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Frequently Asked Questions


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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 people.


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 reductions)?

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 taking place.


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 worked out?

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:

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Consolidation of five borough councils in New York City into one council
  • 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 planned.


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 merger.


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 be affected.


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 current trainers.


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.


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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 programs,

·         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.

·         Log 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 marketing/communications?

A. 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 fundraising.

        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 Council.

        Special events, camporees, STEM activities, and other Scouting events will be disseminated in press releases on a frequent basis.

        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 youth.


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 Interest" question.



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