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Alabama Scouter

Scout with no money

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Anything the Scout does will need money.  Same for Band, same for Soccer,  same for Key Club, MYF, anything.  

 

The parents that complain about paying for the uniform, camp gear, boots, summer camp MUST realize that they will pay or the boy (girl?) will pay with part time jobs or entrepreneurial lemonade stands.   How much is Traveling Baseball?   What exactly is desired?   

For the Unit to work together (boys, parents) to finance summer camp , or any activity, is a wonderful thing. VERY Scoutlike, and not pursued often enough.  Spaghetti dinners, carwashes,  even (shudder) popcorn.   Involve the Scouts. Don't just say "this is what we will do".

 

Umpteen years ago, my Troop raised money for camping and trips by , now seen in hindsight, a marvelous activity, which I have mentioned before on these pages. 

Saturday morning , sometimes on a sunday morning, at 7am , we would gather at the sponsoring church.  Some Scout parents had gone down to the local Krispy Kreme factory and returned with several HUNDRED dozen glazed, gooey, aromatic donuts.  When the station wagons returned to the church parking lot, we divyied the donuts up with Scouts (in pairs) in dads (and moms) cars. Each had a route, a neighborhood to cruise. Maybe 20 or 30 dozen to a car.  Knock on a door, in uniform: " Would you like to buy some fresh donuts to support our Scout Troop?"   A sleepy mother might answer the door: "TOM! IT'S THE SCOUTS!  GET MY WALLET!".   or "Where were you last weekend? We were expecting you".  Folks would buy 3 and 4 dozen to freeze.  Money was made.  Camps were visited.   

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Our troop is fortunate to have a very generous friend who provides funds to assist Scouts with extraordinary financial needs. The Scout and their family is still expected to contribute something. I would say that 4-5 Scouts have benefited from this over the past 15 years. One Scout went to the National Jamboree with assistance from these funds and a council campership fund, along with their own funds. This is apart from regular troop fundraising.

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When my Nephew joined scouts, I made a donation to the San Francisco Bay Area Council.  They use "Rally.org".  I put in the "notes" section that if possible the funds be used to support scouts who could not afford scouting.

 

Maybe you can start up a page like the San Francisco Council.

 

Below is a link to their page at Rally.org:

 

https://rally.org/SFBAC

 

I should state that I do not know anything about Rally.org other than that the San Francisco Council uses them.

 

I would be willing to donate.  It would be purely for selfish reasons.  The way things have been going lately, I need all the good karma I can get :confused:.

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I would definitely make sure the scout participated in any kind of fundraisers the troop holds.  And see if he can do extra jobs like others have mentioned. 

 

Is there a reason your unit only does one fundraiser a year?  Why not have a car wash or a spaghetti dinner?  Those one off fundraisers could be enough for whatever he may need and then some surplus for anything the troop needs or even a fun trip one weekend.

 

Is there a Scout Reach division in your council/district?  Are there scholarships available thru the council for things like a uniform and some fees associated with scouting?  

 

I hesitate to let people in our pack know that there are scholarships available as they may not really need it and will apply for it and take it away from someone who does.   We also had a parent 3 years ago who claimed they were dirt poor (I don't doubt they were lower income but from what I could tell they had no problem going and spending the day down in St. Augustine riding the pirate boats several times at a pretty penny http://www.blackravenadventures.com/price/tickets).  I told her that scholarships were available and that she had to contact the council as we do not handle any of it.   Well they sporadically attended that 1st year.  Then the treasurer tells me at the 1st den meeting the next year that they never paid any dues at all the previous year (yes I know that should have been mentioned sometime in the previous year).  We pull the parent out of the meeting and ask for dues.  She blustered all up and said she paid last year.  Um no you didn't.  We have no record of it at all.  She claimed she had cancelled checks.   We told her she needed to bring them up to us as proof of payment.   Never saw her or her child again.  She knew what she was doing all along and it finally caught up with her.   I still see them at my sons school. I am so tempted to ask if she found another pack to fleece.  But I know that wouldn't be very nice.  But man we paid for awards all year long and gave her son a uniform shirt and patches for it.  That stuff wasn't cheap. 

 

So naturally now we are on guard when someone claims they can't pay their way. I hate that we are like that but the whole fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me thing holds true. 

