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clarkbear

High Adventure Financial Responsibility

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I was wondering if anyone has experience within their troops for an effective policy regarding financial responsibility for high adventure camps. Currently we do not have anything considered a "policy" around this and we would like to get  more structured going forward. Thanks for any advice or examples that could be helpful.

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21 minutes ago, clarkbear said:

I was wondering if anyone has experience within their troops for an effective policy regarding financial responsibility for high adventure camps. Currently we do not have anything considered a "policy" around this and we would like to get  more structured going forward. Thanks for any advice or examples that could be helpful.

No.  We have never used the high adventure camps.  Too expensive.  

 

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not sure if this is what you mean but our troop does the following.  High adventure every other year.  Due to various reasons there is usually interest from about six or eight scouts out of approx. forty.  Troop has always done Philmont.  None of the scouts that have participated in the past have ever requested to participate a second time so there has never been a concern about excluding anyone but if that happened previous attendees would be at the bottom of the list and then oldest first timers would be at the top.  The troop offsets a portion of the adult leaders expenses for the trip and pays for the Wilderness First Aid certification.  The adult leaders have always been parents of attendees.  Because this is expensive and only a small portion of the troop attends, the Philmont crew have their own separate fundraisers to help offset costs.  These funds are still deposited in the troop bank account and supervised by the troop treasurer.  The raised funds are split evenly among the scouts going to Philmont.  The Philmont crew meets often to hike and camp in preparation for the trek.

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Thanks that is actually very useful. What I am more interested in is how does the troop handle finances as far as holding participants who sign up responsible or the costs? In the past our troop has had a few who sign up to attend Philmont or another high adventure and then they pull out after the troop and the crews are fully committed. We have no policy or process in place to deal with this currently. The crew is usually left holding the bag trying to recruit replacements to offset the costs.

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We make a commitment form for each big trip. Here is an financial section that I used for a trip. It was not the crew's responsibility if you couldn't go. How much you got returned to you was between you and whoever replaced you.

A. Finances/Paperwork:

  1. I will raise funds (no more than $1500) for the trip by participating in crew fundraisers, working on my own, or negotiating fairly with my parents.
  2. From now until April 2011 I will make monthly payments to Crew 321 to cover the cost of the trip.
  3. If I cannot go on the trip:  I am responsible to find someone else to go instead of me, and they may reimburse me for what I have paid.
  4. I will complete a physical exam by within 12 months prior to the trip and have my physician complete the Seabase medical form.
  5. I will obtain a passport  for travel to the to the Bahamas.

qwazse, I edited this so it doesn’t take up two screens. John.

Edited by John-in-KC
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We take a $100 non-refundable down payment to get on the list and then 2 months later ask for $400 more. Once they have paid $500 they rarely change their mind and can sell their spot to others if needed. 

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We run the financing through the Troop as a pass through account but the trip is wholly the responsibility of the crew from the get go. Someone from the crew has to front the money and if someone backs out they are either liable for the funds or need to get someone else to take their spot. The problem is that you need to reserve these spots well in advance and things happen. But that's why we are hands off. It's an elite experience open only to those who can afford it or are willing to put significant time into fundraising so we don't underwrite anything other than leader training. 

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All I can say is, for any camp, make the rules and consequences crystal clear up front and don't make exceptions. Understand your risk. I've seen situations where people running an event keep giving scouts a pass and then all of a sudden the scout bails and we're holding the bag. If the scout bails on a $10 camp then we don't worry about it other than an opportunity to teach a scout a lesson. But it's harder when a scout bails on a $1000 trip because the other scouts will have to cover his cost. As soon as the troop has to make a deposit the scouts owe that much (more likely a week before). If the organization you're paying can deal with late cancellations then things are much more relaxed.

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For Philmont we roll everything except souvenirs into one price and split it to 3 or 4 payments.  We start collecting money as soon as we get confirmation of a spot - before we need to send any to Philmont.  We have a parent-required info meeting up front where we go over the costs, schedules and participation requirements and have them sign a commitment form. 

We tell them that Philmont doesn't give refunds so we can't give refunds.  In reality we would consider giving a refund of what we have collected but not yet spent, if losing the that person would not drop us below the Philmont minimum (or if we could find a replacement).  

The catch-22 is this - if there is some kind of emergency that they cannot go, you want to be supportive as best you can.  You don't want to lose a family because they lost $1000 on top of grandma dying.  The other scenario is a Scout who just changes his mind - you might not care about being supportive but you surely don't want a Scout on the trek who does not want to be there.  Philmont rangers tell stories of Scouts who break bear-protocol rules on purpose so they will get sent home.   Definitely don't want them along.

 

One other option - for a big expense like Philmont we usually talk to the parents about trip cancellation insurance. There are lots of places online to purchase it and it is usually pretty inexpensive compared to the cost of the trip.   The ones that Ive purchased in the past are very broad coverage - meaning they cover most any reason for cancelling.

 

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For High Adventure we do one each year.  Odd years Seabase and even years Philmont.  Well, unless there are fires or pandemics.😁

We set a timeframe before our final commitment to the HA base is due.  You pay a deposit, if you pull out, you lose your deposit.  As this progresses if a Scout drops out, they do not get refunds unless we can fill the slot or the base refunds.

Each Scout is responsible for their fees.  We have good data so really no surprises and all know the commitments and costs before signing up.

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I don't know if the issue of someone trying to just walk away from their responsibilities has ever come up, but in my troop, once you commit, you are committed to covering any costs associated with your commitment.  So if we book a spot to Philmont for you and you pay the deposit to sign up, you are responsible for the whole thing.  However, if someone has ever become unable to go, we would also search far and wide for someone else to fill the spot and get them reimbursed.  As far as I can recall, this has always been possible when someone has had to back out, though I think one time they ended up finding someone in another troop because no one in our troop was interested.

We had eaten a couple of Summer Camp registrations over the years, so now the troop only submits the deposit.  Everything else must be paid directly by the family to the council.

Edited by elitts

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