Greater Pittsburgh Council and Penn’s Woods Council Announce Merger
Site Scouting Program Improvements for the Youth of Both Communities
Pittsburgh, April 28, 2011 - The Greater Pittsburgh Council-Boy Scouts of America announced today it will merge with the Penn’s Woods Council to form the new Laurel Highlands Council pending the approval of B.S.A. national headquarters. The combined council will now qualify as a Tier 100 council and will be headquartered in Pittsburgh’s Flag Plaza but will maintain an office and Scout store in Ebensburg, PA. The merger will legally become effective on July 1, 2011. Michael Surbaugh, the current Scout Executive of the Greater Pittsburgh Council will become the Scout Executive of the new council.
Prior to the announcement, both Councils completed a comprehensive review of all Scouting programs and a Joint Study Committee and Council Key 3’s made a recommendation to their respective Boards to formally proceed with a Council merger. Their findings concluded that the quality of the Scouting program would improve for the youth of all communities served by the newly merged Council. On Tuesday, March 8, 2011, both boards voted to move forward with this process. In accordance with councils’ bylaws, special council meetings were called of all Chartered Organization Representatives and Council Members-at-Large on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Following discussions, a special vote was taken by all official voting delegates and was passed.
“The merger study was extremely extensive and thorough, involving many volunteers. We now have a strategic opportunity to assure strong Scouting in Western Pennsylvania for generations to come.” said Mark Breedlove, current Greater Pittsburgh Council President.
Joseph Keller, current Penn’s Woods Council President concurred. “We are excited by the new opportunity and the resulting program improvements for our youths” said Mr. Keller.
A naming contest was held by both councils and the new council name was chosen from over 215 entries. James Layton, Troop 182 in Johnstown, PA and John Keiser, Assistant Scoutmaster Troop 350, St Anne's in Castle Shannon both submitted the winning entry. Each Scouter will receive an all-expense-paid family preview tour of the new Summit Bechtel Reserve, the new National Jamboree site and high adventure base in West Virginia.
A joint nominating committee has been formed to select the new council’s full board of directors for installation at an annual business meeting in June 2011. A Council-wide Camporee will be planned for Spring 2012.
The combined council will serve over 25,000 youth and 8,800 adult volunteers in the Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and portions of Armstrong, Fayette, Huntingdon and Westmoreland counties in western PA. Our continuing mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.