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blw2

what do your scouts pay?

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A fun tangent ...

... 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.

Our Italian scout is insisting on learning the scout Oath and Law in English, but is having a dickens of a time pronouncing "thrifty", so for the time being it's "... cheerful, cheap, brave ..."

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No dues, pay as you go is what we do in my troop.  If the boys want mac and cheese instead of steak, the price for the outing will be less.  Fund raisers cover the cost of everything else.  The boys raise money for the patrol, that money can defray the cost of other things needed in the patrol, like stoves, tents, etc.  Otherwise they go without if they have spent all their fund raising money.  They have a patrol account they maintain.  They know how much money they have to spend and they spend it according to their own directives.

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So this whole thing came up at our committee meeting, when discussing if we want to do our big spring mulch fundraiser or not.

A lot of mixed emotions on the whole thing....

"boy lead, we are" and so they should be deciding / it's a very adult centered thing / nobody really wants to do it / we make decent money at it / but it's a lot of work and not worth it / it's a great opportunity for the scouts to practice their leadership and get some good fellowship while working together / but fundraising isn't really part of the core scout program purpose & method anyway / the scouts should be deciding and doing / can we parents just stroke a check and make it go away / but if we are going to start doing some "high adventure seabase or philmont trips" we'll need more $ /.....

back and forth to no real end.....

very tiring.

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So this whole thing came up at our committee meeting, when discussing if we want to do our big spring mulch fundraiser or not.

A lot of mixed emotions on the whole thing....

"boy lead, we are" and so they should be deciding / it's a very adult centered thing / nobody really wants to do it / we make decent money at it / but it's a lot of work and not worth it / it's a great opportunity for the scouts to practice their leadership and get some good fellowship while working together / but fundraising isn't really part of the core scout program purpose & method anyway / the scouts should be deciding and doing / can we parents just stroke a check and make it go away / but if we are going to start doing some "high adventure seabase or philmont trips" we'll need more $ /.....

back and forth to no real end.....

very tiring.

Let me hone in on the "nobody really wants to ...". That's usually a phrase used by somebody who hasn't actually asked everybody.

 

I know the year that we cancelled our spaghetti dinner, folks in the community really missed it. At boards of review, scouts were asking if we can do it again. Even now, my crew president wants to volunteer at the thing and doesn't care if it goes in his scout account.

 

So, make sure you've asked the boys ... I mean really asked the boys ... before suspending a tradition.

 

They might want to do the thing even more if the pressure to pad the treasury is reduced.

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When we first started our troop, we had nothing. No equipment, nothing. So we all went out and did some car washes to get some fast cash. Later on as the troop grew a prospered, the new scouts didn't treat the equipment with the same respect as the scouts who worked to buy it, and they resented those scouts somewhat. As our troop progressed toward a backpacking style patrol method troop, the patrols have become more independent with their responsibilities and their patrol equipment. The patrols with the best equipment typically earned the funds to purchase and maintain it. Respect in just about all things has to be earned, if that makes sense. And for me, that is a great life lesson to learn.

 

All that to say there is a balance to how much stress adults are willing to accept with the level of independence they give the scouts. Scout growth cost the adults in the stress of watching scouts flounder through their scouting experience. Your adults are at that point of how much stress they are willing to accept in giving the scouts the independence of making decisions with the funds. If the scouts take on more of the funding responsibility, your program will become more of a pay-as-you-go. Pay-as-you-go is less stress on the Troop Treasure, but more on the SM and ASMs. It really depends on how much growth you want from your scouts. 

 

I have a lot of experience all around this subject and I can't really advice a directions because it all depends on the willingness of your adults to accept the stress of scouts making their own decisions. Let me add that coming from a troop where the scouts handle these challenges, the cost of food is way down on the stress meter because scouts learn to deal with food and the cost pretty quickly. As I said, in just about all things, scouts take the path of least resistance. 

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
  • Upvote 1

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One doesn't need the boy-led program making Thrifty decisions for the troop. 

 

My troop pretty much has no treasury or even a treasurer for that matter.  The boys plan activities, made the program decisions and figure out the cost to go.  If the cost is prohibitive they go back to square one and start over.  If the parents feel the costs are too high, THEY can fund raise on their own.  After all it is their finances which are affected.  They can ask the boys to help out and they usually do.

 

They have worked hard to keep the cost of summer camp down, but they had to borrow money from one of the parents to keep the cost of summer camp to $50 per scout.  The rest was on loan that they are paying back from last summer with this year's popcorn sales.  They have no money for camp assistance this year and may end up paying full price for camp unless 1) someone again floats them a loan or they pay full price.

