Hooters Sponsorship Of Boy Scout Camp Leads To Difficult Conversation

By Kelly Werthmann

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A Denver mother wants to set the record straight after her son attended a recent Boy Scout camp that she did not know was sponsored by Hooters.

“We just felt it was a little strange that they didn’t tell us,” Michelle Kettleborough, mother of a Denver Cub Scout, told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “We haven’t been ‘outraged.'”

CBS4's Kelly Werthmann interviews Michelle Kettleborough. (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann interviews Michelle Kettleborough. (credit: CBS)

When Kettleborough picked up her 7-year-old son from a Cub Scout day camp in Wheat Ridge, Hooters girls were the last thing she expected to see.

“It’s created kind of a difficult conversation where there probably didn’t even need to be one,” she said.

The local Denver area Boy Scouts allowed Hooters to sponsor the three-day camp without notifying parents of the corporate donation, according to Kettleborough. Despite reports the mother of two and other parents are ‘outraged’ by the sponsorship, she said that’s not the case. Instead, Kettleborough is disappointed by the lack of transparency by the local Boy Scouts chapter.

“We’re not screaming and crying and actually we’ve said several times Hooters isn’t the problem,” Kettleborough said. “The girls aren’t the problem. They were fantastic. They were so respectful, so nice.”

When Kettleborough first asked the Denver Boy Scouts about the sponsorship, she said they apologized for the way the Hooters employees were dressed at the camp.

“It wasn’t their clothes,” Kettleborough said of her concerns, “it’s that intrinsically Hooters and Boy Scouts don’t feel like a natural fit.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Hooters of Colorado is sharing pictures of the camp on their Facebook page. Part of their post includes a statement about how they “enjoyed volunteering” and “look forward to future events.” The post is gaining a lot of support from the public, too, with comments of gratitude for girls’ community service.

“Great job ladies!!! Thank you HOOTERS and ALL BUSINESSES that donate their resources, time and personnel in support of Scouting,” one person wrote.

Kettleborough said she respects Hooters for their support of various organizations in the community, but right now she is also feeling disrespected by the Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America because she said they are ignoring her concerns.

“I think they knew that it wasn’t quite right,” she said. “We went to them first and they didn’t address our concerns. They turned it into a thing that we had a problem with the girls. That’s not the case.”

CBS4 reached out to the Denver Area Council and received the following statement from their Public Relations office:

A restaurant extended support to help make a local Cub Scout Day Camp possible and provided volunteers for the camp. The group of trained volunteers mistakenly wore the wrong attire and it was addressed by our Council leadership. The Boy Scouts of America relies on millions of dedicated volunteers and we are very appreciative of their commitment. We extend our apologies for this mistake and look forward to continuing our mission of serving youth in the Denver area.

Hooters representatives shared a news release with CBS4 about the situation, which included the following statements:

The Boy Scouts of America are just one of the many children’s charities Hooters works with and contributes to through donations of food, sponsorship and volunteers. Whether participating in a Children’s Hospital visit, hosting a charity golf tournament, raising funds to help with Cancer research, or pet adoption events, every week you will find many Hooters locations all over the country actively involved in their local communities charitable events. Hooters would like to thank the community for their support. Hooters and its wonderful employees remain steadfast in their commitment to help each community.

Lauren Flippin, a Hooters Regional Marketing Manager for Rocky Mountain Marketing, who was on site all three days of the recent Boy Scout camp, expressed enthusiasm over her time with the boys creating arts and crafts. She also commented that a Boy Scout organizer thanked she and the Hooters Girls for their time and effort and said “The Hooters Girls were some of the hardest working volunteers they ever had.”

“Being an active participant in our local community is very important to us. For the past 10 years, I personally donate my time as a little league baseball coach and also serve as an official sponsor and supporter of youth baseball, football and soccer. We love giving back and donating our personal time and resources to benefit the lives of so many children,” said Brian Weston, President of Restaurants of America.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now reports for CBS4 News at 10 and is always open to story ideas. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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