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Is there a reason your unit only does one fundraiser a year?  Why not have a car wash or a spaghetti dinner?  Those one off fundraisers could be enough for whatever he may need and then some surplus for anything the troop needs or even a fun trip one weekend.

 

 

We did the one fundraising event (two fundraisers at the event; 1 involving Scouts, second involving adults) because it was enough to cover 100% of the troops expenses (the adults selling food) and anywhere from 50% - 100% of the Scout's expenses, pending the number of hours we worked, and activities they did. Yes, Individual Scout Accounts are no longer acceptable, but this was back in the day. Only time I had to do extra fundraising was when I did a big trip.

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I just finished three years as a Cubmaster for a Pack that serves the two schools in our District with the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students (one includes the local homeless shelter in its jurisdiction).  One of them also houses a bilingual charter school (which my children attend), so we have a number of Hispanic families. 

 

Working with Cub Scouts, the opportunities for youth to 'earn their own way' without parental support/assistance are obviously limited.  I know that Boy Scouts covers a wider age range, if this was a recent crossover it is unlikely the boy is old enough to earn money on his own.  A 10-11 year old should not be going door to door to solicit lawn mowing jobs (or sell popcorn, for that matter) without a parent or buddy along.  If this is a high school aged boy, then perhaps he is old enough to work, but understand that in many cases like this the money goes to help support the family.

 

Probably the biggest thing you can do as a unit is to be thrifty.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen Packs and Troops operating with extravagant budgets.  Instead of a Blue and Gold pot luck, they have a catered meal.  When I hear about $40 weekend campouts I cringe.  If our Cub Scout Pack can do it for less than $20 (for a five meal, two night campout), I can't comprehend why a Boy Scout Troop should need $40 to do the same thing.

 

As others have said, check with your Council.  You may need to ask more than one person to get the right answer.  There are often funds available to support the economically disadvantaged Scout, especially for minority Scouts.  Unfortunately these funds aren't always available to units.  Our Council has a Scoutreach program that they run, but the funds can't be tapped by units.  But they do at least offer camperships and sometimes 'experienced' uniforms (but often not enough to go around). 

 

Honestly, the best thing might be to find a generous sponsor for this Scout.  Check if there are any Hispanic civic or business organizations in your area (there usually are).  Reach out to one of them and explain the situation.  If you explain what your unit is doing to help the boy, and what the boy's family can, or can't, contribute and why, then perhaps someone would be willing to help out.  You may also try reaching out to your District Committee... I know that a number of members on our District Committee are willing to dip into their own pockets to help fund Scouting when the need is great.  As a last resort, look into other civic organizations.  Our Pack is sponsored by the Kiwanis club, and they are very focused on helping youth.  Every year our Chartered Org Rep let us know that we could come to them as a last resort if all other options failed.  Thankfully it never came to that, but it was a close thing on more than one occasion.

 

I'll tell you this - I believe this is a unit problem to solve, not a problem that should be shouldered by the boy and his mother.  I tell every new member of my Pack this - I never want financial need to be the reason why a Boy doesn't participate in Scouting.  As a Pack, we can sell a few extra cases of popcorn if it means that a Scout from a low income family can go to summer camp.  We buy every $5-7 used Scout shirt we can find, and buy the right patches for them so that every boy in our Pack can have a uniform shirt.  As Scouts, it is our duty to help other Scouts.  It's one thing to expect *all* Scouts to pay their own way (through fundraising as a Patrol/unit) - but if you let one boy's parents write a check to pay for his dues/camp/whatever, then in my opinion it isn't fair to expect this other boy to entirely earn his own way just because his mom can't afford to cover him.  If you are letting one family have the 'buy out' option, then as a unit you need to figure out how you are going to handle cases where not all families can afford to do that.  Otherwise you are undermining all of the lessons in teamwork and helpfulness that Scouting is trying to teach.

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My CO insists that we be very discreet about financial assistance.  We do not broadcast who is, or is not, receiving assistance.  It is not a matter for public discussion.

 

The last thing we want is to do is make a scout the subject of gossip and accusations. 

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It's probably a subject for a new thread, or perhaps it's been discussed before, but.....

 

What about the Scout whose parents say they can't afford camping trips/uniform/summer camp, etc., and the Troop bends over backwards to make it happen for the Scout, then.....

 

In September, the Scout is showing the rest of the troop his pictures from his family's trip to Disney? :)

 

Not the Scout's fault, of course, but what do you do??

