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Taserdoc

Paying to Staff

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Or do you generally allow them a free meal that has been paid for by everybody else including the instructors?

 

With a few exceptions, most of the meals served on these type of events are pretty cheap and simple. Cold cuts, dutch oven stews, french toast and sausage, etc. Usually runs $2-$3 a person, at most, and usually much less for large events where food is purchased in bulk.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the friendly, courteous and kind thing to do is to offer food and drink to visitors, be they the professional staff, parents, members of the hosting organization, other community members, etc.

 

So, at NYLT for example, we absolutely do offer any visiting professionals to join us for a meal while they're onsite, and I've never felt it necessary to ask them to cover the $2 worth of food that they're eating. (Realistically, if we did charge them, they could just count it as a job related expense and get reimbursed by the council, so it's not like it really matters anyway.)

 

I honestly have bigger fish to fry than worry about whether or not a DE eats a bologna sandwich while visiting a training or camporee...

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hocountry, welcome to scouting and servant leadership. That is indeed how it works. I've staffed four WB courses and served as ASM on two Jambos and I took vacation time and paid my way just like the participants. If you were sending your son to Jambo and the cost was $3000 per person (our cost in 2010), how would you feel when you found out the the cost for the four adults in your son's troop was split between the 36 youth in the troop. All of a sudden, your son's cost is $3,333 instead of $3,000. Keep in mind, even though we are transporting 36 kids halfway across the nation by plane and bus and riding herd on them, we too are getting to tour DC and participate in the same things the boys are. WB staff usually has to pay to cover their food as adding the staff cost to the participants would make it even harder for them to pay......and we want as many people to attend as possible. It isn't like we don't know this coming in and then find out. No one has to do it if they don't want to.....but they miss out on a great opportunity.

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Abel - Depends on the circumstances and the event - how is that interesting?

 

My point is that usually it just doesn't really matter in the great scheme of things.

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hicountry asks You want a volunteer to help teach woodbadge and you want that person to cough up $200 plus for the priveledge of taking a a weekend or more of their time providing you basically free labor ?

 

For us the cost of WB for a participant is like $250 - $285 (we have and early bird signup incentive) for staff it is $85.. And that does not just cover food for the 6 days of WB. But also food for 5 or 6 days of staff meetings.. Plus our T-shirt.. Maybe we aren't getting everything for free, but we are definately not paying for things the participants are paying for like the MEGA printouts.. (I think we went through 3 cases of paper some legal size, some 3hole, some normal), nor other expenses like the stuff that is jammed into their outgoing packets, and the royalty fees or the cost of the camp.. (I was going to do a small district training at my BSA camp until they tried charging me $250 and I was not using all the buildings etc for 6 days..)..

 

So I do not see that we are being overcharged for our food.. We just aren't getting a free ride.

 

What do I get out of it?.. You learn during the WB course (except for people like Basement).. But being on staff you have to really learn the course inside and out and have the time to do so. Besides that you get to meet alot of great people inside and outside of your district, while working on staff with them.. Plus for me, I really learn how to put on a great presentation, and this training I can then take and put into practice while putting on my own district training..

 

So for $85. It's a bargain.

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Basement.. You have to put it in the entire context.. I said :

 

You learn during the WB course (except for people like Basement)..

 

Now whenever WB topic is brought up what do you say?? You definatly do not said "Had a blast, Learned a lot.." You say.. "I stinks. A waste of money.. Don't bother.."

 

Therefore you are in the group who did not get anything out of Woodbadge..

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Moose - I agree that staffing training course, and other events, offers a lot of benefit to the staff members. I'm wondering, though, if that's enough of a reason to ask that staff members pay for the privilege of staffing?

 

I've known several youth who have worked at a council summer camp, and a few that have worked at HA bases. All now count camp staff as a valuable, educational, gratifying experience. Clearly they got some benefit from serving on staff - but they also got paid! Should they not be getting paid - or, should they being paying - when serving on camp staff?

 

Like I said before, I can see arguments for both sides of the issue. And, while I generally try to work things out so that event staff don't have to pay, I think it really depends on the particular event in question. What's acceptable for a one-day Cub Scout event might not be acceptable for Wood Badge.

 

But... It seems like its OK in some cases for camp staff to be paid (summer camp staff). It seems like its OK for event staff to have to pay to staff (Wood Badge, others). But what is so special about the case where event staff neither pay not get paid to staff an event?

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Moose - I agree that staffing training course, and other events, offers a lot of benefit to the staff members. I'm wondering, though, if that's enough of a reason to ask that staff members pay for the privilege of staffing?

 

I've known several youth who have worked at a council summer camp, and a few that have worked at HA bases. All now count camp staff as a valuable, educational, gratifying experience. Clearly they got some benefit from serving on staff - but they also got paid! Should they not be getting paid - or, should they being paying - when serving on camp staff?

 

Like I said before, I can see arguments for both sides of the issue. And, while I generally try to work things out so that event staff don't have to pay, I think it really depends on the particular event in question. What's acceptable for a one-day Cub Scout event might not be acceptable for Wood Badge.

 

But... It seems like its OK in some cases for camp staff to be paid (summer camp staff). It seems like its OK for event staff to have to pay to staff (Wood Badge, others). But what is so special about the case where event staff neither pay not get paid to staff an event?

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Don't get me wrong.. If they didn't charge me for my meals I would not of quibbled..

 

The first year I was on WB staff I was surprised by the charge, just like the OP.. If it had been the full $285 dollar charge for the course.. I may have reconcidered being on staff (although I am one who once making a committement more likely would have beat myself over the head, for accepting, and paid it because I was then committed.. But not have accepted to be on staff again.)..

