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Scout must sell popcorn to participate?

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We have recently moved to a different state, and at the new unit we have been given a paper to sign stating we must sell $400 worth of popcorn or we will owe $100 in dues, AND to be eligible to go on the spring trip, my son must sell $750 in popcorn. It is clearly stated on the paper that scouts that cannot just skip the popcorn sale and pay for the trip out of pocket. My boys have always participated in the popcorn sale in our old unit, but these strong-arm tactics are turning me off. Is a unit able to require you to sell a certain amount of popcorn to participate or to go on a trip? I understand the dues, although $100 seems a bit excessive. Advice???

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Welcome to the Forums.


$100 is not excessive for annual Troop dues. That''s what my Troop charged six years ago when Eagle son was a tenderfoot. We did it in two increments, February at our recharter and August right after camp. February increment included BSA fees and Boy''s Life, so about 25 was unit funding. August payment was all unit funding.


I''ve never heard of a Pack, Troop or Crew forbidding participation because of popcorn sales levels. Because of that... I''d look at other area troops before committing to this one. If you choose another Troop, (and there are lots of things to look at in selecting a Troop), I''d send a blunt letter to the Institutional Head of the Chartered Partner, explaining why you didn''t select his organization.


Keep us informed, please.

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We have the $100 yearly commitment, too, which works out to $2/wk. We''re also a troop with many families living under the poverty line (some WAY under). We don''t waive the dues, even for the kid whose mother is in jail and father unknown -- we DO provide fund-raising opportunities for the Scouts throughout the year. There''s no reason a boy in our troop wouldn''t be able to earn his dues with minimal effort. It''s much better for them to earn it.


FORCING a boy to sell popcorn to be included is just wrong. But I''m not sure it''s outside of his power to require it. Could you just black through that part of the agreement, then discuss it with the SM? It may be some overzealous committee member that came up with the idea, and he may welcome having someone strongly disagree with it.


The popcorn is grossly overpriced, anyway. We don''t do the popcorn thing - much to our Council''s dismay. When the price isn''t embarrassing to ask, maybe we''ll change our minds.

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Welcome, but as usual I am not going to be as nice nor as nurturing as John-in-Ky...


Wonder, I wonder, if there is some info missing here?


Could the spring trip be a time-honored "prize" for salesmanship and excellent troop support and spirit? It would not be that unusual to have a super "prize" for a super sales effort, now would it? And letting folks who did not sell "super amounts" would sorta undermine the purpose now wouldn''t it? Just wondering...


Then there is your obvisous dislike of the "sell popcorn or pay $100 dues", in away a condemnation of the troop being honest and upfront, it would seem...Sorry, I would be "drawing" my checkbook out faster than John Wayne "slapping leather" in one of his western "shoot ''em ups"! $100 is a bargain for a strong program...or to avoid the dreaded popcorn sales-(and selling anything else for that matter)!


Strong arm tactics? (your words), Sorry I don''t see it with the small amount of info you have given...


Please do not take this wrong, but it is easy to see you are not a very good fit for that troop...A new comer- and you have already judged their seemingly open and honest operational policies as "strong arm tactics"! Please do yourself (and them) a favor and move on to another troop...you (all) will be happier in the long run.



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Anarchist, As I stated, I don''t have a problem with dues, I just thought the amount was a bit high. Our old unit was in a rural, low income area and yearly dues were $50. Several have stated $100 is not out of line, and I thank you for your perspective. This trip is not an incentive, and selling $750 in popcorn doesn''t pay for any of the trip, it is a prerequisite for being eligible to attend. The trip sounds neat, am I am happy to pay for my boys to attend, however I was given a letter today when I picked up our "presale popcorn" outlining these requirements. I know my boys enjoy being a part of this unit, so for them it is a good fit; and that is why I came here to help to find a solution. Thanks for your input.(This message has been edited by hersheygirl)

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We do popcorn, as well as other fundraisers too. I am not aware of any quotas. Hersheygirl has made it clear that her sons enjoy this unit so seeking out another one is not an option here. Sorry Hershey, I do not have any solution to offer, just a welcome to the forum and hope you stick around.

