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Why did BSA make Cub Scouting more expensive?


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We conducted a hastily planned recruiting event at a local elementary school last week.  I talked to several parents and one of the recurring themes was cost.  It got me thinking about our programs.  Cub Scouts is more expensive than Scouts BSA when it comes to the basics.  A fully uniformed Cub Scout has to buy a new hat, neckerchief, slide, and book every year.  A Boy Scout can use the same 4 items for their entire career.  Why do we have this?  It's been 40 years, but I don't recall changing hats, neckerchiefs, or slides until Webelos.  I know we tell parents that they really just need a shirt, but it creates a system where economic circumstances are more evident.  Right now, I'm considering proposing a Pack neckerchief and possibly a slide.  We could probably get custom hats made for less than the cost of 4 hats.

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some observations & wisdom from a DL & ADL for two boys from tiger to AOL. (disclaimer: we were in a large pack, 85-110 scouts in an upper middle class zip code in Wake Co. NC.) We o

It's optional in the scout program so I assume it's also optional in the cub program. Just because they sell it you don't have to buy it.

In addition, by bringing in very young kids into the pack, you really limit what the older youth can do. G2SS rules for the pack have to assume that many of the activities will be available for those

I don't think you need the hat so it might be easier to just drop it all together. 

I like the idea of just one neckerchief.

Why the books aren't combined into one or just made into a pdf is a mystery. Of course, we know the answer. They make money on sales. 

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47 minutes ago, MattR said:

I don't think you need the hat so it might be easier to just drop it all together. 

I like the idea of just one neckerchief.

Why the books aren't combined into one or just made into a pdf is a mystery. Of course, we know the answer. They make money on sales. 

For the books, they barely survive a year, so I cannot imagine one last four years at the cub scout ages 

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

I don't think you need the hat so it might be easier to just drop it all together. 

The hat is produced by BSA as a uniform part.  So dropping it is unlikely.  If BSA produced one Cub Scout hat for all ranks, like they have one Scouts BSA hat for all ranks, it wouldn't be a big deal.  Look at all the imagery - a properly attired Cub Scout wears a hat.

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15 minutes ago, Armymutt said:

The hat is produced by BSA as a uniform part.  So dropping it is unlikely.  If BSA produced one Cub Scout hat for all ranks, like they have one Scouts BSA hat for all ranks, it wouldn't be a big deal.  Look at all the imagery - a properly attired Cub Scout wears a hat.

I think a lot of people are doing what works for them. Covid and the fee increases have led many people to simply opt for a cheap pack or den t shirt or a neckerchief if that makes sense for their demographics. Yes, the cub uniform expense is ridiculous but it's based on marketing and revenue. BSA wants parents to buy the new rank color matched hat, kerchief, socks, and new belt loop and book every year. It would be wonderful if the uniform was streamlined. Not sure it will happen though. 

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Waaaay back in Paleo Scout days,  the Cub uniform was one cap, one shirt, one necker, one woggle ( I have mine in that back of closet shoebox)..  The Den stayed the same thruout, even to Webelos.  The RANK and Arrowheads (electives)  were added to the uni  shirt, that was all. AND.... I remember some Cubs who had to wear their shirt a little untucked to allow for the showing of all the Arrow Points under the Wolf, Bear , Lion badges.   

The big changes were , I agree, more of a money making thing , along with the added Bling thing. 

I know of at least one local Pack, pre pandemic, that agreed, totally among themselves, to ONLY buy ONE yellow necker and ONE Cub cap for all the Cub years until Webelos needed a tan shirt to cross over in.....   I never heard a complaint from Council or DE.... Now, admittedly, that was two years ago now, I do not know what happened to that Pack.  I know my home Pack is struggling. 

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6 hours ago, Armymutt said:

The hat is produced by BSA as a uniform part.  So dropping it is unlikely.  If BSA produced one Cub Scout hat for all ranks, like they have one Scouts BSA hat for all ranks, it wouldn't be a big deal.  Look at all the imagery - a properly attired Cub Scout wears a hat.

