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extortion or common practice

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  • extortion or common practice

    Just had a friend call me and tell me that in order to get his paperwork signed to volunteer at NOAC he had to cut the council FOS program a check for $155 ( family level suuport in our council). He thought the DE was messing with him, so he went to the council offices and talked to a field director and the CFO. Both told him that was the new policy and it would be published shortly. It would apply to all regional and national volunteer spots (NOAC, Jambo, etc). So now on top of paying to serve we have to pay extra to volunteer.

    I guess our council is so broke that this is seen as a good way to raise funds. Only 1 problem. Some of us scrapping up the bucks to volunteer at NOAC or Jambo don't have the funds to pay the extortion fees council has now set up. I had intended to have 2 kids attend Jambo and both hubby and I volunteer for a week at Jambo. We're talking nearly $4,500 of jambo/contingent fees over the next 14 months plus 2 summer camp fees this year (another $700 total for 2 kids). A lot to ask for a family to come up with. Now add $155 for each adult to get paperwork signed to VOLUNTEER, ABSURD!!

    Is this a standard thing? Am I wrong being upset about the "new fee"?

    I'm afraid hubby and I will be withdrawing our applications to serve at Jambo, and seriouly looking at our FOS contributions for this year and the years to come. I'm unemployed, no job in sight, putting an extra $300 in fees on us has taken this endeavour over the top. Too bad, I think we had a lot to offer as jambo staff and were looking forward to the event.

    Think I'll give a kid or 2-3 in the troop or pack the cash I'd have given FOS and start my own campership program. At least that way I know the money went directly to a kid in need, not keeping a stuffed shirt in a job.

  • #2
    Extortion.

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    • #3
      I'm furious just reading this. If your council is so broke they've resorted to this, it's time for them to wiz on the fire and call in the dogs.

      I'm not sure who you call about this. If you have volunteered with a particular group (not just volunteering generally and taking an assignment later) I'd contact the person in charge of your area.

      That may be a show-stopper for me.

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      • #4
        Assuming the SE is in on this, a call to National and then I would have to consider my relations with the Local office.

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        • #5
          Definitely not normal.

          My response, once I realized he was serious and thus stopped laughing at him, would be to congratulate him on having enough volunteers ....

          "I'm not sure who you call about this."

          A reporter?

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          • #6
            It's extortion. And a sign of the times.

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            • #7
              Outrageous. I hope you have the good sense to refuse. Not sure who to complain to, either, since each council is an independent corporation. I would write a very blunt letter to the Council President, stating clearly that they have seen your last FOS donation.

              Comment


              • #8
                Wouldn't write national about it b/c they probably won't get involved. I would write the council president and commissioner though. Also if you have an active COR, them too to have them express displeasure at a district and council meeting.

                As someone suggested, I'd say "Glad you have enough volunteers." and work strictly on the unit level.

                This ticks me off.I'm one of those who do not have a lot of treasure, but do give of my time and talents to have a program. Heck a lot of times when I'm doing events, I pay for things out of pocket and not worry about it 'cause I'm thinking it's insignificant.

                WEEEEELLLLL when doing the taxes, all those "insignificant stuff" add up VERY fast.(This message has been edited by Eagle92)

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                • #9
                  OK, I understand the outrage and I would 'pass' on this as well. But it really isn't 'extortion'. Really, this is a case where the vendor (BSA) thinks their product is worth a certain price and they are telling you up front what that price is. If the price is too high (and that's what I'm getting here) then simply decline (as seems to be the case) and devote your resources to another investment, such as your own unit and the boys in it.
                  This is simply a business taking a risk and if it works out badly for them, they'll change their price. Kind of like the banks did a while back with their fees.

                  We're all free to vote on this, by withdrawing our wallets. It will be interesting to see how many go ahead and pay the price. If it works out for BSA, that will separate the volunteers into those who are willing to pay the price and the others.

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                  • #10
                    Processing fees are a hidden expense that discourages volunteers. Worse, volunteers are the gateway to the units.
                    What if a unit decides to stop inviting FOS to present in retaliation for exorbitant fees on its volunteers?

                    Make the calls as suggested above, but I'd also go with facts on how many prospective FOS contributors you have access to. In leiu of $, maybe you can provide phone #'s?

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                    • #11
                      To heck with them.....

                      You guys keep telling me my experience is not the norm......I say BS

                      I keep reading these stories month after month......They may vary just a little bit but not by much......Money and numbers.


                      I say BS. The simple fix is for folks to simply stop volunteering at the district or council level......

                      Our district has been running this scam for years now.........District awards dinner was last week they wanted $5 a head to get in the place.....For what???? the hall was donated, The awards were donated, the food was donated and you brought your own place setting.

                      Our Forced FOS presentation netted the council zero dollars. No one in the Pack donated a penny. The DE called and told me I need to call every family and ask them to donate.......I told him no he could do it himself.

                      Trainerlady far as your kids and you going to the jambo....The dollar amount is significant....I know that I could not afford to go do anything high adventure in scouting with my son........Philmont, Northern Tier, Sea Base, MOAB, and Pamelico Sea Base are all out of my financial reach for the two of us to attend.

