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Scout Accounts with leftover money

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  • Scout Accounts with leftover money

    Yeah, I know some are aghast at "leftover money". We had a discussion over this earlier this week, and I''m curious as to the general consensus.

    Like many troops, when our Scouts earn money at Scout fundraisers, they go into Scout Accounts. They use these for campouts, dues, and personal equipment.

    What happens to the money when a Scout leaves? Does it matter if he''s aged out, transfers to another troop, or simply quits coming? We''re not talking about $10 here, but about several hundred for this particular boy. What would you do?

  • #2
    Yah, I think I once took a straw poll around our district.

    About 70% used Scout Accounts where some fundraising was allocated to individual boys for activities. Of those, most allowed transfers to take the money to a new troop or crew, but not always.

    IMNSHPO, the boys/families can never receive the amount as cash or cash equivalents. That is either employment (work for remuneration, requiring income tax reporting) or fundraising fraud or both. For CO''s that are federal 501(c)(3) NFP''s, I also believe that the IRS would consider "personal equipment" as an inappropriate diversion of funds (fundraising fraud again) that would compromise the CO''s status. The funds raised must stay within the organization, to be used for its charitable purpose. You can''t claim to fundraise for charity, and then use it to buy a personal backpack.

    Best is to be clear and honest. All funds raised go to the unit. The troop committee may choose to allocate a portion toward individual dues or trip costs. No monies will ever be given to individuals as direct payment or gift certificate equivalents for gear.



    • #3

      Our troop policy is that when a boy leaves the troop for what ever reason the money in his account reverts to the troop general fund unless he has a brother in the troop then it can be transfered to him.


      • #4
        Our troop committee takes a look at our "Activity Fund" policies at least once a year. The policy makes it clear that ALL the funds in this fund belong to the troop, and by extension, the money belongs to the chartering organization.

        As to what to do when a scout leaves or becomes inactive. We keep the money in the scout account for one year past the time the scout is no longer registered in the troop. Then the money either goes to the troop''s general fund or is designated to become part of the troop''s "campership" fund. This is a committee decision.

        If the scout transfers to another unit sponsored by a different chartering organization, the troop will transfer up to $750 to the new unit. The committee decided to set this (generous) dollar limit, because the funds are earned in the name of the troop''s chartering organization. When a scout transfers to a unit (such as a Crew) sponsored by another chartering orgainization, basically what is happening is the money is being transfered from one CO to another. So the money could be going from a Methodist Church to the Friends of the City Fire Department. The orignal CO has no control over what happens to the money once it is transfered.

        Beavah''s comment about personal equipment is interesting. I think our troop needs to take another look at how we handle this. We have allowed scouts to purchase uniforms with this money. We also have allowed scouts to purchase some equipment that is needed for scouting purposes. If the troop is going winter camping and the scout needs an appropiate cold-weather sleeping bag, then we have allowed the scout to use the funds for that. But it can be a slippery slope. Where does a unit draw the line? Do we say no money for uniforms, sleeping bags, or boots for the Philmont trip? One single mom in our troop has been particularly active selling products, including popcorn, to help fund her son''s scouting experience. Her regular "day job" just doesn''t provide enough. She also receives camperships for her son.


        • #5
          This is an interesting question. Thanks for bringing it up.

          IMVHO, and opinion only I would like to think that if the boy is still in Scouting that equipment purchase as Aquila calvas last paragraph posits should (if it's not) be allowed.
          I would like to think that you could also empty the account into the outgoing boys pocket without penalty but can clearly see the ethical issue there.
          Transfer to another troop - send it with him by sending it directly to their treasurer.

          In my case I would like to(now that you've brought it up) propose to my CC that we xfer those funds into a Scouting for the less fortunate fund that we would utilize prior to asking Council or calling for donations out of the Leaders pockets to keep boys in Scouting who's families CANNOT afford Scouting.(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)


          • #6
            Our troop policy is that we will transfer any money to a scout''s new unit if he changes troops or joins a crew. However, if he just quits, the money in the scout account goes into a campership fund.

            There are times when I''m not entirely comfortable with all of the "what if" scenarios that go with this, but that is what we do.


            • #7
              If the boy transfers to another unit we forward his funds to that unit. If he ages out but stays active he can use his funds to pay his leader fees for Summer Camp, Philmont etc. Money is never given directly to scouts or families. We do allow for the reimbursement for Scouting related equipment. I can see Beavah''s point on this and accept it is a valid concern however when we sell popcorn for the benefit of the council, the unit and the prizes, gift cards etc that individual boy gets where does the money come from for those prizes? If he buys a tent from his end of the sale it''s wrong but if he gets the tent from the prize list it is OK? IN any case if a boy leaves scouting the funds revert to the unit. LongHaul


              • #8
                A check will be sent to the treasurer of a unit if a boy transfers and the treasurer writes our unit a letter requesting the monies. If a boy ages out without having used the money in his account, it goes into the "general fund" of the troop.


                • #9
                  Our policy is the same as beaver1onit''s, and for the very same reasons that Beavah so clearly articulated.


                  • #10
                    In our Pack, if the Scout leaves for another unit, if that unit has scout accounts, they can request the funds. If the scout crosses over, he can take the funds to that unit or leave the funds in a brother''s account. In all other cases, the funds revert to the general fund.


                    • #11
                      If the boy ages out or simply leaves, account money goes first to siblings or another individual that the parent designates (could be a cousin, neighbor, best friend, whatever...).

