Jump to content
shortridge

Cost of Being a Scout

Recommended Posts

How much does it cost to be a Scout? I’ve been researching unit budgets recently as part of possibly starting up a unit. By my lowball calculations, it costs more than $1,000 to be an active Scout.

- National Registration: $36 (includes $3 insurance)

- Unit Dues: $40

- Summer Camp: $475 (one week at my council camps)

- Uniform and Handbook: ~$144

- Monthly Campouts: $385 ($35/month [including food] x 11 trips)

Total: $1,080

 

That doesn’t include camping gear or other commitments as Scouts get older and more involved (OA, NYLT, Jambo, HA, Philmont, etc.).

What else am I missing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You typically don’t have to buy the uniform and book every year.... so you may want to say 1/3 of that cost for an annual estimate.  I’m not sure what you do for fundraisers but many families end up kicking in on those.  There is also FOS that many but clearly not all families pay, but you could add in that cost.

To put it in perspective, my local YMCA overnight camp (1 week) is $770 ... if you can’t afford the full fee of $875  (my kids don’t go).

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might want to offset that by the cost of feeding the average teen for about 30 days.

Also, average the uniform cost over a couple of years, and factor in the rate of hand-me-downs in your troop.

In general, I advise scouts to make them useful to their folks to the tune of $100 a month.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

My parents spend around 700 a year on me. That’s for all the camping trips, including summer camp, and to replenish some gear that may need replacing. But if your Troop fundraisers, like most, you can get discounts. Our troop gave like $150 off summer camp for Troop events. Not including other fundraisers scouts can do themselves. Also, your council should have finiacial assistance, atleast mine do.

Edited by ItsBrian
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The number Qwaze gives is about the same for what we say to an interested parent- it costs' about $1,200 for a kid to be in scouting.   However, that does not necessarily mean it is all on the parent for that amount.  With troop fundraisers, monthly camping fees and some equipment can come from troop funds rather than the parents pocket. Our troop covers the monthly camping fees and some of our equipment from the 1 annual fundraiser the scouts do, monthly dues basically covers the costs of advancement materials (rank patches, merit badge patches, etc.), and the adult fundraisers provide campership funds and bigger picture equipment purchases/repair costs and food for our annual dinner. Starting out, yes, your founders are going to bear more cost than say those entering 3-4 years from now.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son's dues is only $60 (included nationals 33 + $1 local for insurance)

His camp-outs are normally $20

He paid for summer camp through fundraisers and camperships for council.

He paid for his $110 whitewater trip by doing the troops pancake breakfast fundraiser.

Grandma bought him his book for his AOL crossover to boyscouts.

He came into the troop with a shirt from Webelos, so thats been paid for.

I did donate $175 to FOS this year.

 

 

 

My son and now daughter earn their own way.  Now as a leader in 2 units, I do have to pay my way since I don't have the option of fundraising.

  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We dont collect dues, just the $36 for registration and insurance

All of our campouts are $10 x 10 = $100

Summer camp is $300

Sleeping bag and mess kit $100 (averaged over 5 years) = $20

Uniform costs averaged over 3 years is $30.

Total is $486

We have a few hockey player in our troop and they pay $3000 for ice time per season (2 seasons) so scouts is way cheaper.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, TMSM said:

All of our campouts are $10 x 10 = $100

Does that include food, or just site fees + transportation/gas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Shortridge, you're saying $1,080 per year plus equipment, Qwasze is giving an estimate of $100 per month ($1,200 per year), I think you're both in the right ballpark.  Since you say you're lowballing it, $1,100-$1,200 is probably the right range.  Part of it depends on how you view operating costs (summer camp, meals for weekend camping trips, etc.) vs. "capital expenditures" (uniform, handbook, personal camping equipment, etc.)  You also have to consider whether the registered adult leaders are paying their own registration fees or whether it is coming out of the dues (which means the dues may have to be higher.) 

You also need to consider whether all 11 of those camping trips are going to be "standard" overnighters (i.e. rent a cabin or a campsite at a BSA camp, state park or somewhere else with reasonable rates), or whether there are going to be any "special trips."  About twice a year our troop does something "special" like going to one of the military academies and taking the tour plus going to a football game (we are about halfway between West Point and Annapolis), "camping" on the Battleship New Jersey, camping at Knoebel's amusement park in Pa., or something like that.  Between the tickets to get into whatever you're going to, the food and everything else, those trips always seem to cost in the $50-60 range per person.*  This of course means that the cost is under your control to some degree, but you get what you pay for.  Back when the economy was tanking I gently suggested that we may want to ease up on the $50-60 trips, but I don't think we did.

