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fred johnson

Do You Really Need The Book ?

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... currently suffering sticker shock ...   $12.99 for the new cub books.  50 cubs x $12.99 = $649.50.  

 

For years, our pack purchased the books for the cubs.  It started as a $250 or so price years ago and it has been around $400 now.  But with the new book, it will be $600+.  So it begs the question ... do Cubs really need the new books to participate and advance ?  Or would a well organized den leader benefit better from the $13 per cub that it would cost to purchase the books?  Or should the pack just save the money.  

 

When we had parents buy the books themselves, we'd have 30% to 50% that would just never get the book or it would be so late getting the book it wasn't worth it.  So it almost seems like an all or none.  Buy for all or structure such that the books are not really used.

 

It's a lot of money each year.  We could throw two good parties or one good party with food for that much.

 

?????

 

 

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Parents always bought the books for our Cubs.

Regardless, someone's out one party!

I foresee a lot of dens figuring out how to share a book or two.

For something like that to work really well, the boys would have to live in close proximity.

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Let me add: Once again National is listening to the voice of marketers and printing full color materials that should be produced in black and white for a fraction of the cost.

Increased cost -> raised barriers -> reduced involvement.

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Not sure if it's the marketers, or the fact that if it's not in color, with lots of pictures, neither the parents NOR the scouts will look at it.  Take a look at school books now, compared to what we had in the 60s and 70s.  (no, we didn't use clay tablets).  My 11th grade US History book was like reading the dictionary.  Be that as it may, in my pack, the parents bought the books.  If the pack buys the books, it needs to be accounted for in the Unit Budget Plan...just that much more dues to charge or popcorn to sell.  There ain't no free lunch.

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We gave the parents a choice. 
They could purchase the necker, slide and book at the scout shop or they could pay us for them and we'd pick them up, and hand them out to the boys.  This was meant to be a convenience to our parents, as the only Scout store in town was over an hour from our location, and open M-F 9-5 and Sat 1-4.   Tough to get in, for working parents. 

For a troop without the resources, I would say get a book, scan it into a computer, and send it out to the parents as a PDF, or get the CO to print off copies (in B&W) for the scouts. 

Also, our council would give new scouts their first book (not sure if they are still doing this) when they signed up and paid for BSA dues.  

Personally, our son loved getting his new book each year.  He'd devour it for a week, and then use it when needed. 






 

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how much were the books last year?

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The cheap strategy is to print for each scout the Adventure Requirements and Insignia (link found here http://www.scouting.org/Home/programupdates.aspx)relevant to their rank. Have their parents put it on a wall or head board someplace safe from the usual 8-10 year-old's mechanisims of destruction. (Alternatively, the online scoutbook might be cheaper if everyone in the den already invests in internet connections.)

 

Then, keep one or two book so the boys could read up on how to accomplish what they need to do during the den meetings.

 

The DL keeps a paper chart, and colors in boy's progress.

 

With the money saved, the boys can buy notebooks and that pizza. (Or, maybe the pieces to a window-box weather station that monitor on a daily basis.)

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the price was steep.

National likes making it tough for us with this one. The Boy Scout handbook is the same price and in theory boys use it for many years (if they don't lose or destroy it),

 

They should have made the den leader book $20 and put pages to copy in for the kids (workbook style) then packs would just need to copy for boys and buy some binders at Walmart or staples in the back to school super sales. Orange, yellow, blue, green by rank. Would have been less expensive

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the price was steep.

National likes making it tough for us with this one. The Boy Scout handbook is the same price and in theory boys use it for many years (if they don't lose or destroy it),

 

They should have made the den leader book $20 and put pages to copy in for the kids (workbook style) then packs would just need to copy for boys and buy some binders at Walmart or staples in the back to school super sales. Orange, yellow, blue, green by rank. Would have been less expensive

Yes, but then council wouldn't get their $$$$. 

 

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I think what CubDayCampDirector suggests would be illegal.  Those pesky copyright laws again.  If the BSA didn't care about the money, they could put ALL publications online or on a CD and all members would get one free with registration.

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I think what CubDayCampDirector suggests would be illegal.  Those pesky copyright laws again.  If the BSA didn't care about the money, they could put ALL publications online or on a CD and all members would get one free with registration.

 

Agreed. Disagreeing with the price tag of a book isn't license to violate copyright law.

 

Another approach would be to re-use them like textbooks (which, in essence, they are) and lend them to the scouts each year. Scouts who want to write in the book or just own a copy could purchase it from the scout shop. Using a visual chart to track advancements during meetings is a good way to keep records and inspire scouts. 

 

Personally, I'd rather drop buying Boy's Life or neckers and slides (especially the slides, which aren't required uniforming) than not give handbooks to the cubs.

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Reusing like textbooks is an idea, but I doubt they are durable enough for that.  Maybe if they had hardcover editions...

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The issue with not requiring the book is you risk the scouts themselves drifting further from scouting.  The book is something tangible for scouts to pick up and read.  I realize many might never open the book, leaving the management of their scouting experience to their leaders and/or parents, but you don't want to cut off those that do read it.  Part of the purpose of cub scouting is preparing boys for boy scouts.  Having the books aids in that goal as it allows scouts to be more vested in their experience.

 

To me, the best way to cut the entry expense is to eliminate rank specific slides.  That's the quick and dirty option to save an annual recurring expense.  There's no need to have to buy a new slide every year. 

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The book is helpful for kids that are self motivated learners or have parents that get involved with them learning on days off from school, etc.

 

We don't require the uniform neckerchief slide - if parents want to buy it that's fine. Each den makes a new one in the first couple meetings for the year. The kids make it and the parents man the Hot hot glue gun.

 

We wanted to do Pack neckerchiefs like the Troop in town does but were told NO WAY when the council found out (I asked here, but the committee chair asked the office). Was a shame because we were going to do a nice blue with gold embroidery on it ($15 each - but you get to wear it for all 4.5 years).

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<<We wanted to do Pack neckerchiefs like the Troop in town does but were told NO WAY when the council found out>>

 

 

 

I think that's a splendid idea!

 

Just what did the council do?

 

 

Personally,  I cut out neckerchiefs from colorful bedsheets or other yard goods I get at thrift shops.

 

I iron and fold these neckerchiefs and package them in a baggie.

 

I also cut neckerchief slides out of tree limbs and then drill a hole through them.

 

 

When boys join the pack,  they get to choose the neckerchief and slide that appeals to them and we have a ceremony introducing boys to the packs and parents put the neckerchief and slide on their boy.

 

The idea is that boys are immedietely "in uniform,"  at no cost to parents.  Parents are welcome to buy more uniform parts when budget and boy interest suggests doing so  --- when completing the Bobcat award or as a Christmas or birthday present might be examples.

 

Personally,  I wear one of the neckerchiefs and slides I've cut out.  I've decorated them to make them pretty nifty looking.

 

 

I provide new  families with copies of a "Bobcat Handbook" they can use to complete Bobcat requirements and also use to start a Cub Scout scrap book.

 

I also provide parents with copies of the Tiger Cub requirements.  So parents can complete Tiger Cub achievements without buying the book if they wish.

 

 

I'm OPPOSED to making Scouting needlessly expensive!

 

I could come up with some choice remarks to make to any council person who wants to oppose me in my efforts to keep Cub Scouts affordable...

Edited by SeattlePioneer

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