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Time for coffee with the folks.   It also applies to the parents that can't afford scouting yet the two of them are a pack a day smokers who burn up $5,000+ a year on smokes.  Priorities.  Their priority is themselves.  I find that my priority is the boy.  I work from that point of view.

Edited by Stosh
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It's probably a subject for a new thread, or perhaps it's been discussed before, but.....

 

What about the Scout whose parents say they can't afford camping trips/uniform/summer camp, etc., and the Troop bends over backwards to make it happen for the Scout, then.....

 

In September, the Scout is showing the rest of the troop his pictures from his family's trip to Disney? :)

 

Not the Scout's fault, of course, but what do you do??

 

I think we need to consider the very real possibility that a financially struggling family might be invited to a special event as somebody else's guest.  

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I think we need to consider the very real possibility that a financially struggling family might be invited to a special event as somebody else's guest.  

 

That is a very real possibility. My wife's best friend and my in-laws had a conspiracy to send us to Orlando to go to Disney as a Christmas present. Friend had a timeshare she couldn't use last year, and the in-laws paid for the tickets. We could not afford to go otherwise.

 

Edited: One thing I did was mention that fact to folks, because it can look very bad, and appearances are important. I especially mentioned how the present was given, i.e. a box with a card saying "You're going to Disney!" and the look at first of stunned belief on the youngest son's face, then the "happy dance" he did.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Last night was another reason why I like having a Scout pay some how, whether doing fundraising or putting "sweat equity" into doing camps and trips.

 

As you know, my troop's Philmont trip was cancelled, and we had a bunch of upset Scouts. One of the leaders was bound and determine to get the boys on a special backpacking trip and they are doing the AT. One of the Scouts who was suppose to do Philmont is in financial difficulties. The fundraisers didn't pan out as planned (one reason trip got cancelled). Anyway, to go on  the AT trek, The Scout was borrowing a bunch of the gear needed for the trek. They leave Friday, and he backed out last night for "family reasons."  Trip is the same week as the Philmont trek, has been planned since the folks knew Philmont was cancelled (heck planning started before it was announced to everyone as the AT trek leader found out before anyone else did!). And since they were going low budget, each person was responsible for their own food, the "big" cost of the trip, other than gear which he was borrowing. Needless to say, very disappointing.

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One can self-outfit a BWCA float for about 1/3rd the cost of Norther Tier.  I've hiked all over and Philmont is no different than any of the other hikes out there.

 

One doesn't need to spend a ton of money to have a great time.  A Scout is Thrifty.

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We have a boy join from a disadvantaged home. Hispanic. No father. On every type of aid that is available.

Zero money.

 

What do your troops have as guidelines for how to deal with this situation? Our CO has refused to assist in any way, and severely restricts how we can solicit the membership for funds.

 

We sell popcorn as our only fundraiser, and our scouts pay their dues this way, and the motivated scouts can pay for summer camp. So there isn't a line item for "scouts in need".

 

In the past troop leaders paid out of their own pocket for scouts in need. With this level of support needed, there is little stomach for this.

 

Please provide guidance.

 

Two things: 1) Do what you can to help the boy.  You need to start a line item for "scouts in need" or as our troop does "camperships."  2) The boy needs to participate in fundraising as well.  3) Have a heart to heart with your CO about this situation, and the need to raise funds.  I hope your CO isn't a church. 

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each person was responsible for their own food, the "big" cost of the trip, other than gear which he was borrowing.

 

I don't know the boy or the situation, but maybe even the cost of the food is too much?  I have two younger sisters-in-law who were adopted into my wife's family as children.  To make a long story short, they've made some very poor life choices, and find themselves in situations that aren't so different from their birth family.  They receive government assistance.  At one point, one of them, despite receiving food stamps, had gone a week with nothing to feed herself or her child.  Looking into how this could happen, I discovered that she, like so many receiving welfare, had no concept of shopping on a budget.  I tried to teach her how to buy inexpensive but sustaining foods (not so different than what I would teach a group of Boy Scouts shopping for a weekend campout).

 

I guess my point is this - if a family is struggling to feed themselves at home, coming up with backpacking meals may be out of their budget, especially if they don't understand what is possible.  You or I know that rice or pasta is inexpensive and could be used as a base for a backpacking meal.  However, not everyone understands that, and the cost of freeze-dried meals or MREs can get up there.

 

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