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Why did BSA make Cub Scouting more expensive?


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OK, I'm old but in my day, Cubs was gr 3,4 and 5. Cost $1.00 per year. New handbook each year at less than $1.00. Adjusted for inflation would = $10.00. Low and lower middle income families will have a tough time especially if they have multiple kids and/or a parent wants/needs to be a leader. Having a parent sew together the red vest to display badges and wear a neckerchief as a pack uniform could make things a bit easier. Starting a uniform bank/exchange helps too. It's a great program... we need to find ways to get it to more kids/families. 

 

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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

Sept 21, 2022: Uniform Bank WATERVILLE, Maine (WGME) - After a year of collecting donated Cub Scout and Boy Scout uniforms at Goodwill stores in Northern New England, the Kennebec Valley Uniform

Maybe we should modernize a bit and use The Lion King instead.  I have a group of boys I would nominate for the hyenas.   

I'm not sure when it happened but I just realized today that a Cub Scout neckerchief slide is $8. And because they're rank-specific, they only last 1 year (or less when they go flying off a scout's neckerchief as the kids sprint around the Pack meeting room).

I advise new families to buy the Scouts BSA neckerchief slide. It's not Cub Scout uniform code to do so, but whatever. $8 / year for neckerchief slides is ridiculous.

Our Pack decided to create a non-rank-specific neckerchief, costs families $10 each and are really nice, with a big embroidered Pack patch on the back, and they last for many years.

We save families $20 / year per scout just with these neckerchief and slide changes.

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Or simply use whatever works as a slide.  Again, who says it has to be level/rank specific in appearance.  We do not require Scouts, the older type, to use official Scout slides,so why the little ones.  Use a curtain ring, or a rubber band, or a small vertebrae from an animal, something interesting attached to adevice; they are more fun anyway.

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$23 for a cub scout hat???? go to the dollar store and buy a hat and glue a badge of rank to it... $13 for a neckerchief, make your own silk screen and make your own, $8 for a slide? There are so many ways to make an interesting slide for next to nothing... $41 to change over every year times 5 years is over $200 plus tax... That is B*llsh**t... You can do the same thing for $5 or $6 the first year, less than the tax you would pay over 5 years and use the stuff for all 5 years. Some stuff you have to buy... Annual hats, slides and neckerchiefs are easy to replace with inexpensive personalized uniform parts. Some packs simply pass the slides and neckerchiefs along in a pack graduation program and use the same stuff each year. Hats are pretty much optional anyway. 

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Cub scouting is expensive comparatively.  Easy $100 for a uniform and book.  Add activities that each are priced individually.  etc, etc, etc.  

Floor hockey in the gym is $30 or $40 for several months.  Less work too.

11 hours ago, skeptic said:

... the uniform is optional .... many units that simply encourage whatever families can handle, ...

That itself causes an issue.  Our unit did communicate that too (and I was part of it).   It's not really a good choice either.  Uniforming differences causes judgmental attitudes from all sides to other sides and affects the commitment (from all sides).

  • Scout shop subverts the pack message.
  • Asking parents to make the choice infers they don't have money or are less committed or don't care or etc, etc, etc.  All bad choices.  
  • Seeing uniforming differences in the unit causes issues of judgement from all sides to all sides.  

In hindsight, I wish our pack/troop could make our own policy.  But there are just too many mixed messages.  

 

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11 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Cub scouting is expensive comparatively.  Easy $100 for a uniform and book.  Add activities that each are priced individually.  etc, etc, etc.  

Floor hockey in the gym is $30 or $40 for several months.  Less work too.

 

Parents tell me that, but I personally don't see it because Cub Scouts is year-long.

$150 annual dues plus trip/activities fees of maybe $100 for the year (our Pack keeps trip fees to $15 or less per family) and let's say $50 in other incidental purchases, I'm looking at $300 for a whole year. My daughter plays soccer and it's over $200 for a season, just a few months.

Cub Scouts on a seasonal/quarterly basis would be $50.

Even if I throw in the $250 summer camp cost, it's $550 per year, $125 per quarter/season.

Sure, $550 is a big chunk of change. But spread out over a year... I couldn't get my kids into any year-long sport or other activity for less.

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1 hour ago, FireStone said:

Parents tell me that, but I personally don't see it because Cub Scouts is year-long.

$150 annual dues plus trip/activities fees of maybe $100 for the year (our Pack keeps trip fees to $15 or less per family) and let's say $50 in other incidental purchases, I'm looking at $300 for a whole year. My daughter plays soccer and it's over $200 for a season, just a few months.

Cub Scouts on a seasonal/quarterly basis would be $50.

Even if I throw in the $250 summer camp cost, it's $550 per year, $125 per quarter/season.

Sure, $550 is a big chunk of change. But spread out over a year... I couldn't get my kids into any year-long sport or other activity for less.

It's really impossible to try and claim that either scouts or sports are more or less expensive than the other because it all depends on how your local activity is run and how involved the youth and parents want to be.  And if you are comparing them, you have to compare true costs and perceived value. I've noticed most scouting cost comparisons leave out the hidden costs of the adult volunteer and fundraising aspects or the fact that uniforms aren't included as they generally are in sports. It's also not true in a lot of places to claim that a sports fee is only good for 8 weeks. League fees often also include participation in things throughout the year like summer pickup games, winter clinics, family days, free tickets to local sporting events, etc. 

