BSA membership fee increased to $24; what does your $24 get you?

The Boy Scouts of America will increase its annual membership fee for youth and adults to $24 from $15, beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

For those who join after the beginning of the year, the fee will be prorated at $2 per month. This does include units with a Dec. 31, 2013, expiration date.

The change was announced at last week’s annual Top Hands meeting of professional Scouters in Washington, D.C. In a letter to Scouting professionals, Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock explained the reasoning behind the increase.

“First, I want to make clear that the Boy Scouts of America maintains a strong financial position,” he wrote. “In order to continue to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program, it is occasionally necessary to increase membership fees so that we can offset rising administrative costs.”

The BSA’s last fee increase — to $15 from $10 — was in 2010, and since then, the organization has taken steps to control and reduce costs. But “administrative costs have continued to rise faster than projected,” Brock wrote. “As always, our focus is to build the future leaders of this country by combining adventure, educational activities and lifelong values. The fee increase is a step we must take in order to continue providing the services you and our members expect and need.”

So that’s the big news, but I wanted to take you deeper into the story. What exactly does your $24 annual fee pay for? And how does that $24 fee compare to other youth organizations and activities? Much more after the jump.

What does your $24 buy?

Simply put, the Boy Scouts of America National Council provides program materials and support for 280 local councils that administer the Scouting program, with each covering a specific geographic area. To be more specific, the following are the key functions of the national council:

  • Provide liability insurance to registered adult members, local councils, chartered organizations and the national organization
  • Provide technological platforms for the Scouting movement
  • Provide local councils with program as well as tools for camp and office planning and evaluation, extensive financial counseling, planned giving and fundraising information, and professional personnel support
  • Coordinate a communications network through magazines and literature (handbooks, merit badge pamphlets, brochures, training materials, and professional development training)
  • Make available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies
  • Develop and maintain year-round national high-adventure bases and execute national events (jamborees, National Eagle Scout Association and Order of the Arrow conferences, and National Council meetings)
  • Maintain communication with chartered organizations that use the Scouting program (religious institutions, civic organizations, labor unions, professional organizations, business, and industry)
  • Maintain liaison with Scouting associations in other countries as a member of the World Scout Conference
  • Set and maintain program standards (e.g., Advancement, health and safety, etc.) to ensure consistency of the brand throughout councils across the country.

What fees do other youth organizations charge?

Scouting’s a steal. That $24 a year works out to $2 a month or roughly 6.5 cents a day.

Sure, it’s not always comparing apples to apples, but I do think it’s helpful to look at what you’ll pay for other youth activities. Here’s a small sampling. Note: The costs in bold are just the fee to join and don’t include equipment, travel costs, uniforms, etc.

  • Tackle football, $140: In Plano, Texas, second- through sixth-graders who play tackle football pay $140 for a three-month season. That fee doesn’t include equipment.
  • Youth orchestra, $1,000: Members of the prestigious Los Angeles Youth Orchestra pay $1,000 annually and must buy their own instruments.
  • Select soccer, $400: In Cleveland, select youth soccer players age 15 to 18 pay $400 a season, plus $135 for uniforms.
  • Youth basketball, $500: In Queens, N.Y., boys age 8 to 13 pay $500 a year, not including uniforms.
  • 4-H Program, $25: Participants of the 4-H Program in College Station, Texas, pay $25 a year, not including fees for individual activities.

Two bucks a month for America’s premier youth-serving organization? Sign me up.

480 thoughts on “BSA membership fee increased to $24; what does your $24 get you?

  1. Not shore i,m happy with this It hard for small town to grown Boy Scout. and know I have come up with 24.00 for ever scout that joins and or i have ask the persons of Kids. how are already on face about joining to pay more and also to help out that going make hard some times to get the help I need to run my troop

  2. Couple of thoughts. Once again National shows it really doesn’t understand how units work financially. Unit committees have already set membership fees for this school year — and even begun collecting — if National announced earlier units would not be put in position of announcing one fee and then having to tell parents and Scouts that it’ll be different — which makes unit leadership look incompetent. Second, the comparisons National uses to justify are invalid — they refer to all program costs for the comparison organizations, where this change only relates to one component of fees paid by participants for Scouting. It would be like looking at the fee i’d assume local Little Leagues must collect and pay to its National function, without considering the local fees. National’s comparisons ignore the fees the Councils collects for health insurance and membership, and they totally ignore the fees the units collect for their expenses — both membership fees and participation in various activities (camping and other trips, summer camps, etc). and they ignore equipment and uniforms, etc. by time these are factored in, Scouting can cost a family almost as much as several of the comparison activities.

    • Councils don’t collect membership fees; they are collecting the national membership fee and then sending it to BSA. Councils don’t keep a penny of that money.

      The insurance coverage provided through Scouting is a group rate that is negotiated in large part by BSA… resulting in smaller premiums than if each council/unit had to shop the insurance market as an individual.

      • Just a note on the insurance – we had a great deal on insurance until National got involved and tripled our costs. We may be in the minority, but as an extremely small pack, we had to dig deep to cover expenses.

  3. •Provide liability insurance to registered adult members, local councils, chartered organizations and the national organization
    *****We pay for this separately. Not included in the BSA membership fee.*****

    •Provide technological platforms for the Scouting movement
    *****Ok they do have a website but who really goes to it for much?*****

    •Provide local councils with program as well as tools for camp and office planning and evaluation, extensive financial counseling, planned giving and fundraising information, and professional personnel support.
    *****Like merit badge books which we pay for. Tools for camp? NCAP? All other items can usually be helped with by members of your executive board.