 

It costs the troop and/or patrol absolutely nothing to have all the boys bring a sack lunch and meet at the trail head for an afternoon of hiking.  Who picks up the cost of the rides?  the parents  the sack lunch? the parents, so why not pick up the tab on summer camp?

 

If we don't have the money, we don't do the activity.  So what's the alternative?  A canoe trip, bike hike, backpacking, or other activities that cost far less than summer camp and especially far less than Northern Tier, Sea Base and Philmont.  Teaching boys to spend money they don't have pretty much runs counter to "A Scout is Thrifty".    Last time I checked 9 days in BWCA cost less than 5 days at summer camp.

 

And by the way "A Scout is Thrifty" could also include the idea that the boy earns his own money to pay for his scout activities and equipment.  My parents paid for annual registration, I paid for everything else with money I earned on Saturdays and days that it snowed.

Edited by Stosh

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One doesn't need the boy-led program making Thrifty decisions for the troop. 

 

My troop pretty much has no treasury or even a treasurer for that matter.  The boys plan activities, made the program decisions and figure out the cost to go.  If the cost is prohibitive they go back to square one and start over.  If the parents feel the costs are too high, THEY can fund raise on their own.  After all it is their finances which are affected.  They can ask the boys to help out and they usually do.

 

They have worked hard to keep the cost of summer camp down, but they had to borrow money from one of the parents to keep the cost of summer camp to $50 per scout.  The rest was on loan that they are paying back from last summer with this year's popcorn sales.  They have no money for camp assistance this year and may end up paying full price for camp unless 1) someone again floats them a loan or they pay full price.

 

It costs the troop and/or patrol absolutely nothing to have all the boys bring a sack lunch and meet at the trail head for an afternoon of hiking.  Who picks up the cost of the rides?  the parents  the sack lunch? the parents, so why not pick up the tab on summer camp?.....

 

I guess this is exactly the logic I'm struggling with.  Seems like in a pure sense this is how it should be if it's truly led by the scouts

I think that somewhere along the line fundraising has evolved into actually being part of the program for most parents.  It's what we grew up doing, and what we see..... girl scouts sell cookie's, right....

So at the CM when emotions were flaring a bit and someone threw out that we ARE boy lead and so they should be deciding I struggled and failed at how to effectively respond to that statement...... feeling that all of this whole thing is exactly opposite of led by the scouts.

 

 

 

If we don't have the money, we don't do the activity.  So what's the alternative?  A canoe trip, bike hike, backpacking, or other activities that cost far less than summer camp and especially far less than Northern Tier, Sea Base and Philmont.  Teaching boys to spend money they don't have pretty much runs counter to "A Scout is Thrifty".    Last time I checked 9 days in BWCA cost less than 5 days at summer camp.

 

I channeled you @@Stosh, on at least three different occasions durring the meeting when I made mention and proposed the idea of considering doing things on our own rather than going to a formal BSA high adventure.  I hope the seed was planted at least.  I know that as it is, the mindset is that one goes to a BSA camp and signs up for MB's, because that's just the way it is done.  There is no thought of anything outside that box.  I could tell by the reactions that this is exactly how this idea was perceived.  I just hope that the idea, now planted, has a chance to grow in the back of some minds....

 

......

 

And by the way "A Scout is Thrifty" could also include the idea that the boy earns his own money to pay for his scout activities and equipment.  My parents paid for annual registration, I paid for everything else with money I earned on Saturdays and days that it snowed.

I think that I want to tend towards disagreement here.  Thrifty means "not wasteful" in my thinking.  Nothing more really.

 

In fact, as I'm stewing on these ideas, I have to say I can't really see where money really has any role in the aim or methods of the scouting program..... except perhaps as a part of some of the MB's..... so I'm really struggling to see the harm in not letting money enter into it anymore than in the scenario you outlined in your first few paragraphs @@Stosh.  Let the scouts figure out their own goals and budgets, and earn the money in the form of their own allowances or jobs at home, or however it is that they can figure to get what they need.

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@@blw2

 

If one were to go back and look at some of the older scout handbooks, they took A Scout is Thrifty a lot more serious than they do today.  Back then (even in when I was a scout) we were to open a bank account and put a certain amount of money in it for advancement.

 

With finances taken from the boys by the adults, this is just a residual exercise in futility to try and do this today.

 

TF  9a. Open a bank account     9b.  Earn and save $100 by putting it into that account.  2C bumps that balance to $200,  FC $300, Star $400, Life $500, and a whopping $1,000 saved for Eagle..... and one still wouldn't have enough money for Jamboree or Philmont.  It's not unreasonable

 

$100 for a TF Scout????!!!!  Are you nuts?!  Relatively speaking that may sound like a lot of money, but it is less than half of what normally is charged for summer camp.  What's wrong with a Scout earning his own way?  After all when we give the definition of that Law in the COH, don't we spell it out in those terms yet today?

