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Do (or should) scouts really pay their own way?

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I can assure you that this was a scenario repeated several times over and discussed on a regular basis by the Jamboree committee.


Yah, SR540, did yeh have a relatively new Jambo committee this year?


Everything you describe sounds pretty normal to me. It's a bit different than da "scout pays his own way" notion, more what to do with families with late payments. Yeh always have families with late payments, and they never tell yeh why. If that gets people's shorts in a knot, best they not work da financial side of scouting activities.


Not every family gets a steady paycheck. I know quite a few who are contract or consulting labor, and they get paid in lumps. So they pay their bills in lumps. In this economy, you'd be amazed at da number of businesses who delay payment to contractors just because of their own cash flow problems. In other cases, mom is waiting on child support, and we all know how that often goes. In other cases, da family is just struggling. Needing a new radiator just took da cash for this month's Jambo payment. In still others, da bills seem to just sit around for months even though they can afford to pay. And on and on.


It's just normal, eh? Only a minority of folks, albeit a fair sized minority, pay stuff on time. God bless 'em. For da rest, nobody wants to share their family financial struggles with strangers on a committee (or worse, people they know!). Da Jambo Committee's job is to plan for this cash flow stuff, and to follow up to figure out where help (or taking a hard line) may be in order. It's just a normal thing to plan for and deal with. I expect in most areas with da recession this go 'round it was a lot worse than usual.



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Beavah: "Yah, SR540, did yeh have a relatively new Jambo committee this year?"


No, this wasn't our first rodeo. We had some new folks, but we also had people going back to Jamborees in the 80's on the committee.


Of course there are commissioned sales folks and contractors who don't bring home a weekly paycheck. I'm not talking about folks who can't make a payment on a specific date. I'm not even talking about people who are a month or two behind. We work closely enough with the families to know who is who and what their situation is and work accordingly with them. The ones who become a real concern are the ones who sign up, go 4 or 5 months without a payment, won't avail themselves of opportunities to at least show some intent.....yet insist that they are still in and want their son to go. We had 120 youth and adult spots at $3,000 each and that comes to #360,000. We try to educate them that the council isn't sitting on that much cash in the bank and can front Jamboree costs. We take money in in installments so we can make needed payments as we go. We can't wait until April or May 2010 to collect the cost from everyone and then make payments to the vendors who have supplied us with the items we ordered. It just doesn't work that way. We need at least a good faith effort. Something. Even a quarter of a payment. That isn't being non-compassionate. That is just the way the world works. You can't wish your way to a major event like Jamboree.


But you are right, we are off track. Jambo was the freshest thing on my mind when this discussion started. I think we are actually close to holding the same thought, we are just taking opposite ends. You think that by having things handed to them a boy will reciprocate when he is older. While I don't disagree with that, I believe that in order to give, you have to have something to give and that means working and saving and being responsible with your earnings. If you don't do that, you can't give to those in need. Boys need to learn both in Scouting. A scout is thrifty and "pays his own way" thru raising part of the cost of his scouting is an invaluable lesson for being a good citizen of good character. No one is suggesting that they grow up to take an attitude of I got mine, screw you.


We've beat this dead horse enough, so I'll leave you with this thought. Give a man a fish and you've fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you've fed him for a lifetime. There is a time to give a man a fish. The greater and longest lasting good is served in teaching him how to fish so he can feed himself and others. That is truely being thrifty and paying your own way while still being helpful, friendly and kind.

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Just talked to a mom who came from GS camp. She already put three boys through the BSA program, so when it came time to divide funds from cookie sales for camp fees, she did it based on individual sales (which is not GS policy, I'm told). All the girls in her troop showed up for camp and had a great time.


Another troop that went by protocol and divided their sale funds equally among the girls who signed up for camp, had half the girls cancel with NO notice given to the leaders. I could make a reference to an -ism here, but I know that'll spin another unnecessary thread.


So, I think the pay-your-own way approach may or may not impacts the kids. But, it does impact parents who may act a little more responsibly because, themselves or their son having worked hard for those funds, they will make sure the kid goes if money was put down, or find a refund or sell their ticket if they can't.

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