It's optional in the scout program so I assume it's also optional in the cub program. Just because they sell it you don't have to buy it.

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We have a pack hat, emboidered too.  its sharp looking and when we're at an event with a bunch of cub scouts in uniform from all around the area we can pick ours out super fast.  The parents wanted it and adopted it as a cost savings measure - no one has ever called the uniform police on us. Not to mention parents buy them to wear as well and its a great spirit booster

We also make neckerchiefs with the dens as an activity and sometimes as a pack activity - the kids like doing it and it makes it FUN which was what the whole point of Cub Scouts is...Do Your Best and Make It Fun

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some observations & wisdom from a DL & ADL for two boys from tiger to AOL.

(disclaimer: we were in a large pack, 85-110 scouts in an upper middle class zip code in Wake Co. NC.)

We operated as a "waist up" uniform pack.  More happy if they showed up than if they were in full uniform.

-Don't buy the long scout pants, not comfy & boys wear shorts most of the time anyway.

-Pack provided rank necker  at crossover. Tigers would buy theirs pack supplied after that.

-We usually had scouts make a slide/woggle at some point or taught them to tie them. Slides always get lost.

-Most kids (in my experience) don't wear hats. Pack had a pack hat (blue w/ yellow embroidered pack #) sold at cost, scout & adult sizes

-Buy blue shirt larger than needed (obviously) scout will grow into it.

-Don't buy the tan shirt as a webelo if your blue shirt still fits. Wear till it's too small.  It will for sure be to small by AOL rank.

-Usually by the time scouts are Web/AOL they will "get" the idea of the uniform. Especially if they have any interaction with troops.

- Younger scouts cane barely keep up with a scout book rarely bring it to meetings.

Hopefully the uniform police :) wont flame me. These are just my  observations/ experiences.

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GrubKnot - totally commonsense answers.  We also don't punish/shame any cub scout that shows up at a den meeting or pack meeting in their pack activity t-shirt - maybe that's what is clean or at the bringing parent's place. (we have several families that have separate households)

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When I was a Cub Scout... I started as a Wolf and I am fairly certain that was THE place to start then.  We had a Wolf Hat/Neckerchief, different for Bear, and then the Webelos stuff.  This was 82-84 ish.

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7 hours ago, GrubKnot said:

… Hopefully the uniform police :) wont flame me. …

We (as in me and maybe two other scouters) prefer the term insignia wonk.

With registration fees skyrocketed, something’s gotta give. I got nothing but respect for thrifty scouters.

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2 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

When I was a Cub Scout... I started as a Wolf and I am fairly certain that was THE place to start then.  We had a Wolf Hat/Neckerchief, different for Bear, and then the Webelos stuff.  This was 82-84 ish.

Fall 1982 Was when  Tiger Cubs was introduced nationally, but it was an optional, separate program for second graders. They only wore an orange tshirt or sweatshirt, and they got iron on tiger paws. Cub Scouts was only 3 years: 3rd grade Wolves, 4th Grade Bears, and 5th Grade Webelos. Some time in the late 1980s, I think 1989, Tiger Cubs became part of Cub Scouts officially. In the 1990s, they turned Cub Scouts from a 4 year program (Grades 2-5), to a 5 year program ( Grade 1-5) because they realized 9-12 months was not enough time to transition. Then circa 2018 Lions came about.

As for uniforms, August 1, 1984 was when the Tan and Green uniform with Cub Scout insignia was authorized. Although Dink and Duff in BOYS" LIFE introduced it in April or May of 1994. the published reason for the option was to allow those folks who outgrew their blue uniform the chance to save some money.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Fall 1982 Was when  Tiger Cubs was introduced nationally, but it was an optional, separate program for second graders. They only wore an orange tshirt or sweatshirt, and they got iron on tiger paws.

I was a tiger that year! We had a poster with stickers, too, if I recall. 

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