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blw2

what do your scouts pay?

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Here is how our troop does it.

 

No Dues

Recharter is $50.00

OA Dues (if applicable) $10.00

Family FOS $10.00

 

So December of every year $70.00

 

The boys (and numbers) determine cost for each campout, and other things play a factor in that cost as well. 

Next week they are going on a Ski Trip in St.Louis area obviously this will be a little higher because of the Lodging Fees and rentals.  125.00 per person but if we can get 15 to go its 100.00 ea.

Our annual shooting trip which consist of 12g and .22 runs about $40 ea scout due to cost of ammo and clays.

They pay for summer camp/winter camp but I believe we assist in some way with NYLT.

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We too have a rather large bank balance that causes Committee Members some dis-ease.  We are in need of a troop trailer as the one we currently have is about 40 years old and shows it.  Even if we buy a used one, we'd still be in good shape.  But our troop is also facing a membership retention/growth issue.  We have a Cub Scout feeder pack and usually the Webelo dens head off to the same troop and it seems that they are often heading to the big troops of 80-100 Scouts where it's a drop-off/BabySitters of America approach.  Parents even say that they don't have time to participate and that they're burned out from Cub Scouts and don't want to do it anymore.  And, we compete with the high level of club sports in the area.  I was just talking to my son's friend yesterday who said he wants to get a water polo scholarship to college and he practices M, T and Thu 6-8 pm plus usually has 2 meets per weekend.  This is year-round.  He's 12 years old. 

 

So, with just 20 Scouts in our troop and some uncertainty about continued growth, we're undecided as to whether to invest in a troop trailer.

 

Otherwise, here's what we charge:

$140 registration/dues/renewal

$15-$35 per campout depending where we go.  We are in California and the campsites can get pricey--at some places it's $45/night.  In November when we went to a park that was $45/night, we just ended up subsidizing it and charged everyone $25 for two nights plus food.

Scouts pay for summer camp which varies in cost from $300-$700.

 

We are going to do some more fundraisers this year than usual (beyond popcorn) to cover the cost of summer camp at Emerald Bay (Catalina Island) which is $679/Scout.  We also pay for 50% of Adult costs for summer camp.  We're planning to do a chocolate bar/candy sale, a Spaghetti Dinner and a Rummage Sale. 

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We charge a flat registration fee per year.  The fee covers the dues and insurance paid to council/national, costs of advancement patches and paraphernalia, and an amount paid into the troop's general fund which we use for "routine maintenance," as best we can estimate it.  For example, we'll budget to be able to replace a tent each year, replace some cook equipment, maintenance on the trailer, etc.

 

All camp outs, including summer camp, we charge a flat fee which is our best estimate of the "real cost" of the event.  So basically a fixed cost for food, and then we divide the costs of the camp ground/transportation/activities/etc by our expected attendance, and that's what we charge for the camp out.  Sometimes our estimate is a little over or a little under, and the general fund will absorb any small loss or gain there.

 

NYLT is technically not paid for by the troop, but we officially unofficially have an "anonymous" donor who historically has covered that cost for two scouts per year.

 

Any other scouting events, such as the OA, outside training, etc is paid for by the scout.

 

Fund raising is available, but optional.  We do extend the opportunity to participate in the council's fund raisers, and will establish scout accounts for the youth, and all proceeds from the fund raisers will go into those accounts.  Scouts are free to apply those funds to any troop expense, as well as reasonable personal camping gear, OA, outside training, etc.

 

If we have any bigger purchases we need to make, we'll either increase the annual dues to account for it, and/or run ad-hoc fundraisers to make up the difference.  We also tell the PLC and individual patrols that if they'd like to organize a fund raiser, they'll have the full support and assistance of the committee.  The scouts who participate can use the proceeds however they see fit - some of the patrols have enhanced their food budget for campouts to get to eat a little better, another patrol replaced some of their cookware, stuff like that.