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Welcome, hersheygirl. Are you in central PA, or just a choco-holic???


Sorry to skew the stats here, but our annual dues are $25. Fundraisers are voluntary, and scouts'' efforts are reflected in their scout accounts. If they do not sell popcorn, they pay as you go.


I agree, the strong-arm tactics are wrong.

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Gee, what else is this unit going to spring on you that you aren''t aware of? A requirement that you donate $250 to FOS in order for your son to be eligible to attend summer camp? A requirement that you sign up to be a merit badge counselor in order for your son to be eligible to earn merit badges?


I would have no problem with the $400 in popcorn sales versus $100 cash for dues IF there is a corresponding reduction in dues for lesser amounts of popcirn being sold. It appears that the Troop is giving Scouts the opportunity to earn their dues through the popcorn sales - and figuring 25% goes to the Unit (or at least towards Dues - I thought units get about 33% of the sales) then it makes sense that in order to pay a full years dues with popcorn sales, the Scout needs to sell $400 worth. BUT - if the Scout only sells $200 worth, will he get a $50 credit towards his dues? I think you need to ask this Troop this question. If they tell you that in order to get any credit for dues they must sell $400 worth and partial sales don''t count, I would run quickly to another troop.


I'd run to another troop anyway because of this $750 in order to go on the spring trip. Scouting is about offering opportunities to boys, not putting obstacles up that Scouts need to overcome. With all due respect to Anarchist, planned trips should NEVER be considered an award. Scouts have enough awards to earn - ranks, merit badges, etc. Trips are opportunities for Scouts to work on earning these awards, and for working as a team, and for showing leadership. It's one thing to throw together a spur of the moment canoe trip after a morning of service for those who helped with the service - it's quite another to make attending a planned trip contingent on selling a set amount of popcorn.


It is also inherently unfair as quotas for popcorn sales are not a true measure of how hard one works to reach that goal - not at the youth level. One lad may work their butt off going door to door, putting in hours of work and still fall short of the goal while another may have a parent who brings the form to work and reach the sales goal in one day without eeven getting off his tushie and turning off his Play Station 3. Is it fair to the lad who put in the effort to reach the goal and yet only sold $650 worth of popcorn that he doesn't get to go on the spring trip while his peer who did nothing and "sold" $750 worth of popcorn gets to go? You can use this argument in a discussion with the Scoutmaster. If this troop thinks this is reasonable, find another troop - one more in synch with the values of the Boy Scouts.


You mention that your boys seem to like this Troop - since it's plural, then we can safely assume that in order for your boys to attend this trip, your family will need to sell at least $1,500 in popcorn (assuming 2 boys). I'd have serious questions about this too. If you sell $1,200 worth of popcorn, which boy doesn't get to go? How will you choose? Or do none of them get to go? How happy with the Troop will they be if they learn they don't get to go on this awesome trip in the spring?


Calico(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)

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Our troop - a very active one with about 40 boys - sets annual due at about $35. We do several fund raisers and we strongly encourage everyone to participate but we do not require it. So while I can see where other troops might take a different approach, I also don''t believe that it is absolutely necessary to twist arms and threaten exclusion from trips.


Maybe it is time to invite the committee chair and COR out for coffee and ask them to "help you understand" why they feel such a tactic is both necessary and desirable.

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Welcome Hersheygirl!


Does this Troop use Scout Accounts? This is where a portion (or all) of the profit from a boys popcorn sale goes into a fund for his use?


You stated that none of the profit from the $750 in sales went toward the cost of the trip. Does this mean that if you sell $750 in popcorn you then get the privilege of paying even more out of pocket to go on this trip?


May I ask, how many boys are in this Troop? What is this special popcorn trip? How many of the boys actually go on it each year?


