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Keeping it inexpensive?

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  • Keeping it inexpensive?

    I'm getting involved with a new troop forming from a group of Lone Scouts. I'm no newbie to Scouting. I've been watching this groups activities for several months while I've been out of the loop physically due to medical issues, and what I'm seeing is that the average monthly campout/activity is costing each Scout/parents about $40-80. That's per Scout! On top of that are additional miscellaneous costs that come out of a troop budget.
    It seems that they've been trained to think that every campout needs to be a mini high adventure outing, often entailing spending a great deal of time traveling.
    I'd love to hear suggestions from anyone who has dealt with something similar. How does one convince the boys and committee that great outings can be accomplished closer to home and at lower costs?

  • #2
    Because of the area I live in, there are a ton of freebie events that are available just for the price of gas to get there. Hundreds of miles of nature trails, major bike trail runs through the area, kayaking and canoeing options, camping on an undeveloped island for a bit of high adventure is 1/4 mile off a major boat landing.

    If gas it too expensive, one can always walk there for free, too.

    Dutch oven cookout/cookoff, can be held in city parks. Orienteering, rocketry, and a dozen other activities can be done in a farmer's hayfield.

    We live in a society that strongly believes unless it costs a ton of money, it isn't going to be fun. Good thing I'm old fashioned (and as my wife points out - CHEAP)

    Stosh

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    • #3
      Adventure is where the boys find it in their eyes.....Not the adults. Adults like big trips.

      I read on this forums of groups taking extended weekends and flying accrossed country for extended weekend trips. We have troops that go to Hawaii, Alaska and a lot of other places I don't think the boys would plan if they had their choice.


      Without knowing the boys involved Ages, experience, expectations and physical condition. It is hard to recommend anything.

      One of the boys favorite outings is a weekend of games campout in May. We just camp at a National forest campground for cheap and the guys play football or basketball. They work on scout skills with the new crossovers. Generally have a good time. Orienteering competitions, $5 for scouts good times.

      Our campouts average $15.....With some going $40 because activity cost.


      The PLC should be developing the annual calendar for the year and the SM should review it and maybe offer some feedback if something is out of line....the SM should not directly participate in the process.

      The next question, are you pricing members out??? If money isn't an issue then I am not sure I would worry about it.

      Comment


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        You are a rich boy aren't you.

        Fun raising my butt, So what did the Hawaii trip cost????? $1500 bucks a head??? $3,000??????

        We do not have the rich suburb to sell mulch, cookies, candy bars, or popcorn. Many of my parents haven't spent $2,000 on a vehicle. With annual house hold incomes below $20k....big fancy expensive trips are impossible for my unit

        I cannot subsidize a trip like that, Heck we cannot pay for a year of scouting.which is $450 including summer camp.

      • Bando
        Bando commented
        Editing a comment
        (Shrug) No judgment intended. Apparently the feeling isn't mutual.

        Not every troop is like mine, and not every troop is like yours. We all make do with the resources we have, right?

        And not every kid on those trips were from well-off families, either. The vast majority weren't, actually. We did a bunch of group fundraisers, a lot of guys worked hard on their own to make the scratch, and we all had fun in the end. Isn't the point of scouting to teach kids "if there's a will, there's a way?" Or are we just going to keep kids down and not let them dream big just because we resent what we think others might have?

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        My rich brothers to the North have their foot on my units throat when it comes to fundraising. There is no money in my units home area. The fundraising thread offered some fresh ideas. But nothing to raise the $50,000 to take the troop on trip to hawaii or alaska.

        We are going to vend BBQ at the local hardware store. Boy Scout BBQ, Cooking our way to Camp. it is still a couple of weeks out, but even if we sell out that will net us only $250 for the day.

    • #4
      See if they'll buy into the concepts of conservation and sustainability. Many times, we've found we can camp for free in a usually inaccessible (as in not open to the general public) part of the nearest state park or forest. In return, we provide a half-day of conservation type work at the park under the supervision of park staff -- so it's also learning and training. If we do a good job with the volunteer work project, camp staff will frequently show up later in the day to lead a nature hike or give instruction in star gazing, etc. These hidden spots frequently have better fishing, swimming holes, etc than the general heavily used campsites.

