Jump to content
Momleader

How many freebie meeting visits?

Recommended Posts

How many freebie meetings are potential scouts allowed to attend and participate in?

I’m involved in both the town Pack and Troop at the Committee level and there are several youth who have been attending Den , pack and troop meetings as “guests” regularly.  All the Parents have been given the applications and offered payment plans to pay registration costs.  Some have been given the paperwork several times - yet it never returns when they drop off or pick up the scout to be.  

The youth aren’t in the same family so it’s a couple of families this has been happening    with, and while both Troop and Pack are willing to help find them financial aid to pay the fees - both can’t register the youths without paperwork.  

How many freebie try it outs are allowed?  When do you say - “we’re sorry, your child can’t continue to visit weekly without the paperwork”?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the Den and Pack, the parents should be participating.

I would have a simple discussion with them. 

Based on what you have stated I would tell them that their children are more than welcome to attend and participate but they need to be registered and have health forms A&B completed. This is a requirement for both safety and liability reasons. If needed, you can also find scholarships for them.

Direct and simple usually works best.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the troop, I would say any meetings and the first activity are recruiting events. Then we ask the guest, "Do you want to keep this up? Then, let's make you legit for the rest of the year." Then we tell the parents, "Your youth really wants to be part of our troop. What's keeping you from getting that paperwork done?"

When I was with the crew, we were a little more easy going about guests. So we settled on a $5 surcharge from non-members for each activity. That way, when someone finally turned in paperwork, there was some coin in the treasury to pay for their registration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose it depends on intent. If all these parents do is drop their kids off and pick them up, then they certainly aren't participating. We had a scout that was too young to join but was the only AOL scout in his pack, so he unofficially joined us a couple of months early. His dad was with him at every event and he kept wearing his webelos uniform. He did every event, including campouts. So, two very different situations. I'd say you need to talk to the parents and be courteous, but blunt. Something else to consider: Are their children enjoying the program? Do they really want to be there? If so, my guess is the parents are embarrassed about something but like the program. If not, could just be cheap baby sitting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am always very flexible with things like this.  I figure that our troop is essentially a big Scouting family and that eventually it will sort itself out. 

I'm always more concerned that there is some sort of family issue that they need some help with.

But, If I eventually came to the conclusion that the family was taking advantage of us, I'd send them a quick email them that for liability reasons the BSA requires their youth to be a registered member of the pack or troop.  I'd also tell them that we cannot process any awards for their scout until they were registered.  Then I'd ask them to come in at the next meeting to get it taken care out.  I think I had maybe one case in 10 years like this.

What I did tend to  have from time to time is were parents who were just not terribly organized.  Remembering to do paperwork on time was a skill they didn't possess.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, MattR said:

We had a scout that was too young to join but was the only AOL scout in his pack, so he unofficially joined us a couple of months early. His dad was with him at every event and he kept wearing his webelos uniform. He did every event, including campouts. So, two very different situations. 

I agree this is a very different situation because in this case, the AOL is covered by insurance.

 

For us, we do not let parents leave if their child is visiting & not registered. They need to see what is happening because ultimately they will decide if the child joins. Also, our biggest concern is insurance. After 2 meetings, maybe 3, we pressure to complete paperwork.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

There's a story that floats around my Pack about a scout from years ago who made it all the way through Arrow of Light without officially registering with the Pack. Not sure how accurate the story is at this point, could be he was registered but didn't pay dues the next year or something. Who knows.

The point is, it has become a sort of cautionary tale for leaders. Make sure your scouts are properly registered, everyone is up to date, rostered in Scoutbook, etc.

As for the scout in question here, I would use the dangling carrot of advancement. We do all advancement tracking in my Pack through Scoutbook now, including reports for purchasing awards/badges/pins. If a scout isn't registered, they don't have a number and aren't fully entered into Scoutbook, nor can we generate the report needed to buy advancement awards at the Scout Shop. I would leverage that to persuade the parents to officially sign the kid up. Just say, "We'll be handing out awards/badges/belt loops/whatever next week and your son/daughter has been participating but can't receive their award because they're not in the system yet. Let's fix that."

 

Edited by FireStone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Freebies are harder on troops than packs because the unknowing can effect the patrol dynamics. The program is wrapped around the outdoor program, so eventually commitment (or lack there of) stresses the boy run part of the patrol method. It's hard enough with registered scouts, now the patrols have to contend with scouts who say "maybe". 

Advancement and Den cost tend to push the families on the Pack side, but that can take a little while until the program is in full motion. Worse case is the cubs not getting their badges with their buddies.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would treat each situation uniquely and not try to come up with some comprehensive "policy."  If someone is being dropped off and picked up that sounds more like someone joining as opposed to a guest who comes with another scout.

Not sure whether your biggest concern is the membership or the direct costs to the unit for whatever activities they're participating in.

I would separate the two ideas, membership and cost; have the parent fill out the application without asking for any money, it should only take a parent five minutes or less to do so either as they pick up or drop off.  Once the application is compete then you can talk about arrangements for payment.  If they're not interested in filling out the application even without having to pay then I think you can become more insistent that continued participation is contingent on membership.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to make sure the paperwork is completed. Not only for youth, but also adults. My wife put in 3 or 4 applications to be a Webelos ADL. Did YPT, had a uniform, etc. There was an incident on one of the "Go See Its," and she ended up in the lake, pulling a guy out, and beginning CPR. Long story short, while filling out the paperwork for the Heroism Award, we discovered she was not registered. 

Regarding someone not being on the charter, had something like that happen to one of my Scouts. It affected him when he went to apply for Eagle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

You need to make sure the paperwork is completed.

I can't state how often this happens with our troop too. Paperwork tends to go nowhere at times and it is a liability if it isn't processed all the way through. Things can surprise you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I first volunteered, the pack would say "we only need 5 registered adults, so let's not register any of the other adults."  When I did finally get them to register me, they reigstered me for one of the required 5 spots - pack trainer I think it was.  We fixed that problem when those folks rotated out.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

we only need 5 registered adults, so let's not register any of the other adults

My pack registers the minimum.  We can use $300 to pay for B&G or other big event, or, register 9 adults for a committee.  It's a short decision tree for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having prospective youth attend meetings and check out the unit, and decide if Scouting is for them, is totally appropriate.  One or two meetings would seem sufficient.  However, at no time should their parent, at any level of program, drop them off and leave.  Frankly, the units are totally putting themselves at risk for that youth.  Anything they did at that meeting- vandalizing your meeting space, getting into a fight with another youth, etc.- you are totally on the risk for it.  If they had a health issue, and you don't have contact info/consent from the parent, you are at risk for the decisions you make in treatment.  Invite the youth, invite the parent- let the parent talk with your Membership Chair for the whole time.  At the end of the meeting ask the youth and parent if they liked the meeting, suggest if they liked it, are they ready to join? if the answer is maybe, suggest perhaps coming to another meeting might help them decide.  At no time would I want to see a unit treat a scout meeting like it's a community drop off child care center.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Officially, I would say only once since they are covered under BSA insurance as a non-registered guest for only one visit. 

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

×