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. I’ve been in scouts for nearly 30 years and will continue. $24 gets you registered and that sounds like a great deal compared to the provided examples, but what about the rest of scouting a cost? It amasses over time but includes books, uniforms, camping gear, camping fees, fuel, and food. Some of these carry over year to year reducing their annual impact but it’s inaccurate to say scoutingis the cheapest thing to be a part of annually

  2. Let’s see…gasoline @ $3.77, I -phones, smartphones, fancy sneaker-shoes @ $80-100-125 per pair, check the price of a fancy coffee drink, a deli sandwich- at $24, Scouting is still a bargain for all it has to offer…..Look at world and national conditions, like the old TV ad with Willy Mays and Pres Gerald Ford-”Boy, do we need Scouting!”, pay up, lets give a great program, and let the fun begin( and continue!)…Let’s keep our eye on the aims and methods….let’s help tomorrow’s leaders learn, grow and develop…the enemies of Scouting are powerful and ready to pounce- let’s help keep Scouting strong!!…..J. Shove, Wtbry CT.

    • I don’t think you can show me any boy that has done Scouting for one year or more at an annual cost of $24. The $24 does nothing for the actual Boy Scout other than cover the group insurance. The real cost of Scouting is more like $500-$1000 annually depending on how active the Scout is.

      Regardless of the cost it is a great program, I just hope we don’t price boys out of Scouting. As we all know, the cost of rechartering will never come down.

      • Scouting is the best thing out there, hands down, but it is not cheap by no means. 24 for the fee, 11 for boys life, 10 for handbook, 50-60 for uniform shirt,, summer camp is 235, Units spend money on patches, merit badge books, I just spent 320 on food for our next campout. Fees for each outing. Scouting is NOT cheap. We really need to give up on that idea. What has happened is that The BSA let an issue that should have never been brought up chase off a bunch of reactionists and now the rest of us who have a more moderate view get to pick up the tab by paying a better than 50% increase in fees.

        • Why is an adult buying food for the campout? I hope this is to feed the adults. Who cook separately, of course.

          The boys do need to eat at home, so eating on a campout should not be additional expense. If it is, then the SPL should work on Thrifty meal planning.

  3. The timing of this decision is incredibly troubling and shows almost no consideration for the thousands of volunteers who have, like me, already told new families about the registration fees. We, like many other Packs, have already had our school nights. Why could this not have been communicated earlier in the summer? I just find the thoughtlessness of this atrocious and it suggests to me that the administration has no awareness or consideration for those of us who now have to go to new families who have already registered and ask for more money just to get started. Can anyone explain the reasoning behind making this decision IN THE MIDDLE of the time when Units are conducting school nights rather than before so that we could have prepared? Was there any reasoning?

    • Agee! BSA requires that we have our budget in order a year ahead. We were required to do a Spring recruitment and just finished our Fall recruitment. The fees we charged the boys were for the 2013-2014 school year based upon the BSA fees that we were told from BSA. How is it the BSA does not have to budget a year in advance and give us notice of fee increases a year in advance. If we were even told this a month ago we could have adjusted fees prior to our Fall recruitment! This is a huge bottom line hit that we’ll have to fundraise for.

    • This is our frustration with the dues increase. We roll our adult leader dues (becuase who should have to pay to be a volunteer) into our scout membership dues. We established our latest dues structure last year and had to rasie prices due to food costs for campouts. This will ultimately cost us AT LEAST $400 out of our shoe string budget.

      The complete lack of consideration for the Packs, Troops and Crews that are the foundation of the BSA. I think the National level needs to get back in touch with the local organizations to understand how these decisions impact them. For instance the fact that they push out these recruitment fliers with the “National Dues” on them that ultimately make us volunteers look like Liars when we engage parents who have already looked at that flier and we get to tell them no… That’s just the national dues, our dues are $95/year but this is what we cover… We have parents get upset about that. I have expressed these concerns to the council and district and it just falls on deaf ears.

