. This merger
allows the future of Scouting to be better preserved by working
together to accomplish the core values we instill in young
Q. Will any professionals that I rely on be laid off as the
result of the merger?
A. No. The only reduction planned is for one Scout Executive
rather than two, and that is possible by the recent retirement
of the Scout Executive of SGVC. The board values the
contributions of the Professional Staff, and while some will
have new assignments and roles, the intent is to retain all the
current staff. Obviously, changes can come at any time based on
individual performance, but there are no planned staff
reductions due to the merger. Our goal in the merger is to
improve the level of field service to units.
Q. Where will the benefits come from (if not from personnel
A. We currently anticipate about $750,000 in lower annual
operating expense from one scout executive (instead of two),
higher commission rate on scout shop sales (due to incentives
from National on larger sales volume), lower special events cost
through combination of joint events such as our recent “Women in
Scouting” event that involved both Councils, accounting fees and
audit savings, scale economies in purchasing, publications &
media, travel & conferences (fewer people going to National
events), lower insurance and lower BSA charter expense. All of
these savings would not be possible if the two Councils continue
to operate independently.
Q. What will the merger do for sources of revenue?
We anticipate modest additional revenue from subleasing some of
the office space on the second floor of Smiser. But more
significantly, we expect greater financial support of
foundations and individuals who are looking to support
non-profits who bring greater efficiency through consolidation.
Some foundations have been reluctant to fund our councils due to
our operating deficits and lack of a current scout executive at
SGVC. Some major donors may be more generous once we
demonstrate how we are using this merger to bring efficiencies
and clarity to our long-term viability. We’ve already received
some commitments of incremental support contingent on the merger
Q. Is one council taking over the other?
A. No, this is a “merger of equals” for the benefit of the
scouts and volunteers in both councils. Both councils are
roughly equal in terms of such things as annual budget, number
of scouts served, financial resources, etc. The Board of
Directors and professional staff of both Councils will be
combined and together will lead the new Council. Each Council
brings unique strengths and best practices, and our intent is to
leverage “best practices” and improve Scouting in our community.
Once the merger is approved a new council name will be sought
after and adopted. Our intent is to have youth heavily involved
in naming of the new council.
Q. Are there precedents for such a merger, and how have those
A. In this challenging environment, many scout councils have
pursued mergers as part of the solution. In recent decades,
the number of councils has consolidated from 450 to 280 today.
No doubt this consolidation will continue, because it has helped
many Councils cope with the external environment, and the
results have generally been positive. Examples include:
Consolidation of five borough councils in New York City into
Philadelphia/Valley Forge consolidation
Combination of five councils in Chicago announced this year
Consolidation of 11 councils in Michigan
Consolidation of two councils in Kansas City
Q. How will programs be affected?
A. By combining efforts, we will enhance existing programs and
be able to provide even more quality opportunities for our
Scouts. Camp programs will be conducted in 2015 as they were in
2014. Eagle and adult recognition banquets that have already
been scheduled by the two current councils will still be held as
Q. What will happen to units and districts?
A: Nothing will change for units, districts or their committees.
District boundaries and unit numbers will remain the same.
Committees will stay intact. We will work to increase the
involvement of local volunteers as we proceed through this
Q: Will I have to travel farther to service centers or events?
A: Scouting will always be local. We will maintain our community
focus by continuing to operate each of the two service centers.
The new Council will provide a greater number and range of
events that will be hosted throughout its service area. This may
result in longer travel times depending on which exciting events
you chose to attend. District and unit event locations will not
Q. What's going to happen to our camps?
A: Every camp that operated in 2014 will operate in 2015. There
are no plans to close any of the camps. Scouts in both Councils
will now have a broader range of camps from which to choose –
and will be able to take advantage of lower “in-council” rates
at more camps.
Q: What will happen to Order of the Arrow lodges?
A: Order of the Arrow lodges will remain unchanged for the
immediate future, but will be eventually combined into one lodge
serving the combined council in line with national policy that
stipulates one lodge per chartered council.
Q. Where will my "Friends of Scouting" (FOS) donations go?
A: Just as they do today, "Friends of Scouting" donations will
continue to help fund local Scouting activities. These donations
go toward a variety of expenses, such as volunteer training,
program supplies, and camp and service center operations.
Q. Will the service centers stay open?
A: Yes, there are no plans to close any service center.
Q. Will the current Scout shops remain open?
A. Scout Shops, run by National, will continue to operate as
they do today in the locations that they presently operate.
