Boy Scouts And United Way Respond To Funding Cuts

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SUNBURY -- The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way is withholding thousands of dollars from the Boy Scouts of America in response to the organization's decision not to allow gay scout leaders.

The United Way announced Tuesday that it would not give the Susquehanna Council of Boy Scouts of America more than $11,000.

The Susquehanna Council of Boy Scouts of America serves close to 3,000 scouts in Snyder, Union, Northumberland, Clinton and Lycoming counties.

The funding cuts by the United Way are in direct response to last month's banning of openly gay scout leaders.

Both sides responded to the issue on Wednesday.

Based in Sunbury, the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way defends its decision to withhold funding for the Boy Scouts of America.  The organization recently decided to allow openly gay scouts.

But the United Way feels that didn't go far enough. The Boy Scouts still ban openly adult leaders.

"When we think about the kids who have been called names and picked on, and the adults that have been alienated by policies, it's just not something the United Way wants to associate with or support," said Keri Albright, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way.

Earlier this week, the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way announced it would not release more than $11,000 in funding to the Susquehanna Council of Boy Scouts of America, which is located near Williamsport.

According to the United Way, the funding was supposed to be used for the Prepared for Life program which would benefit youth and adult members.

"Despite the fact that we are very supportive, or try to be, of our Boy Scouts organization, they stopped communicating with us.  And so we couldn't get the responses that we were looking for and the support for funding them, frankly," Albright said.

In response to the United Way's decision, the Susquehanna Council of Boy Scouts of America released a statement:

"The Susquehanna Council, Boys Scouts of America, is disappointed with the recent action taken by the United Way. However, with the continued support of community organizations and the residents of the Susquehanna Valley, we will be able to continue to deliver the character, development, citizenship, and fitness programs of scouting to prepare young men and women for life, so they can develop into future leaders."

The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way's president says the group is getting a lot of backlash because of the decision  but the United Way believes it is standing up for what is right and standing up for its mission.

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