scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Re: is there a fund for Scouts whose parents pass away?
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Sat Feb 20 1993 - 11:23:27 CST
I get this kind of question sent to me personally about four or five times a
quarter. It's a true heartbreaker, but at the same time, emphasizes for me
and others the need for life and health insurance as well as for those
religious and community principles that are important to that family....and
a yearly checkup of those important documents essential to explain to the
world the final wishes and desires of the person or family departed.
No, the BSA does not have such a fund, nor do any of the BSA's local
Councils. If the Council is made aware of the loss of a family in which a
BSA member is a part of, they will "pass the hat" and send a collection of
flowers and a nice condolence card, but that is about the limit that the BSA
through the local Council can provide.
When I am asked "Why is this so? Surely the BSA has a grand or two to give
to this child's trust fund....after all, he's lost his family!", I have to
remind those folks of some unpleasant but important facts.
The first is that every year, several hundred youth lose their families to
tragic events like fires, automobile accidents, airline disasters, and yes,
to youth violence. Multiply even $500 by those several hundred and you will
see that this equates easily to the entire outdoor budget for a single year
for some smaller Councils. The BSA can use that money in a better manner by
making it available as much as possible to support national and regional
programming, and to support local Council programming.
The second is that this would set a dangerous prececent if a local Council
did set aside such a fund...something to what insurance companies go through
ever year with the "value of a human life". If a Scout loses just his
mother and father, does the amount his trust fund would receive from the
BSA/local Council would be less than if he lost all members of his family?
And if this Scout loses his entire family to death due to an explosion
aboard a plane, is that "worse" than if they all perished in a house fire?
For those reasons, and some other reasons I may not be totally familiar
with, the BSA does not have a fund set up for to support Scouts whose
families or adult members of their families have perished.
What local Councils DO have established, and something in which I truly hope
you relay to that family, is a fund set up to support Council programs in
which people wanting to give to the family can instead give to the Council
in the name of the Scout or the Scout's family. Such trusts enable Councils
to provide programming in the area of the youth's family, or among racial or
ethnic groups of that family, or to support Boy Scouting summer camp, or the
Venture Adventure Base, or the Cub Scout Day Camp program in that Council in
the name of the family or Scout.
Some local television and/or radio stations may also be willing to set up a
special trust through a local bank to allow those willing to help support
this young man. I know that here in Minnesota, WCCO and one other station
does assist some families with setting up trusts for youth members whose
families die tragically, but of course, there is some "give and take" in
this. Newspapers may also provide a trust or give to such an established trust.
Note in all of this, Darrell, I've mentioned "trusts" instead of giving
outright money to a young person. A trust will allow for the continued
support of the family over a period of time, as opposed to outright grants
or donations. Although outright grants is perhaps what this family needs
now to pay for funeral and burial costs, as well as to close out home and
I realize that the preceding paragraphs must sound alfully cold and
uncaring. Be assured that to me, the loss of any person for any reason is
neither cold nor uncaring in my book...it does affect me as a person. And
when an entire family leaves behind one or two children to survive them, it
does bother me greatly. We have had a situation here in Greater Minnesota
whereby a traffic accident on one of the highways Jessi and I travel daily
resulted in the death of an entire family except for a child. For the rest
of that child's life, they will never have the same kind of life that my
children nor my friend's children have now...
However, as a Scouter, I would want the monies which are donated and raised
though the efforts of many professionals and countless volunteers, to go
toward the development, maintenance and program of Scouting where I live. I
can understand and would support my Council providing a nice card and a
flower arrangement as well as representation in the person of our Scout
Executive and President at the funeral. I can understand and would support
my Council providing a facility in the name of the family of the Scout if
the family were activily involved in the programs of Scouting through this
or other local Councils.
I could not understand and would not support, however, the local Council or
the BSA itself providing trust monies.
I am truly sorry for the loss of the family, and will personally pray for
the Scout involved in hopes he will grow and become able to cope with the
situation as best as possible.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
[Purchase Your Binder! for Scouting's Y2K's publications!]
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
professional inquiries via email@example.com
-----FORWARD in service to youth and the nation-----