An organization that was revered by parents for over a century, Boy Scouts of America fell from grace when adults started stepping forward with claims of sexual abuse that occurred when they were minors—with some cases dating back to the 1940’s. To date, nearly 82,000 former Scouts have filed an abuse claim against BSA, forcing the 100-year-old organization into bankruptcy court.
Currently going through Chapter 11 in the state of Delaware, BSA is trying to reach a tentative agreement with the Plaintiffs; and to pay restitution to those who filed a grievance, it has ordered its local Councils to put its properties up for sale. The Greater Hudson Valley Boy Scouts of America has listed three of its mid-Hudson camps, including Camp Bullowa in Stony Point, as available for purchase. Stony Point Supervisor Jim Monaghan contacted GHVBSA and spoke with Richard Stockton, its CEO, to find out if and how the town could purchase the property.
“If there is an opportunity to buy it, I certainly think it would be a tremendous asset for the town and for its future,” said Monaghan. “It is a wonderful recreational area that could still be used by local groups for camping and for scouting.” Because Boy Scouts is a non-profit and in bankruptcy, any sale must be approved by the judge, as well as by the New York State Attorney General’s office.
The land for the camp was originally purchased by the Bullowa family back in the 1900’s specifically for scouting. The family set up a trust fund that has grown through the years and has helped Camp Bullowa to pay for its upkeep and maintenance. In addition to the Boy Scouts, it is used by 47 different camp groups in Rockland. It has several cabins, a dining room that can seat 100 people and its own lake—Lake Welch—which provides welcome relief from the summer heat, with swimming and boating for campers. In addition, it has a separate building that was to be used as a Council Center is also on the property. It is zoned recreation/residential, allowing for one-family detached homes with or without public water and sewer.
All three camps are being marketed by Cushman & Wakefield, GHVBSA’s exclusive agent. No prices for the properties have been set as yet, since the Boy Scouts of America’s Chapter 11 proceedings have not yet been finalized. “If it’s possible for Stony Point to purchase this property, we would look for a conservation group to help with that effort,” said Monaghan. “I’m going to continue to explore all options. We had a similar situation with Camp Addison Boyce here in the town, where a conservation group purchased a large portion. In that case, the Girl Scouts were able to keep a piece of that property. I am hoping that can happen in with Camp Bullowa as well.”
In its revised bankruptcy plan filed earlier this year, Boy Scouts of America has proposed the issuance of an unsecured promissory note for $80 million for a victims’ trust fund and to use its restricted assets to cover post-bankruptcy expenses. The changes to its original Chapter 11 filing increase the contribution the BSA would make to the trust fund from $120 million under its previous plan that will more than double that sum, to $250 million.