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Pack Budgets: How Much Do You Spend?

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Ok folks, please do not take it as being nosy, but I need some budgeting help. I know every unit is different, but I just want ideas. If you prefer to PM me, that's fine I understand.


Why is this topic coming up? Well you may have remembered my post about AOL plagues a few days back. The budget question strikes again b/c the pack at one time was financially secure, but is now having challenges.


Besides Advancement and awards: i.e. ranks, arrowpoints, immediate recognition kits, the sports and academics program, what else do you pay for?


Do you pay for patches for every single event, i.e you have a pack rocket derby, they get a patch? Or if they go to the PWD, do you get them a patch?


Do you help subsidize campouts when the fee colelcted doesn't cover all expenses, i.e. you plan for 120 who said they will attend, but only get paid by the 80 who do show up, or when you plan for 90 and everyone does show up, but the fees do not cover all of the expenses?


Do you cover the Blue and Gold Banquet costs, or charge a fee?


Do you give promotion/ graduation gifts, i.e. new necker and slide when they move up to the next level, or a plaque when they move to Boy Scouts?


Also a rough idea on how much you spend would be appreciated.


Why do I ask all this? Because the powers that be in my pack have no idea what they spent in years past. No budget plans, no spreadsheets, nothing. Apparently all they have is a box of receipts and a receipt book, so going through that will be a very time consuming process. And we need a game plan NOW!


Thanks in advance.



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Well, first off I have to say we are probably the exception here as we a pack of 39 boys, as of recharter, that sold almost $22,000 in popcorn this year and more than 10,000 the last 4 years). So bugetary concerns aren't our main issue. So we do pay for all the "good stuff" but as I said we are probably the exception.

Oh and BTW we also have been Unit of Honor the last 3 years (not this year due to large WII crossover and other attrition) so the monies spent on rank and other badges was available too. ;-)

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Here is what our Pack does for Finances.



The packs financial structure is done in an effort to adequately fund all activities while adhering to the two applicable points from Scoutings values:

The Law of the Pack The Cub Scout helps the Pack go.

The Scout Law A Scout is Thrifty (A Scout pays his own way).



The Pack dues are an annual amount charged to each Scout that pays for much of his Scouting experience. They cover the fiscal and program year, which runs from September 1 through August 31. For 2010-2011, the Pack dues will be broken into two payment due dates. The first payment, due by September 30th, is $45. The remaining $100 is due on December 31st. For Webelos II boys who will be crossing to Boy Scouts at the end of February, the 2nd payment is reduced to $50. As described below, participating in fundraising activities can reduce the pack dues and cover most items not included in the Pack fee.


What does the Pack dues pay for?  Registration (paid to National)  Insurance (paid to Council)  Boys Life Magazine  Many Pack activity fees  Pack Administrative Costs  Rank related recognitions*  Leader registration & training *Rank requirement recognitions that officially go on the uniformshirt, such as rank badges, arrow points, Webelos activity badges, progress towards rank emblems and beads, compass point emblem and beads.


What is NOT covered by the Pack dues?  Handbooks/Uniforms  District/Council Activity Fees  Special Pack events (campouts, sporting events, etc.)  Non-rank recognitions*  Camps (Day/Resident/Family) *Non-rank recognitions, such as Sports and Academic belt-loops and pins, activity segments, and special achievement awards .




In an effort to keep the cost of Scouting affordable, Pack 221 has instituted Individual Scout Accounts (ISAs). 100% of the commission earned on any of the fund raising events (popcorn, wreaths, etc) goes into the Scouts ISA. The family can use the money in their Scouts ISA to pay for many Scout related expense including the second Pack dues payment, other scout activity fees (Winterlodge, summer camp). Both pack and den activities can be covered by funds the Cub Scout may have in their ISA. At the end of the scouting year any funds remaining in the ISA are rolled into the general Pack 221 account. With the Individual Scout Account system it is possible that, with a bit of work and determination on the Scouts part he can pay for almost an entire year of Scouting with no money coming out of the familys pocket!



For families in need of financial assistance, programs are available that can help greatly reduce the cost of

Scouting. Payment plans can be set up through the Pack Treasurer to make the fees manageable. With these programs and the ability to earn funds through fundraising, every boy should have the opportunity to enjoy the Scouting program! Our goal is to never turn away a boy from a Scouting experience because of money. Please note that there is no 100% scholarship program available, each Scout must help the Pack go by being thrifty and helping to pay his own way.

