Boy Scouts approve merger of Fairfield, Quinnipiac councils
By John Pirro
Boy Scout officials from two districts overwhelming approved a merger between their councils in meetings in Norwalk and Hamden last night.
Fairfield County Council Inc. and Quinnipiac Council Inc. both gave their blessing to the merger by a required two-thirds majority.
The combined council, which will be known as the Connecticut Yankee Council as of Jan. 1, will be the 30th-largest scouting group in the country, with nearly 30,000 scouts and about 5,000 volunteers.
"By merging, we will be able to better use our resources and get more kids involved in scouting,'' said Douglas L. Krofina, the Fairfield County Scout Executive.
Krofina's counterpart with the Quinnipiac Council, Robert Merserau, echoed those remarks.
"This is about making the best use of our resources to reach the maximum number of boys,'' he said.
Individual scout troops won't notice much difference in operations, but the change will be significant on the administrative level.
"It really doesn't affect the day-to-day operations of our units," Merserau said. "They will continue to meet in the same place, at the same time, with the same people and do the same activities.
"The impact will be on the council level, where a great many things are done that people would be unaware of. This merger allows us to concentrate our personnel and resources and use them more efficiently,'' he said.
The territory covered by the new council stretches along the shoreline from Stamford to Madison, and takes in almost all of Fairfield County, half of New Haven County and the town of Southington in Hartford County.
The merger had been discussed sporadically throughout the 1990s, but resumed in earnest earlier this year, progressing quickly toward last night's vote.
Little opposition was expressed at informational sessions held by the two councils since last summer, but proponents had been holding their breath because the merger needed the approval of two-thirds of those voting from each group.
Each institution that charters a scouting unit was eligible to cast a ballot - more than 200 from the Fairfield Council and about 100 from Quinnipiac.
"Our council was formed more than 25 years ago, and there are pockets of people, mostly older members, who don't like change,'' Krofina said.
But those fears proved unfounded. Seventy-six of the 101 representatives who voted in Fairfield endorsed the move. Exact numbers from Quinnipiac weren't available last night, but scout officials said it also achieved the required majority there.
The Fairfield group is the larger of the two councils, with about 21,000 scouts and 3,400 adult volunteers. But Quinnipiac boasts several overnight camping facilities, while Fairfield has none.
The merged council will have a combined office staff of 12 and 16 other professionals. The group is looking for a centrally located building to serve as the new headquarters, Krofina said.
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