    •Coordinate a communications network through magazines and literature (handbooks, merit badge pamphlets, brochures, training materials, and professional development training)
    *****All of these items scouts, scouters or councils already pay for*****

    •Make available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies
    *****We pay for these items and National makes a profit from them. The profit should be used to resupply so no additional funds are needed*****

    •Develop and maintain year-round national high-adventure bases and execute national events (jamborees, National Eagle Scout Association and Order of the Arrow conferences, and National Council meetings)
    *****I have no information on the HAB but they should have endowments. All other events listed charge a high fee for members to attend*****

    •Maintain communication with chartered organizations that use the Scouting program (religious institutions, civic organizations, labor unions, professional organizations, business, and industry)
    *****My chartered organization receives no communications from Irving, TX*****

    •Maintain liaison with Scouting associations in other countries as a member of the World Scout Conference
    *****Ok I’ll give them this one. There is a fee to belong to this group*****

    •Set and maintain program standards (e.g., Advancement, health and safety, etc.) to ensure consistency of the brand throughout councils across the country.
    *****Printing cost. But this is already done*****

    You need to add up the real cost of scouting before you compare it to any other programs.
    Registration fee 15.00
    Boys Life 12.00
    Insurance 1.30
    Summer camp 350.00
    Unit fee 50.00
    Troop activities 150.00
    Uniforms 100.00
    FOS 100.00
    Total 778.30

    If your son is in the OA there is a yearly membership and activity fees.
    If your son wishes to do a High Adventure Base, Jambo or join NESA all have additional fees. With this increase the membership fee has increased 14.00 isince 2010 and the charter (lawsuit fund) fee has doubled. National needs to be realistic and take a serious look in-house. Remember that ALL the professional in BSA work for the members that pay their salaries. Unfortunately there really is no one that will hold Nationals feet to the fire and get a real accounting for this increase.

    • Nice write up, couldn’t have done better myself

      If you hold council or national feet to the fire they simply kick you out. God forbid don’t ever question a DE

    • Sir,
      You hit the nail right on the head. As an Assistant Scout Master and a Crew Adviser as well as an O.A. Adviser, the fees do mount up and the comparison that they gave leads you to believe that this fee is all you have to pay. My son and I just went to this year’s Jamboree at a cost of $1050.00, my and my son’s dues are up for the Order of the Arrow which are $27.00, and our crew is taking a high adventure outing down the Ocoee River in Tennessee at a cost of $85.00 a piece. I think if I go by their example I should be getting a new field uniform and all of my supplies for this cost, Wrong!!!!!! What you have said is well spoken and so true!!!



      • Right. It is not important for a scout to go camping. He only has to pay his $24. That’s what is important! (that’s sarcasm if you couldn’t tell)

        What is important is that he goes camping with his patrol and with his troop. It is not at all important to pay the $24 dues in order to be able to call yourself a scout in the USA. The way Baden-Powell envisioned it a hundred years ago, scouting is a game played by boys in the woods, not a multi-million dollar corporation in Texas.

        • “The way BP envisioned it” summer camp isn’t a week of merit badge academy, either. The point is that a scout can camp every month of the year and earn Eagle without ever setting foot in a summer camp. It is not a required fee.

        • This is true. You are correct: BSA summer camp is a far cry from scouting. But that doesn’t change the point that those who argue that $24 is great because a boy can call himself a scout are missing the point. All the gewgaws the BSA provide aren’t important. What’s important is to go out into the woods and participate in outdoor activities with your patrol. The true cost of scouting has to reflect that. Those fees can be very reasonable. (A box of bisquick and blanket!) You can get a lot more value for every dollar spent camping than you get from paying your BSA dues, and purchasing uniforms, patches, pins, and certificates. You can do scouting without the BSA.

        • Yes, you can do camping, etc. without scouting. But then there is no national recognition, the boys don’t get the same feeling of accomplishment, and let’s face it, employers, the military, colleges – all look more favorably on apps that talk of scouting, SPECIFICALLY Eagle. Not that they shouldn’t do it with or without scouting. I have friends – adults – who tell me they weren’t scouts – they did it with their families. And I tell that that is fantastic! They just missed out on an incredible feeling of comradery that is different than family comradery. I hope all this crap is not going to kill BSA or reduce it to ‘just another youth group’ attitude by others.

        • So for you scouting is about recognition and the Eagle???? How sad for you.,

          Scouting for my boys is about friends, outdoor adventure and learning.

          I could care less if any of them ever earn Eagle….. It isn’t what it once was with lower membership numbers and the highest eagle counts ever….. 50,000 for last year……

    • Two can play at this game: select soccer, baseball and other sports pay hundreds more to attend tournaments and other trips.

  4. The fee increase is poorly timed, as our pack and troop planning have been done and budgets set. Our pack has already announced and collected membership fees, so we will have to go back to parents to get more money, looking silly and greedy. Overall it is still dirt cheap and much more affordable than sports and other activities my kids enjoy. If planned, communicated, and used properly, I would not care about this at all.

  5. I find the fact that you charge adults for volunteering their time appalling! I don’t ever recall paying a membership fee and I was a ScoutMaster, multiple badge counselor, district committee member, district adult training chair, district training committee member, member of Eagle courts of review and troop committee member. I can assure you, I would never have put that much time and effort in helping boys and their leaders if I had to pay for the privilege of doing so. Maybe my home troop covered adult fees out of fund raisers. If so, pretty smart of them. Charging someone to volunteer their time is pretty egregious. As for the boys fees, I suggest finding ways to get donations because I know many inner city boys who would greatly benefit from joining Boy Scouts, but that $24 might mean someone in their house doesn’t eat that month. That could be why there are no Boy Scout troops in our inner city area.

    • There is a program called scoutreach for at-risk scouts. That includes scouts in the inner-cities as well as other target areas to bring scouting to those scouts.

      Different councils offer different variations of the program, but the program provides for discounted uniforms, fees and trips.

      The program is funded through Grants, FOS and Events.

      Due to the nature of FOS, there are staff members that are sent in to organize and run the units until they become self-sufficient. Those units will receive support through the program even after they become a traditional unit.

