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Parents paying for a more expensive program.

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While I'm sure that there are expectations to every rule, the going rate around where I live for a Scout to go camping for a weekend is somewhere between $10.00 and $20.00.

A few years back there was a ad on TV selling mufflers where the person buying the muffler made it very clear that they weren't going to pay a lot for that muffler.

The SM's in our area must have taken this thought to heart and seem afraid to ask parents to come up with anything more than this going rate.

The end result being that the Scouts do the same old same old.

We have some wonderful opportunities to do all sorts of adventurous activities near to where we live which the Scouts would really enjoy. I'm thinking White Water Rafting and along them lines. The problem is that they come with a price tag.(Whitewater Merit Badge costs $129 for 2 days of instruction)


I have always held the opinion that parents are willing to spend the money in order to see their son have a quality program.

I'm not saying that each and every weekend needs to come with a big price tag. But I do think that doing more adventurous activities kinda acts like the carrot that holds the interest of the Scouts and keeps them active (Not quiting!)

I can and do see that by offering a more expensive program that some families will need to fund raise to be able to afford this type of program.

So my questions are:

Do you offer these more expensive outings?

If not why not?

If you do, how do you go about planning them and having Scouts being able to afford them?




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We do offer a mix. Maybe half of our outings are cheap and the other half a bit pricier. We have a ski weekend, a climbing lock-in at a gym, a whitewater trip, zip lines, boating, caving. I would guess our average weekend is $50 and some are well above that.


We don't do anything special to fund these. We do offer the Scouts some ability to earn money for their Scout accounts, but mostly the parents just pay for the trips.


I do agree it's better at keeping the Scouts' interest. Some families don't do some of the more expensive trips. While we do offer to help with anyone who doesn't have the money, I think most families don't want to ask for help.


At least in our area, people are indeed willing to pay for a more expensive program. There is very little correlation between cost and attendance - if I had to guess, I'd say that our more expensive trips typically have better attendance.

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Typical weekend cost of $50. I guess it is about demographics......We typically are in the $10-15 range, We do have two outings that are $50....Tubing at a ski resort and kayaking. The cost does scare away some parents.....and boys miss out. I serve low middle class or working poor families.


We have a Troop in a neighboring district that has dues of $200 per month. They have a big bus, troop trailer, lots of high adventure.....This typically includes a high adventure base a summer, they rotate all three..... They have a waiting list to join.......I find it interesting.........


Why don't we offer the big expensive trips, because I believe we will lose scouts. How long is a boy going to hang around if his Patrol is going camping or on adventures and he cannot afford it.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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Yah, by and large people are willin' to pay for what they perceive as quality.


In fact, sometimes when you don't charge much you are perceived as being "cheap" or low quality for that reason alone.


But as Basementdweller says, it does depend on demographics. Yeh can't squeeze blood from a turnip.


Still, I think Oak Tree's is closer to the more common experience, eh? Parents will pay for quality, and in paying they and the kids will also be more proud and involved. So attendance goes up, as well as satisfaction/involvement by families when troops increase prices. Financial commitment goes hand in hand with personal commitment.




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Typical cost of weekend camping trip is $35. We have a couple a year that are more. Whitewater rafting at the Olmypic Training facility runs about $75. Canoeing at the beach about the same.


We rotate through the 3 National High Adventure bases and send at least one crew each year to one of the bases. ~$1500 per scout.


Dues are $75 a year plus $12? for Boys Life. We are a fully uniformed troop so $100 to start. We do have a uniform closet to defray costs. Troop T-shirt $15.


Summer camp $225. We do have a summer camp campership fund.


45-55 registered. We probably have 75-85% participation at every event.

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My old troop had a balance of activities, mostly having inexpensive weekend trips, with the occasional special weekend trip, usually over a 3 day weekend.


We also worked with other troops in the district to provide HA activities.

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We strive to keep trips affordable and include as many Scouts as possible. I think the first word in the title belays the problem. Parents paying...the true value of the Scout program, in my opinion, is teaching youth to be thrifty and pay their own way. While some parents simply write the checks, our treks are affordable to a youth that applies himself.


I find that in the long run, boys really want a sense of accomplishment, something their parents cant buy them. Of course, the last Scouting magazine article I read highlighted a rafting trip where the boys were basically catered to by the rafting company. Maybe I'm old fashioned, too cheap, or too poor, but I don't really see the value in parents paying the way.


Just my opinion...

