Effective November 1, Chehaw and Alapaha Area Boy Scout Councils will merge to a single council of 29 counties.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Matt Hart is Scout Executive and CEO of the 12-county Alapaha Area Boy Scout Council, based in Valdosta. In less than a month his responsibilities will more than double to 29 counties, as Alapaha and the Albany-based Chehaw Council merge to form a single unit.
Following a series of informative "fireside chats" held in various locations within both councils, voting members approved the merger 49-1 this week. While cautiously confident of it's passing, Hart was pleasantly surprised how quickly the process went.
"The Chehaw group was in and out in 18 minutes," Hart said, "with Alapaha about the same. These people have made a statement they want scouting to thrive through the next century. Now the work begins."
According to Hart, the two councils will officially merge November 1 and will temporarily be known as the South Georgia Council. Volunteers and scouts will have the opportunity to submit ideas for a new name, as well as design concepts for the new uniform shoulder patch.
Hart said the Executive Committee of the Alapaha Area Council had recognized the need for addressing available resources, and decreases in traditional funding. Ultimately, Alapaha approached the Chehaw Council Study Committee with a proposal to consolidate the two counsels. Chehaw had recognized its own financial issues and was operating under a provisional charter by the Boy Scouts of America. With the merger, Hart said he foresees more opportunities for program options and expanded training opportunities for adult leaders.
"Business and individual donors can now be assured that their charitable dollars will be maximized in program and training enhancements and not spent on unnecessary overhead in duplication of services," Hart said. "A contribution to this new council will have a greater impact on Scouting for youth than every before."
The new South Georgia Council will serve approximately 5,000 youth annually in 120 units across the 29-county territory, Hart said.