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Financial help to those who wont help fundraise??

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I would like to get some imput from other - more wiser Scouters...


We have two cub scouts who live in a single family home. Last year we found donors to pay for her two son's registration fee. (They are age 7 and 8) We also found used scout uniforms for them, books. They have been sporatic this year in their attendence, and mom has never volunteered to assist on any event. They also did not sell any tickets for our pancake breakfast, and sold no popcorn last year.


We just did another fundraiser and they sold no tickets. Yet, last week she told her Den Leader that she will again need financial help to continue this year.


When the topic was brought up by our Committee, there is a split of opinion. Some believe we should be charitable and simple pay for her fees. Others believe that we helped her when she first joined, and have given the mom the ability to help the pack raise money, which would make it easier for the pack to support them.


Should we help her, or tell her to sell popcorn to pay for her fees? FYI: Both her sons are playing sports (that normally cost registration fees)



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It sounds like you may be in this situation again this year because no expectations were set last year. If you want to avoid this being an annual discussion, then you should set some expectations for mom and the scouts. I would renew their registrations from pack funds and the committee chair should lay out with mom some kind of plan to make some kind of non-monetary contribution to the pack for the coming year.

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I was one of those scouts. SM had a conference with myself and mom about what we could do to help ourselves, ie fundraiser. I was fortunate in that I was able to do one fundraiser, and it paid for my troop expenses for the year IF i did x amoutn of time. it worked. A little sweat equity never hurt anyone.

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No one is going to turn down a free ride. Like the hitchhiker, they pay nothing for gas, nothing for insurance, nothing for upkeep on a vehicle, yet get just as far down the road as the person driving.


Laying out expectations is important. None of our boys pays one penny for registration or re-registration. However, our CO (American Legion) expects us to march in the Memorial Day Parade and help with the hometown festival they sponsor. It works just fine for us. The CO is not even upset if a boy is out of town on vacation when the hometown festival is going on. They pay his way anyway. That's their choice!


On the other hand if the boy doesn't raise money for trips, outings, and equipment, then it comes out of the pocket of the parent. That is between the parent and their scout. That's their choice!


Fundraisers are all spelled out in the beginning. A certain % goes to pay for the product/event, a certain % goes to the troop, and a certain % goes to the boys' individual account that can only be used to pay for high adventure or summer camp. This money is not used for annual registration, camporees or weekend outings. The boys are encouraged to have a personal bank account and supplement the cost of activities from that. That's their choice!


Money collected for troop use is to be used for troop activities, not sponsor individual freeloading.


A Scout is Thrifty: he pays his own way!

Stosh(This message has been edited by jblake47)

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Yah, no easy way to answer this by remote.


There can be folks who take advantage of da good will of others. In my experience, however, it's extremely rare in scouting. Generally speaking, a family that is severely financially stressed is stressed in every other way, too. In time. In emotional stability. In stress. Fact is, especially at da cub scout level, participating in fundraising requires the parent to have free time and energy to do most of da work. That sounds easy if you're a stable, 2-parent household. It's incredibly difficult if you're not.


So here yeh have a family that seems clearly under stress, so much so that even the task of getting kids to meetings regularly is a burden they can barely manage. And you want to increase da stress on them? What do yeh think the result of that will be?


I'd go da other way myself, and in scoutly charity try to figure out what else besides just helping with fees yeh could do to make da burdens on this young family lighter. Maybe arrange regular carpool pickups so that the boys make more meetings? Maybe encourage pack families to reach out and do some family stuff with/for 'em? Maybe invite them along on a weekend, because a family that's stressed rarely has the wherewithal for a vacation.


In my years of scouting I can think of one, maybe two families that "took advantage". For all da rest, if yeh ever got to really know their circumstances it made yeh cry.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Registration/book 1st year.... ok, I can see the Pack picking it up if there's financial need.


Without participation in that following years fundraisers, selling or volunteering and obviously there are more than 1, makes it tough to continue supporting.