Then there is the question of absolute cost vs. relative cost.  If a youth is not doing Scouting, what else is he/she doing, and what does it cost?  There are plenty of ways to spend more than $475 for a week of activities during the summer.  Or the kid can sit at home like a lump for 8 straight weeks, which costs only the price of electricity for playing video games.  But most people don't regard the latter option as being desirable.  :)

*I guess I should mention that that estimate is as of 2009, which is when my son aged out and I basically "retired" from camping.  Some of those trips probably cost more now.

Edited by NJCubScouter
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's all still a bargain compared to other activities. Our local little league costs $125 per season (includes team t-shirt and cap) but that's for 3 months. If it were year-round like Scouting, that fee would probably be $500, and although their "uniform" is paid for in the registration fee, equipment isn't. Probably at least another $100+ annually for gloves, bats, pants, socks, etc. Want to do a week of summer baseball camp or extra training? That will cost more than the regular season. And it all gets you access to a grassy field. 

Scouting gets you access to indoor and outdoor spaces, camping spots, various resources, learning opportunities, events, B&G, PWD, affordable summer camps compared to other non-Scouting options, numerous other connected opportunities like OA, STEM initiatives, leadership training and opportunities, etc. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

registration fee $36

we collect an additional $24 in yearly dues, this is intended to pay for badges, ranks, misc patches and crossovers get a woggle and necker.  our budget is very thorough and this usually evens out or is slightly more than we need.

parents are responsible for everything else.

Our popcorn and other fundraiser are used to upgrade equipment/tents and we pay for whatever leader training is needed.

Our average campout is approx. $35/scout including any camping fees, food and mileage.  We also have occasional trips that are more expensive and can be $80-$100, usually due to registration fees, mileage and tolls.

summer camp is approx. $450 with registration, mileage and paying for an extra leader.

My son will have had at least 3 uniforms by the time he turns 18, including his webelos shirt.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m surprised how many have said they have to pay site fees in order to camp. Do your local national forests not allow primitive camping? (Or are your groups too large for dispersed camping?)

  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Saltface said:

I’m surprised how many have said they have to pay site fees in order to camp. Do your local national forests not allow primitive camping? (Or are your groups too large for dispersed camping?)

Speaking only for myself, the closest national forest is 4.5 hours away, so a weekend trip doesn’t synch up. 😐  State forests are free, but we only have two that allow camping. State parks and council camps both come with at least a $50 pricetag for campsite rental.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I was going to blather on about operating vs. capital costs. But it sounded like we were talking about what a scout or his troop might have to pay form him to get the most out of his membership.

Like @Saltface I look for locations where the camp fees are next to none. But, the drive may be some distance.

Most scouts aren't going to go to every activity, but all of them are going to need to step it up around the house. The $100 a month figure was to get them to look at things their parents (or an older siblings going off to college or war) do that they could start doing. This actually encourages most parents to put more than just $1200/year into some "scouting account".

If parents see their scout really applying what he's learned in the troop to things at home, funding big-ticket scouting seems more like an investment than an expense.

BTW, after nearly two decades, Son #1 is returning my tools sharpened! (I'm forgiving the bent riding mower blade, because the next week I did the very same thing!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, FireStone said:

I think it's all still a bargain compared to other activities. Our local little league costs $125 per season (includes team t-shirt and cap) but that's for 3 months. If it were year-round like Scouting, that fee would probably be $500, and although their "uniform" is paid for in the registration fee, equipment isn't. Probably at least another $100+ annually for gloves, bats, pants, socks, etc. Want to do a week of summer baseball camp or extra training? That will cost more than the regular season. And it all gets you access to a grassy field. 

Scouting gets you access to indoor and outdoor spaces, camping spots, various resources, learning opportunities, events, B&G, PWD, affordable summer camps compared to other non-Scouting options, numerous other connected opportunities like OA, STEM initiatives, leadership training and opportunities, etc. 

I really wish you guys would stop putting down athletics. My CO has always made an effort to have the athletes and scouts all treat each other with respect. They even have a combined awards night that includes both athletics and scouting.

But if you insist on bashing sports, you should at least get your facts straight. I was the administrator for both the sports teams and the scout troop. I know that your lopsided comparisons of the costs/benefits of scouting and athletics don't really add up.

We should focus our efforts on making all extra-curricular activities more affordable to low income families. We shouldn't be pitting one activity against another. 

 

Edited by David CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×