      • But there is a competition for those discounts, plus like someone already mentioned, they don’t do a good enough job making sure the apps reflect the actual income of the parents.

      • you beat me too it… There are few traditional units in the inner city….Scoutreach is an in school program and it is for boys and girls.

        Plus it is united way friendly

    • You’re absolutely right! No one pays to join the PTA, athletics booster club, band booster club. And they don’t volunteer their time, either.

      • But you should not have to pay to attend REQUIRED training to BE that volunteer. They should (council or national) cough up the funds to do that. Woodbadge is different – you choose to do that. But to be a scoutmaster, assistant scoutmaster, venturing crew advisor, etc. you are required to do the ACTUAL (not on-line) training and they charge you to attend. Which is usually put on by OTHER volunteers and do not see that money. No training I attended had anything given to me that would have cost more than $5 (handouts, in one case a spiral-bound 20 pages of printer paper, etc.) The meals were always EXTRA.

        So, I have no problem with requiring training – it’s necessary. But if you require it for someone to donate their time, energy and in many cases their own resources (such as gas, etc.) – the the training itself should be FREE.

        • Interesting. In over 25 years as a Scouter in several states, I’ve never seen a charge for required training. And my both my Woodbadge and Powderhorn experiences were such that I cannot fathom how they were able to put on such extraordinary courses for what they charged. I suspect your experience in that area is atypical.

        • The SM and ASM training is around $30 if meal is included, $25 if not. I choose to go pick my place to eat. But it is definitely not free. I don’t have much income. I’m raising my grandson. $200 for my Wood Badge. Due to the assistance they give people who need help it cost me $100. Camp for me and my grandson was $350. There has been a lot said about the costs of the camp. Although our camp has the military tents available, many bring their own, including us. Food is provided, but I (yes, by my own choice, I’m a picky eater), bring my own food. The boys are paid (staff) but not much. So, what many have said – why is the fees for camp so high? Are they charging us for breathing the air? They don’t give us badges – we still have to purchase those at home. We get a patch. Insurance is already provided via our National Dues. Any camp already has to have insurance just like our homes do.

          So, where is that money spent? It’s not that I have a problem with the fees, if you can show me WHERE it’s going. It certainly isn’t going to house and feed the boys. The adults pay $80 and that’s for the food. So, where is the other $170 go?

          PS: Our council passed a new rule a few years ago that any fundraisers that troops did on a council level (IE: MBU’s) that THEY get the money and the troop only gets a percentage. WHAT THE HELL! They don’t do any of the work, do not attend 99% of the time, do absolutely nothing other than being ‘in charge’ in absentia. That to me is unforgiveable!

  6. There isn’t a scout troop in this country that couldnt find the money to help a truly needy family overcome this small increase, if it meant the difference between a scout being able to participate or not. My old scoutmaster knows he can call me and any if the other eagles from my troop and I’ll skip Starbucks to help that family out… IF indeed the kid is truly needy.

    • Had a mom fill out a campership in the front seat in her Expedition while jibbering on her new blackberry with manicured nails….

      There are stories in our district of people making $150k a year requesting camperships for their scouts.

      • Bob,
        You forgot tattoos and money spent on smokes and booze. Yeah I’ve seen this before. Johnny does have money for food for a camp out and then find out later the parents went out to eat while he was camping.

        • Have a few of those…..

          While loading scout jimmys gear for the camping trip….There are the parents suit cases for their big get away weekend. Of course they complained about the $10 grub fee. Turns out they went to niagra fall for the weekend.

  7. Some facts from the BSA’s 2012 audited financial statements, vs. 2011:
    Revenue increased $24.9 million
    Cash was $28 mil higher
    Total expenses were $6.2 mil higher – about the same amount by which expenses for field ops increased for the year.
    HR and training expense decreased $1.7 mil
    Program development and delivery expense dropped $1.5 mil
    Management and general expense dropped $4 mil
    Net assets (roughly the equivalent of net income for a corporation) increased $49 mil

    The $24 dues represents a 240% increase over the $10 dues in 2010 (4 years)

    But Mr. Brock is quoted as citing “rising administrative costs” as the driver. Could the explanation be any more vague?

    The editor of the official magazine for adult leaders compares the BSA to other organizations that (with the possible exception for 4-H) have no business being in the same paragraph. I wonder what a Plano football team or a NY basketball team would charge if it had 3 million players? With summer camp, Camporees, Friends of Scouting, a high adventure trek and all the other activities included, it cost in excess of an additional $3,000 for my son in 2012. As someone already said, we frequently get nickled and dimed. We know it and accept it.

    I’ll pony up the dues and other costs for my kid and for me for another year. My gripe is that the BSA seems to never come clean with us volunteers about the substance of issues faced by the organization. It seems they always have a hand in my pocket, and now are attempting to explain, via a woefully inadequate statement and a pathetically lame and misleading blog, why I should feel good about this.

    Instead, I feel disappointed, insulted and abused. Being part of an organization that professes to be trustworthy, thrifty, kind and brave should not evoke those feelings.

    • It is important to consider those salaries in context. There’s an excellent TED Talk about philanthropy that talks about this. His example is someone who’s a Stanford MBA. That person could take an $85,000 a year job running a non-profit and take grief for being overpaid, as well as the stress of running the organization. Alternatively, that MBA could take a job on Wall Street, make $400,000 per year, and donate $100,000 to the charity. Now they’re a major philanthropist, they sit on the board and are seen as a true “patron of the arts”. They come out ahead socially and financially.

      You do have to pay people what they’re worth, in order to get the quality people you want running a very large organization.

      Does that mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to the salaries, that we shouldn’t look carefully at where the money is going? No. It just means that the dollar figure isn’t the whole story.