      We are still trying to recover from the membership debacle because we don’t have a place to meet YET. This has had a huge impact on out recruiting this summer.

      • You indicate you are still trying to find a meeting place.


        Responsibilities of chartered organizations include:
        ■Providing adequate meeting facilities.
        ■Providing quality leadership for the Scouting unit.
        ■Appointing a chartered organization representative to coordinate all Scouting unit operations within the organization.

        Provision of adequate meeting facilities is part of the contractural agreement between the chartering organization and the unit!

        Get with your Chartered Organization Representative – remind him of the responsibility of the chartering organization to provide adequate meeting responsibilities. This can be done by the chartering organization giving the unit enough funds to rent a place (like in a school(=) for heir meetings

        • Our charter Organization asked the Troop and the Pack to leave after the change to the BSA Membership policy this past June. Because we are relatively small town we couldn’t afford to make a lot of noise about their “obligations.”

          We are in a small town in the the south and charter organizations aren’t easy to come by. We have found a new Charter Organization (a Methodist church) but they have to go through their approval process and voting (we’re being told is pretty much just a rubber stamp at this point). Hopefully it will become official this Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed.

        • Nik J., I’ve heard many stories like that, and they always make me sad. I know this is a bit off topic from this blog post, but we had a similar threat from our Charter Organization, which is a Catholic church. I was having none of it. :)

          So I set up a meeting with the priest, and I essentially turned his indignation back on him. I challenged him to tell me why politics should get in the way of what we were doing for the boys. I challenged him to justify to me why a broad supposedly “principled” statement on a national political issue should mean that I would have to tell 65 boys that the place where we’ve had our meetings and Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold for years no longer wanted to help them learn and have fun. I said it shouldn’t matter what he or I thought about homosexuality (and, honestly, we disagreed on that point) when it came to giving these kids experiences that get them away from video games, that talks openly about values and being a good citizen and doing things that have nothing to do with media and pop culture influence. I told him that if he thought making a political point was more important than experiences that would stick with those 65 kids for the rest of their lives, then I would not only be happy to go somewhere else, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable being associated with him, anyway.

          Needless to say, we’re still there. :) I know that may not be an option for you, especially in a small town. But I’m not going to let any political decision, whether it’s one I agree with or not, get in the way of what we provide for the kids, and shame on anyone who thinks that this decision is more important than the kids, no matter what side of it you’re on.

          Rant over. Heh heh.

        • What’s sad is when you have a horrible chartering organization. You want out. They lie, backstab. Horrible. You want to get a new charter, but keep your stuff that you worked your backside off for, keep your number and move on. This is a charter that had not taken part, spent no money on the troop – no investment whatsoever. They would not let us leave. So the troop died. All the boys and parents stood together with me, the scoutmaster, and wrote a letter of resignation. We all moved on to other troops because of this horrible group. Sad thing is my dad was a member of this organization (not this specific one – but another town), and he would be rolling over in his grave had he seen what these guys did.

        • Craig, It is MY belief that our Charter organization was simply looking for a reason to cut ties for various reasons. We always tried to be good stewards of the land and property and church. So, based on this our committee and leaders decided to part ways on relatively good terms as reputations and relationships are important especially in a small town. This is part of the reason I am be careful not to name that organization here.

          I’m glad to hear that you and your troop/pack were able to work through the issue with your charter organization. And I completely agree with you.. That has been the most upsetting part of the membership issue is that it has removed focus off of the mission and good that comes from Boy Scouts.

        • In a perfect world everything works as it should. Our CO does not provide space because it charters 4 units and is struggling to stay afloat. Reminding the Chartering Org of their responsibility is not the problem. The problem is putting money needs above service.

        • You don’t have a CO Rep when the CO cancels the charter. This atrocity has been put upon Units all over the country. BSA dropped the ball on this issue. We will be “paying” for this for a long time.

      • Just in case anyone is interested we finally have a CO. We had our official orientation to the facilities on Tuesday evening. And I have to say that after touring the facilities and the inviting nature of the new CO, we might just be better off now. A Blessing in Disguise?!?!?!

