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shortridge

Cost of Being a Scout

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I would estimate my baseline costs for my son were $500-$600 per year.  

I suspect our challenge isn't cost so much as Return on Investment.  I know I don't have to sell anybody here on the ROI of scouting but then again, we aren't the ones making the judgement.  The question is what do parents see as the ROI.  I suspect, because the return is drawn out over a number of years, many parents rate scouting's return lower than sports or other school activities where the return seems to be more immediate (game next week, two school plays/concerts a year, etc.).  

Edited by walk in the woods
typo
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5 hours ago, FireStone said:

And it all gets you access to a grassy field. 

You obviously have no idea how expensive it can be to build and maintain a baseball field. A well designed regulation 90' baseball field, not including land costs, can run upwards of a half-million dollars. I would hardly describe that as a grassy field.

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6 minutes ago, David CO said:

You obviously have no idea how expensive it can be to build and maintain a baseball field. A well designed regulation 90' baseball field, not including land costs, can run upwards of a half-million dollars. I would hardly describe that as a grassy field.

And people wonder how Boy Scout camps could be so expensive to maintain...

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17 minutes ago, David CO said:

You obviously have no idea how expensive it can be to build and maintain a baseball field. A well designed regulation 90' baseball field, not including land costs, can run upwards of a half-million dollars. I would hardly describe that as a grassy field.

They're not playing on any half-million-dollar fields over here. The field our Little League uses has almost as much grass on the infield as the outfield. 

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I love scouts but it's not cheap and people who try and say it's more economical than sports aren't being truthful. Yes, elite club sports can be pricey, but so can high adventure scouting trips that require airfare, etc. Like everything, the costs benefits analysis depends on where you are and what you want to get out of it. I think youth sports and scouting are wonderful, complementary activities and I do not like to see either group bash the other. Scouts teach teamwork, leadership, citizenship, and service, and so do many sports, especially if the same caliber of person is involved with the programs. My kid actually did more meaningful service projects in connection with his sports team than he did with his scout troop.

Whether scouts or sports, you have to control the cost. Don't join a Troop that charges high dues, doesn't do a lot of fundraising, and engages in a lot of high ticket special activities. Or,  if you do, ask about scholarships. Our unit offered that to a limited number of families on first come, first served basis. Look for cheaper summer camp options. I found an out of council day camp that was half the cost of our Troop's resident camp. Yes, my son did not get to camp out with his friends, but he still was able to get a lot of merit badges done, swim, and meet other scouts. A scout is intrepid!  You've got to do what works for your family budget and not get stuck in a Troop or Council scouting "silo". Look around. Talk to other scout parents and Troops. Be innovative. 

Encourage your unit to "recycle" uniforms and equipment to cut down on the cost. I had a kid who grew like a weed and often had to buy new pants or a new shirt almost every three months. Hand me downs can help. Same deal with basic camping equipment. Ask for donations or share among scouts. Not everyone goes on every camp out, so borrow a tent or a pricey sub zero bag for a winter camp out. 

Finally, frankly, I cannot afford the $175 or more FOS contribution in my area, so I give what I can and try to volunteer whenever I have time. 

A scout is thrifty, and that means being willing to think outside the box in order to make sure they get the most bang for their buck and keep things affordable for their family! Good luck to you!

 

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8 hours ago, yknot said:

Look for cheaper summer camp options. I found an out of council day camp that was half the cost of our Troop's resident camp. Yes, my son did not get to camp out with his friends, but he still was able to get a lot of merit badges done, swim, and meet other scouts.

I have to admit I’ve never heard of a day camp program for Scouts older than Cubs. Do you mind sharing the name of the council and the camp for information’s sake?

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33 minutes ago, shortridge said:

I have to admit I’ve never heard of a day camp program for Scouts older than Cubs. Do you mind sharing the name of the council and the camp for information’s sake?

My council in NJ actually has a Boy Scout day Camp as well. I think they might have two. But is only like twenty dollars cheaper than resident camp.