                      The BSA has lost it's way.........watch the numbers continue to shrink....other than Eagle, the BPSA is looking better and better.

                      It is hard to give money to council when you know the scout executive is making $200,000 per year.....my old SE left for a new council and on the tax form is making more than $300,000 per year.....It is BS......I don't begrudge him making a decent living, but more along the lines of $100,000 not multiples of hundreds of thousands......

                      What is the average FOS donation per unit???? $1,000??????? that means the FOS donations for 200 units goes to pay our SE's salary......Absurd. Our DE Drives a brand new Suburu and lives in a new trendy neighborhood and his house is listed on the County Auditors website as being worth $350,000....Consider this the mean home value in our county is $65,000........ He pays more in taxes per month than I did in total house payment.

                      So what does he make a month??????? I bet more than most of my families gross income for the year.

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                      • #12
                        FOS = Fund Our Salaries

                        Well said, basement.

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                        • #13
                          Basement I am with you. My sons want to go to Sea Base, Jambo etc. It is hard for my family to justify the expense when we can make our family trip dollars stretch farther elsewhere. Scouting can get pretty expensive and it doesn't have to be.

                          I get very turned off by these fees required of volunteers.

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                          • #14
                            On fees for volunteers I side with all that is being said on this thread.

                            BUT...

                            Philmont or the other HA bases may seem to be out of reach or for some may actually be out of reach for the parent and Scout to go.
                            But if you look at the costs involved, I found our Philmont trip in 2010 to be about correctly priced, given what they give you and the actual logistical work going on behind the scenes(which were amazing) and a decent value. For me the trick is the travel to and from - we did our trip in 2010 for the Expedition cost plus $160 per individual for Travel and food(2 nights 3 days) - the balance being made up by the Troop from fundraising.
                            This years trek, they are using the Train and Shuttle and it will raise to the Expedition cost and about $250 for Travel and food (1 night,2 days)the balance(the part the Troop picked up is about the same as last time) being made up by the Troop from fundraising. The Philmont cost didn't rise but, the travel costs went up 56% but that's because the Adults and boys decided to go a more expensive route. If you and/or your youth want to do Philmont - don't look at the cost and quit - consider a two or even three year fundraising plan and find a way to make that experience happen.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What a shame.

                              Most of us know and are aware that Councils do need funds.
                              We can maybe disagree about how the funds are used and spent.
                              I've done my fair share of raising money.
                              Asking the average Scout family for money is really a waste of time!
                              I put it up there with trying to teach a pig to sing.
                              While there are exceptions to every rule, I'd guess that most families with kids in Scouting:
                              Have kids (Duh!)
                              Have a mortgage.
                              Have other fairly large expenses like car payments.
                              More than lightly don't have a lot of extra cash.
                              So I'm going to pester them for a donation.

                              Some years back I asked for a report that showed who had donated to FOS over the past ten years.
                              At that time the computer in the Service Center printed reports on a long continues rolls of perforated paper. The report was several inches thick.
                              I started looking for people and businesses that had given over $5,000.
                              The list was very short. In fact the list of people who had donated over $1,000 wasn't very long.
                              I looked at the local businesses in the area where I live and noticed that while there was a lot of support (Names.) Most of the local businesses hadn't increased their donation in the ten year time span.
                              Looking at the Family donations. -It became very clear that in a good many units, the bulk of the donations were coming from the people who were members of the BSA.
                              There was a fair number of small donations, under $50.00 that people made when they had sat through a FOS presentation.
                              People who donated over $100.00 were making pledges, paying so much a month.
                              I'll bet by the time these pledges were processed and reminders sent that there really wasn't a lot left of the $100.00.

                              The main job /role of a SE is to bring home the bacon.
                              A good SE will be looking for grants, will have mastered the fine art of Grant Writing. He will be at ease asking corporations and wealthy people for real money.

                              As District Chairman I invited a fair sized group of local business people and other people who I knew had large amounts of money to come and have dinner with me at Camp while summer Camp was up and running.
                              I asked a couple who I knew had money and were keen on supporting Scouts and Scouting if they would be willing to donate $10,000 they did.
                              I asked everyone else to look at what they had given in the past and if they'd consider donating at the $5,000 level, not very many did, but businesses that had been donating at the $100.00 for the past ten years increased their donations. No one left that night without a pledge of less than $500.00 a good many went to the $1,000.
                              When we were talking about building a new dining hall at camp, I asked one very wealthy person who has a history of giving if he'd donate $250,000. He said yes. But then the plan for the dining hall went south and the donation was lost.

                              Rather than upsetting and making our hard working volunteers upset for what really isn't a lot of money. We would do far better to go where the real money is and find ways to draw these people in and gain their support.
                              I'd sooner ask someone who can afford a worth while sizable donation for money than waste my time upsetting someone for a small amount.
                              Any SE who isn't raising enough money to cover his salary?
                              Is just a big drain on a Council and should be replaced.
                              Ea.

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