    • I am searching the “true cost” of scouting to make sure I can afford to do so. I am being a responsible parent! The parents and the kids raise big $$$ for this organization. Not that I dont find it as a great organization, I still need to educate myself on the obligation I am assuming responsibility to participate in.

      • Stephanie,

        The BSA still is a good organization. A scout or troop does not have to attend jamboree, a national camp, or even a district or council summer/camping event. A scout can advance with troop or patrol lead camping opportunities. It is not stated anywhere that a troop has to go long term camping at a summer camp or Jambo, etc. It could be a week long trip on the C&O. I was planning a C&O trip and there were about 15 badges that could be worked on as well as the main patch, segments, historic trails, 50 miler, and if you visit nearby battle fields, you could earn those badges as well. I figured the price would be about $150 per scout, which is well under the typical $300 for summer camp. Most of that cost was fuel to get there and back.

        I do not know your particular locale or the dynamic in the troop, sponsor and community, but if you are totally against the BSA, there are other groups out there to get involved with. Do not take this that I am suggesting that you leave the BSA either. Any member lost is not a good thing. I am talking about talent and not membership $.

        • Stephanie,

          I agree with Kelly. I would just add the suggestion to contact your local troop and talk with them about their minimal costs. Also, if money is an issue. There are opportunities to help off-set the costs such as the “scholarships” and fundraising. Again check with the local troop and council to see what opportunities may be available to you.

          As a whole, I can’t say enough good things about what our troop and the Boy Scout program has done for my son. It is an excellent platform for my son to build leadership skills and a sense of responsibility. And they boys are some of his best friends.

          Best of luck in your scouting adventures.

  4. This year alone I spent over 3000 on scouting activities from jamboree to summer camp to all OA events held by my lodge and I have payed for 3 new uniforms new boots conclave … I can go on gas has been a killing especially for the miles put on my truck but no complaint still love and support scouting :)

  5. Let’s go on to the next subject. Suffice it to say that the leaders at the top are disconnected from the rank and file…maybe having one of them on Undercover Boss would open their eyes to what the troops (no pun intended) in the trenches are faced with.

    With the units I work with (I’m a C.O.R.) for a pack and a troop [grandson an Eagle in the troop], I don’t forsee any real problems from this, but I do understand that this could be an issue for units in certain areas. I work at District level, also, and know some units where this could be problematic.

    What national needs to is focus on communicating issues like this on a timely basis. If units to meet JTE requirements have to have budgets before the program year starts (typically the start of school), then they need the changes from National WELL in advance of that. But I guess they were too busy working on the membership change…

    Now that we have made the membership change to keep getting corporate donations, we need to go to to those corporations that forced the change and tell them to pony up – that is to say, since the change was in part not to lose corporate donations, then say “We made the change you wanted, now give us more support.” Many of the future leaders of these corporations come from Scouting’s ranks, and probably some of their best workers, so in effect it is an investment for them.

    But please, let’s put this issue to bed, and go on to the next post by Bryan.

    • You said put it to bed, yet you said your piece. That’s fine, But here’s the thing – there’s an old saying ‘why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free’, or ‘ace in the hole’. We (meaning BSA) passed the ruling – and I am not taking a stance on that as I have gay friends that would be offended that anyone would think they are a pedophile (which is what anyone is who molests underage children).

      It passed, it’s done. We have to deal with it and its repercussions.

      BUT, what leverage do we have now with those corporate sponsors to force them to ‘pony up’? Did we get anything in writing that they would do their part if it passed? I doubt it.

      So, we are back to square one. Someone posted Canada’s numbers. They have decreased over the past 20 years by almost 50%, according to the link he gave. Not sure when they ‘opened’ their ranks or whether it has always been open. So not sure what the states really show. Did find a story about the first GAY troop in Canada in 1999 – but it only survived a few years – supposedly to test out Canada’s open policy.

