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Ranman328

Troop Meeting Spaces

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Our Troop is Chartered by a Moose Lodge.  They don't have enough meeting space for us to meet so we have been meeting at the Church 50 yards next door for the last 10 years or so.  We provide as much manual labor as they might need as well as grounds clean ups two times a year.  We meet there once a week from September to May.  I received a call tonight from the Financial Chairman of the Church wanting to discuss our Troop meeting there and entering into a Lease Agreement with the Church starting September 1.  They would only charge us $400.00 a month.  Yes I said $400.00 per month.  This equates to over $100 per meeting.  I thought I was going to choke.  Am I out of line to feel this way?  I told him that there is no way our Troop could pay $400 per month to meet in their gym every month and that the long standing agreement was that we would provide grounds maintenance and other service to meet there.  I can go to any school in the county and meet there for free, I just won't have the freedom of having keys to get in early if I want.  Has anyone else had an issue like this?

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We switch back to our old CO (be it ever so humble) for precisely this reason.

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There's no way to sustain that level of cash payment, and you probably shouldn't even if you could.

Reach out to your council, they might not be useful, but this is the type of thing (relationships with community organizations) that they're supposed to help with.

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Posted (edited)

In your case, the Moose Lodge signed the charter and committed to provide space.  The church did not.  I also know many churches are financially hurting right now.  I'm surprised this is not happening way more often.

We had a very similar issue and it resulted in our moving our charter.  For us, one member of the church chartered the troop with the church.  The church never really felt we were part of them.  Rather they felt we were a community outreach / support effort by the church.  Essentially, good will to the community.  The church did not ask us for money.  For us, we kept getting bounced around.  The priority was with their internal groups first.  Second were their initiatives and their directly supported programs.  We were just a community good will program that received what was left.  

Our solution was moving the charter under the local school PTO.  We rented space from the school district.  Our cost though was $4 per hour.  Sometimes we had to pay $12 to $16 per hour to get multiple gyms and a cafeteria.  Our total space cost per year for school space was less than $300 per year.  We just put it in our budget.  

The only hard part for us was making sure the boys did not bring pocket knives onto school property.  We did not want our scouts expelled.

Edited by fred johnson
  • Upvote 2

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The chartered partner is responsible for providing meeting space. 

I would contact your unit commissioner, District Executive, and the chartered organization representative forthwith. Between them, the SM, and the CC, there’s a solution out there. 

 

Ps:  The Church has no contractual obligation to your troop whatsoever. It’s within its rights to charge whatever it thinks the traffic will bear as rent for an outside organization.  It might also be they chose this number, so you’d say goodbye. 

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Our Friends Meeting (that's Quaker parlance) just opened our newly renovated Community House. The Building Care Committee , for "outside users",  settled on the fee of $100. per event if you use the new kitchen, and (I have no idea how they came up with this number), $37.50 per hour for the "big room" and a "sliding scale" for the smaller rooms.  

We have of late had several renters, all word of mouth, for baby showers, graduation parties, birthday parties, etc. 

It does sound like they are treating your Troop as an "outside user". 

Edited by SSScout

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I do believe this is a case of not wanting the Troop there any longer.  I spoke to a friend that was a member of the church and they said there are lots of problems with the church now from the top down.  We shouldn't have a problem finding a home.  All the Schools in the area are free of charge so that is an option.  We have had a relationship with the church for many years and provided a ton of Service Hours to them as well.  It is sad for it to end this way.

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20 minutes ago, Ranman328 said:

I do believe this is a case of not wanting the Troop there any longer.  I spoke to a friend that was a member of the church and they said there are lots of problems with the church now from the top down.  We shouldn't have a problem finding a home.  All the Schools in the area are free of charge so that is an option.  We have had a relationship with the church for many years and provided a ton of Service Hours to them as well.  It is sad for it to end this way.

Maybe.

I think the troop needs to be talking with the institutional head of the church- the pastor.  You might want the church to say - Scouting is good, please meet here all you want.  But, that's a pretty big ask.  The church pays for the facilities and the utilities.  It is supported by the donations of its members and what it can augment.

If encourage the troop to think about the value it brings to the church beyond free labor - such as providing programming to the churches members or bringing new members to the church.  That's a conversation for the pastor - not the finance chair.

Good luck!

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