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bear dad

just wondering

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Hello, as I write this I have made a observation about our pack and wonder if this pretty much the norm for now days for packs out there.

We are fairly new pack, small at that have about 12 different families, out of those only 3 have both parents in them.

We have several single fathers in our pack which thought that was interesting.I see how some struggle to get by, even me and I am married and only person that works(outside of home) yes thank God for moms that stay at home!!

These days it is hard to get by with 1 source of income, but it also what you are working for??


This is what I see that parents have a tuff time paying for things, if they can hardly pay their dues, how to you ask them to go a camp that costXXX amount? Yes boys could and should fund raise, pop corn or??. At the same time I see National roll out a whole new crop of belt loops for boys to get. Let's face it some belt loops are in my since just a money making thing for someone. Belt loops are pretty easy to get.


My point is somewhere down the line the parent will pay for it one way or another.These days where jobs have been lost and 1 parent families it would seem, that we have a lot of boys who just can't afford to be in scouts. Even if you can pay for a couple you can't have them just going wild getting loops at pack expense.


Do you think that National should hold off on new things like loops, etc.. seems like it is just a BLING Bling thing.

Maybe I am wrong on this, just thought about the single parents, and then asking them to shell out more$$ for stuff they really don't need or can afford?

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Our pack currently has 24 scouts, so around 20 families. We do no other fundraisers other than popcorn, and we have a scale such that the boys can earn some of their needed items if they sell beyond the $200 or $250 mark.


In the fall semester, there were several more families that dropped after Christmas. These kids did not sell much popcorn and had inconsistent attendance.


In general, the kids who sell popcorn well are earning belt loops, etc. The kids that didn't sell much are not earning much in belt loops, etc.


I calculated that we average about $25 or $30 per scout on this stuff. It may be a little higher this year because some leaders got patch-happy. We ask for $1 per meeting, $3 per month, but we don't do a good job of keeping track of who is paying.


I like the belt loops because it gives a sense of accomplishment to the boys, and some can be earned in one or two meetings. As far as afford, these parents are spending all kinds of money on other unnecessary things. I just saw a parent with all kinds of junk food in the small packages, loads of gatorade, etc. I don't feel guilty asking for money for scout things from this parent.

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I understand where you are coming from. Money is tight for just about everyone these days. You can certainly spend a good deal of money on BSA or any other youth organized events that a child may participate in.


Where I live - 1 season of little league baseball costs about $250 plus uniform cost. Season lasts 4 months.


Soccer is a little cheaper, but still over $100 a season and lasts 4 months.


Not sure what music, theater or any other extracirriculars cost, but its at least $100+ a kid for a session, most don't go year round.


Scouting can be done with a 2nd hand shirt, a $8 book and some fund raising for belt loops and rank awards.


The average outlay in our pack is about $200 / kid per year for awards, plus their uniform shirt that they buy ONE TIME for 4 years of cubs, and a new shirt for webelos. Even brand new, shirts cost about $35 max. Our pack dues are $80 per year.


So, a kid in cub scouts will cost a parent (single or otherwise) $80 x 6 years (tiger thru web II) = $480 plus about $35 dollars for a shirt. Roughly $500 over a 5 year period or $100 a year to participate.


Through effective fund raising and our dues, our pack buys all awards, new handbook and necker for each scout going on the next year, and all program materials (i.e. pinewood kits, crafts, space derby kits, etc...)


The only other add-on would be family campouts that we charge $20 pp for a 3 day weekend of camping.


Yes, it costs - but I'd argue that the value is a great one considering the amount of events, service, and instruction a kid gets for their parents' $100/year investment. Not to mention we try to teach citizenship, ethics, morals, along the way... sports might teach good sportsmanship and teamwork, but little else.


I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better value in a youth organization - bang for the buck - than scouting provides. If there are any others out there that offer such value, I'm not sure what they are.



