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When are den dues considered excessive?

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I asked about te weekly dues when I first joined my pack. I was told that some parents complained about the weekly dues, feeling they were "nickeled and dimed." Plus dues varied among the dens. So the pack decided to do lump sum, and the dens responsible for their own supplies.

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I think the OP gave up after not getting 100% of people to validate his/her position

I already responded to the duplicate thread created by the OP but having read this one...   HOLY COW!   KarenMcV, I've had parents like you in my den. Never happy about anything, constantly com

I'm still trying to imagine KDD as angry and bitter.   OP: If you're still reading, $40 is quite reasonable. $30 is an extreme bargain. KDD was asking legitimate questions in order to honestly

Well, I joined this site so that I could learn more about scouting in an attempt to be more of an asset to our boys, our den and our pack. I came forward with a simple question to help clarify den dues and to hear what others were doing in terms of their dens. However, I was quickly attacked and labeled a complainer, a problem parent, an absentee and uninformed parent and a complaining private school parent, so please forgive me if I was defensive in light of the immediate attacks over a simple question.


I also do not agree that I was applauding only those responses that agreed with me or that my question had anything to do with my sons being in Catholic school. On a side note, our school has a fabulous Parents Club that does amazing things for our school and our teachers. Our school and our athletic programs are not in any financial need whatsoever. Our school also has wonderful supportive relationships with our neighboring public schools. What I was doing, was thanking the people who honestly tried to help me with respectful enlightening information. For the record, I have never ever been opposed to paying den dues in any way shape or form. My husband and I always go above and beyond to help both monetarily and with our time and we are happy to do so. I would never expect a Den Leader to pay for materials for our sons out of their own pockets.


As far as offering to help our Den Leader, I constantly and continuously offer to help with leg-work, planning, internet research and/or prepping materials in advance. I regularly offer ideas as well as my time to help implement any ideas that the Den Leader chooses. My Husband and I are both very, very involved in den and pack activities for both of our sons. The meeting we missed where they discussed den dues was because my son was sick. I contacted our Den Leader directly and expressed that I thought that the den dues were a little high and suggested ways in which programs could be a bit more cost effective and offered ideas and my time to help with those or any other ideas. I’ve expressed directly to our Den Leader time and time again that I’m not trying to be difficult, but rather, that I’m trying to help. The thought of splitting the den was a thought to relieve some of the stress from our current Den Leader and would be our offer to help not harm. Most of the time, all of our offers and attempts to help are rebuffed because our DL has his own very specific ideas in mind (and that is not meant to be insulting, just the truth of the matter).


My original question was actually if an additional $40.00 in den dues was necessary, thinking that the materials needed to complete achievements could be purchased on a lesser budget. My thoughts were never about asking if another $40.00 was worth it. Of course scouting is a very valuable program for our boys and of course it is, “worth it.â€Â


Just for clarification, our pack collects $50.00 per scout in registration fees. We have right around 60 scouts in our pack and we have 12 scouts in our den. Last year, our scouts sold over $12,000.00 in popcorn sales (corrected from one post where I stated $10,000.00) and they are on track to exceed that this year. Parents pay out-of-pocket separately for all of the outings, events, camping and our Blue and Gold banquet. Den Leaders are reimbursed by the pack for all out-of-pocket expenses provided they complete and submit the appropriate paperwork accompanied by receipts.


Lastly, our Den Leader did eventually respond to my questions. He reported that he does not have a yearlong plan for our den and that $40.00 was just an arbitrary number that he threw out there. He said that he doesn’t expect to spend more than $300.00 dollars per year on materials so he is lowering the den dues to $30.00 per scout. All of the suggestions, ideas and offers to help by both my husband and I were rebuffed.


Thanks for all of your concerns and comments. I will not be posting any longer as I have formally requested to be removed from this site, it's just not the resource I thought it would be.


Have a WONDERFUL year in scouting and God bless!

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I must agree.....

Too bad.


I wish that I would have caught this thread sooner, before it degraded

for future readers, here's my comment

My pack always charged $70 per year and no explanation of where the money really goes. Seemed high to me, especially since we pay additionally for any camp fees.