 

In general, as far as fund raising goes... we've moved to a model where we try to charge a flat rate for everything as much as possible.  We tell scouts and families that yes, fund raising opportunities are available, but ultimately you can pay that flat rate however you wish.  You can participate in as much or as little fund raising as you wish, but we're still going to charge the same flat rate.  I understand the point of view that fund raising can (or maybe even should) be part of the program, and it can teach valuable lessons to the scouts.  I get that, and I can appreciate that many of you will disagree with our troop's decision on this point.  But, historically, we have tried have more formal fund raising, we've tried mandating fund raising... what we've found is the kids hated doing it (especially anything involving door to door sales).  The parents hated helping/making the kids do it.  The troop adult leadership hated dealing with all the logistics and storing product and all the drama with money and prizes and incentives.  Long story short, we were burning people out, and pouring enough blood, sweat and tears into this portion of the program, such that other aspects of the program were starting to suffer.  So, we made the decision to focus our limited energies on delivering a fantastic outdoor program, and less on jumping through fund raising hoops.  In our case, I think it was the right decision, and the troop and the boys are better off for it.

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It doesn't need to be 100% to be done. No need to sacrfice the good in search of the perfect. If the boys are leading (financially) for 80%, that is good albeit not perfect.

 

Using your accounts which the parents fund, each patrol member could go to the treasurer and withdraw the cash needed (as determined by the patrol) for the campout then give tbat cash to the grubmaster. Then proceed as ken described. In fact this is exactly what I am trying to encourage in my troop since they operate in a manner which is closer to 0%, so any step in the finance-boy-led direction is better.

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Scouts pay $175 dues, $10 OA dues, summer camp fees, and $5 per campout for food.  They also must buy a class B shirt and troop cap.

 

Troop covers equipment, camp out fees, registration, Boy's Life, council imposed activity fee, remaining cost of food for camp outs, SPL fees at NYLT, fees for camporees, books, neckers and slides for crossovers, all ranks, badges and awards, Eagle kit, cake and engraving on our plaque for Eagle Scouts.

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Many Chartered Organizations routinely order food in bulk.  A twenty-pound box/bag of food from a bulk supplier is much less expensive than 10 2-pound boxes/bags from the grocery store.

 

I understand the learning value of having the scouts budget and shop for food on their own.  But when there is such a striking difference in price, I think it may be better to err on the side of thrifty.

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Many Chartered Organizations routinely order food in bulk.  A twenty-pound box/bag of food from a bulk supplier is much less expensive than 10 2-pound boxes/bags from the grocery store.

 

I understand the learning value of having the scouts budget and shop for food on their own.  But when there is such a striking difference in price, I think it may be better to err on the side of thrifty.

There's always a balance in this for troops.

 

If the PLC wants to stock a pantry with 50 lbs of spam and Ramen, adults (especially those in food-service) should certainly help in accomplishing this and training the QM in safe dispensing. You have more people handling the same product, so food safety practices (e.g., hair nets, gloves, packaging) come in to play. Of course arrangements for space for all of these materials may involve more communication with the CO. (Our CO gives us a shelf in their day-care's freezer. We currently only use it for our spaghetti dinners. But that shelf being left open avoids disruption of the other more routine food-service of the CO.)

 

There needs to be some way of making sure the boys track the real costs of the food. (E.g., pay the pantry $10 or pay the current market $15 or $20 for provisions.)

 

So, as long as the boys agree, and the responsibility for the handling of the food and maintenance of the pantry rests with the boys, bulk purchases can be very helpful.

 

If they become one more adult-managed bureaucracy, they begin to erode the scouting experience.

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I don't see why the boys need to have access to the walk in freezer or other behind-the-counter food services.  They don't have that sort of access at the grocery store. 

 

We don't charge the scouts for the food. The cost is negligible.

Edited by David CO

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I don't see why the boys need to have access to the walk in freezer or other behind-the-counter food services.  They don't have that sort of access at the grocery store. 

 

We don't charge the scouts for the food. The cost is negligible.

You mean like the freezer I shut myself in at my dad's beer distributor when I was 11? ;)

Our camp commissary staff (mostly age 15-18, properly trained) have access to such things.

 

There's a difference between allowing boys to run in willy-nilly and electing a mature QM who is willing to learn how to take care of things.

 

I suspect there may be liability/training issues that a CO has to consider. A good CO does that with an eye towards its community being better served by youth and young adults with real-world preparation.

