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MattR

BSA's business model

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Do we need NS telling us where to go to get custom patches for events, custom neckerchiefs, custom t-shirts? No, there are numerous options out there that can do this, and for better pricing to us.  Do I need a Scout Shop to carry sleeping bags, tents, etc.? No, I probably have brick-and-mortar as well as online options where I can get quality items at a better price.   Do I need to buy my Lodge cookware from a Scout Shop? The DO lid looks nice with the embossed Scouting scene on it, but I'd rather save my unit $15 buying the generic Lodge DO from Walmart.  

The philosophy on $ spills over to other areas as well.  While the Council merit badge college looks great, do I need my parents to spend $30-$50 to send their kids there? I can run MBs or bring in others to do them for zero.  The run to "family camping" as the interpretation of what is meant by "family Scouting" scared me, as I just see that leading to more and exclusive reliance on car camping, or we have to have the troop trailer with us.  More carrying capacity leads to more stuff, more stuff leads to more expense, and more time spent on maintenance to upkeep said stuff, plus more space to store said stuff.  Get me out in the woods with my 1 person tent, my sleeping bag, a change of clothes and my mess kit and I am happy for a weekend.  Dragging the half-barrels, the Camp Chef stoves, the 20 lb propane tanks, the folding chaise lounge chair- I'd rather stay home half the time than spend hours dragging that stuff all over creation.  

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"A Scout is thrifty.  He does not wantonly destroy property.  He works faithfully, wastes nothing, and makes the best use of his opportunities.   He saves his money so he can pay his own way...."

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How about a variant of the thriftiness concept:  A Scout is Resourceful.  Scouts look for ways to use, re-use, repair, and alter materials and equipment already available in order to meet their needs and become handy with tools and craft skills.  They identify fun and interesting low-cost or no-cost events and activities in the local area.  They research nearby trails, campgrounds, scenic locations, wilderness areas, parks, lakes, rivers, and nature preserves to find free or inexpensive destinations for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.  They seek out experts from area schools, museums, parks, medical facilities, and government agencies, as well as local craftsmen, hobbyists, and tradesmen to learn about a wide variety of Scouting-related topics.  

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On 2/12/2020 at 2:18 PM, dkurtenbach said:

How about a variant of the thriftiness concept:  A Scout is Resourceful.  Scouts look for ways to use, re-use, repair, and alter materials and equipment already available in order to meet their needs and become handy with tools and craft skills.  They identify fun and interesting low-cost or no-cost events and activities in the local area.  They research nearby trails, campgrounds, scenic locations, wilderness areas, parks, lakes, rivers, and nature preserves to find free or inexpensive destinations for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.  They seek out experts from area schools, museums, parks, medical facilities, and government agencies, as well as local craftsmen, hobbyists, and tradesmen to learn about a wide variety of Scouting-related topics.  

Absolutely, the gear can be done on the cheap. I still have a Tyvek tent we made.  But what about the other costs? $100 for unit dues, $400 for summer camp, $200 for weekend campouts, $200 for FOS (that is the "recommended" amount per scout in my council) and $60 to national. So, without gear or uniform or high adventure it's over $900/year. Oh, and parents that volunteer also get charged. Of those costs, the money used at the unit level are $300. If we did our own summer camp that would cut costs by about $150. If we skipped camporees and did our own that would save about $50.

I'd rather see scouts working a job and getting paid than working on eagle. Better yet, working as a patrol. Wouldn't the program be more meaningful if there were half the campouts and the scouts worked together to pay for their trips by raking leaves, shoveling sidewalks, walking dogs, or cutting lawns - rather than selling popcorn for the council? Talk about life skills. Forget personal management MB, just pay for summer camp. I bet a lot of scouts would be a lot more critical of summer camp if they had to pay for it. I know some parents that did this but I wish more had done it.

How much money can a scout comfortably make? I think that should drive their expenses, and what the council and national charges.

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