 

But since they only charged the $85 dollars and I could see it was a fair price for meals for about 10 or 11 days (6 days course other days staff meetings) + the T-shirt.. I was fine with paying..

 

I see it as a fair price of paying my own way, and then I gain the experience from being on staff..

 

 

I too do not saddle my District trainers with the expense.. For the Staff meals, during IOLS.. I buy the food and feed the staff out of my own pocket.. But few of my staff hangs around for the whole weekend, so normally it is my family and a guest or two for a lunch or a dinner.. For other things it is just coffee & donuts and I just buy it out of the course fees and don't nickle and dime my staff for the donut they eat.

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I don't have a problem serving on staff and paying $85 for a week or 10 days worth of food. I do, however, have a problem paying $20 to take a course taught by a volunteer, sitting in a donated church classroom and receiving about 25 cents worth of handouts.

 

Question for the course directors and ASM-admin folks out there: When you figures the council's percentage of profit on a course, is the staff fee included in that calculation? In otherwords, Moose, are you paying $85 for food and a t-shirt or are you paying $68 for food and a t-shirt and $17 profit to the council?

 

 

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Don't you really need to be able to look at the Wood Badge Course budget as seen by the Council to understand these things?

 

 

I'm supposing the council looks at this as a supply/demand issue, with their objective being to maximize the revenues they can get from the course.

 

They charge all participants whatever they can. If they couldn't get the staff they needed for free, they would pay staffers to attend. Since they do get staff for free, why not charge them if they will come for free and pay too?

 

Frankly, I see Wood Badge as over promoted by council. Perhaps that helps stoke demand and the amount that can be charged.

 

I don't claim to be an Xpert on this issue. I'm guessing and supposing.

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As to the question if $85 for staff is the true charge or if council is making a profit on it's staff.. I don't have a dime for dime spent.. I think it is a good price, and (shhh.. don't let anyone who sets the prices in my council see this..) Maybe underpriced..

 

I mean yes we do have our lunches of deli meats and bread, with cookies and apples.. But then we have our fancy meals too.. I believe we had one real nice dinner during the staff weekend (where you stay at camp for two days organizing the program).. The meals during WB are usually not outrageous but nice, with a variety of choices.. Then for staff only (while the participants are in an evening of patrol time and set up their own cracker barrel and entertainment).. The staff get our last night of the course where we have a very fancy meal with appetizers like the chocolate fountain, and shrimp and other stuff.. Then a meal of 3 types of meat, last year it was(fish, a beef, pork) and fancy side dishes.. low candle light.. waiters all high, high, elegance except the camp dishware was still camp dishware and no wine was served..

 

Really I didn't feel that I paid $85 and got $50 worth of food because they were skimpy on the meals..

 

I do know last years course director was phenomenal with how he found deals and stretched the budget.. So.. maybe.. like as scribe I would find what I thought was the cheapest price for 100 DVDs and he would insist he could find it cheaper and normally did.. Due to T-shirt costs rising (after the course price was set).. I know things were shifted to make the budget and things were tight.. Every cost cutting effort was made.. But, it wasnt in what was served or quantity of. It was more in finding the place that sold the item at the cheapest price.

Also from what I have heard, if we do make a profit, all does not automatically go to the council coffers.. It goes into getting better equipment for the WB course.. Like they would like to get their own DVD burner, then constantly borrow, Copy machine, Projector etc.. And I think they can put the excess in a kitty and save up.. So like if they make a profit of $150 this year, but the DVD burner will cost $250.. The $150 is held until it accumulates.. That is not to say that the Council does not take a percentage.. They may take a percentage, then the leftover is added to saving up for items for WB.. It is just Council does not take it all..

 

 

 

SP.. Part of the heavy promoting is due to WB rules.. In order to run a course you must have at least 30 participants signed up 30 days before the course starts. If you don't then you must cancel the course.. That type of pressure causes heavy promotion.. Even if you only get 15 participants signing up, you don't want to cancel the course on them. And the Course Director does not want to put his staff through all the time and effort of working towards this big event to tell them they wasted their time.. It puts alot of pressure on people who do not want to let anyone down.. That pressure turns into heavy promotion to at least guarentee 30 participants, if not a full course.. If you don't get a full course, then the course director has to fire 1 or 2 Troop Guides, maybe a few other staff positions.. No one want the burden of choosing who of your 8 TG's are to be let go..

 

All other trainings can run with 1 or 3 participants.. WB has the burden of having to have 30 to 48 participants..(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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Well I haven't taught SM Specific, but I know BALOO had about $15/person in photocopies. I was so concerned b/c we didn't have enough preregister to handle the copy costs and food. Luckily we had enough last minute folks show up to cover costs.

 

As for the IOLS course I taught, I spent over $70 for photocopies for all 15 participants and staffers. Now $16 of that was for 2 topo maps made on a plotter that I can reuse, but the rest covered applications, handouts, etc.

 

 

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Yes Baloo is top heavy in printing of copies if you go that route.. With that course I find it easier to pass out cd's to most with one or 2 handouts for people without computers.. It works out to be cheaper.. And 90% to 100% of what you pass out will not be read anyway.

 

IOLS/OWLs I use to sweat about the break even cost until I put the burden of the meal planning and purchasing of food on the patrols.. I know syllabus says we are to give them their food.. But honestly I would either over swing or under swing with the budget when food was part of my budget. This way the participants get hand on experience with meal planning and organizing the food, and the meals will be what everyone in the patrol is happy with, and they don't run into problems of overpaying for the course, or me run into problems with underpaying for the course.

 

I just do a pre-planning meeting that deals with the cooking & meal planning skills and gives them some patrol time to organize. Many in our council run their IOLS/OWLS the same way.

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