                      If there''s nobody bequeathed, then they revert to troop funds to help pay for boys who don''t have the means.

                      And yes, we have allowed boys to purchase camping gear with troop funds, subject to approval. It can be a slippery slope, but as mentioned, giving away a GPS or backpack as an incentive prize or letting the Scout choose what they really want is no different in principle to me.


                      • #12
                        In our unit scouts are given opitions inregards to remaining scout account money:

                        1)If they transfer---in the next thirty days the Troop Treasurer must have received a letter asking that the monies be transfered to the new unit. Any money in their Scout Account is transferred.

                        2)If they age out---the money can be transfered from their account into the account of a younger brother.

                        3) If neither of the above two happen the money is allotted back to the troop''s general account.

                        In regards to the use of Scout Account money for personal equipment and uniforming most Districts and Councils recommend the use of the money for the purpose of such things. In our annual planning conference packet we receive a form that explains how Personal Accounts should be established for the use of outings and equipment.

                        A simple search online can find different Council policies mentioning the use of scout accounts. One district website words it as

                        "The funds in a Scout Account can be used for the payment of registration fees, camping fees, summer camp fees, council activity fees, high adventure fees, Scouting books, etc. All such payments must be for Scouting related activities.

                        The funds can also be used for the payment of Scouting related purchases that need to be made for the fulfillment of a Scouting activity. This can be for uniforming, needed equipment, provisions for a trip, and other items. All these expenses must be directly related to the Scouting program.

                        If the funds are being used for the reimbursement for a Scouting related purchase, this purchase must be approved by the unit committee. This is normally done by presenting an explanation and the purchase receipts at a unit committee meeting.

                        The unit may establish rules that cover commonly occurring expenses such as uniform purchases."

                        Most Councils also make recommendations to each unit regarding "leftover money". The same district states:

                        "Each unit needs to establish clear rules as to what happens when a Scout does not reregister with the unit. The funds, although they are currently allocated to an individual, are the funds of the unit.

                        It is not uncommon that if there are funds left in an account when a Scout does not reregister that this money is held in stasis for a period of time in case the Scout comes back or joins another unit. After this time period, the funds should be deallocated from the individual and transferred to the general unit fund.

                        During the time the funds are in stasis, the funds in the account can be transferred to another Scouting unit. If the unit decides, the funds can still used for Scouting related activities or purchases by the individual under the same rules as other uses or purchases.

                        An inactive Scout Account in can be transferred to another family member in Scouting, or it can be held in stasis for a younger family member that will be joining the unit. The length of time that a terminated account can be held in stasis for an upcoming family member is a unit committee decision.

                        The funds in a Scout Account can never be simply paid out to a Scout or leader that leaves the unit. To do so would be a violation of the designated use of the funds and will get you in trouble with the IRS."

                        The website for the above mentioned district is:



                        • #13
                          Our Troop sells popcorn "under protest" (another thread) and we have other fundraisers. The Scout Accounts, to my knowledge, have never been used for anything other than camp fees, trip bus charters, and the like. Never for uniforms or personal gear that would not be Troop owned and ''borrowable''.

                          HOWEVER... some years ago (before my time), a graduating Scout that (among other things) had early on earned his Eagle, asked for and was granted the use of his Scout Account to purchase an equipment trailer for the Troop. This was no small purchase, and the Troop has made good use of the 12'' two axle trailer.

                          Friends of Scouting donation, perhaps?


                          • #14
                            In regards to the use of Scout Account money for personal equipment and uniforming most Districts and Councils recommend the use of the money for the purpose of such things.

                            Nah, I don''t think that''s the case, eh? Isn''t even true in the segment that you quoted if it''s read carefully. And yeh have to be careful. Lots of times individuals in districts put things into print without considering some of the implications. Just like troops, eh? District folks are only volunteers.

                            A unit committee allocating funds for exclusively Scouting-related uses: fine.

                            A unit committee allocating funds to pay for individual activity fees for kids: probably OK (see "educational goal") below.

                            A unit committee allocating funds for purchasing a personal uniform for a kid: edgy, but probably OK... in the same way that uniforms are deductible expenses for adult leaders, because they have no non-scouting use. Better as a long-term loan, with an agreement to return it to the troop uniform closet when he outgrows it.

                            A unit committee allocating fundraised dollars to a boy so he can buy himself a rain jacket: almost certainly not OK (in the same way that a rain jacket is not a deductible expense for an adult leader even if it is used in Scouting, because it can be used for all kinds of other personal activities).

                            In the end, the way the committee allocates fundraised dollars has to be consistent with the charitable purpose. In other words, the use of scout accounts must have an educational goal of teachin'' kids about responsibility and work, etc. - they must not be just a way of "dividing the spoils."



                            • #15
                              The quoted section states that

                              "The funds can also be used for the payment of Scouting related purchases that need to be made for the fulfillment of a Scouting activity. This can be for uniforming, needed equipment, provisions for a trip, and other items. All these expenses must be directly related to the Scouting program."

                              Stated is that it may be used for needed equipment that is needed for the fulfillment of a Scouting activity. A backpack for a hiking trip would be needed equipment to fulfill a scouting activity. A canoe paddle for a canoe trip would be necessary.

                              I know that our district states the same thing as the one that I quoted.

                              Since their is a disagreement I may look for an actual answer tommorow, perhaps actually contacting an IRS personal.