I must say that as a sales incentive I can sort of understand (not necessarily agree with) the idea behind the trip. But, if the trip is not going to be funded by the popcorn sale at all, what happens to those youth who sell their pants off and then can not afford to pay out of pocket for the trip?


Oh, and just a question - What the heck is "presale popcorn"???


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Hershey -


I''d be interested to know how the unit has set a $400 sales -or- $100 dues rate. The unit keeps roughly 33% of the popcorn income (the other two-thirds is split between your council and the Pop Weaver folks).


With $400 in sales, the Scout will have brought in about $133 to the unit -- so the powers-that-be in your unit are forgiving an additional $100 in sales if you just fork up $100. The same people are saying you must bring in about $250 income to become elgible for spring trip attendance.


Seems like a slight double standard to me.


I think unit fundraisers are among the most important lessons the boys can learn . . . My son is involved in the unit fundraiser. If he does not sell a required amount, it comes out of his pocket (not mine). Although he paid for his own summer camp last year through fundraising effort, winter camp was paid for by yard mowing income -- his own. Either way, he took responsibility. (FYI, I would write the check if he were unable to earn the difference.)


A few years ago, as a Cubmaster, I urged our Pack Committee to require fundraising participation. I could see no reason why it should be any other way. One committee member explained that she felt comfortable allowing sales only to friends and family -- which wasn''t sufficient to meet the minimum goal. Who was I to question that? So, she wrote a check. Fast forward a few years to Boy Scouts and the committee (with much more wisdom than I alone) has the same system: sell a certain amount or make up the difference out of your own pocket.


The bottom line here is the income necessary to pay for activities and the operation of the unit. There are many legitimate reasons why I shouldn''t shove a "must sell" rule down people''s throats, including a parent''s comfort level. (Who''s to say that parent didn''t witness some horrible scene while selling Girl Scout cookies door to door?)


My advice is this: Sit down with the committee chair (NOT the Scoutmaster, since fundraisers are not his charge) and express your concerns only AFTER everything has been explained. Be prepared to counter with WHY you don''t like the system and be prepared to offer a reasonable alternative.


Oh. . .You should also request a copy of the unit budget.


Take care.



..and a good ol'' Fox too!

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I can only speak for what the boys in my Troop think about popcorn sales---They dislike it. At the district''s popcorn kickoff, they give the scouts an order form and the adults/parents an order form. The price of the popcorn is obscenely high! We live in a small town, and the region is borderline economically depressed. My son sold only one popcorn tin in his sales effort. No one wants to pay $9.00 for a few ounces of popcorn.The Troop participates in the popcorn sale because we want to help our boys who sell and the council also gets a portion of the profit. (Some money is better than none.)As a Troop we are lucky to sell about $1000.00 worth of popcorn. I don''t know how some of these kids in other units, sell thousands of $$$ worth of the stuff themselves.

Anyway, our dues for the Troop are $25.00 for the year. We do several fundraisers throughout the year, to raise money for outings and summer camp. Those that participate in the fundraisers get their portion placed in their respective scout account.

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Given what we know of the story at this point,


Lisa''Bob and I are in utter agreement, hersheygirl. Time for you to have an offsite sit-down over coffee with the CC and COR. There''s a hole in the information you''ve received to this point, which is the "WHY".


Let us know how this story develops :)

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Our troop has yearly dues of $26.00. I wouldn''t be able to afford $100 dues, and costly trip requirements for my 2 boys. Maybe you can check with other troops in your area to see what their policies are on popcorn sales, trips, and dues. If your troop is way out of line with other troops, than you can ask why.


I agree with CalicoPenn that one boy might "earn" huge popcorn sales without actually doing the selling, yet another boy who puts in hours of work might not get much profit. It is very difficult to sell popcorn at such high prices.


My troop does other fundraisers throughout the year, so we don''t have to rely solely on popcorn sales. So far, our fundraisers have allowed us to keep our dues low.

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