      • Seriously? None of these top guys got an MBA from Stanford. Nor did any of our council execs. Why? Because the BSA will not hire people from the “outside”. You have to start as a DE and work your way up. No Stanford MBA is going to schlep as a DE for a five years. If the hiring were competitive with the ability to hire executives from an outside, well-run non-profit, then maybe you could justify the salary. But the BSA only promotes from within – so it is not a competitive field. Check the surrounding non-profits in your area and compare the salaries of your council’s scout exec against them. You will find that the BSA is one of the highest paid. Why is that?

        • I want to know where you are looking at salaries. I have been a scouting professional in 3 districts and over 11 years. I’m am making just over 30k and I work more than 40 hours each week. I’m a single dad trying to support my family and love my job. I wish I got paid more but our council is just not in a position to pay more and there are no positions to be promoted to with in our council. We work hard long hours to raise money, recruit scouts, train volunteers and even do jobs in the district that volunteers should be doing, but they don’t.

          By the way we are encouraged to work on masters programs and the training we receive is the same lessons taught in those Harvard business classes.

  8. It’s difficult getting urban elementary boys to join Cub Scouts in part because of the money but I doubt the $9 will have a major impact… my concern is that National passes the membership resolution causing a major exodus in Scouting and now we’re being forced to pay for their lost revenue.

  9. Reading the comments posted here is amazing. National leaders making more that $250,000 a year – and some double that? While the rank and file are paid such low wages?

    And then do a price increase after fall recruiting when parents were told one price? Poor planning folks.

    And the list of what we get for this fee is a joke. Most of that is not a part of the fee, it costs extra. Everything that is BSA authorized costs more than if you bought it with competitive pricing. All the materials keep going up in costs.

    Lastly, in Michigan, we have consolidated out council so that very little happens locally. There is less and less benefit coming down to the local level. Very sad.

    • Then take your local program back….

      I don’t see how you can blame a bad local program on the National organization

      • Bob – Where did he say they had a bad local program. He’s referring to Michigan consolidating all the Councils under one umbrella and all the major decisions are made by that over-arching council.

  10. As a newly elected treasurer, I am quite upset. I just finished going over what the fee we ask for will cover and now it is changed. I will not ask for any more money from the parents. We will just not spend the funds on Boy’s LIfe. I think many pack and troops will do the same. When the subscriptions fall, the cost of each subscription will go up as well, losing even more subscribers. The price is not the issue. It’s the timing. The scouts base their program on a school year. The school year has already started and now they change the rules. I can’t play a game when the rules change. If this was my business, I would pass the costs on to my customers or find alternative suppliers. Unfortunately, can’t change the supplier (BSA) and refuse to ask for more funds from the parents. I told them what their fees would cover and what future fundraising will cover and now I am expected to tell them that the first part of their fundraising is virtually gone and won’t go to the events we told them it would cover. Whether or not I agree or disagree with the Scouts decision on gay scouts, raising fees just after this huge decision was not the time. If they were to announce that the 2015 fees were going up, that would be fine, but not after the season has begun. Just my two cents.

  11. Seriously Folks it is only 9 bucks……. 36 bucks a year for everyone in my family.

    So everyone who has replied has internet and a computer???? how much is that costing a month??? How many TV’s or Satelite or cable channels do you have????

    So what kind of car do you drive??? How many vehicles do you own????

    How many times a week do ya eat out????

    It is about priorities……

    If a $9 increase is enough to make you leave then you were not into scouting

    Do I like the increase???? NO, but it is less than carryout chinese once…..

    Perspective people.

    • Forgot….How many of your scouts have cell or smart phones????

      Jambo cost from$1200 to $6000 and we are whining about $9

      • And how many boys and/or adults go to these expensive things – statistically speaking? From my old troop – ZERO. From my current troop of 50, 3 went. Seriously, you think $6000 is nothing! I’m retired, and that is 25% of my yearly income! that’s not happening.

        • Lots of folks spend big dollars to go on the big scouting trips….I wonder what percentage go to one of the high adventure bases every year.

        • In today’s society, yes they do. You talk about perspective? Just 4 years ago the fee was $10. This is a 240% increase! What were you saying about perspective.

        • I used to say no. When my stepdaughter got one when she was 14, I asked my husband why. Answer was simple but true. Her ‘job’ was placing real estate signs in people’s yards, sometimes after dark. It was a safety issue. When I asked another friend why they needed one in school, she said she had a horrendous divorce, with physical and death threats and threats of stealing the children. She wanted her children to be able to text her if danger was imminent. Again, made sense. My grandson is not your typical youth. He is rarely on the phone, texting or otherwise, but I know I can reach him if I need to. So, for me, YES, in this day and age of psychos, divorces, etc. kids do need cell phones. But they should be monitored on who, what, where, and why on the usage.

        • So your complaining about at total fee that is less than one month of your son’s cell phone bill.

          I don’t really care how you justify it.

        • No, Bob. We’re not complaining about the $9 amount. We’re complaining about the lack of transparency. How many of the top five execs got a raise? How big a raise? Did the sum of their compensation go up from $3 million to $3.3 million? If so, why? On what performance metrics do they deserve a raise? Or is the increase being used to help pay for the $300 million debt still needed to pay for completing Summit Bechtel? (Only a small percentage of scouts will ever get to use the Summit.) Bryan does a nice job on his blog here, I don’t want to discourage him from sharing information, but the reason given here of generic “administrative cost” increase is not why dues went up 60%. We expect scouting to be honest. If the BSA can’t be honest with its membership, then what is the point?

        • Love your answer. No, $9 is not a lot…but it IS percentage wise especially in the short time frame. That’s the issue. And I repeat….show me where the boys benefit from this $24. And like some have said, if the troop pays the boys fees (our old troop did not – could not – and neither does our current troop), then that additional $9 adds up incredibly. A troop of 50 would have an additional $450 a year.

        • Bob. First, as I said down below. Kids need phones for safety reasons. If the parents let them use it for other reasons, that’s on them, and that’s their business. Our scouts DO pay their own fees, but several on here have said that the charter and/or the troop pay for the national fees. That’s incredible that they have a way to do that. Most of us do not.

