SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America in Utah announced Tuesday it is merging three councils into one as the organization adapts to a future without thousands of members that were sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Utah-based faith removed 400,000 young people from Scouts nationally on Jan. 1, moving the young boys into the church’s own new youth program. The church was one of Boy Scouts of America’s greatest allies and the largest sponsor of troops for decades.
The Utah councils announced the consolidation in a news release that said the new umbrella council will be known as “The Crossroads of the West Council” and based in Ogden, north of Salt Lake City. The decision came after months of meetings about how best to continue.
“It was the right move for the future of Utah scouting,” said Brent Uberty, a spokesman for the new consolidated council.
Uberty said there are about 7,000 Boy Scouts in Utah.
The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection in February amid a barrage of sex-abuse lawsuits as the organization aims to create a large victim compensation plan.
The Crossroads of the West Council said in a document of “frequently asked questions” that the bankruptcy filing didn’t play a factor in the merger and that scouting experience won’t change.
The Boy Scouts has more than 250 councils around the country that the organization says are legally separate entities and were not part of the bankruptcy filing. But, attorneys for the sex abuse victims have plans to go after the local councils’ property holdings that include campgrounds and other assets in the legal fight.