Sp when I started as ACM, I wanted to be able to answer the question

so i added it up.

This was his Wolf year

I took my son's uniform as an "average" scout


took his uniform and piece by piece added the prices form scoutstuff.org

every belt loop

every book

every patch and award

estimated the cost of the T-shirt

religious medal book cost

religious medals cost

pinewood derby kit

national dues

boys life subscription



Then divided by 1-1/2 years or whatever it was, to get an average cost per scout per year.

I was honestly surprised how much it was


then considered the costs of supplies used for den meetings, supplies for pack meeting activities, decorations for B&G and Pinewood......


It worked out to a lot more than $70 per scout.


In the years since, i have come to realize that my average was likely a bit high, since my son was very energetic about awards his Tiger year, and that has greatly tapered off. I'm not sure if he earned a single belt loop last year for example.....


the cost is still way more than $70/year


we've now increased to $80 with the dues increase last year.......

and considering a less than stellar fund raising outlook this year, we'll probably come up short.

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My earlier post is what blw2 suggests, break it down, it will surprise oneself, and then advertise to everyone else what you found out. It's not cheap. I ran a Venturing crew that basically started out at +$1,000 to get started and that didn't cover the activities which could range up there as well.


My troop is now heavy into popcorn sales with a major push to raise money for the new troop. No ISA's and this basically covers it for the year if they do a good job. Last year the boys all paid $50 for summer camp, the troop covered the rest out of the fundraising activities. The boys will always have to pay something for every activity! They all need a little skin in the game. The "agreement" we have with the parents also stipulates that this money needs to come from their effort, not mom and dad's pockets. It can be gift money from Christmas and birthdays, but it has to be the scout's money.


Everyone seems to be quite happy about the arrangement. Haven't had any complaints or concerns expressed.



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den dues will totally depend on your pack.


The pack my son belonged to.... annual dues went totally to national. All fundraising went to the pack except for popcorn which went to paying part of summer camp fee (depending on how much was sold). And NOTHING went to the den. So yes his den had den dues. As his den leader I did $1 per meeting and showed the spreadsheet of income and out flow of den money.


On the other hand I know of a pack that takes in more money at sign-up and that covers national dues, % to pack, and % to den. But that is a large hit at once when you think that you then have to turn around and buy a uniform.


I liked the way our pack did it. Why buy and supply a pinewood car for every scout when 5 are going to have conflicts and decide to not even both building a car? Why supply each den with a % when the den leader knows how much they are going to need and can get that amount in payments from the parents? And each year will have different costs - for sure webelos was the most expensive for our den.

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Welcome to the forums Karen.


Please understand what you're getting into here. You ask for opinions and you certainly get them with no holds barred. Asked whether the cupcakes should have blue icing and gold sprinkles or gold icing with blue sprinkles and you're as likely as not to get a long dissertation on the multitude of errors in how you run the pack. But the truth is you're tapping into a HUGE amount of experience her. Many folks haven't just "been there, done that," they've been and done it annually for many, many years. Very frequently, what comes off as gruff, is simply cutting to the chase. Add to that the limitations of a online forum -- black and white with no context or intonation. Little smiley faces don't help much.

While Ding Dong is a proud member of the curmudgeon club, I don't find is initial response out of line at all. After a little time in the program -- especially if you serve as a leader -- you will be surprised at the number of people who DO expect the den leader to do all those things he lists. My favorite are those who volunteer AFTER the fact -- "Gosh, you should have told me we're building birdhouses. I have tons of scrap wood at the house." Well, we're building tool boxes next month. "Oh, well I don't have that much wood....." One of the main reasons leaders do get burned out is by well-intentioned parents taking for granted the expense and amount of time leaders put into the program.