        • Safety from who or what???

          Your paranoid…..seriously if you think a cellphone is going to let the kid call if they get abducted or robbed???? not sure what planet you live on.

          I live in a declining urban area, when you get robbed they get your wallet and cellphone first……or when you get abducted or assaulted do you think they are going to wait for you to dial for help.

          But wait……if you can afford a family plan for a cell phone you live in the nice safe suburbs…..Where the worst crime is the boys playing mail box baseball or shoplifting from walmart.

        • Coming from a criminal justice background, possibly you are right. Worked in the ‘bloodiest 47 acres in America’ prison, work as a security officer/prisoner transport.

          No, they can’t DIAL….but they can hit speed dial for 911 as soon as they feel threatened. Not AFTER attacked, that’s too late. Plus phones can be tracked, and all our phones have tracking on them. I know where they are all the time. And I have a very cheap family plan – fathered in years ago. They don’t even offer it anymore.

          I not only travel in rural areas like camping, but show horses and go to very rural areas. I need phone service (but I’m not totally reliant on that – I also carry – have for decades – now it’s legal).

          And before you jump on me about what I spend on horses, it is no different and even cheaper than those who like to golf! Let’s put it this way, I can show 3 horses all summer long for myself and 3 grandkids for less than 1/3 of what Bechtel costs for 10 days. So don’t give me that ‘look what you spend’ stuff.

        • Todd your math is flawed…..

          a 100% increase would be 10 dollars that would be $20
          an additional 4 dollars would be 40% making it $24

          so it is a 140% increase from $10

    • It is not the $9 so much, it is the fact that they think that in increase after the program and new recruites have happened. We have 90 boys and our sponsor pays all of it for us. With the increase that is $810, that is not chump change. They may not pay it and then we will have to figure out how to keep the boys in.

      • So the guys don’t even pay your own fees????? HOLY TOLEDO….

        Shakin my head

        Oh I will continue to participate in scouting as long as it is completely free….

        Seriously people.

    • Bob – I hate to say it, but as usual you are missing the real point. It has to do with National changing the fees after most of the units have already established their budgets and communicated it to the families – using the process that National says we should. I know you like to spout off about kids having cell phones and Starbucks in most of your posts, but this is really about National again being out of touch with the units.

      • I get the point.

        I am also completely aware I have no power to do anything about it.

        I hope your reading the same entitlement crap I am……Completely free scouting??? People complaining about $10 camp outs and having to pay for summer camps…..

        I get people are pissed this coming right in the middle of recruiting time with many having already held their nights….and many popcorn fundraisers are in process. This means they mislead the new families by accident.

        It is still $36 out of my pocket extra a year….. Just means no margarita’s tomorrow night when we go out for mexican.

        I get it.

  12. you say $24 is a deal, however, that is just the “cost” to BSA nationally to call oneself a scout. BSA has more than doubled the fee to join for an individual in just under 4 years, this is a steep inflation at any measurement to any youth program.
    This does not include the dues/program fees that the specific unit the scout joins has, nor any fees for camping, uniforms, books, other materials, or training.
    So when comparing the BSA cost to other youth programs – be sure to include all costs equally instead of slanting the numbers.

    • No slant here, Rob. Please re-read that section, and you’ll see that I was comparing just the fee to join each activity. For $24, a boy can call himself a Scout just like for $400 a boy can call himself a select soccer player. The Scout will still need to pay for camping, uniforms and books just like the soccer player will still need to pay travel costs, uniform, and equipment.

      • I don’t know about you Bryan, but a scout who doesn’t camp is a scout only in the eyes of the BSA membership database. So the true cost of being a scout is much higher. The $9 fee increase isn’t the problem. It is the lack of transparency of why a 60% increase is needed by the National Council that is the problem.

      • In the four years since 2009, where is the 240% increase in benefits to the customer, I mean Member, to match the 240% increase in membership fee? Those sporting organizations have likely seen no increase, likewise for the 4H group.

        • And 4-H is co-ed, plus if you are into shooting, like most of the boys in my previous troop and many in my current….4-H is much more knowledgeable. They can shoot almost anything and have yearly if not more often competitions. Yes, the venturing crew can, too….but that’s a whole ‘nother group of rules. BS can only shoot bb’s, 22′s, and shotguns. No pistols or high calibers. I was shooting sports instructor and range officer for 4-H for more than 6 years, and I’m currently NRA and BSA certified range officer and pistol, rifle, shotgun instructor. It’s disappointing that boys are not allowed to do what 4-H can. I understand having an age minimum. That’s commonsense. But once they are 14, they should be equal to 4-H.

      • Well if you’re talking “select leagues” then lets compare apples to apples. Normal youth leagues around here cost the same as scouting and select teams are very expensive. But if a scout chooses to be a “select scout” and go to the high adventure bases or jamborees, then the lopsided costs you are using as examples quickly flip to the other side and scouting is shown to be the expensive alternative.
        Everyone who is for this 240% increase since 2010 in fees also tend to overlook the fact that these other youth groups don’t also charge the fees to the volunteers.

      • But…in the very same article you say that the $24 helps fund uniforms and program materials. (????). No, WE (the units and scouts) pay for those…and the prices are going UP! In fact, in that list, there is very little that isn’t paid for by the councils, districts, and units. Sit in on a few unit committee meetings this month and just listen to the discussion. I did on Tuesday (dues are going up 30% for our pack), and in a few hours, our Troop will probably be doing the same. Otherwise, recharter time will be a nightmare! Our troop has to rely on doing multiple yard sales and selling food at our pack’s Pinewood Derby and annual July 4th town festival to get by, and our pack has dumped Popcorn for the first time in years because of the high(er) product price and low (30%) profit margin. It ain’t easy at the unit level! Parents don’t see the comparison to a $400 soccer player, all they see is a price increase. (This is a major PR gaff by National!) On the committees, we see a 60% price increase (with optimum timing by National, I might add), and say “For WHAT?”