Scouting should be available to all willing to commit to being involved.


As a Pack, you could offer 1/2 pack support on registration and let her know fees from fundraising is where this support comes from.



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If the family is truly under financial duress, one option is to privately take care of fees through private donations (yourself or a combination of you and other adults) or a special scholarship fund through the Pack. Some folks just need our help and charity is the best route. You never mentioned if they needed any help during the year with any Pack activities that require fees (pack campout, outings, etc.). If they are truly strapped, then I'm sure the boys don't show up for any Pack campouts or events that cost $$$.


Now, if you strongly sense you are being taking advantage of, then set expectations. It appears from your post that Cub Scouting is a secondary program for the boys after sports. I would not expect the family to get involved, but I would expect the boys to start regular attendance. Find out what keeps them from coming regularly.(This message has been edited by Jeffrey H)(This message has been edited by Jeffrey H)

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2 Cub Scouts from a single parent home - but we don't know much more beyond that, do we.


I'll echo Beavah here. Single parent home, at least two kids, unknown financial stability (is Mom working two jobs? Is she working one job but doesn't make much money? Is dad, if still alive, paying child support - not just ordered to, actually paying?), unknown home life (do the kids get homecooked meals or happy meals, quality time with mom, etc.), sporadic attendance patterns suggesting that there are transportation/time issues, no volunteer time from mom, again suggesting time issues.


So they didn't sell popcorn or pancake breakfast tickets - ask around and find out how the other Cubs sell this stuff - chances are pretty good it's Dad and/or Mom bringing it to work - leads to the possibility that Mom can't bring this stuff to work.


Kids are playing sports? Shouldn't be surprising - there are plenty of sport leagues that offer financial assistance.


Do you offer opportunities for popcorn sales/ticket sales as Dens (outside grocery stores perhaps) that these lads can participate in, or do you just leave every Cub on their own?


You really haven't shared enough about what this familiy's situation is for us to give specific advice about this family - we can only generalize. The things we suggest may or may not fit with your situation. For that matter, it's possible you really don't have a full enough picture of what's going on with the family either.


Worst case scenario - Mom's taking advantage of everyone's good nature - but as has been suggested by some here (and I agree with them), that is a pretty rare thing.


Maybe it's just the way I was brought up (which was pretty much in Scouting BTW), but I tend to be one of those people who give the benefit of the doubt until there is definitive proof laid before me.


My advice would be for you and the Committee to search your hearts and decide if you think the Cub Scout program can benefit these boys, even in a sporadic way, and to decide if cynicism or charity will win out.


If I was on the committee, I believe I would be voting for charity.

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Usually one of the problems in this situation is that unless someone in the pack knows the family personally, you never really know what the situation is. We're neither the IRS or Social Services, so it's not like we can do audits or in-home visits. In reality, most of us are probably uncomfortable asking folks tough questions on this topic.


More times than not, if someone asks for help, we're going to provide it with little or no questions asked.


Beyond that, I would look at the fundraisers not as a means for the family to contribute to the pack, but as a way for the family to earn their own way. I would suggest giving the family all the profits from any popcorn or tickets they sell, then offer to match what ever they earn with scholarship money. That is still very generous but puts the responsibility on the family to take some initiative in earning their own way.

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I'm with Calico and Beavah, being charitable is never the wrong answer.


I also think a little adjustment in the verbiage will shed some light. You wrote about paying "her fees," but their not her fees they're the fees a 7 and an 8 year old boy. And if they're not paid that's who is not going to get the benefit of scouting.

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We don't usually ask for financial details from people. Usually an expressed need is enough. We do require a few things if they are scholarshiped. First, they have to participate in a fundraiser. This doesn't mean that they have to raise enough to pay for everything, only that they make a good faith effort. Second, they have to volunteer in some way for the Pack we don't want forced leaders, but as simple as helping with a concession stand at an event or helping set up for an event. Third, if we pay for an event for them, especially a Council event, then they have to show up or have a very good reason for not being there for it to be paid again. As long as they are meeting these things, we will help out whenever needed.