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33 minutes ago, yknot said:

It's really impossible to try and claim that either scouts or sports are more or less expensive than the other because it all depends on how your local activity is run and how involved the youth and parents want to be.  And if you are comparing them, you have to compare true costs and perceived value. I've noticed most scouting cost comparisons leave out the hidden costs of the adult volunteer and fundraising aspects or the fact that uniforms aren't included as they generally are in sports. It's also not true in a lot of places to claim that a sports fee is only good for 8 weeks. League fees often also include participation in things throughout the year like summer pickup games, winter clinics, family days, free tickets to local sporting events, etc. 

There is a range of price points for various activities, and numerous variables. Location, fundraising, included items (some units give neckerchiefs and handbooks to scouts as part of their dues), etc., all factor in.

But all of that considered, I think it's still fair to say that Cub Scouts is at least within that range of average cost relative to any other activity. Personally (and locally) I'd argue that scouting here is cheaper than sports. But to not over generalize, I could amend that to say Cub Scouts locally is no more expensive that most youth sports, and taking into consideration some of those above-mentioned variables, it is often cheaper than other youth activities.

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This "Scouts is cheaper than X"  is an old and tired argument.   I have never had any parent say "we are going to join scouts because it's cheaper"   If that was the case the membership would not be down 50%.  The parents want to sign up their son/daughter and continue to renew for years because of what the program offers their kids for their future in instilling Character, Values and Ethics and have some adventures while doing so.

 

Kids are in sports x/y/z, quiz bowls and their other church youth groups because they want to.  Remember they also have school work which comes first.  You have to be flexible in meeting their needs.  There isn't one unit in the country that has 100% attendance at every meeting or outdoor activity. 

 

I have heard some walk away from signing their kids up when they are presented the additional $25 fee.    Another great marketing strategy to increase membership!  

 

JMHO.  Mileage may vary. 

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Like many league sports, Cub scouting may need sponsors besides COs. My teams baseball uniforms were purchased by a local insurance agent.

A local company interested in garnering business from families might want to underwrite registration fees, and a sticker with their logo should be affixed to the scouts’ book for that year. The sticker might include a Q-R code for a discount or other special offer at that business.

A thrift store with a department for new-to-you uniform parts — sold exclusively to registered BSA members — would be a boon for many communities.

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I'm not sure why Cub Scouts needs to have a CSP and unit number on their shoulder. Unlike Boy Scouts, they rarely participate in activities outside of their council or unit. I'd favor dropping those and the World Crest emblem just to keep entry costs low and uniforming simple.

Since COVID, much of my household's weekly spending flows through the Target app. It'd be great if the BSA could offer a set of basic items online through a major retailer. Want to boost membership? Appeal to mothers. In most households, they make the majority of the every-day purchases and they make them on their phones through same 4 or 5 major retailers.

 

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22 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

I'm not sure why Cub Scouts needs to have a CSP and unit number on their shoulder. Unlike Boy Scouts, they rarely participate in activities outside of their council or unit. …

Council events justify the need for unit numbers. It makes it a lot easier to help that lost Cub. But, it is possible to find a week at camp with units from two councils with the same number.

I do believe ornate CSPs have outlived their usefulness.

Defunding the World Crest is a non-starter. You might not feel it, but your scout benefits from the World Organization of Scouting Movement supporting scouts in nations with financial issues more prohibitive than only the poorest of Americans will ever experience. Because of WOSM, your scout might one day find himself with a hiking buddy from the farthest corner of the earth.

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5 minutes ago, qwazse said:

than only the poorest of Americans will ever experience.

No, they won't.  I have been "one of the poorest" here.  And I have travelled to over 60 countries on the planet.  Many "developing" 

We have the richest poor in the world.

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The BSA is messed up and not just because the LDS church pulled out and some Law Firms decided to specialize on suing the BSA... Membership losses have been going on for a long time. The controversy over the LGBTQ cost the BSA chartered partners, membership and millions and millions of $$$$. 

Sadly, all the increased expenses to join and for handbooks and uniforms on top of the other problems will only exacerbate the problem. Cubbing should be less expensive than Scouts BSA in part because it is a conduit for membership. We need to attract more families. Each family represents significant potential income to the local council as well as to national. Product sales, camp fees, and friends of scouting account for a significant portion of each councils budget and making cubs more expensive creates an unnecessary hurdle to membership. 

Both national and local councils need to get off their collective butts and raise the operating funds needed instead of hiking registration fees. For Scouting's first 100 years local councils for the most part did not pass along operating expenses as part of the annual registration costs. There is still a lot of $$$ out there and it is the job of the professionals and the executive boards and district leadership to go get it. 

Syracuse used to serve the low income neighborhoods but that program (Scoutreach) does not even exist today. Our council has a 0% density in the city schools. That is totally unacceptable to me. The failure of councils to maintain staff, districts and services is also a major component of the failure of the leadership. There are some councils that have sound, competent leadership but too few and probably too little, too late. Pre covid during the working of the agreement on the bankruptcy the BSA projected a 3% growth in traditional membership for the foreseeable future. That was prior to the devastating membership losses due to the pandemic. In the past half a century the BSA has not seen membership growth and I doubt that they will change that trend on their present course. (I won't count replacement of the covid losses as growth until we exceed the 2019 membership numbers which I doubt we will ever see. 

If you don't agree, please tell me why... I'd love to see hope for this great program. 

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