        The BSA Unit Budget Plan encourages thriftiness. But this latest fiasco is going to send units deep into the red! No, $9 a year is certainly NOT a lot of money, but multiply that $9 by the number of scouts and adults in your unit(s), then see how effortlessly you write that check.

  13. Justification for the increase in fees from you folks that don’t work with youth from depressed areas is a bit naïve. The change in membership rules have caused Units in our area to scramble for new partnerships, a decrease in support, an increase from businesses in our area that are totally against what the National Council has done with the membership changes. I was of the understanding that there was to be a flood of corporate donors rushing with their checkbooks to support this decision. Not only has that not happened, but now we have ANOTHER increase?

  14. There is nothing in this article that justifies the increase. The article says BSA provides liability insurance, but we are being charged $2 a person extra for this. The article says BSA makes available uniforms, equipment, etc., but we must pay for these (and they aren’t cheap). The article says BSA develops and maintains high adventure bases and national events, but attendees are required to pay large fees. So, where exactly is this money going?

  15. Twenty-four dollars, back when I was a boy scout, it was zero. But there were plenty of other ways BSA could make money. Even then, I realized scouting sometime cared more about paying staff salaries than the boys. What’s $24, I guess you have never been poor. Let’s keep the poor, dirty boys out of scouting, you know, the ones who really need it, so some fat cat BSA executive can get his hundreds of thousands salary.

  16. I have no problem with the increase of fees. As we all know, scouting is still a “great deal” financially speaking.

    HOWEVER, this is information that should have been shared with all units BEFORE we go into our recruitment marathons! Preferable during a time that units work on their BUDGETS for the coming year. Especially, since Council is so uneasy about letting us state the cost of scouting upfront. This increase is significant for tightly run budgets! We can’t just suddenly take out $9 per scout out of our account unprepared!

    Here is a question that was inspired by what Jeffrey above said:
    Why do the uniforms have to be SOOO expensive? I understand that the older Boy Scouts need higher quality materials, because of their level of activity (though at those prices, I’d rather buy at Columbia and similar outfitters). But $25+ for a Cub Scout SHIRT??? Seriously? Where is the justification for that???

    • And that cost is basically YEARLY. Most cubs outgrow their shirts within that year. It’s ridiculous. For those with multiple children, makes it almost an impossible task. I think $40 plus dollars for adult and BS Youth shirts is gouging.

  17. Well, Well, welcome to the new BSA a 60% increase. Where is AT&T and other large corporation’s The national board caved into the pressure from the large donors to force homosexual youth in to the BSA program. Come on BSA National Board start asking the large corporation’s to put their money where their influence is. Blaming the deficit on the 2013 Jamboree is a smoke screen. The National BSA can raise money for the Jamboree debt with effort and commitment. The truth for the raise is because of loss both now and in the future of scout membership and charters. The scouters and parents that voted on the national survey had it right by 60% please do not lift the ban on youth homosexuals. Well the huge dust storm is running amuck and the dust is settling and start getting use to huge raises in fees from the BSA. Trenton Spears

  18. Sept. 3, 2013. They keep going up on the membership and down on the service they give. It took until August to get my 2013 membership card (pd. in Dec. 2012). The NCAC Registration Dept.never answers the phone and if you leave a message, you seldom get a return call. With all the FOS campaigns, other fundraisers, all the popcorn sold at high prices, the fees families pay to go to day camp, summer camp, and jamboree they are raking in money hand over fist. Merit badge books use to be 85 cents when we started and now they are over $4.00 and the req. change frequently so you can’t just keep a troop library. The price of each merit badge is ridiculous too. For a group that is trying to reach the low income & single parent families this surely isn’t going to help membership increase. Executives of this type of organization should not be making that kind of money when it all has to be donated, mostly by the same people who are paying registration fees, uniform costs, event costs, and on and on. It looks like someone is out to kill BSA completely, they already put a big dent in it in May…what is coming next? (A parent of an Eagle Scout with 81 merit badges.) So much has changed in the 25 years I have been a scouter.

        • The Key Three (Scoutmaster or Cubmaster, Committee Chair, C.O.R. can do a lot of things on unit tools – they claim we’ll be able to extend that to additional troop members in a later release. To get the tutorials go to Some are awkward to use – best used in google chrome

  19. Not happy. As a family of registered leaders and youth, this is a big jump. I have sponsored boys in the past and paid their memberships too because their family can’t. As a unit leader, my unit / charter organization pays for our volunteers. We budget these costs. If this is going to happen, why not give us more notice to be prepared. Make this effective 2015, not 14.

  20. Insurance? I was told that the Charter Fee was what paid for Insurance. How about the fact that the top people in the BSA make 600k a year from what I’ve read in other places. I understand that there are costs to running this organization, but with all the other costs involved, it just seems like we’re losing site of the program and becoming a for-profit corporation. Not happy with the combined increased.

  21. Wahhhh wah wah.
    –”We printed our dues info!” BSA’s recruiting literature -specifically states- to keep your unit dues separate from registration fees, and to charge them at separate times. The registration fee is on the application, there’s no reason to print it anywhere else.
    –”We already collected dues!” BSA literature specifically states that dues should be collected weekly or monthly to encourage thriftiness.
    –”But uniforms!” Adjusted for inflation, a uniform costs the same today as it did in 1960 ( A troop that is not keeping a free/reduced uniform exchange is a troop that is dumb; my troop could outfit 20 boys in a shirt and pants tomorrow (badge magic is banned).
    –”We pay for books!” But you don’t pay the real cost of books. Of course your dues don’t cover the entire cost of everything the scout shop carries, it -subsidizes- the cost so that you don’t pay $20 for a handbook.
    –”But my council camp!!” Your council camp has nothing to do with national superstructure. Go to the cheaper camp at the council next door, that’s Capitalism, and God bless America for it.
    –”We’re poor!” 40% of the beef protein in poor Americans’ diets comes from fast food, you can afford $9.

