Local Boy Scout organization to borrow $4.5 million to pay share of national victims fund
The Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America announced March 17 it will consolidate its camping areas in the Poconos and sell Camp Trexler Reservation on Jonas Road in Polk Township to raise money for its contribution to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
A letter from Richard Christ, Scout executive and CEO, was posted on the organization’s Facebook page March 17.
Christ said the money is needed to resolve Scouting related sexual abuse claims. There are over 82,000 sexual abuse claims against BSA National.
Under the Chapter 11 agreement, $2.7 billion must be contributed to a victim abuse fund. The local council’s contribution is $2.6 million, according to the letter.
The council will also be selling its service center on Postal Road in Allentown. The center houses staff offices and the Scout store. These operations will be relocated.
In 2024, all camping operations will be moved to Camp Minsi on Stillwater Lake in Pocono Summit. Camp Minsi has 400 acres and a lake. Christ said the camp will accommodate BSA youth and overnight camping for Cub Scouts.
Camp Trexler is located on 900-plus acres donated to the council in 1928 by war hero Harry C. Trexler. The reservation has two lakes and a pool.
“Consolidating Minsi Trails Council’s camp properties has been the most difficult decision our leadership has ever taken,” Christ said.
The council said this consolidation is possible because of a decline in camping and Scouts.
Christ said local membership was at 10,000 nearly 10 years ago. Today, there are barely 4,000 Scouts in the Minsi Trails Council.
The council will refinance operations with a $4.5 million loan to pay the $2.6 million to the victims fund, as well as other debts and expenses as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“While Trexler Scout Reservation holds great memories and represents the best of experiences for many of us, we must look ahead and do what is best for Minsi Trails Council and its future Scouters,” Christ said in the letter.
The council serves Scouts in the Carbon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey.