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Fees? What are packs charging?

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We had Joining night (not one girl came or joined). and some of the leaders heard it too expensive from a few families and they didn’t join. 

Makes us wonder are we all that expensive?  

We are In New England and it costs the pack $69 per Scout/leader to recharger before any pack dues are paid or boys life ordered. I’ve gotten good at asking area businesses for help and for asking/begging parents to participate in fundraisers - but they refused to sell popcorn for the last few years  (cited quality wasn’t worth the cost).  The nearby elks already sponsors a pack and a troop, the Lions club is small here, school PTOs won’t help because Cub scouts wasn’t always as includive as they have been the last couple years. Plus when the high school band started selling pre-popped fun flavored popcorn it killed our market.  We are really stuck for ideas.  This area is pretty much saturated with school fundraisers too, which aren’t always successful  

For the $69 we pay at recharger this is how it breaks down:

24 to National + 16 for the insurance + 29 as our council’s  activity fee (FOS substitute every Scout must pay)  we charge $11 for the pack dues for the year because honestly the market won’t bear more but we have to buy rank patches and belt loops at least. So we are asking parents to pay $80/Scout per year  when it costs about $125 actually.  When national and our council raised their rates last time in the same year after we held Joining Night - we were stuck.  

how are your packs charging?  What part of the country are you in?  Are parents balking?    We are shrinking at an alarming pace. And all the leaders are busting their rears to deliver a fun, inclusive and safe program.   

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Interesting

BSA registration fee is $33.  Boys Life is $12  The BL is optional

Personally I would find another council and tell them to bag the activity fee

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We do $75 a year flat rate. If we do activities outside of a pack meeting that's an additional cost (sleepover at a museum, monster truck show, etc)

Nobody has ever balked at the cost. I run a used uniform package to keep costs down so it's about $36 for a shirt with all patches and a belt, rather than $60 retail. We don't require a hat. 

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We have no council fees or insurance (per scout) so only the $33 BSA fee.  We make BL optional and charge a $55 Pack fee.  We will probably raise our pack fee to $65 to build up some cash reserves as the leaders typically have to loan the Pack money in August for all of our annual reservations prior to popcorn or fee payments are made.  

I had one parent object and I simply showed them our finances... they understood after that.  

Given that many of the parents are paying $1-2k per year per sports league scouts are considered relatively cheap.

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12 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Personally I would find another council and tell them to bag the activity fee

Is that even possible? I thought councils were regional monopolies. 

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We raised dues for the first time in YEARS due to the latest fee increases. Used to be $100, now it is $115/yr.

This covers all national/council/insurance fees and all other activities the Pack does as a whole. This includes

  • A fund that is reimbursable to the den leader of any expenses incurred for activities up to $10 year per boy (craft supplies, materials, etc). 
  • Advancements and other recognition items 
  • Class B t-shirts, custom unit number
  • All fees for campsites for the two Pack-wide camping events,
  • Maintenance and upkeep of Pack assets (PWD track, water jugs, tables, etc),
  • Materials for other events (regatta, PWD kits)
  • Blue & Gold catering and decorations
  • Recruiting (fliers, e-fliers, materials)

If we do well in popcorn sales, we do an end-of-year event for the boys. In other words, pay that one fee and there is no nickle-and-diming throughout the year.

There have been a few that pause when hearing the number, but after explaining the numbers behind it there has been no problem. We have absorbed the previous couple rounds of increases, but the latest one was too much if we wanted to keep providing the same level of program. We also added a service fee ($3) if paying by CC via Square to cover service charges and we had an even greater percentage than before pay via that method. I guess points/miles are worth it.

 

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3 minutes ago, numbersnerd said:

We also added a service fee ($3) if paying by CC via Square to cover service charges and we had an even greater percentage than before pay via that method. I guess points/miles are worth it.

Good idea.  We have started to accept PayPal and other means of payment but those charges are significant.

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We charge $85, which covers the usual stuff and we give each scout Boys' Life, a neckerchief, and handbook. 

We do charge for activities and trips throughout the year. Usually $15 per person for camping trips, B&G, $10 or less for other activities. End of year picnic is free for all scouts and families. 

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My CO pays all fees and provides every Pack with a somewhat flexible budget for awards, events, adult training, and a limited number of local/district/council over-nighters. Boys pay for their own uniforms and books, and long-term camps like Cub Day Camp and Summer Camp, with help and options available to them if needed. Families are expected to pay as little out-of-pocket as possible, and no boy is turned down from any activity or program if they don't have the means; such cases are covered by local Church leadership. The same benefits are available to all boys in every unit, whether they are members of the Church or not. 

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We are $65 this year. It was $60 for the past few years. Our Pack pays for new Leader’s registration. Compared to some of the other activities/sports out there, $65 is a pretty good deal IMO. 

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We're also in New England so have to pay that separate Adventure Card fee.  Frustrating. This year, we lowered our dues from $99 to $65 because the three other packs in town are charging around $70.  We're a small pack and needed more scouts and felt that reducing the fees would help.  We're fortunate to have good popcorn sales so we're able to swing it even though the dues are less than our actual Council costs (and don't cover books, awards, etc.)

It concerns me that pack parents are refusing to sell popcorn.  Popcorn sales are much more than a fundraiser. They help teach the Scouts practical skills, teamwork, supporting others (since, in our pack, the funds raised aren't tracked to individual Scouts, they go into the general fund), how to talk to adults at booth sales and door-to-door sales, and more.  And, yes, the popcorn is clearly not a good value ($20 for something that costs $2 at the grocery store) but it's not about the popcorn or the value, it's about fundraising for a non-profit and supporting a good program for kids. At our booth sales, half the people coming to the table just hand us donations.  They're not interested in the popcorn but like to support scouts.

Maybe it's time to revisit popcorn sales and help pack parents understand the goals of the program.  If they're not willing to sell, dues should be higher.  One of the packs in town didn't do popcorn sales and they handled it by charging much higher dues. (I believe they have since folded though.)

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When I was a CM & the CC, we didn't put a lot of energy into popcorn.  Our dues were $70 a scout per year.  They covered national fees, awards, a new neckerchief for the scouts, meeting supplies, PWD kit, and incidentals.  Most of our expenses were passed to parents as the year went on.  i.e., if they attend the pack campout it's $25 a person.  

I'll admit - we never worried much about fundraising.  We built our budget assuming we'd get none.

I suppose our philosophy was :

  • dues to cover basic expenses & registration
  • pass event fees to families so that they pay for what they attend
  • don't focus on fundraising, but instead put adult energy towards program.

 

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My Midwestern Pack registration fee is just the National fee, a local council $2 insurance fee, plus Boy's Life if they want it.

Our popcorn sales cover all other Pack expenses. The Pack provides each Cub their new Handbook for each rank, new Scouts with our custom Pack number patch, awards, patches and a Pinewood Derby Kit. We pay for a couple of Pack wide activities throughout the year such as a family swim night and, if sales have been particularly good, maybe a local jumping/trampoline park. We also cover adult registration fees. Depending on this year's popcorn sales, we would like to provide a yearly budget for each Den to cover costs for various Den activities.  We sometimes pay material costs for service projects in support of our charter organization, although usually they pay for the supplies and we provide the "muscle".

Scouts currently cover any fees for individual events & some Den activities.

 

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