      • I’m not looking to reopen the membership discussion, but it has been posted on this thread in a few places that Canada’s Scout numbers have dropped and that drop was due to membership policies, so let me repost the following which was written in response to an article claiming that Scouts Canada’s population drop was due to becoming inclusive:

        “The author indicates that Scouts Canada lost 50% of its membership once the organization was “forced” to admit gay members. This is incorrect.Scouts Canada peaked in membership in the mid-sixties and went through a long period of steady decline. We’ve invested a tremendous effort in strengthening our organization, and are proud of the fact that we’ve experienced four straight years of growth – it’s the first time that’s happened since 1975.

        There are multiple factors for the drop in membership: The increased number of leisure and athletic options for youth and their parents; The growth of the internet, computer games and social media. Plot Canada’s declining birth rate since 1970 and you have a mirror image of Scouts Canada’s decline in membership. A good percentage of our Groups are sponsored by churches, which have also seen a drop in membership.

        In fact, Scouts Canada has always been an inclusive organization – we simply made a formal policy of it in 2001.

        Regardless of the decision that Boy Scouts of America reaches in this matter, the fact remains that Scouts Canada has always been an inclusive organization, and Scouts Canada is growing.”

        John Petitti, Executive Director – Marketing, Scouts Canada

        • I wasn’t saying they were wrong in being inclusive. Just using the stats someone posted on this thread. That would be the ‘appearance’. That’s why I said I wasn’t sure when they became ‘inclusive’. I guess it was 2001 from your post. But it actually must have been sooner because the website I found talked about the first ‘openly all gay troop’ in Canada and that was in 1999. Supposedly it was to test the waters of this inclusive policy. It only lasted 3 years, but it didn’t say why so I won’t make any assumptions.

          I hope this DOES NOT hurt BSA. But like the website I read it said the mindset of Americans versus Canadians is way different. Supposedly (and this is their words, not mine) they have always been more open-minded than Americans.

          The first show will be January 2014 when we see who recharters….then another time in about 5 years to see if others return or if we get NEW ones. One year is not a true definition.

      • Because they are not admitting (per the article) that there is an issue. They said ‘projections are just that, projections’. Like someone said on here, what is sad is the unbelievable amount of money spent on Bechtel, yet very few will ever get the privilege of attending – because of money of course. Other than the fact they need to PAY for Bechtel, please explain the excessive cost of this facility. I’m assuming that at least 75% of the workers are volunteers and actually probably have to pay for that privilege as well. So where are the costs? Certainly its not in the FOOD!

        • We are speaking of construction cost……

          I cannot imagine the cost doubling….

          But I saw a figure $469 million bucks somewhere…. Seems a bit out of line to me…..

          Makes a fellow wonder what it was spent on??????

        • Well, there’s the $15 million pedestrian bridge. (That’s enough money to send 50,000 kids to summer camp)

        • How in the hell can a pedestrian bridge cost $15 million. Sorry for the foul language but this is just beyond belief! I bet the swinging bridge across the Royal Gorge (if it is still there – this was in the 60′s) didn’t cost that!

          I think there should be a line item accounting down to the toothpicks they use at their fancy dinners! This is just sickening.

          Just what did this bridge CROSS!

        • I didn’t attend the jamboree. My understanding is that the bridge crossed a ravine. 100 feet deep. Would it possible to build a trail through this area? The main span is 600 feet. So that’s a 33% grade down and back up. You’d have to build switchbacks if you put a trail through there, but unless there’s a cliff, I’m guessing there were more economical ways to accomplish getting across it.

        • I do believe the bridge was donated so it was not cost to the scouts. But yes there is also a trail. They closed the bridge during lighting storm.

        • Yes – the money for the bridge was donated. But when you take out bonds for $175 million in debt, maybe the $15 million for the bridge could have been used elsewhere and the debt would be $160 million.

