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  • Friends of Scouting Campaign

    Hello. I am new to this forum, but not new to scouting.

    My son is a new Webelos scout. I just finished reading the required parent information in his Webelos book which describes the FOS campaign and how it will "help ensure good scouting for your Webelos scout."

    I have contributed to the FOS campaign for the last two years. We are "strongly encouraged" to donate by our pack as our council gives them free award badges for the cubs if we get a certain percentage. However, I wonder if it might be better just to give money to our pack. Does anyone know how much of the FOS campaign drive money directly helps scouts? Frankly, it feel like a shakedown each year.

  • #2
    Welcome to the Forum Bob.
    I have only been here a few weeks but the FOS debate came up in a couple of threads, just read around a bit.
    A fixed percentage? Unknown.
    "Friends of Scouters" was suggested as most seems to end up with National for paying the professional bureaucrats.
    Now shakedown does sound a bit harsh, but I hear ya ...


    • #3
      Now all councils are different....

      But you are refering to what is called Fund our Salaries. This is when the Paid council folks snooker our families out of their hard earned money.

      I too donated a few years, Thinking the money was going to be used to maintain our camps, or buy uniforms, books and programs for those less fortunate. Well not so much.

      Council books are closed so you will never truly know where all the money goes. You will never know how much they take in or spend.....

      I have a beef because of the closed books and.............. So explain to me a trap shooting event they bragged raised $!5,000 on a district level......So explain to me why the camporee is $15 a head just to participate So where did all that money that was raised in the name of the boys go????? The folks manning the stations donate the supplies, no patches.......Parents and leaders are asking why $15 and then they have the audacity to complain at roundtable to complain that none of the troops participated.

      I am frustrated by FOS.....I have no problem donating my money, but for a SE who is making $200k a year.......

      We told the District NO one year and they came to our Blue and Gold uninvited and struck before the Pack leadership could respond......We were serving food and he came in walked right up on stage and started the presentation.

      Look at those free rank advancement patches.....Not belt loops, event patches nothing else......So Free rank is like $2 per boy.......Our council includes going to a council owned camp..... Your better off just buying them.
      Last edited by Basementdweller; 09-17-2013, 07:55 PM.


      • NeverAnEagle
        NeverAnEagle commented
        Editing a comment
        "We told the District NO one year and they came to our Blue and Gold uninvited and struck before the Pack leadership could respond......We were serving food and he came in walked right up on stage and started the presentation."

        They seek into ECOH's and do it here too; just plain tacky IMO.

      • FrankScout
        FrankScout commented
        Editing a comment
        Tacky enough that if anyone ever attempted that at one of our ECOHs, I'd bodily throw them out. We have a program. If you're not in it, you sit quietly in the audience and honor and respect the Eagle recipient. Period.
        Last edited by FrankScout; 09-19-2013, 08:42 AM.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        Sad to see a Scouter could be so rude. That would never fly in my district or unit. Fortunately, the custom here is for the FOS rep to request an audience and the Unit schedules a time for them to speak. They honor it and thank us for our time.

    • #4
      A telling story:
      My Scoutmaster when I was a lad was in the military. After retirement he joined the professional scouting ranks and became the DE of our district. He was in that position for 10-15 years and retired again. Several years later he approached our troop committee about donating money. It seems he got ticked off at how our council was spending money and wanted to donate whatever amount he had been giving to FOS to the troop. It was enough to fund more than a few camperships. As he stated, "At least I know the money is directly benefiting Scouts." He continued that practice until he died a couple of years ago.


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        yep like the story.....

        Just the way it should be.

    • #5
      Percentage that comes back to the units: 0%

      All the money that is generated from FOS stays in the council office. In our council if you meet your FOS goal you get 15% of the use of camp during one off-season weekend. WHOOP-DE-DOO! Using camp is still 10 times more expensive than taking kids out into the National Forest for regular camping.


      • #6
        My experience is opposite:
        Some of our boys applied for and got camperships this year. Might have helped avoid a family with sky-high health bills having to choose which son went.
        Our state park fees are more expensive and often charge per user. So, a patrol might find the state park cheaper than council camp, but four patrols? Doubt it.
        Between crew and troop, we will have used council facilities at least 6 times this year.

        So, yeah, FoS does take the edge off for us. If a variety of council facilities were not available on a competitive basis, our boys would have to fund raise harder.

        You folks who only have one humble camp property in your council, I can definitely understand where you don't see much return on investment.


        • #7
          Instead of contributing to FOS, I simply give directly to my boys. That way I know EXACTLY where the money is going, I write the check. I'm starting a new troop and I have a few parents who are interested in helping out. It's a poor neighborhood, so the training thingy is a problem for them. I figure it is in the boys best interest to have properly trained adult leadership so I put my money where my mouth is. I pay for it. If anyone wishes to "reimburse" me, that's fine, but not expected. Those that do reimburse me, I thank them and let them know that the money will be recycled back into the next leader that needs training. Boys need help to get to camp? No problem, I've written a few "camperships" over the years. Even the boys, knowing this have reimbursed me after camp, but again, once I donate the money, as far as I'm concerned it's spent, but if it gets recycled a bit, that's good too.