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      • #5
        We average $25. We try to do as many trip as possible on the local Water Management District lands. It is usually primitive camping. Also if you can get the boys to start backpack camping you can drive costs down. We do a lot of aquatic campouts but we have our own (or can borrow) canoes and kayaks.

        There is a vast number of areas to camp near us but you really need to ask other Troops/outdoor guys for where the good deals are.

        There is some economy of scale involved, sometimes.

        We did an Iron Chef cook out that was popular. We bought the ingredients and went to a nearby campsite. Had to create a main dish with meat, a side-dish, and a dessert from what we gave them plus they got to pick 3 bonus items.

        We also do a lot of dutch oven cooking, We even take out dutch oven in an old 50 caliper ammo box on some canoe trips (it floats).

        A Wilderness Survival campout shouldn't cost much. A fishing one could be good too.

        The minute you decide to "farm out" planning to another organization (be it non-profit or not) you will see your prices go up.

        Comment


        • #6
          We average about $20-$30, with food being a fixed $12 of that. I've been contemplating the Iron Chef cookout idea, but have to get the PLC sold on it. Also I think we need to get our level of menu planning up.

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          • #7
            our campouts base price is $20/youth and free for adults. This covers food, campground fee if there is one, and gas bonus for truck pulling the trailer (other drivers don't get gas money) For special events such as skiing, canoeing, and camporees then the event fee or rental fee is covered by all youth and adults. Although we do try to get canoes donated for use, but can't always manage to get enough. Our treasurer keeps a good budget, a couple campouts we will lose money mainly because it's a longer drive so paying for pulling trailer costs more but then we'll have a couple campouts where we make enough to cover those that went over.

            For summer camp the boys pay the fee and the troop covers the adults fee.

            We have a few fundraisers through the year that help a lot. Plus we have our own scout assistance fund for any active scout needing help to make it on any campout or summer camp.

            Comment


            • #8
              Scout food is about $10. If it's a district event that's another $8-10 (patch and a potty). The troop pays for gas to whomever tows the trailer. If we're in a cabin that would be another $2-3 per person but the troop usually covers that. Adults pay $15 for food but eat well enough just to make the kids jealous.

              We did Iron Chef at a camporee. It was fun. The adults put together ramen noodles, peanut butter, soy sauce, Shiracha, and cooked chicken. That was good.

              Comment


              • #9
                For my money, you can never go wrong camping in state parks and regional metroparks, national monuments, forests, and lakeshores, etc. We all have that kind of stuff around us, but I don't think a lot of troops tend to utilize them as much as they should. Keeps costs down, and they're there for you to use for things like this.

                Comment


                • Tampa Turtle
                  Tampa Turtle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Agree. And throw in Ranger suggested service project while you are there and sometimes they will spot you some good "bonuses"--best time to visit next time, special trails, or schedule for demonstrations.

                  We budget food at $10 a head for the boys for the typical 4 meals and a Friday night cracker barrel.

              • #10
                For those who want a freebie, one could always plan a day hike and people bring their own food.

                My very first boy scout activity was one such event. Hike five miles out of town, make a fire, cook your own food, hike back. It was kinda expensive for me because my mom allowed me to have a small steak instead of hamburger patty to cook.

                Sometimes overplanning is not really a good idea. Let the boys learn something new, like cooking a meal for themselves. Not everything has to be a troop extravaganza. For those scouts not needing fire-building or cooking for advancement could always just bring a sandwich and cookie from home.

                Urban setting? Sure, why not hike to a city park and back. Might see something different along the way that one didn't notice flying by at 25 mph in the car playing video games.

                Stosh

                Comment


                • #11
                  oh yeah talk to the park rangers about service projects and may get free camp ground use. We have a few places that will do that. We also have a couple places that offer youth group site for free to scout unit; one of which I really like because it has a big area but also has a trail area that goes into a few patrol spots to keep them separated.

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