Boy Scout leaders look to merge Iroquois Trail Council, Greater Niagara Frontier

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 November 2022 at 3:42 pm

2 councils anticipate consolidation in first half of 2023

File photo by Tom Rivers: These Boy Scouts put flags on veterans’ graves at Mount Albion Cemetery on May 8, 2021. From left include twin brothers Stryker and Colson Braley, and Jax Gotte. Local Scouts just before Memorial Day typically put about 2,000 flags on veterans’ graves at Mount Albion and St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery.

The Boy Scout councils – Iroquois Trail and Greater Niagara Frontier – are discussing merging the two to have one council serving the four rural GLOW counties, plus Niagara and Erie counties.

Bob Confer, president of Iroquois Trail, tweeted about the merger discussions today, and shared a copy of a letter sent to Scouting families in the Iroquois Trail.

“For generations the two councils have partnered together on many activities, events and trainings,” according to the letter from Confer, Council Commissioner Paul Fleming and Scout Executive Jim McMullen. “As a result of this close connection and the desire to grow and enhance the Scouting experiences offered to the youth of WNY, the councils have formally begun merger discussions with an anticipated consolidation date in the first half of 2023.”

The Iroquois Trail has seen youth membership cut in half since Covid-19 caused troops and packs to stop meeting in person for several months beginning in March 2020.

“All reasonable indications are that it will take several years to regain those youth members,” Council leaders state in their letter. “This challenge, combined with a dramatic reduction in other funding sources, has put the Iroquois Trail Council on a course that is not sustainable over the long term.”

A merger would result in improved program opportunities for members, better support for volunteer leaders, a larger membership base to support more events and activities, and greater financial stability, the leaders said.

“While the council might survive a bit longer on its own, merging operations enhances our ability to deliver quality Scouting programs,” the leaders write in the letter. “Simply put, the recovery period is too long to remain independently successful.”

There will be question and answer sessions in December at leader roundtables in Elba, Lockport and Geneseo, as well as a Q & A at the council’s Oakfield Service Center at 9 a.m. on Dec. 3.

“Together, we are committed to providing world-class Scouting experiences for our members during this transition and beyond,” Confer, Fleming and McMullen write. “We are excited about the future of Scouting in WNY and will provide you with additional updates on the partnership as it develops.”