ALBANY, Ga. -- Where once they were separate, the Chehaw and Alapaha Area Councils of the Boy Scouts of America may join together. At least that's what Executive Committees of both Councils believe should happen soon.
According to Joe Bishop, Chehaw Council Board member and former Eagle Scout, the proposed merger of 12 Alapaha counties with the 17 of Chehaw would provide a number of advantages to both councils and go along way toward lifting Chehaw from its operating "red ink."
"Chehaw is asset rich, but cash poor," Bishop said, "and we're currently operating under a provisional charter by the BSA. We're looking at what our future might be."
Bishop said the idea of bringing the Albany-based Chehaw group together with the Valdosta-based scouts came up in May and since that time a series of "fireside chats" have been held across both councils to explain and discuss the ramifications of merger. A Chehaw Council-wide meeting was scheduled Tuesday, with Alapaha set for Thursday to vote on the proposal. Executive Boards of both councils hope for an approval by Chartered Organization Representatives and Members at Large.
Matt Hart is current scout executive for the Alapaha Council and will continue in that capacity if the merger is approved. According to Hart, advantages of the merger plan are too great too ignore, providing more effective revenue and assets for the newly formed, 29-county council.
"I think it's going to be exceptional," Hart said. "It will get rid of a lot of duplication and bring in more volunteers, more opportunities and more ideas. Chehaw has done things we've never done before and vice versa."
According to Hart, Scout offices in Albany and Valdosta would remain open and both camps -- Osborn in Sylvester, and Patten in Lakeland, will be retained. If the proposed plan of merger approved, the newly-formed council would come into being on about November 1, Hart said.
Meantime, upcoming fundraisers for the Chehaw Council scouts include the Fright Nights Haunted House, October 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 and 31 at the old Circuit City building, 1223 Westover Blvd., and the 20th Annual Wild Game Dinner & Hunt Auction, October 16. For more information call the Chehaw Council Office at (229) 436-7226.