 

My mom didn't charge me for food either when I nicked it out of her pantry for my patrol. But, she sure let me know about how she had to go to look for more coupons before going to the store to restock. Eventually, I decided it was just worth the couple of cents in peace and quiet to go buy our own provisions.

 

It boils down to: what are you missing by streamlining in the absence of personal accountability? And, is there a way to restore that accountability in the face of streamlining?

Edited by qwazse

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I don't see why the boys need to have access to the walk in freezer or other behind-the-counter food services.  They don't have that sort of access at the grocery store. 

 

We don't charge the scouts for the food. The cost is negligible.

 

Not all CO can do that!  Sure that would be nice

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Maybe because our troop is very patrol method, but we found that buying and storing bulk food to save cost risk compromising the growth that is gained from the responsibility of managing food and cost for a patrol. Higher cost turned out to be appropriate in some cases as waste and storage space became an issue. AND, the more the scouts tried to work toward bulk, the harder it was for the patrols to be independent of each other in planning menus and purchasing the food. Buying bulk didn't work very well for our patrol method program. I'm sure there are ways to fix that problem and I am open to suggestions. But looking back at the experience, I think it is important to remember that scouts in general like to go the path of least resistance. 

 

Barry

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Eagledad,

 

If you were to come to one of our unit meetings and suggest that it would be better if each boy were to start paying $5 or more per camping trip for food, in order to be more boy-led, I think you might find yourself boy-led right out the front door.

Edited by David CO

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thanks for all the responses and input.

OK, so it seems very typical to have individual scouts pay as they go for events, so we're good there.

 

As I read through this and think about it, I keep going back to a feeling that the troop should be using the bank balance though, to fund scouting for the scouts.  unfortunately, I don't have enough data yet on true costs of events vs what we take in

    but when I step back and look at big picture it's clear that we take in what we need, and we continue with a big balance in the bank.

 

On one hand I feel like while we have money in the bank we shouldn't be charging $x for food or $y for that camp..... thinking that these are "troop expenses" and the "troop" should just pay it.

   So perhaps we should instead of charging for each event or activity, it might be better just work with the scouts so that they set themselves a budget.... such          as "we can't spend any more than X per person for grub, and we can't spend any more than Y per person for admission or fees for an event."

    Then if the scouts later decided they wanted to spend more for a particular special event, they could then do their own subsidizing....

This strikes me that this is how it "should" be.  Pay dues + fund-raise up front, then use that money to make the troop go, budgeting as you go....

 

But on the other hand,  I can imagine folks bringing up the "it's not fair argument".... using troop general money for only those few going on the trip (because we never have the WHOLE troop attend at once).  No matter if this is valid or not, you know it will be brought up....

 

Also, while I don't have sufficient data yet my gut tells me that we would over time spend more than we take in so our current balance would dwindle

 

 

We did have one more twist regarding the balance.  Our troop trailer was smashed by a tree in a storm, so we were fundraising this year primarily to offset the expense of a new trailer.  It was looking like we were going to eat into the balance a bit but were still going to be strong enough.... a good reason to maintain extra money in reserve, right?  

But in the end, we received a donation for the trailer in full so now we are really sitting strong now..... and so that's what it's bothering me to put on my debt collector hat and go chasing for $10 from 'Johnny Scout' for grub, or worse yet $20 or whatever for the scoutmaster to pay his way into camporee

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Eagledad,

 

If you were to come to one of our unit meetings and suggest that it would be better if each boy were to start paying $5 or more per camping trip for food, in order to be more boy-led, I think you might find yourself boy-led right out the front door.

If you were to come to our meetings, I think you would find the boys making these decisions.

 

Barry

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A cautionary tale: one of the many divisions between adult leaders in my sons' troop was over bulk purchases of food saving $$ vs autonomous boy-led purchases. In spite of my efforts to convince the aggrieved that this was not a hill to die on :confused:, they used it to keep their contentions on a low boil.

 

So, my comments above are not intended to be a reason to pick bones with your CO or any of the rest of your unit. Just be aware that streamlining is best when it somehow results in increased capability and increased youth responsibility.

 

That's always going to be a moving target ... be it a CO that's generous with kitchen facilities, or a windfall donation like @@blw2 is reckoning with.

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