    That said, some of these execs need to look hard at what they can do to help everyone and ask themselves if they -need- more than $250,000 in any year; the rest of us certainly live very happy lives with less.

    And stop selling popcorn, there are better products with better margins. No one gives a squat about Trail’s End’s ~the troops~ program or ~selling Scouting~

    • ok, I’ll do the list, too.
      1. It’s hard enough to get dues once a year. Not everyone comes to every meeting so collecting money monthly might work in your area, but not in ours.
      2. I’m sorry, but $40 for a shirt is ridiculous. I don’t pay that for my normal clothing (but I’m a bargain shopper, if it isn’t on clearance and greatly reduced I do not buy it). Point is that these NEVER go on sale, so one is stuck with that price. And for those that have large families (thanks heavens not me), it becomes a REAL issue.
      3. Thank you for calling us DUMB. My previous troop, my current troop, nor any troop in my area keeps a stockpile of clothing as you name. We do try to find clothes for those that are desperate, like on-line or thrift shops. But I do not know ANY troop that does what you said. That’s great that you do, but you should not call those of us who do not or cannot do that, dumb. That’s rude.
      4. Nothing in the scout shop is cheaper than what you could find in other stores. It’s MUCH HIGHER. Yes, it has logo, but we are non-profit…we not the Cardinals or Orioles, etc. etc. I could have custom made the Eagle frame they have in the store for 1/2 what they want there. I don’t know the cost of the badge books, but I know that $15 for a scout manual – softbound is ridiculous when it is only good for one year if a cub scout. At least the BS ones last the entire time. And they charge you an additional $10 for the spiral bound. Sorry, I have a binding machine, and the spirals cost almost nothing! The book is not different, just the hole punched and spiral. They are making a HUGE profit in this printing hype. I do like them. Much easier to use and last longer, but they are gouging us with that cost.
      5. There is no camp cheaper than ours in this state. Ours is $250 – most of them are well over $300. Even with camperships ours is $125 (the most they will pay no matter what your situation), and there is no campership available if you go out of council. So, not sure where you live, but your idea doesn’t fly here.
      6. It’s about the HUGE jump – like someone said – 60% increase. If they had asked for $17 or $17.50 it wouldn’t have seemed so ridiculous. Half our boys already do not take the boys life NOW, that number will drop because the $9 is almost as much as Boys Life. Personally, they should Boys Life and the adult version ON-LINE and REDUCE the cost. For those that still want hard copy, they could pay an additional fee for that. $5 online – if want both – $7.50.
      7. Popcorn – now if they sold quality stuff that people actually wanted – like GS COOKIES, we wouldn’t be in this mess. I was eating at a fast food place (yes, I’m guilty – I eat out) and wearing my uniform. They asked if I was a GS. I said not since I was a teenager – did get the equivalent of eagle in GS.
      They said, ‘do you have any cookies’. I said no, that’s GS, we sell popcorn. They said , ‘huh?’. I also had someone who grew up in scouting, again saw uniform, and they said ‘we thought BS died’. WHAT? The popcorn is way overpriced for what you get other than possibly the microwave kind. All the other is ridiculously priced. No one wants to buy it (they do it for the boys), and no one wants to go door to door with no results. We sat in front of Wal-Mart for 8 hours and didn’t sell $400. Was not worth the effort. Yes, it helps FOS.

      Bottom line. The rise was too high in one jump. It was bad enough when it jumped 50% when it went from $10-$15!

    • Okay, as much as I’d like to disagree with J, he’s mostly right (although the “wah wah” part is condescending). Most families can cut out one fast-food meal to come up with $9. For those who can’t – and yes, they are there – a scholarship fund provided by the troop/district/council/national should be available.
      J does make a good point about exec. salaries. Yes, the BSA has to pay a good, competitive wage, but were is the Scout spirit that we preach when they are paid huge salaries and retirement benefits? If an exec. doesn’t believe in Scout spirit, then they should not be in the BSA. It should be fair, but, not exorbitant. A 60% increase would probably go over better if the highest paid execs at the national level took a pay cut to help out.

  22. Maybe, just maybe we are being punished for the corporate funding they lost that influenced their vote along with other funding they lost because of the vote. Just sayin.

    With a financial statement and growth rate as noted above, most corporations would love ir.

  23. Anyone who commented they pay extra for liability insurance is getting bad information. That extra fee is supplemental Accident and Health Insurance—not the same as liability. Yes it costs more than the fees you paid for jambo to keep the water on, electricity working, rangers working, etc at all the High Adventure Bases…(It is the same as 99% of the local camps, summer camp doesn’t pay for the camp to be kept up year round. It is simple business) Either pay the extra fees or don’t. The BSA is an organization that you can join or not, but it will keep moving.

    I will admit the timing was poor on the BSA’s part as far as planning the scouting program year. However, many people are pointing out all the fees they pay for scouting remember the National BSA gets membership fees, boy’s life, and some scout shop sales.

    FOS (optional), Summer Camp (Shop around and find a great camp at a great price), Unit Fees (stay with the unit), activities (optional), Insurance fees (go to insurance company for Health and Accident…Liability is covered in membership fees).

    $24 is a fair price for being a member in the BSA and I will continue to pay it and make an FOS pledge, a Capital Campaign Pledge, go to trainings, buy uniforms, etc. etc. etc.

    • Yes, you can choose to join, choose to take part, etc. But in most cases, to advance, you MUST take part in the activities – kind of hard to get a camping badge without camping, hiking without hiking, etc. Our troop was poor, but we managed to do something almost every month. But unlike larger troops who had enough people to fundraise, our boys never went out of state and usually only an hour away. If we didn’t go anywhere that charged us fees, we still had weekend costs of $21 just for meals that they cooked. You really can’t say they don’t have to take part. ANd if you aren’t taking part, why join?