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40 minutes ago, shortridge said:

I have to admit I’ve never heard of a day camp program for Scouts older than Cubs. Do you mind sharing the name of the council and the camp for information’s sake?

Longhouse Council (Syracuse, NY) runs a Boy Scout Day Camp at Camp Woodland (Constantia, N.Y). It is $175 for the week Aug. 20-24

This is the second year it has been offered and was pretty popular last year with most of the sessions full

Badges Offered: 
Canoeing 
Swimming
Archery 
Kayaking 
Lifesaving 
Shotgun 
Rifle
Emergency Preparedness
Welding 
Woodworking 
Automotive Maintenance
Metal Working 
First Aid
Environmental Science 
Communications 
 
I think the Seneca Waterways Council, just to the west of us in Rochester, NY, does something like this also

 

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18 minutes ago, CNYScouter said:

Longhouse Council (Syracuse, NY) runs a Boy Scout Day Camp at Camp Woodland (Constantia, N.Y). It is $175 for the week Aug. 20-24

This is the second year it has been offered and was pretty popular last year with most of the sessions full

Badges Offered: 
Canoeing 
Swimming
Archery 
Kayaking 
Lifesaving 
Shotgun 
Rifle
Emergency Preparedness
Welding 
Woodworking 
Automotive Maintenance
Metal Working 
First Aid
Environmental Science 
Communications 
 
I think the Seneca Waterways Council, just to the west of us in Rochester, NY, does something like this also

 

You’re lucky! Our council charges $370+ just for Cub Scout day Camp, but it’s mostly paid staff. Boy Scout is $450+

@NJCubScouter might know more than me.

Edited by ItsBrian
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Our troop is way under $1000. Here is my sons break down for the 2017-2018

Council/National dues: ~$150

Troop Dues:($100 Fall/$100 Spring) All waived this year due to fundraising. Fall has been waived for at least the last 10 years.

Necker/Book: Troop provided at crossover

Uniform Shirt: $8 from uniform exchange closet.

Camping/Food: Covered by troop dues.

Summer Camp: 2 weeks for ~$400 . I just paid $260 with fundraising discount.

4 day BWCA canoe trip: ~$200 pp so since I was a paying leader ~$400

Gear: Old family  gear.

So all told under $850 for everyone. 

Our troops basic fundraising is a pancake breakfast, spag dinner, and wreath sale.

The kids doing bigger HA like Seabase or whatever usually end up with another $600-900 of fees depending on how well their supplemental fundraising goes.

 

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4 hours ago, oldbuzzard said:

...

Troop Dues:($100 Fall/$100 Spring) All waived this year due to fundraising. Fall has been waived for at least the last 10 years.

... Camping/Food: Covered by troop dues. ....

@oldbuzzard, how many camping nights? How many boys on average participate on the average night?

Also, is $400 for  2 weeks the actual fee for the summer camp? Sounds like a really sweet deal!

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39 minutes ago, qwazse said:

@oldbuzzard, how many camping nights? How many boys on average participate on the average night?

Also, is $400 for  2 weeks the actual fee for the summer camp? Sounds like a really sweet deal!

We shoot for monthly camping during the school year and Summer Camp. This year we missed that target and had 6 instead of 9 camp outs, so 12 nights. Any given campout has a bit less than 50% participation which isn't great.

In terms of funding all camping out of Troop funds, there are two warring principles. 1) "A Scout pays his own way" and 2) "A member of a community  supports that community". We focus on number 2. Just as you wouldn't only support your church on a transactional basis, likewise with Scouts. Everyone needs to contribute through dues or fundraising regardless of whether they attend every event. This removes any financial pressure for the basic program, especially since the troop or our alumni will cover the needy.

Yes, our 2 week camp is $400. We have owned our camp since the 40's. It is quite primitive. No running water, no electricity, no walled buildings except the newish concrete storm bunker. But we have archery, rifle, and shotgun ranges and a shifting primitive waterfront for swimming or canoeing on a national wild and scenic river. Maintaining it is a shocking amount of work but also helps build that sense of community and has probably contributed to the troops longevity.

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