That said, $40 is a deal. When I was Cubmaster, pack dues were $65 of which we allocated $20 to each den for their expenses. Now, 14 years later, a combined $90 doesn't seem like much (especially since national dues have taken up most of the difference). Could the DL have done a better job communicating or selling the den budget to the parents? Sure. But think about what that would have entailed -- spending the additional time writing out a formal budget, typing it up, making copies. Then what happened when they distribute that to the parents. With eight families you're bound to have 12 opinions on the budget. The easier course is to come up with something reasonable (which I believe this is) and announce it. Same with schedules. I used to tell my DL one of the benefits of being DL is the ability to dictate schedules. And I do mean dictate. Don't ask when is a good time for various event. Someone will ALWAYS have a conflict and want to reschedule. The DL sets the calendar. Everyone else can make it work or not. I think the same applies to your situation.

Go along to get along. Pay the $40 AND cheerfully volunteer for all the other stuff you mentioned.


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I can sympathize with Karen. She asked a simple question and blew up in her face. Perhaps the hard part about Karen's question is there is no right or wrong answer. It really depends. I know our pack has a cost of about $140 to $155 per scout per year. But we also don't cater meals ever. Pizza yes, but not a catered meal. We rent out some pretty expensive facilities at times, but we try to keep events FREE to all scout family members ... unless it's a not a big open event. Such as, scouts have to pay per person for summer or winter camps. But, our pack also hosts some "cheaper" free camps. Also, blue and gold is free and for the whole family. And, all pack gatherings / meetings / activities (ALL) are free.


It really depends on the personality and traditions of the pack.


Many of us scouters get vary passionate about the program and I really think this is a big issue that hurts scouting. So many run the program so differently and are so invested that we get very aggressive in defending our practices.


SUGGESTION TO MODERATORS - How about changing the "New To The Forum? Move it to the top. Rename it to "New to scouting" and describe it as a tame area for questions from new scouters that will avoid the intensity of many online bulletin boards"

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Good suggestion, Fred. But keep in mind that the moderators don't have that kind of control. We can make the suggestion to Terry but it will carry more weight if the suggestion comes from others as well. So I'll pass this good idea on and encourage you to do the same. Also, this offer is open to anyone else who sees merit in the idea. Thanks.

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Okay, I went back and carefully re-read the opening comments on this thread. Karen posed a perfectly legitimate question to the forum. No problem with that. KDD responded as trying to be helpful. I read and re-read his comments multiple times and found them to be pretty benign compared to some he puts out. I didn't seen anything in there that would have evoked the reaction Karen came back with. With her being a newbie on the forum I'm thinking what KDD wrote and what she read were two different things. I'm all in favor of cutting a bit of slack for the new people because they haven't had a chance to really get to know the styles of responses everyone gives on the forum. Nor does she know the backgrounds of many of the people here. Over time we pick up on those things and somethings are better because of this and something things are worse.


I'm thinking that there are some of us here on the forum that post things because we have a bee in our bonnet to start out with and sometimes helpful advice isn't received as such. I'm angry, mad, frustrated, disappointed, or whatever that bee may be, and I want someone out there to validate my feelings. When that doesn't happen, we immediately cast those people into the camp of those causing the hassle.

That's not always fair, but it does happen.


I'm hoping that Karen finds the answers she is looking for in the ton of comments made by everyone.




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I'm reminded of when I was CM and the negative reaction that arose when we decided that pack dues would be $40 per year or $0 (zero) if they sold popcorn. Angry calls about how they thought the policy was obscene, etc. I have to admit I was surprised at how angry they were.

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Pack -- that's kinda where I'm coming from. Do this for a few years and see a number of parents grumbling because their kid's scrap lumber birdhouse kit had a knot hole in it or the snacks you provide ought to be organic then get back to me. My reaction to the OP was the DL was pretty smart getting out ahead of the expense curve by setting the expectation early. I wish I had done that.

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I watched the thread go off the rails' date=' and I wasn't sure how to intervene in a way that wouldn't get an angry mob calling for my head as the censorship czar of Scouter.com.[/quote']


I really respect your hard work as moderator. It's certainly a job I wouldn't take on (and didn't when I had the chance). But, I really think we rode the rails quite nicely on this one. You either like how a DL is running your kid's program, or you don't and go around fishing for people who will reinforce your sanctimony.


I think we nailed the issue. But maybe that's not what we were being asked to do ...

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