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As a budgeting tool, let me direct you to the Leader Training Page at http://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/1066, and if you scroll down, you will find a Generic Pack Annual Budget Template Spreadsheet that you can open and copy and adjust and adapt to your Local Financial Conditions.


For example, you could put elements in or out of the "Pack Dues (or Pack Fundraiser Funded)" portion of the budget, and put them into "Paid by Families".


FWIW, and YMMV, my Pack has paid for Handbooks and Advancement Supplies and Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold, in order to ensure that everyone has a book on day one, gets advancement immediate recognition, and doesn't have a "we didn't/can't pay" excuse to not attend a Derby or Banquet.

-- Of course, you could change that, budget wise.

-- The full FAQ description of what our Pack Dues pay for is "The $120 Pack Dues covers BSA registration and Boys Life Subscription, Leader Registration costs, Cub Handbook for the Scout, generic uniform patches (the Atlanta Area Council Shoulder Patch, a 631 Patch that goes right below, and the International Scouting Emblem), Leader Patches, Recognition and Rank Badges (including, within limits, Belt Loops and Pins), Pack T Shirts for Scouts and Leaders (extra for family available for $7), Pinewood Derby kit and awards, Blue & Gold Banquet. The Pack Dues also pays for website and Pack Software and Website and Photo Site fees, supplies for meetings (reasonable, thrifty supplies, not a new kit every week), and planning materials for leaders."


For events, we do try to have "hard" budget figures, so that expenses don't get out of whack with attendance. This is aided by use of a SOAR Website that allows signup to link to PayPal, so that individuals can sign up and pay online, which dramatically decreases the time spent tracking checks and payments, and avoids the problem of "fair weather" fans who decide not to show/pay if it is inconvenient that day.


Hope this helps.


Bert Bender

Pack and District Trainer

South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

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I don't have the figures in front of me. We have a pack of about 55 boys. Last year was a more normal year for us as far as fundraising goes, and we did about $10,000. which means we had about $3500 to play with for the year. We paid for recharter, leadership registration, blue gold, PWD, a pack overnighter, a pack swim at a water park, pack bowling, books, and advancements.

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Last year we spent about $100/boy for what is essentially a 9 month program. To calculate this, we divided the amount spent by the number of boys in the pack. We pay for re-charter, Boy's Life, handbooks, all advancements and activity patches, AOL plaques, supplies and Blue and Gold. We subsidize the cost of a family camp outing and certain pack-wide activities. We do not provide uniforms except in special circumstances, day camp or overnight camp fees, or other discretionary spending.


I would like to cover leader registration and training fees, simply because I do most of the leader recruitment and I find it awkward to say 'Great, thanks for volunteering! Now you have to give us money for the privilege of working with us!' I can't say it has really been a problem though.


We actually took in more than we spent last year, which is IMO great because previously the pack leaders spent every dime they brought in, allowing no wiggle room for a bad popcorn year or an drastic change in membership, etc.


For events like camping, the pack generally pays the camp rental and charges, in advance, fees that cover food supplies. Once the food is purchased, we don't give refunds for cancellations. This policy helps eliminate the problem of over-buying for no-shows.

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I am collecting this info an will be passing it along. We are in the process of rebuilding our committee, we have been a 2 man show for so long(CM and ACM running everything) that we are just now organizing a real, honest to goodness committee, instead of one on paper only.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Our pack pays for everything you listed. The only thing we do not pay for are council camps.


Our fee is $175 per boy (but we are going to reduce that to $150 next years since the dens don't use as much money as we figured originally). This can be earned through popcorn sales - the boys earn 25% of their sales.


We have 40 boys and sold $22K in popcorn.

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Funny you should ask this...We just went through our annual budget meetings last month...Here's what we do...


First and foremost, a Scout should earn his own way. So, we have put together a Scoutfund for each boy (basically a subaccount in the general fund) where a boy can accumulate money to pay for scouting-related activities. The committee reviews the upcoming budget and determines what percentage of popcorn proceeds we need to pay for our anticipated costs. The remaining percentage is allocated to the boy's scoutfund account, based on his sales. For example, this year we allocated 13% of our total popcorn sales to the unit, and 24% of our total popcorn sales to the youth (for a total commission rate of 37%).


