Jump to content

Providing Scholarships to cub scouts

Recommended Posts

When I started in cub scouts with my son we were really confused about how things worked. It seamed that things just happened based on what the committee chair wanted. Typically good things happened but many decisions did not make sense to me.


Then about a year ago I took over as the committee chair for our Pack. During that time we have made attempts to document the process that we have and create a standardized process for the topics that were somewhat gray. I am hoping that this will create an inclusive environment and help incoming scout families understand our pack.


One of the processes that we are somewhat stuck on is providing scholarships to scouts that truly need it. In the past we have provided 100% scholarships to any Cub Scout family that asked for it. People started learning about this and we had a number of requests. The question that I had is what process was used to determine the need? And do we really need to provide a 100% scholarship? The leader manual says that each scout should pay his own way. This can be done in many different was.


So the question that I have is does anyone have a written process for providing scholarships to scouts that you might be willing to share?




Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless you want to get into tax returns and financial statements (and you don't), it's a tough call. In the end, you just have to trust people. There is almost always someone in the unit -- a den leader or committee member -- who knows the family and can vouch for them.


We clearly tell new parents that finances should never keep a boy from participating in Scouting. If there is a real need, the troop has a number of options to help a boy out. Our first option is to offer families payment plans. Troop dues are $100 and due in Feb. Summer camp is $250 and due in March. That can be a big bite, especially if a family has two boys in the troop, so we let them spread the payments out, if they like.


We generally sell very little popcorn as a troop. But we offer Scouts the option of selling popcorn and applying all the proceeds to summer camp. We dont' offer this to everyone (because we don't want to get into running individual scout accounts) but treat it as a financial aid thing, available on an as needed basis.


Because summer camp is the big ticket item, folks most often need help with that. We REQUIRE families to submit scholarship applications to the council. First, with all the FOS presentations I've made and all the FOS checks I've written, we need to avail ourselves of that resource. Secondly, the council application asks for financial details we're really not comfortable getting into. We feel that if the council approves aide for a family, the troop can confidently do so as well.


Generally, the council scholarships are for half the cost of camp. If requested, the troop will help a family with another 25%. As you note, Scouting expects a Scout to pay his own way, or at least part of it.


Families need to keep some skin in the game. I remember a few years ago when I was Cub day camp director a whole ScoutReach pack applied for scholarships to day camp. Because the council had already awarded all its scholarship money, the day camp was asked waive part of the fee for the boys -- essentially provide them with scholarship out of the camp budget. I think we waived all but $25 of the fee, feeling that the Scouts needed to pay something. But the council paid the $25 balance for the kid out of ScoutReach funds, giving them a free ride. NOT ONE of the boys ever showed up for day camp. Of course we called and were told that they just changed their minds. Do you think if their families had been on the hook for the money they would have blown it off? Or at least let us know they weren't coming in time for us to save some of the money and provide a refund?


The other thing we do is maintain a large uniform closet. It's open to everyone, regardless of need. The only rule is if you take something, donate something back -- even if a year from now you return the uniform you took.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd start by defining what a "100 percent scholarship" is. Does that include the registration fee? Pack dues? Den dues? A uniform (full uni, or just the shirt)? Book? All advancements? Summer camp? Day camp? Outings? Pack picnics? The average pack would quickly find itself broke if it paid for all those things for every Scout that asked.


I can't think of any other youth-serving organization that would waive the entire cost of a program simply based on a request, without any supporting details or documentation. That's simply a bad way to do business. There's a reason that local councils have formal applications required for camperships to help Scouts attend summer camp, and it's a good one.


Yes, no Scout should be turned away because of finances. But that doesn't mean he and his family can't contribute in other ways. Perhaps the father is a carpenter and can donate his time helping other Cubs design their Pinewood Derby cars, while the mother is a great baker and can bake up a ton of brownies and pies for a bake sale. The same might go for people who are out of work. An accountant might check over the pack's books and make sure the finances are in order and operating efficiently; a mechanic could run a special program in automotive basics. And the Cub can always help with popcorn sales or other fundraisers. There are always creative solutions - bartering goods and services is a method of payment as old as the hills.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A few years back, a generous individual left out pack a scholarship fund. Over the years, we have been careful to keep it replenished so that no Scout gets turned away. Our current policy is that the Cubmaster and Committee Chair talks to the parent and discusses out policy for scholarships, which is basically as follows. The only other distributed information is to the Treasurer to transfer the money to their account and the committee is advised of how much is given in scholarships. We arrived at this balance, because it is a sensative discussion for many families. Now to our policy.


- We do not have an income level, but if the family expresses a reasonable need, they get a scholarship.

- Scolarships are provided to cover dues for the year and events up to the next fundraiser. Additionally, we maintain a uniform closet and can include the book.

- Families receiving Scholarships have to apply for a Council Scholarship. While this does not determine their eligability with the Pack, it may reimburse the Pack for BSA dues and sometimes provide a uniform shirt.

- Families receiving scholarships are required to participate in our two fundraisers (Popcorn & Camp Cards). 25% of Popcorn and 45% of Camp Card sales got to their Scout Account.

- Families receiving scholarships are required to volunteer in some way with the Pack. We do NOT require that they be a Den Leader (don't want forced Den Leaders), but we DO require that they at least help with some events, even if it is only setup/teardown.

- If fundraising does not cover what they need, then additional funds are approved if they made a good effort, or there is a good reason (such as family illness).

- Barring illness, etc, they are expected to attend any events that they register for that were paid for out of scholarship funds.

- If they do not do the above, then this counts against them in future Scholarship decisions.(This message has been edited by pack212scouter)

Link to post
Share on other sites



I like your guidelines. I may have to go through and make some copies. We are trying to figure out the details of what we are about to do with ours.


We have a set of guidelines that my late cousin helped set up, but I am going to have to track them down.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You all are very fortunate to have this problem. I would love to trade places with you. Because we are a tiny troop we have very little extra cash, during this depression we've lost quite a few kids because of the dues and camping fees.


Fund raisers help quite a bit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, we are very fortunate. It is always a shame when a boy who wants to be a Scout, can't because of finances. I'm assuming that you approached your CO about helping with this? (I know...times are probably tight for them too).


Here is another possibility...perhaps approach some of the businesses in your community to see if they might be willing to sponsor a Scout. Make a presentation to give to them, outlining the values that Scouting instills...how it helps the community, and how much it costs for a Scout to fully participate for the year.(This message has been edited by pack212scouter)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am one of those youth who as a scout received "scholarships" to do things. While scholarships are GREAT (caps for emphasis), I also say having those in need put some "sweat equity" into the funding helps.


I'll give you some examples.


With my troop, we did one weekend long fundraiser every year, and guess where I was all weekend. While the money I raised did go into my Scout account, that money was used to pay for dues and trips.


When I went to Canada, the contingent did a series of fundraisers. yep I did every one. Contingent also found odd jobs for those of us to work, i.e. cutting grass, for additional help. For those that needed additional help, we approached the VFW, American Legion, and VVA for help. I was able to raise about 2/3 of the fund, and a scholarship for the rest.


The only time I got a "free" was when the troop paid for 1/2 my expenses to attend BA22, the NYLT of it's time. HOWEVER the expectation was that I would take what iI learned at BA22, and use it with the troop to make it better.


Talking to the parents and cub about what's expected and how they can help themselves via fundraisers is somehting I would also add to whatever converstaion is done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...