 

I don't think the requirements do a thing to promote A Scout is Thrifty other than to teach them to buy cheap bacon when they shop for the next camping trip.  That just doesn't do that Law justice.

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 What's wrong with a Scout earning his own way?  

nothing...... in fact it's admirable

except it's really not part of the program is it?

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The nature of boys, and most men in general is to take the path of least resistance. Path of least resistance in my mind is another definition of thrifty.

 

Where adults struggle in giving scout independence for making decisions is length of time scouts need for learning from their choices. Boy run is real life in very slow motion. We adults with life experiences already know how to make better choices simply by the wisdom developed from our previous choices. The scouts have yet to have that experience. So in just about all things we want scouts to learn, it's a give and take on how long the adults are willing to wait for scouts to learn right choices through the series of wrong choices. 

 

The lesson of thrifty is based mainly from the struggle of fitting the cost of our desires within the limitations of our funds. The more a scout gets his funding from outside sources like his parents, the less he is likely to understand the limitation of funds. As I said earlier, the scouts who earned the money of their patrol equipment are a lot more motivated to respect and take better care of that equipment. Their lesson of thrifty was a lot more effective than the new scouts two years down the road who inherited that same equipment simply by joining the troop.

 

My point is how a troop approaches teaching the lesson of any of the traits in the Scout Law depends on how much patience the adults are willing to give the scouts in their independence to make the series of choices. All adult leaders want their program to be a place for growth in character and fitness for the scouts. But how much growth is not easy for us because it can be a long road. I know because I have been there. 

 

Barry

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You should see the shocked look on the faces of most of the parents in my Troop when I tell them that my son has to pay 30% towards any event he wants to attend. He also gets an allowance from me- his mother doesn't (we are divorced). The Troop is in a relatively affluent town southwest of Boston, a town that I can't even dream of affording a house in. A good number of the Scouts are from well off families, and don't seem to care about how much things cost or taking care of the Troop gear. I am actually toying with the idea of adding "Adulting 101" to the Troop program to prepare these boys for real life after they move out of the family McMansions. Some of the parents are obviously not up to the task.

 

Sorry for the rant...

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our troop is similar, although I haven't in my limited experience camping with the troop, seen them abuse gear.  As with any group of boys I would suppose, there are a few that are a 'handfull' but for the most part I would say they are fairly well grounded considering.  Several at least, i happen to know are very responsible with their money.  With that being 'said' though....One things for sure, I doubt if many of them have a true appreciation for the cost of things or in paying their own way really.  Fundraising is probably seen as an activity not a necessity, and its something that historically is always adult driven

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When I was growing up my parents said that their responsibility was to provide a roof over my head, clothing on my back, and food on the plate. Since they were paying for it all, they made the choices on where we live, what we wore and what food we had at dinner.

 

If we wanted extra or something different they were willing to pay for half. So if we came up with 50% of the money for something, they would cover the rest. Doing odd jobs around the neighborhood was the quickest way to earn a buck, but hard work so the dollar meant something which then translated into me caring for the item I purchased.

 

Birthdays and holidays we received gifts, but looking back I took better care of the items I saved my own money for.

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Things have certainly changed.  

 

When I was growing up, I understood the value of a dollar.  It was made of silver.  It was real money.  Today's fiat dollar is more of an abstract concept than it is money.

 

When I was growing up, most of my major purchases were items that would not be obsolete in a year or two.  I took care of my things because I knew that they would still have value.  Even those things I outgrew could be passed down to the younger kids.  

 

Kids have a different attitude today because they live in a different world.  They live in a much more disposable world, where things quickly become obsolete.

 

My attitude has changed some, too.  I can be nostalgic for the past, but I must live in the present.

Edited by David CO

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good point davidco, live in the present!

 

another difference is availability of work for youngsters

used to be common for boys to mow lawns for a buck as an example.  Now, at least around here, there are so many adult "professional" lawn services doing nearly all the lawns that can be hired out.  The remaining folks do it themselves.....  I'd assume there's concerns over quality of work, dependability, and liability with a young kid doing that sort of work.

Then, as the kids get older I've gotta believe fewer minimum wage type jobs out there

restaurants can't afford to pay some kid the minimum rate now to refill salt and pepper shakers, so they just buy disposable pre-filled ones....

I'm just guessing here, maybe the jobs have shifted into other areas that I'm just not aware of yet....

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