          So, what about support for our local camp? The boys from my former troop annually voted unanimously to attend out of council camps.

          Does this practice hinder the work of our council? Maybe, but then it's up to them to shake the bushes a bit harder, and there's a lot more money out there other than the parents' pockets.



          • #8
            I always thought there was a rule against donating directly to the unit. The boys had to do "something" to earn it. Unit money can come from dues, fund raising or the charter organization but not outright donations. Donations must go up to the council. I know that we would turn down donations at my previous unit or arrange a service project for them prior to accepting the donation.


            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah, right, like my Council cares whose check pays for it? Maybe I can't take a tax write-off on it, but I donate to the boys not because of what I get out of it, but because of what the boys get out of it. I donate time, talent and resources. Why would resources be any different than time and talent?


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment

              So popcorn season is upon us........So an older couple wants to support your unit but cannot afford your $20 cans of popcorn, so are you going to turn down their support of a hand full of change.

              So you have folks wanting to donate.......I am not too picky, send them my way......

            • Jeffrey H
              Jeffrey H commented
              Editing a comment
              Yep. You can give directly to a Troop but it may not be tax-deductible if that is what you are looking for. Discuss that with a professional tax preparer or CPA.

          • #9
            You can't solicit (ask for) donations, but you sure can accept them.


            • #10
              Shouldn't raising money from OUTSIDE of the organization be the indispensable skill required of a scouting exec?


              • Kristian
                Kristian commented
                Editing a comment
                I would prefer they have skills beyond soliciting funds from either the scouts or outside orgs.

            • #11
              When I was a scout, we didn't have any real fundraisers except for the troop. That paid for gear, etc. for the troop. There were no individual accounts. People who give to troops only to have it used personally by the scouts run some rather thin lines in the process.

              Therefore I tell the boys to do what I did as a scout, go out and make your own money to pay for your scouting career. We had to have full uniforms and we had to pay for them ourselves. I came from a low income family so if I wanted to be in scouts I had to shovel walks, rake leaves, spade over gardens, run errands, etc. Child labor laws? It wasn't until I was old enough to have a paper-route, that the law came into play. There's nothing out there that says a boy can't make his own money and forego the popcorn sales, candy bar sales, pancake breakfast, chili suppers and waiting around for someone to contribute to the troop so they can get a chunk of it for themselves.

              Part of scouting is learning how to take care of yourself, and that means financially as well. Sitting around playing video games waiting for the next handout doesn't cut it much in my world.

              Someone contributes to the troop? Good, we can get a new tent or stove for the boys. OR... a new stove costs $40 and there are twenty boys in the troop... Do the math, that means each boy gets $2 towards summer camp.... Now that's a "thrifty" proposition if I ever saw one.

              Last edited by jblake47; 09-23-2013, 08:36 AM.


              • #12
                Originally posted by Callooh! Callay! View Post
                Shouldn't raising money from OUTSIDE of the organization be the indispensable skill required of a scouting exec?
                I have always felt that way about FOS. There's nothing like seeing the faces of the parents during an FOS presentation after they have just shelled out $300 apiece for summer camp. Many have asked "Does any of this money go directly to our troop?" The FOS presenter will dance around the question, with stories of new canoes and rifles for summer camp. If they ask me after the meeting, I just say "nope." More parents will throw ME a $20 bill and say "spend this where it's most needed". I had a friend, a recently returning Iraq War Veteran, ask me how much one of our winter camping trips cost us. Having no idea he'd do this, I told him, and he wrote a check to the troop and said "The next one's on me."

                I realize that Councils have expenses, sure, but getting a letter in the mail telling me what my troop's FOS "quota" or "expectation" is really bugs me. The letter promptly goes in the circular file. Do this kind of fundraising OUTSIDE the organization. These days, local units really have to "get their own house in order" first! I don't know about other troops, but the parents of our troop are more willing to write that check to the troop rather than the council.

                Why not make FOS pitches to organizations that may know little or nothing about Scouting? Not only would they get donations, but might end up chartering a new unit or two along the way, no?
                Last edited by FrankScout; 09-25-2013, 12:17 PM.


                • #13
                  But Ya don't get those Fancy FOS Patches if ya give money Directly


                  • FrankScout
                    FrankScout commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Ohhh yes, the PATCH! Whoop-dee-doo.

                • #14
                  I just received a survey for the BSA regarding district/council and their responsiveness, leadership, etc... in providing the scouting experience. I commented the focus on raising money (at National, council and district levels) instead of focusing on the scouting program was a big problem.