Now, we also charge a $20 per year maintenance fee to cover the cost of awards etc, and $17 for chartering. These can be paid-for via Scoutfund account if available. We have found that if a boy sells only $200 in popcorn, it covers those costs 100%. We started the maintenance fee to level the playing field, because some boys were not selling any popcorn and the boys that were ended up subsidizing them.


So what do we pay for? Pinewood Derby cars, Raingutter regatta boats, hiking awards (at 25/50/75/100 miles). We budget $200 for Blue and Gold. We award neckerchiefs to all of the boys that are bridging to their next dens. We pay for a summertime picnic/potluck where we provide the main dish, and a Popcorn Pizza Party, for those boys that sell over $600 in popcorn. We also provide the occasional patch, and last year we paid the registration fee for our boys to go to the District Family Camp. Our average costs, per boy, is $87 annually.


We also pay for 1/2 of the cost of the AOL plaque. Parents pick up the remainder.


Pack also pays the fees for Packmaster, Packmaster dotnet, and Packmasterweb, as well as our internet domain and hosting.


By the way, my Pack sold over $10K in popcorn this year, with 19 boys. We had one boy that sold over $3000 this year, and last year on his own.


Just my input...

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As our pack has grown, we try to cover more things in the pack budget, but as the pack grows, things cost more and more, so we are unable to really cover more things. round and round, it's all related.


We charge a fee in August when you join, since we recruit in August, not late Sept due to our schools starting then. The August fee = the prorated amount of BSA, registration, insurance, prorated adult registration and insurance(we require 1 parent to do youth protection training and fill out a leader application for the background check) plus the cost of a book, the cost of a bobcat badge, card, and parent pin, plus some for awards/belt loops/pins/etc that may be earned past the bobcat). Last year this meant in August brand new parents paid $40. this was probably a little low, but we rounded down so parents could pay with two $20 bills to make the treasurer happy. ;)


Parents were responsible for uniform costs unless we had hand me downs in the uniform closet.


Then we had parents pay for registration, insurance and boy's life magazine, plus half of an adult registration and insurance (we recharter about half of the adults who fill out applications annually to have enough leaders, and committee), and then "some" for the pack to buy a few awards, to include rank award and a couple of belt loops/pins.


This does NOT cover all awards the scout will earn, we expect fundraisers to cover those items.


When making our budget for the year, we look primarily at fundraiser profits from the prior year, and try to estimate what we can make this year in terms of a per scout basis. we set this as a goal. Parents know if as a whole the pack does not make this goal, the pack will have two choices, 1. do more fundraisers, or 2. pass on more costs to parents for extra awards, event costs, etc.


For expenses we first break it down to what things cost. A big trip thru the scout shop to price out derby cars and patches, belt loops (we figure 1 per month for 10 months as max, but expect 5 a year for most scouts in a den unless the den leader is a go-getter), webelos activity pins (we expect 1 per month), and any thing you want to do that you would buy the awards out of the scout shop. Make a nice spreadsheet to pull the data.


then we go thru each event and make an estimated cost and then force that estimated cost over all to fit into what we expect for income. So if we expect fundraisers will only bring in $50 per scout, most of that will be spent on awards with maybe $1 a month toward pack events/pack meetings and the rest of the cost of an event will be passed to the parents.


When we first started we had to pass a lot of costs on to parents, we had no real fundraiser the first year, so The original committee chair set registration higher and charged monthly dues to the den for den supplies AND a littleto the pack for pack supplies. We had a small turn out, but had enough money to pay for the events mostly in full for any scouts, but they had to pay their own way to summer camp or big things. We kept events low keyed, pot lucks, everyone bought their own derby car so the pack could pay for patches and a first place ribbon.


We then changed to a smaller amount for registration and a larger monthly dues $10, with $5 to the den and $5 to the pack. The $5 to the pack paid for $1 for pack meeting or event, and $4 in awards/belt loops/ranks, etc. end of the year we did ok on fundraisers and gave each boy $15 or 20 toward summer camp, and a new book for the new year of scouting.


So now after a few years of that, we decided to get rid of the monthly $5 to the pack and raise registration again but in two payments taht include the book to get boys started on scouting right away.


