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Alabama Scouter

Scout with no money

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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.

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The boy can mow my lawn, weed my garden, and he can do it for anyone else in the community.  Alabama?  Okay, he can't shovel walks, but there are tons of things the boy can do to be thrifty.  The patrol can also get out and raise money for their members by doing the same things.  A Scout is Thrifty, this means he can be resourceful and find ways of earning money on his own.  Of course when the boy does my lawn, I am quite generous, too.  In my troop we do not have individual scout accounts, but we do have patrol accounts and that money can be used however the patrol decides. 

 

I do know that some scout camps do have camperships for such an occasion, he needs to find out if the camp does that and how to apply.

 

My parents bought my scout uniform when I joined.  I paid for everything else on my own.  I know it can be done, even in this day and age.

 

Oh, by the way, the lessons learned at that age carried through more than most of the other scout skills and the Mrs. and I are retired quite comfortably now.

Edited by Stosh

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In addition to Stosh's advice, I would inquire with your local Council... cuz, if I'm not mistaken, that's supposed to be on of the things "Family/Friends of Scouting" dollars is supposed to assist with.

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Or SM has a discretionary fund. I encourage committees to have an executive committee of SM, CC, and treasurer, who decide which scouts may need this kind of support. The comment thatmeetings only see a line item in the treasures report "$--.-- allocated for discretionary purposes."

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I'll not whitewash things. One scout with limited resources, you all can pitch in (formally or informally) and make things work for him. If he shows enthusiasm for the program the reward will be plenty.

 

If there are more boys like this whose parents really see the need for scouting, it changes your program. These are parents who will be working multiple sub-minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. They don't have a lot of time to give to the unit. Your budget and resources are constrained. More responsibility is laid on the boys, and they are presented with situations most middle-class parents try to shelter their kids from.

 

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The "high adventure" is no longer to BSA's jewels, but a few days in some nearby state park. Maybe run your own summer camp on someone's grandpa's property, asking the local gun club to provide range safety officers, bringing volunteers FD and PD for certain merit badges. Other things like that. Or if one of your committee or a DE is good at grantsmanship, you get support for really diving in and serving the kid's neighborhood.

 

So, yes, there is a little bit of "if you give a mouse a cookie" phenomenon when you do this. On the other hand, I don't think my sons and daughter have hurt for getting comfortable with the other side of the tracks. In fact Son #2 has a summer internship in a neighborhood that gives my SM the chills. (The Lord's work and all that.)

Edited by qwazse
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My Troop has personal camping equipment (newly bought and hand me down) such as sleeping bags and packs for loan, assorted used uniforms for the taking and annual funding from CO to spend. 

 

CO funding used primarily to subsidize some big trips for the benefit of all participants, replacing equipment and financial assistance at CC & SM discretion. Summer camp paid by Council "campership".  Thus in our situation uniform, equipment and summer camp taken care of.  For dues and weekend trips, we require that all pay at least something. 

 

We keep accounting simple... no individual scout accounts, no budget items for individual trips, equipment, etc. No money given direct to any needy Scout family.  Any "shortage" resulting from a Scout not paying the full list price of dues or camping trip is indirectly covered by CO funds and Troop fundraising.

 

As a start for your Troop:

a) Set up at least a used uniform and camping equipment supply. This also useful recruiting tool for any new boy who may not be 100% committed yet.

b) Ask your Council about summer camp financial aid.

c) Boy's parent should check their assistance program for summer camp (some may include)

 

Since your CO forbids diverting general funds to the benefit of an individual, the problem is dues and weekend trip fees...

 

It's commendable if someone takes a a personal interest for a boy and writes checks, but assuming uncertainty of commitment, it's unlikely Council will fund an individual in your Troop ....  as a last resort inquire of a Commissioner or DE if any nearby traditional Troop may be better suited to provide Scouting to the boy or if the Council has Scoutreach or some such program.

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I'll not whitewash things. One scout with limited resources, you all can pitch in (formally or informally) and make things work for him. If he shows enthusiasm for the program the reward will be plenty.

 

If there are more boys like this whose parents really see the need for scouting, it changes your program. These are parents who will be working multiple sub-minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. They don't have a lot of time to give to the unit. Your budget and resources are constrained. More responsibility is laid on the boys, and they are presented with situations most middle-class parents try to shelter their kids from.

 

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The "high adventure" is no longer to BSA's jewels, but a few days in some nearby state park. Maybe run your own summer camp on someone's grandpa's property, asking the local gun club to provide range safety officers, bringing volunteers FD and PD for certain merit badges. Other things like that. Or if one of your committee or a DE is good at grantsmanship, you get support for really diving in and serving the kid's neighborhood.

 

So, yes, there is a little bit of "if you give a mouse a cookie" phenomenon when you do this. On the other hand, I don't think my sons and daughter have hurt for getting comfortable with the other side of the tracks. In fact Son #2 has a summer internship in a neighborhood that gives my SM the chills. (The Lord's work and all that.)

 

I totally agree.  Yes, It does change your program.  It changes your program so much that I think this is more of an Chartered Organization decision than a unit leadership decision.  

 

It sounds like Alabama Scouter's CO has already made a decision.