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when my son was a cub he went through 3 different CM and committees... through all 3 they informed all families and DL that the pack does not have the money to buy all the belt loops that I would would earn especially for how easy they are to earn. They left the purchasing of belt loops up to the parent(s). And for all the years while my son was a Tiger through Webelos none of the scouts/families bothered with awarding the belt loops though they did do some of them.


after my son crossed over a new CM came in and a new committee... they started to pay for the belt loops, and after a year had to raise dues to cover the cost which upset those parents that already had a son go through.


sure belt loops look cool... but are they really worth the money?

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Yeah, I could see National maybe taking a minute and after reflection on the current national economic situation- maybe holding back on changing neckers, creating new belt loops or creating anything that would cause more money to be spent.



Right now, alot of the normal everyday expenses are pushing it, so more might just be the nail in the coffin for some families!


But then again, I see the other side of it too: My son does not have to go to every single campout, field trip or event , earn every single beltloop much less any new ones either....to be a real cub scout. I figure just doing the normal stuff is still 100 times better than not being a scout at all.


Bling bling? Yeah....It sure is! But that fascination for bling bling eventually turns into what they did to earn it instead of just having IT to look at. Right now, given the choice, my son prefers the activity that he earned the loop for over the loop itself.


That's pretty cool.


Great post!

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That is why you need to come up with a Per scout cost to deliver your program. There was a thread last week on this subject. From this figure you can set Den Dues, popcorn sales expectations or other methods of getting this cost covered.


The base cost for Scouting is $15 buck?


Absolutely everything else is an extra. You don't need a uniform, you don't need belt loops, books, camp outs, pinewood derbys, day camps or resident camps. Why hold of belt loops?? Why not come up with your own less expensive way to recognize the accomplishment? Wall chart? Plaque made by a handy dad or den leader, or Recognize it on the Den Doodle.


Follow the program and but come up with a less expensive creative solution. We make our own Wolf, Bear and Tiger recognition totems from wood biscuits, Much cooler than that stupid white plastic one.


I have often contended that the BSA is nothing more than a Publishing company. If you don't change the book, no one will buy new. Same goes for the badges and awards.


Scout fish as a pack leader you are expected to go one every single Pack outing and Meeting. Even if your Scout is sick, As a leader you are held to a much higher standard and have more people relying on you. I have gone on camp outs, field trips and Den meetings solo leaving the sick son at home. Not because I wanted too, but it was my responsibility too.

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Bear dad,


In re-reading your post I have a few questions for you to think about.


You mentioned the families are struggling???? What level are they struggling, new cars, latest smart phones, lots of boats, cars and hobbies. Or putting cloths and shoes on the kids.



I have had Struggling parents come by the house to fill out Campership applications in their Excursion and with her freshly manicured nails she answers a phone call on her Droid. Believe it or not the Campership committee approved her son.


Do they complain at the expense or just not sign their scout up?


Are the boys in other sports????


Had a mom complain about the $10 food cost for a camp out. yet her son plays in a travel baseball league at $750 per quarter.



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I think that there are valid concerns. I am going to suppose that when bear dad talks about financial difficulties, he is referring to families who are struggling with the basics, not families who have to cut back on their monthly manicure and latte budgets.


For families in tight situations, cub scouting still offers incredible bargains. The regular activities are usually no- or low-cost, the sense of community and togetherness that is fostered is fulfilling, and the network of friends and supporters (for the kids, but also for the parents) really matters. Most packs, districts and councils have campership help for families who can't afford the cost of cub day camp or resident camp. Often, pack leaders need to be pro-active in finding this info and getting it into the hands of those who need it, but it is there.


Yes, it is possible to go over-board with cub awards. There are patches, pins, or loops for practically anything you can imagine. The pack does not need to buy all of them.


What we did - we had a couple of parents help make up red felt vests for boys who wanted them (you can buy these brag vests from the BSA for about $12, or you can make them for about $5 if someone has the time and talent). Then we awarded many of the "rocker" patch segments, which cost under .50 each. The pack provided the center patch upon initial registration with the pack, and the boys could add the rockers all around it, throughout their time in cubs.