Q: What location will serve as headquarters?
A: Cushman Watt Scout Center at 2333 Scout Way, Los Angeles will
serve as overall headquarters, but Smiser Scout Center at 3450
East Sierra Madre Boulevard, Pasadena will continue to support
local operations such as training, scout shop retail presence,
tour permits, etc. Operations that support the local unit will
continue to be functional at both centers. The two centers are
16 miles and 21 minutes apart.
Q. What will the new Council be called?
A. That has not been decided, other than the new Council will
adopt a name different from either of the present councils. For
discussion purposes, we are referring to it as the “Greater Los
Angeles Area Council (GLAAC).” Our goal is to have youth of the
new council heavily involved in choosing a new name.
Q. When will the merger become effective?
A. Most likely sometime in the spring of 2015, and the
integration will occur over the rest of 2015
Q: Will training events change after a merger?
A: Training in the districts and Council will NOT change in
2015. Legacy council trainers will run the events as we
transition to a new training committee, which will include all
Q: Will we have Wood Badge training in 2015?
A: Yes, Wood Badge is scheduled in both legacy councils for
2015. Consult your legacy council website for more information.
Q: Will we have National Youth Leadership Training in 2015?
A: Yes, National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) will be
offered at [fill in] in 2015. Any
adult or youth interested in serving on staff should consult
legacy council websites for more information.
Q. Should we expect any problems during the transition?
A: There are always growing pains in a changing environment like
this, but the significant amount of planning we are doing should
minimize issues. Our goal remains to ensure you continue to
have the service you need at your local scout center.
Q. Where are the camps located in the other council?
A. Our combined council will operate seven camps in 2015, shown
in the map below. There are a wider variety of experiences
offered in this combined portfolio than either of the current
Councils have offered previously, and that translates into
better choices and better experiences for our scouts – all at
lower cost to our scouts due to “in-council” price discounts.
Q. What kind of synergies are envisioned in Camp operations?
A. The primary benefit will be more choice, with lower pricing
for more camps at “in-council” rates.
But all camps can
work in concert to be better together. For example,
Forest Lawn and Holcomb Valley complement each other with
Trask and Firestone can offer a great weekend destinations for
Cubs and Scout activities “in town.”
Cabrillo Beach and Camp Cherry Valley can work together as
summer partners being pre/post Camp Cherry Valley overnight
camping spots and partner with marine programs.
Cabin in the Sierra’s remains a unique high adventure option,
and at 10,000 feet is the highest BSA camp in the country with
hiking opportunities in adjacent Yosemite National Park
Q. What sorts of changes are envisioned in
An external marketing plan is being developed to demonstrate the
relevance of Scouting in our communities. This effort will
benefit Membership and Finance through recruitment and
An internal marketing plan is being developed to provide
better communications to units and districts. One goal of this
effort is to increase retention of Scouts and Scouters.
This website has been created to communicate information
about the New Council to Scouts and Scouters during this
transition. Eventually, we will fold information from the legacy
councils' websites into a single website
A single Facebook page will also be generated for the New
Special events, camporees, STEM activities, and other
Scouting events will be disseminated in press releases on a
Newsletters for the legacy councils will continue during
the transition period, but eventually a new, electronic
newsletter serving the new Council will be generated. Districts
should consider what delivery methods they want to use for their
local news and communications.
Q. Will my
role as volunteer be changed, in terms of what is expected of me
and what resources I get from the Council?
A. No. Scouting
lives and breathes on the active involvement of our volunteers,
and nothing should change in that regard. We are a local
movement, and volunteers will continue to do what they do today
to help bring positive experiences and build character in the
youth that we all serve.
Q. How will I as a
scoutmaster/cubmaster/den mother benefit from this merger?
A. Nothing will
really change for you, other than you should see more support
for your local activities and your scouts will be able to take
advantage of “in-council” pricing discounts at more camps.
Q. How will I as a
scout benefit from this merger?
A. Nothing will
really change for you, other than you will be able to take
advantage of “in-council” pricing discounts at more camps. And
we should be able to raise more funds to expand Scouting to more
Q. How will we as
a chartered organization benefit from this merger?
A. Nothing will
really change for you, other than being part of a stronger
Council and seeing more local resources available to you.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: A nominating committee is in the process of recruiting
volunteers for positions within the New Council to work a smooth
transition and successful integration of the two Councils.
Please let your interests be known by clicking the "Stay
Informed" tab at the top of the page and completing the "Area of