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mdeckerz

Is this a good idea?

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I'm glad I found this forum. It looks like a good place to share ideas about scouting.

 

My son bridged over to Boy Scouts last March and joined a well-established troop that has produced many eagles and is very well equipped. One of the reasons thay have so many resources is that they have tapped into a very lucrative fundraising source that has raised some questions in my mind.

 

Every year, the troop provides staffing at beer and soda booths at a local fair. For one weekend, scouters, parents and scouts 14 and older work in the beer and soda booths and earn wages and tips, which go through an intermediary to the troop treasury. Only adults work in the beer booths. Adults and boys work together in the soda booths. The amount the troop earns from this event varies from year to year, but in good years they have raised as much as $8,000 in a single weekend. As you can guess, this covers all the troop's annual expenses with plenty left over.

 

I have several issues with this approach to fundraising, but my main concern is with the beer booths and whether this might violate BSA's alcohol policy. As I said, no scouts work in the beer booths, but many parents and leaders do. Some have been known to "partake" during their duty.

 

What do you all think? Is this fundraising activity OK?

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Hi mdeckerz

 

Interesting fund raiser. Based on the information you have provided with only adults selling the alcohol I don't see a problem. Has the unit submitted a Unit-Money Earning Application and received approval by the council? If not than that would be another issue to look into.

 

If the adult leaders were drinking in the presence of Scouts that would concern me. But just selling the beverage seems like a good fund raiser in terms of the finances brought in.

 

Yours Truly in Scouting,

Rick Pushies

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Thanks for responding. I will ask whether the troop has received approval from the council for this fundraiser. That's a good point.

 

As for whose "name" we work under, I'm not sure of that either. I am told that the check for our weekend wages is paid to an "intermediary" who then forwards the money to the troop. The tips are all cash, so I'm sure they go directly to the treasurer.

 

Our scoutmaster has told me that officially, this is not a troop event, but merely a fundraiser conducted by "friends of the troop." I don't know about that since all the planning is done at troop and troop committee meetings, and all families with boys in the troop are required to participate.

 

One of the things that bothers me is that the people who put on the fair insist that we wear the fair's uniform (plain white shirt and khaki pants), not scout uniforms, and that we are not permitted to have signs or anything else that identifies us as a scout troop, although some of us mention to the customers that we represent a boy scout troop.

 

Another thing that bothers me is that this year, my wife was working in a soda booth with two scouts and one of our assistant scoutmasters who was working in a beer booth stopped by to visit carrying a beer---at 10:00 a.m.

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I also ask, are they in uniform?

My opinion is that if anyone had the courage to ask, our CO would nix this idea. But in my memory no one has ever suggested such a thing. On the other hand, if I dangled $8000 profit in front of them.....

 

Edited part: Never mind the uniform question, typing at the same time...(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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The Uniform policy states that Scouts should not wear their uniforms while participating in money raising activities, even for the troop, other than selling popcorn and I would especially be careful if the adults are selling alcohol in something that identifies them as Scouts. This could look as an endorsement from the BSA to sell alcohol! If you are doing this for the Fair and they are paying you a stipend then I think it is more appropriate for you to wear their uniform. We do something similar every year as a troop adult activity..that is help serve a a local groups' major fundraiser. They serve between 2500-3000 all you can eat dinners so need lots of help from many groups.. They pay us a stipend for helping but also provide free beer to everyone so we don't want to be seen partaking while in something that identifies us with a troop. We do it not only for the stipend to the troop..but it's a great opportunity for the adults to all get together and do something fun and not have to worry if we have a beer together for a change!!

 

sue m.

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"Our scoutmaster has told me that officially, this is not a troop event, but merely a fundraiser conducted by 'friends of the troop.'"

 

So the SM doesn't want this to be called a Scout money-earning event? Why would that be? I'd bet he doesn't have an approved money-earning event permit. Why can't he get one?

 

That kind of attitude is not good in a SM. We're teaching boys to make ethical choices and the SM is circumventing the rules? If it smells like a duck, it's an unapproved troop money-earning event regardless of what you call it.

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This is one of those moments. If you want to stay even close to the book, I don't think there's any way you can get a fund-raising clearance from council to do it. On the other hand, if it's "friends of the troop" and everybody is on board with it, and there is absolutely NO identification with the BSA in it, you can get away with it if you can get away with it. IOW, if there is an insurance problem, a G2SS or YP problem that comes up you're on your own. A lot of troops would do it, a lot wouldn't.

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The problem I have with this is that the youth are involved. Here is where I see an issue, and it doesn't matter that the youth are working the soda booths, for they are at the event that includes alcohol:

 

"The Boy Scouts of America prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members."

 

It's those last words, "any activity involving participation of youth members", that seem to disqualify this type of fundraising.

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The first thing that comes to mind after reading some of the replies are that first we have the uniform police, now we have the fund raiser/activity police. What am I referring to?

 

I Quote: "The Boy Scouts of America prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members."

 

"It's those last words, "any activity involving participation of youth members", that seem to disqualify this type of fundraising."

 

By that statement, NO SCOUT should be attending Scout Night at either baseball or hockey games. God forbid they see someone or a parent with beer in their hand. Our local speedway offers a month of free attendence to any Scout group, athletic group to the races when they wear the uniform. Are they (speedways, sport centers) going to stop selling alcohol just because the BSA is in attendence? I think not. While it isn't a fund raiser, based on what you said it is an activity.

 

Come on people, use common sense.

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"Friends of the Troop" idea is designed to be a group that is not affiliated with the BSA. This would prevent the need for the Unit Money Earning Application. "Friends of the Troop" would essentially be considered a third party group donating money to the Troop. Even though the members of the third party happen to be leaders as long as there is no connection between the fund raiser and the unit (or BSA), there shouldn't be a problem.

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"Friends of the troop" is silly. Nobody is fooled by that. The boys know the troop is selling beer, the parents know, the fair people know, the CO knows, adult leaders know. Anybody that knows anything at all about the troop money-earning practices knows they sell beer to finance the troop.

 

What is the purpose in phony-ing up a fictitious "friends of" group if this kind of event is completely above-board and above reproach?

 

Selling beer to finance the operation of a Boy Scout troop is wrong. Attempts to cover up that fact are wrong too. Selling beer is not an "ethical choice" for Boy Scouts.

 

Come on people, use common sense.

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Here's my suggestion: suggest that the troop officially staff the soda booths only, and get the Council to approve it as a money-raising activity. I see no reason they shouldn't do so.

 

I'm a bit on the fence as to what you tell the adult leaders who have been selling beer. My strongest feeling is that they should let somebody else sell beer, although I can see an argument that if adults want to do this and then donate their earnings to the troop, it's not really illegal or immoral. (Further, complicating note: if these folks are "earning" wages and tips, that's taxable income, even if they donate it afterwards--unless the "intermediary" is also a nonprofit.)

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From what I'm hearing, the cubmaster who owns a liquor store (and the boys know it and joke about it) may be in trouble. His donations to the pack and to FOS are also in trouble. Am I correct?

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