More than 70 percent of Scout groups nationwide are affiliated with churches.
In the region, 20 churches have ended their association with the Boy Scouts because of the new policy on gays. However, replacements for all but Red House Baptist have been found, and the council is in conversations with potential replacements for it, Armishaw said.
That is an example of how Scouting supporters have come forward to help it face its current difficulties, he said.
“It has been a blessing to see the number of partners who have come forward” to help the Scouts with funding and facilities,” Koett said. “We are grateful to the United Way for its support over the past half century,” but the organization will continue through other means of support.
Whitney Dunlap, a Richmond attorney and longtime leader in the local Scouting community, said he was saddened by the United Way’s decision, calling it misguided.
However, “Scouting it too valuable to the lives of youth it serves for it to be destroyed” by losing 5 percent of its funding, he said.
Dunlap said he was involved in Scouting as a boy for 10 years and then 18 years as an adult leader. During that time, Dunlap, an Eagle Scout, had mentored 19 Scouts, helping them achieve the organization’s highest rank.
To become an Eagle, a Scout has to successfully lead a community service project, Dunlap noted. No other organization offers that kind of opportunity for a 15-year-old boy to develop values and leadership skills, he said.
Eagle Scouts qualify for initial higher pay if they join the U.S. military and enjoy advantages when applying to college or for employment, Dunlap said.
Bill Robinson can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6690.