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WOW! In both our Co's pack and Troop , we have parents who scream bloody murder if the have to pay more than $20.00 for camping, and yet they expect bacon wrapped prime rib steaks, 3 cheese5 eggs omletts for breakfast with taost, juice, all the sides and a waiter to dserve it.


But these are also the same parents who go to 5 or 6 NASCAR races a year ( not cheap at all) , Disney World twice a year, Bahamas at least once and Elk hunting in Montanna for a week before going Halibut fishing in Alaska for two weeks.

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SF, any of those parents wanna rent a timeshare in Orlando on Race Week? Send 'em my way. I don't want 'em on any trip with me, but I'll take their $$s!


Let's not neglect that for some of us, that means splitting our vacation time between scouting and family.


Now, our scouts love a lot of the "same old same old", they actually voted the low-end campout as their #1 activity.


My crew nags me to camp on a local freshwater beach about 2 hours away every year. That is the majority's preferred "super activity". The problem with that is it's too crowded on the weekends so the adults need to take off work, but I'm already using my "scouting" vacation days for summer camp, an extended backpacking trip, and Seabase.


The "low-end" stuff may be cheap, but the kids love it. Just challenge them to add a twist to make each weekend a little different.


Then if a group of them decide on something high-end, remind the parents that this might be their opportunity to get a little extra labor on the cheap before the kids go off to college and the real drain begins.

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As I posted parents are willing to spend the money in order to see their son have a quality program.

Where I live it seems that the parents are not the problem.

Scouting has become attending the District Camporees, maybe a couple of Troop weekend camp-outs and a week at the Council Summer Camp.

I really don't think that anyone asks the Scouts what they might want or like to do. In many ways it has become accepted that it is what it is.

While not wanting or wishing to put down the Scouter's in the area for most of them this is what they have offered for years and for many is a repeat of what was offered to them.

Of course many might see this as being all they have to offer?


We are not doing a good job of retaining Lads over the age of about 14.

While I can't back it up, I do think that maybe the Scouts by the age of 14 feel that they have done it all and that Scouts and Scouting has nothing more to offer them.

I can and do see that no one wants to offer a program that requires endless fund raising events in order to pay for it.

Anymore I think how a family goes about paying for things is very much up to the family. My deal with my kid was that I'd pay half and he had to find ways of coming up with the rest. -The end result was that the cost of grass mowing went up!


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My son's former troop had one expensive outing each year. In the winter they would either go dog sledding in Northern Michigan, to a cost of about $200, or luging ($70). Turnout was light, esp. for the dog sledding.


We are just finishing out the year with my son's current troop. They have had three more expensive campouts this winter/spring: snow sports = $50, an international campout (in Canada) = $70, and this weekend, a campout at a national park that has some beautiful beaches & dunes ($50).


Attendance on all three is pretty good, but I admit, I had a little sticker shock. One difference is that the boys in this troop are more active in fundraising, and there are also some wonderfully generous sponsors in the background, to help boys whose families have tight budgets.



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Seen an ad on TV last night for Disney world.

It's been a very long time since I was there, 1980 or maybe 1981.

I don't have any plans to return anytime soon.

But the ad said it cost $67.00 a day per person for a family of four.

I have no idea what you get or don't get for $67.00.

Still I couldn't help thinking that this about the same cost as sending a Scout to summer camp.

Summer Camp V Disney?


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Included in summer camp: parking, meals, lodging, your buddies. There's no archery or rifle range at Disney, and Mickey won't allow you to angle for them fish in the moat -- not even catch and release.

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My bias has been that you don't need to spend a lot of money to have a quality Scouting program. As Scoutmaster circa 1982-1987, the Scouts never proposed trips to Philmont or wherever, and I never suggested them myself. We had lots of camping trips to the nearby mountains and such, including such activitie as overnight snowshoe camp on Mt Rainier and a rowboat cruise to a desert island in the American San Juan Islands.


A few years ago as a Troop volunteer, we did a powerboat trip to Blake Island, a Washington State park across Puget Sound from Seattle. We had two out boards available for that trip, 17 and 19 feet or so.


I just don't see paying other people to entertain you as an especially good Scout activity. Those who want to spend more are welcome to do so --- I certainly have no objection to that. Just not my style, and not the market I have aimed for as a volunteer.



As Cubmaster, I follow the same philosophy. I look for economical and local trips for dens and the pack. I'm looking at adding a fishing trip, bicycling trip and Estes Rocket launch to the program next year. I would like to plan to have the Webelos Scouts do our council summer camp next summer in place of the district day camp.



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