 

My CO went in a completely different direction.  We feel that there is a real benefit gained by having boys from all economic backgrounds.

Edited by David CO

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This may sound cold-hearted, but I would make him work for stuff. I would look for more fundraisers to do, and make sure he works them, and if parents can help, his mom as well. Don't let the lack of equipment stop him, but don't give him anything, let him do things to earn it.

 

I say that because i was in that situation after my father walked out. My troop did 1 fundraiser a year, and I helped all weekend, and my mom helped as she could too.  When I went to Canada and jamboree, I worked every fundraiser I could. There were some that only the adults could work, and mom worked every single one of them. And I was given lawn mowing jobs by the SM. I really appreciated what I had.

 

Good luck

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A Scout is Thrifty.

 

A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.

 

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I find that most of my boys have their parents contribute a lot towards fund raising.  I tell the parents either they raise money or pay out of pocket.  They organize the fund raisers and the boys carry them out.  The boys only have to come up with $50 for summer camp regardless of how much it costs, the fund raisers pay for the rest.

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Our Troop offers a lot of fundraisers but so far none of them have resulted in a deposit to my son's scout account. I know a lot of you don't do them, but this Troop does so we are stuck with what we have. Because we have already shelled out about $600 in 2 months I have recently told my son that we just can't afford this anymore and everything he does from now on is on him. We have 3 other kids who are doing nothing special this summer because every extra penny has gone to scouting so our new scout could get off to a good start. (Luckily they are pretty happy to just play Pokemon Go, lol).

 

Honestly, I want him to be in scouts and I want him to enjoy it but he's teetering on the edge already and if he can't afford to attend anything else and they lose him because of it, so be it. Although I think they mean well and are all wonderful people, sometimes people with money to spare just do not get what it is like to have to count every penny. I balk at paying $20 for a 1-color, cotton, screen-printed t-shirt because I know it can be done for $10. I pause at paying $40 (not including food) for a camping trip 2 hours away when for $10 you can camp in a local forest preserve. Maybe they are tired of doing the same thing all the time and all the leaders are like.... "Well the boys picked it and we are boy led....soooooo what can we do?" Then I think the boys should also be required to figure out how to pay for it! And include the new people that haven't been around for over a  year to pad their scout accounts. 

 

What really burns me is that this particular son sold over $600 of popcorn every single year as a Cub Scout (one year over a $1,000) for the good of the Pack (no individual accounts) but then leaves the Pack and is immediately stuck coming up with hundreds of dollars. Sorry to be griping all the time. I know all the whys (every unit is owned by CO, it's not up to BSA or council or District to decide how money is handled, etc. etc.). It's just been a rough transition and I think forward thinking Troops would reach out to Packs and partner with them and do something to make this whole process a little easier.

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Since January, my troop has had 6 fund raising efforts.  All of them have been set up/organized by the adults on the committee, the boys have all pitched in and helped on the effort as well.  We are still $1600 short of funds for summer camp.  My boys can't afford these BSA activities, but everyone is pitching in and working so that ALL the boys that want to go can.  Uniforms have been scrounged and everyone is in the effort to cut costs.  With that said, I don't mind putting up my own $$'s with this kind of effort going on.  In January these boys were Web II boys working on AOL.  They crossed over at the end of June, and 8 boys are on the docket to make it to summer camp. 

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Our Troop offers a lot of fundraisers but so far none of them have resulted in a deposit to my son's scout account. I know a lot of you don't do them, but this Troop does so we are stuck with what we have. Because we have already shelled out about $600 in 2 months I have recently told my son that we just can't afford this anymore and everything he does from now on is on him. We have 3 other kids who are doing nothing special this summer because every extra penny has gone to scouting so our new scout could get off to a good start. (Luckily they are pretty happy to just play Pokemon Go, lol).

 

Honestly, I want him to be in scouts and I want him to enjoy it but he's teetering on the edge already and if he can't afford to attend anything else and they lose him because of it, so be it. Although I think they mean well and are all wonderful people, sometimes people with money to spare just do not get what it is like to have to count every penny. I balk at paying $20 for a 1-color, cotton, screen-printed t-shirt because I know it can be done for $10. I pause at paying $40 (not including food) for a camping trip 2 hours away when for $10 you can camp in a local forest preserve. Maybe they are tired of doing the same thing all the time and all the leaders are like.... "Well the boys picked it and we are boy led....soooooo what can we do?" Then I think the boys should also be required to figure out how to pay for it! And include the new people that haven't been around for over a  year to pad their scout accounts. 

 

What really burns me is that this particular son sold over $600 of popcorn every single year as a Cub Scout (one year over a $1,000) for the good of the Pack (no individual accounts) but then leaves the Pack and is immediately stuck coming up with hundreds of dollars. Sorry to be griping all the time. I know all the whys (every unit is owned by CO, it's not up to BSA or council or District to decide how money is handled, etc. etc.). It's just been a rough transition and I think forward thinking Troops would reach out to Packs and partner with them and do something to make this whole process a little easier.

 

Thank you for saying that.  Most parents and scouts don't like to admit that they simply can't afford it.  Many will just quietly drop out. I wish more parents would speak up about the spiraling costs.

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Those of us in less affluent areas of the community tend to be a bit more sensitive to financial issues than others.

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