Now sometimes exceptions to this are made. There MAY be a good reason for not making all of these requirements (one year for example we had a single mom who's parent was in the hospital with cancer for a very long time and all during the popcorn fundraiser). However they need to sit down with us and tell us why the requirements were not done if they want financial aid again, not just express a need again.


Additionally, sometimes fundraising only needs to be explained. Last year for example we had a single mom working two jobs. All it took was sitting with her and her son and explaining that we didn't want "her" to sell popcorn, we wanted "him" to help earn his own way. We then teamed him up with another Scout selling close to his home and he sold over $400 in popcorn. Not only did he help himself, but he was extremly proud that he had helped his mom out paying for Scouts.


Ultimately the goal should be to extend the benefits of Scouting to every boy that you can without negatively affecting the program for the other boys.(This message has been edited by pack212scouter)

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Consider this a real bonus and compliment. She thought so much of the pack's program that she wants her two boys to continue in scouting, despite the difficulty she (evidently) faces in getting the boys to meetings and paying the full cost. Most parents would just drop out and then we'd be talking about how those parents just don't "get" the value of scouting.


There are always exceptions that prove the rule, but people might want to keep in mind that most folks who are struggling aren't all that eager to ask for help. It takes a lot to swallow one's pride and do that. She might even be feeling sort of looked down upon and so uneasy, getting more involved with a group of adults who all know her social/economic business. Particularly since some seem quite ready to judge her for asking for help. And fund raising and volunteering are important and wonderful, but the "easy" opportunities to do these things tend to fall into the realm of middle and upper-middle class society, for the reasons Beavah, Calico, and others have spelled out.


See if there's a leader who is friendly with her (maybe one of the boys' den leaders?) and maybe that leader can offer an occasional ride to meetings, etc. That leader could maybe also reach out and invite the mom personally to help out with an event or two. She might respond better to an individual, friendly invitation. Or, she might happen to mention that she can't because she's working, or whatever, which would at least provide you some insight into why the family isn't always at meetings and events.





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Well there's two possible sides...I expect both of which have been discussed...


1) Mom does need the financial help.


2) Mom does not need the financial help, and is just looking for a free ride.


As for the youth (or even school) sports fees...every organization and school I've been involved with has a scholarship program to pay for fees for kids that want to pay but cannot afford it. So it is possible that she's using that path for the sports programs.

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Not being familiar withe the mom personally, It's hard to come up with an accurate assesment.


But I will echo Beavah...somewhat: Telling mom she has to fork over cash because her "poor time" has expired may be the straw that breaks the camel's back and two scouts...who probably need scouting more than anybody else...will be loast from the pack.


Having said that..there is absolutely nothing wrong with another parent or even a pack leader ( remember 2 deep and YP) picking up the boys for a fundraiser or CO supportive function.






It may be that the boys want to help, but that is out of their control. Same as missing some meetings...they may want to go, but it's beyond their control.


AS for fee based sports - again, I am not personally familiar with your area - but my son recieved a soccer sholarship when I was out of work due to cancer and surgery recovery. And the pack covered his recharter.


Incidentally, they got me back by making me Cub Master! LOL! :)


Point being, not everything is as it always appears to be, and most people don't brag about how poor they are and how much help they get.


So, I'd say look at the purpose behind scouting, then look deeply as a human.


But trust you gut too. Sometimes, your gut knows what you don't.

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I believe Beavah, Calico, and Lisa have the better trail to take for now.


If I were the CC, I'd invite Mom and the DL's concerned for a cup of coffee away from the meeting. Offer the Pack's good offices in getting the two kids where they need to be for program events. Include in those program events group opportunities to fundraise. I think there is a solid win-win here ... all the more so considering the economy

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