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posted: 8/16/2014 7:47 AM

St. Charles-based Boy Scouts council searching for new CEO

St. Charles-based group worries about 24% drop in members

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A St. Charles-based Boy Scouts council is seeking several new leaders, including a top executive, who can steer the organization into brighter days after a precipitous drop in local membership.

The executive board of the Three Fires Council named Area 7 Director Matt Thornton interim scout executive after the July 23 resignation of Matt Ackerman.

The executive board, headed by Chairman Val Bitton, initiated a national search through the Boy Scouts of American national headquarters in Texas. That national organization is also considering a restructuring of four local scout councils, but not the Three Fires Council.

Three Fires had been in separate merger discussions with the Des Plaines Valley Council, but Bitton said Friday he believes such a merger is no longer on the table.

"Right now we have our focus on the quality of our program," he said. "Our job is to focus on our core mission, which is to support our local Scout units."

Staying relevant may be the key.

The 2012 annual report shows a total youth membership of 30,145. Just one year later, the report indicated an exodus of 7,340 youths.

That 24 percent drop is far more than the 6 percent decline in membership seen at the national level during that same time frame.

Tax forms show Ackerman had a total compensation package of $263,000, including a $187,100 base salary.

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