This year we come in after 3 good fundrasiers last year, with extra $. So we budget $5 per boy for blue and gold, parents still bring pot luck items, but that gives us $ for decorations, big cake, and main dish, plus a few small thank yous to those who help the pack. we buy derby cars and spend about $4 on driver's licenses, patches for everyone including siblings, ribbons and a certificate for all. (we don't do a big derby trophy). We'll also have $ this year to cover part of summer camp put into a fund for boys to ask for (budget = $5 per boy into a fund, plus some $ toward adult summer camp fees), we should have enough at the end of the year to pay for everyone a new scout book as a tradition. depending on the cost of pack campouts, we charge $5 per person, $20 per family to cover most of the costs, with the pack budget covering about $5 per boy. Awards we expect to spend $4 every month--that might be a patch, but often is webelos badges and belt loops, LNT, World Conservation etc awards.


We plan at the end of the current year, we'll have about $500 left over. WE don't keep a huge amount in the account, but that should be enough to cover quite a few months of awards, before our next fundraiser starts bringing in money again.


ok, so too long of an answer??


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Oh and for sure our dens charge dues directly to the den leader . usually $1 a week, or $5 a month. Webelos often $10 a month. That gives them money to pay for den supplies and also for extra patches, derby weights, webelos campout costs--and for AOL plaque/arrows/fancy stuff. the den leader also will solicit the pack to give some $ toward the AOL extra awards, but that varies from den leader to den leader depending on their crafty skill level. some buy out of the scout shop and some make their own so cost varies greatly.


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Eagle, we are in the same boat as you. We are building our pack back up, about 50 - 60 boys and in the past, the pack paid for everything and when it ran out of money, they borrowed from the Troop or from the church because parents paid what they wanted as far as dues. This year, we are finally looking good as far as our checkbook is concerned and are able to do a little more. As incentive to sell popcorn, our cub master offered the highest seller boy the chance to hit him with a pie and for the parents, if they sold $500 their dues were paid. But, we only had a few parents that did this so our fundraiser, while it was good to have the extra money we did, it wasn't what I had hoped for.


From the dues, we pay for their belt loops and pins, their badges when they complete their bobcat or their rank, we give them their derby car and if there are funds available, we do patches or ribbons for special events like the Regatta and the derby. Last year for our Blue and Gold, because we were poor, we had a potluck but this year, we can pay a caterer. IF we have enough left at the end of the year, we would like to have a ceremony to cross the boys over to their next rank and provide them with their new neckerchief and handbook but we have to see what happens at the end of the year for that.


Our camping trips, the parents pay $5 - $7 per person depending on how many days it is and this covers all the food. If they don't show up, they do not get a refund because the food was already bought.


Good luck!

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We are like many of the Packs above. We have right around 50 boys and we charged $150 last year. The amount varies by year and what we include can vary as well. We were top in popcorn in our district at just over 6K (we are in an low income area, this is very good money and hard work). We include cap, necker, slide, book, youth and adult registration, Boys life, insurance, all awards (not just rank advancement), door prizes at events, AOL gifts, WII crossover gifts, and a lot more that I can't think of right now. We do charge minimal fees for most big events like B&G and Crossover, not for the money sake but because we have had problems getting firm committments. For example we have charged $5 a family for some events or $3 a person if it involves a big expense (we had B&G catered once, I am pretty sure we will never do that again! BTW I did vote against that but there are a lot of mom's on the committee that liked the idea of being served and not cleaning up after cooking!). When we have a fee (no matter how small) people feel invested and show up. If we don't charge we don't know how much food to buy as so many decide to skip it at the last minute. It used to be a very big problem but not any more, charging a small fee works! We had a Halloween Carnival for our October Pack meeting and entry was a bag of candy. I told people just to go to the Dollar store on the way to the event. It was an inexpensive cost but allowed us to host a bigger event and it was a good one! Our costs tend to be high as we do a heck of a lot and nothing is cheap around here anymore. For example, our local camping area is about $500 for the weekend now and we have to rent portapotti's!. Also note that we spent 6K in awards last year. At our annual planning meeting we look at the cost of program and that is where we determine which events will be free and for which there will be a charge. As I noted, having a modest fee with more expensive events can offset the cost and more importantly gives us a much firmer headcount to plan for. Our events can be big, Crossover for example, is a weekend camping event and we have hosted 300! Unfortunately when it gets that big it is scary. We don't charge for most of the events because there is little or no cost associated with it but when we do charge it tends to be a very modest amount. Of course, all of this is decided by the committee at the annual planning meeting and each year it has been different. How much you do and how much you include in the cost is going to reflect in what you charge.(This message has been edited by Hawkrod)

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