      • You have got to ask yourself…..Who plans all those big out of state trips???

        Probably not the boys……Big out of state trips is a pretty big tip off of an Adult led troop.

        There is nothing wrong with adventure closer to home….. IMO it gives them a much better chance for success.

        • Actually, no, it’s the boys. It’s the adults who have to bring the hammer down. We were/are boy-led, with a watchful eye from the adults. When the boys want to go to the Bahamas, well, you get the drift. We did/do try to do some fun, unusual things – but the parents had to cough up the costs, and a couple of the parents had problems doing that. We tried to do Big Surf, Six Flags or the Zoo at least once. In our area you can camp out IN THE ZOO…takes special permission and planning, though. This year our troop is camping out over Halloween in the prison (well, my old stomping grounds – worked there back in the 70′s) and now it’s a historic site. They are looking forward to that.

        • Most of our events are at local state parks…no costs other than our meals. The few that we do that are different (and not more than 2 hours away), are discussed with those places for group fees and then split among the attendees. We try to make it where the camping is free, of course meals have to be paid for and if something extra, try to get it free or reduced. We get special rates into Six Flags, Big Surf, Zoo – try to make it not more than an additional $15 and these trips are the exception. No one from my old trip could afford any high adventure, no Philmont, no Seabase, no Northern Tier, and certainly no Jamboree. My current troop has a few who can afford that – doctor’s and lawyer’s kids.

  24. I will put ii in automotive manufacturing speak: if a supplier came in with a $9/40% cost-up on a $15 part after a $5/33% cost-up was allowed 3 years prior, we would be all over their plant trying to help them with their obvious raw material, processing, purchased component and overheard issues while their senior management was explaining to ours how this came about and why there was no notice. We would also demand a line by line breakout of their $15 quote and all the change points justifying the new $24 cost. We would be further considering alternate suppliers.

      • lol, but right on the money nonetheless. It reminds of the desperate attempts of the post office……Lesson here to National must be to fix it NOW, once and for all.

    • I wonder how much the Faith Based Boys are going to charge for membership? I guess we will find out in a short while. It seems that the BSA is running their ship into the ground and is on self destruct.

  25. Wow. A 60% increase. Granted, $24 for any membership is still a good deal, and I don’t want Boy’s Life to be online (my boys have enough (supervised) screen time, but it’s still a big jump. Yes, maybe it’s better to “pull the band-aid off quickly” rather than incremental bumps in fees, but: Can the BSA guarantee no more increase in fees for at least five years? In reality, $9/year may not be especially burdensome for most. It’s just the idea that the BSA are going to lose a bunch of Scouts – Scouts who really need the BSA – just because the increase seems (is) excessive.

  26. This is from the same ‘Leadership’ that listened to its Committee about the homosexuals as members, and that listened to its members about the change in membership policy. It looks like that ‘National’ only hears what it wants to hear. If we are paying over $400,000/year to some of these executives, they should get their hearing examined.

  27. I do not worry about what other organizations charge their members because I chose not to join them. So do not try to justify your 60% increase by comparing to others. Truth and Honesty is not in the makeup of the leadership in Irving, Texas. If they were, they would tell us that the increase is going to line their own pockets as well as the new level of bureaucracy that comes with January 1, 2014. For those who has forgotten or don’t care, that is when the membership changes to allow homosexuals to join with all their perversions and abnormalities. For those who do not approve of my statements Do Not respond to me because you do not really care about The Boy Scouts of America. Read the comments of those who truthfully debunk the statements of Texas and the supposed reason for this increase. On My Honor…. There is none in Irvine, Texas.

    • I have mixed emotions about the gay issue. I have gay friends and what they do in the bedroom is their business, not mine, and they are incredible people.

      Gays have been in scouting for a century now, it was just that it was a ‘don’t tell’ hidden belief.

      Here’s my issue. If ANYONE, whether heterosexual or homosexual attacks, teases, intimidates or otherwise frightens our youth…they are no longer not only homosexual, heterosexual….they ARE PERVERTS and PEDOPHILES. That’s a whole different ball of wax. And I’m going to say something UnCHRISTIAN and unscoutworthy…..those people do not deserve to breath the same air we do.

      I understand the fear a lot of people have, but as I said, the ones I know are no more perverts than you or I – they just – unfortunately in my view – choose to love the same sex. THEY DO NOT LOVE SEX WITH CHILDREN. There is a difference.

      Now should BSA have changed it’s long standing ruling? I don’t know. One person did bring up something I hadn’t thought about that I DO consider perversion – cross dressing and transvestites. Gays do not choose to be gay. Who would? Who would want to be targets for sick people to kill you, or have to justify their behaviors day in or day out? They would have to be idiots to WANT that.

      One of our longest standing members who was the lead man in our council Eagle boards quit not only that, but our troop as well as scouting completely. Our troop is sponsored by a Catholic church but they have chosen to stand by BSA anyway, and this member could not handle that.

      I’m Baptist and the Missouri Baptist Convention broke all ties with scouting, but DID leave it up to the individual churches whether or not they stayed with BSA. All of the ones in my area chose to stay. So, sponsorship wise, we haven’t lost but maybe one or two sponsors. It has angered many.

      • Really? We are not going to rehash that here are we? This conversation has nothing to do with membership standards so take that elsewhere please.

        • Well, if I had been the first one to bring it up, then you could criticize….but it was brought up a number of times before I posted. And I was trying to be middle of the road on the issue. Sorry you took offense. I have the right to post what I feel as you do. And the reason it was brought up if you paid any attention was their reference to the numbers being down due to a mass exodus (which I have not seen at our council level) which caused the prices to go up. So, in essence, YES IT DOES have something to do with this, if you believe what the others were saying.

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