This was a good compromise - people who wanted to award lots of "bling" could do so for little money, and the kids really liked having a bunch of these on their vests.


Here's a link to one pack's list showing many of these "segments" and how that pack uses them. Note that there are no formal requirements for how these are awarded, so you could alter these to suit your needs.




And here's a link that just shows pictures (in color) of many of the segments: http://www.libpack71.org/images/segments.jpg


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YES SIR! You are right. And I do! I never said I didn't. I said :


"My son does not have to go to every single campout, field trip or event , earn every single beltloop much less any new ones either....to be a real cub scout. I figure just doing the normal stuff is still 100 times better than not being a scout at all."


Meaning he doesn't have to participate in every single belt loop event or oppertunity there is if having to buy him a belt loop is a problem. He does not have to go to every sigle campout or $$$$ field trip that is offered.


While going on a trip to Patriots Point ( Charleston, SC) to sleep on an aircraft carrier is awesome...he will not be less of a scout if he doesn't go because I cannot afford to spend that money at that time (in December).



Basically, a beltloop is cool and so are all the planned trips - but in itself, the belploop or trip is not scouting..just a small part of what makes up scouting.


A far as me.. I attend all the leader meetings, all the committee meetings, all the pack and den meetings even when other dens, leaders or parents do not. I attend even when my son does not.


Matter of fact, I had to explain to my son why I could not stand there beside him during the entire duration of any pack or den meeting and why I also work with the other boys too. I had to explain to him that I could not hang out with him nonstop 24/7 during the pack campout because at some point as a leader.....I had to do leader stuff too.


My son is just now starting to understand why we end up being at the CO a 1/2 hour early and usually stay 30 to 45 minutes later than "Everybody else and their parents are leaving" when we have pack and den meetings.

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I AGREE! Yeah, sure there are parents who will complin about a $1.99 beltloop while simultaneously planning on spending $500 on a new phone because it doesn't have 3G or whatever.


But there are also parents who are upset about the possibility of having to cut out scouting (among other programs) because dad just lost his $65,000.00 a year job and they can't afford the stuff they already bought( housem car, land) on credit when they had that job. When your scared you are going to lose your house and car, and suddenly you can't afford your existing health insurance and dental....scouting seems pretty irrelavant.


So again...A scout doesn't have to participat in every sigle activity to be a scout.



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Far be it for me to tell anyone how they should spend their hard earned money.

In fact, I have at times got a little bit peeved and upset when people choose to look down their noses because people seem to have too much or not enough money.

While I'm aware that there isn't anything that might back me up, I have found that in most units the parents of the Scouts in that unit do seem to be in the same financial boat. Of course in just about every unit you will find the odd very well to do family and the very not so well to do family.

We have a Troop in the Council where all the parents seem to be Doctors, lawyers and well off. They have no problem sending their son's to Sea Base and on the more expensive Scout trips.

Back when I was a CM the Scouts in the pack, were mostly kids who went to the private school that my son attended. While at that time the parking lot wasn't filled with expensive German sports cars the Moms were driving nice Caravans and the Dads all seemed to have new pick-up trucks.

Paying for Scouting activities was never a real problem.

I didn't have to drive that far to find a unit where it seemed clear that most of the families were having a hard time and were facing financial challenges.

I know that it might sound unfair to say it! But most units tend to provide a program that the people in the unit can afford.

At the risk of sounding like some sort of a snob! I see very little point in a pack offering all sorts of Belt Loops, when the Scouts can't afford and don't have a uniform.

The Scouts in the Ship have talked about a trip to England or Europe, but when we have looked into the cost and the time it would take to fund raise the amount of money needed, the idea has been put on hold.

In fact the Ship Committee has asked that we don't have trips that cost over $1,000.

Many units do find ways of helping the family of a few financially challenged Scouts, but most units could never do that for every family and so tailor their program so that it suits the needs of most of the families in that unit.


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I live in a financially strapped part of California, meaning unemployment is now over 19%, and underemployment is even worse. I lost my job as DE due to financial issues and the recession. I'm still focused on looking for a job, and fill out 5-10 applications and resumes a week, but it's tough here.


Scouting is what keeps my family going, though, and it's low-cost activities that run the show for my son, and camperships thanks to generous donors in our district who give money every year just to send boys to camp.


Some packs in our district are offering position rebates for parents who work for a year in a leadership position. For parents who serve as a den leader, they get 10-20% of their annual dues back in an account for the boy to use for day camp or resident camp. If a parent leads an outing (like Klondike), then they get to go free for their work in organizing the event. It helps in times like these, it really does.


But, we still don't go to every outing if we can't afford it. Outings don't just cost the fee at the door, they cost the gas to get there ($3.09 a gallon) too.


I would much rather see units strive to work within the confines of their fundraising to run their program than trying to fundraise even more to deliver a bigger program.

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Thanks for the replies.Think from some of your posts , I would say that yes I am talking about people that are getting by, and those who say are they are, but yet have all the JONES'es stuff.


In my family there is 3, I am only one that works outside home. Don't make great money but getting by and I can pay my dues for son if needed, he has enough in his account to pay if he needs, infact he has a couple of times.


Yes I think scouts are a good bargin to a point. Yes scouts don't have to go to camp to be in scouts. I am planning on a few webelos trips after summer told parents that there will be a small cost for this as I am not paying for all the food and gas. This is so that don't have a excuse to say did not know it would cost anything.


Also stated that did not have to go on all of them as things come up. This are close trips that will cost about $15 total for each trip.


Our pack dues are $5.00 a month plus recharter fee.We are trying a very basic program which boys can earn some loops and pins, boats and cars. and B&G, everything else is optional and extra.


We have a hard time collecting that, can't get people to pay up front that would be nice.

What I have hard time with is parents that knowing that scouts costs something and complaining about $5.00 and having kids in 2 or 3 different things. If that is case don't put them in scouts, cause you are already in to deep.


Likewise if you are having a problem paying dues,

you should be willing to help with fundraisers and such to try to pay your way.Think that what bugs me the most, people won't even try to help that come expecting they are entitled.


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I had some complaints back in 2005 about how expensive Scouting is for the boys in our Troop. I put together some Power Point slides to show at a Court of Honor (the parent meeting portion of the evening). Basically, I showed how many programming hours are available to each Scout; 579 hours. Whether they take advantage of all the hours is up to them. I then showed the total of costs to the parents; dues, campout fees, summer camp fees, recharter fees. The total cost was $345 for the year. This means that it cost the parent 60 cents per available program hour. Where else can you get someone to take your child, make sure they are safe and entertained for that low of a cost?


I then talked about the two fundraisers that we had during the year; where the boys could earn money for their accounts. Only half of the boys participated in these fundraisers. Of those that participated, the average earnings (in their personal account) was about $180 each. That means that the program cost was only about half for those boys, because they used their earnings to offset costs. This brings the program cost down to about 30 cents per hour.


I then brought to their attention that the Troop does not charge for patches or equipment repair and upgrade. Also that the Troop helps to fund outing expenses to help make outings more affordable. So, some of the expense for their sons being in Scouting is offset by the Troop.


The attention grabber was when I showed them that the Adult volunteers in the program give all this time freely. In fact, it does not stop at 579 hours per year for the Adult leaders; there are countless other hours spent in planning, phone calls, working with your Senior Patrol, and so on. One hour per week? NOT!


The bottom line is that the cost per hour of programming could be as low as 30 cents per hour (at least in 2005). All made possible by caring leaders who donate their time because they believe in what they are doing. This was in a Troop; I expect that the cost could be lower for the boys in a Pack. It might be interesting to see the breakdown.



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How did that work out for you? Did some of parents get the message or still get the deer in headlight face?

let me also ask, to you all the people(PARENTS) who complain about costs and such, do they help within the pack as a DL, Comm, memeber, etcc..

or is just me that they will not step up and help out, but they are there when the time come to complain or wonder why things are done or not done? You can be part of problem or part of the solution!

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