  6. One, just one comment from the peanut gallery. I find it questionable, ethically speaking, to demand an increase of this size with no other explanation than ‘rising administration fees’, following on the heels of the last increase in 2010. I think National owes a more detailed explanation. No, I realize they don’t have to. Given the relative size of the increase requested (to say nothing of it’s less than stellar timing – there should be a rule that increases must be announced 6 months in advance), they should simply be more forthcoming. 300+ comments here is NOTHING to sneeze at. National has stirred the pot.

  7. It would have been nice to know before we started our fall recruiting campaign in August. All of our advertising flyers reflect the old fees, now were going to have to go back and ask for 9 more dollars to recharter for next year. We collect the next years charter when we sign up new scouts.. It commits them to at least a year usually and makes it easier on admint when putting together the new year recharter.. The ones that don’t want to do it that way would probably drop before we start collecting again anyway.. Don’t worry, those that really want in will get in, we see to that..I’ve been doing this a long time and we’ve learned from past experience, I personally don’t care about numbers. I recruited for the Air Force Reserve for 15 years and I will take quality over quantity any day. I never really worried about numbers..I did a lot of prior service recruiting, both officer and enlisted, just by virtue of the fact I lasted 15 years and retired, is a testimony of my success. Anyway, we’ll work with the new fees, no choice I guess..please don’ t raise them again right away.. By the way, I lost 9 Family’s
    In our Cub pack due to the vote in May.
    Some were really dedicated, just went to the wrong church.. I have one very good family on the edge on the troop side..if this thing goes any further We’ll
    lose them too..I can see why you need more money, you have to make that up somehow.. You asked for comments,
    Yours in Scouting,
    Bob V. Wright
    Committee Chair, Pack and Troop 4187, Fletcher, Oklahoma

  8. Sorry Bryan, but most of the things you listed cost extra. Also, the BSA increased the re-charter fee that each unit pays from $20 to $40 effective in 2013. Supposedly, this provides liability insurance for units. What we have here is a 60% increase in the membership fee in four years. During this time, the rate of inflation has been approximately 9%. Mr. Brock should be honest and provide the real reasons for the increase. Of course, one of the reasons is that the BSA anticipates significant legal costs associated with law suits related to the IV Files. Another reason is that the BSA needs money to pay off the debt incurred while building The Summit. Hopefully, some of the increase will be used to update the BSA’s terrible Information Technology systems. I’ve been and adult leader at the unit level for 35 years and I’m very disappointed in the lack of honesty by the BSA’s top leadership.

  9. Calvin is right! All publications, high adventure camps, and uniforms cost extra. And the uniforms are junk made in China so the profit margin is maximized. Local councils have to self support thru FOS, camp fees, training fees etc. So the fear of litigation and the cost of the Summit has to be driving this. If you expect the Scouts to “live the law” so should the paid leadership. The program is great and actually worth the money, but a 9 dollar increase could have been stepped to lower the pain, and like the others have said earlier notice, before fall recruiting would have been nice. Remember, the whole things works because volunteer Scouters spend a lot of time and money to make it work.

  10. “•4-H Program, $25: Participants of the 4-H Program in College Station, Texas, pay $25 a year, not including fees for individual activities.”

    So how is Scouts any different? As a Parent and Leader, I know for a fact all the hidden costs. We don’t buy popcorn, we donate to the Pack or Troop directly so that we know the money is helping our local scouts.

    Let’s see…

    Class-B T-shirt
    $7/ campout for parent or siblings (cub scouts)
    Money for Supplies to do the activities that BSA requires to make rank
    Money for the ranks and awards (Beltoops, beads, pins, merit badges, etc…)
    Blue and Gold Banquet
    PineWood Derby
    District Pinewood Derby
    Fees for Council and District events/campouts
    Summer camp typically cost over $150 for residence camps
    Day camps run about $70
    Volunteer Training Costs for in person training such as Leader specific training
    Camping gear for the Scouts
    Time of the volunteers that run the Pack, Troop, and Crews (Committee chair, awards chair, committee members, Den Leaders, Pack masters and assistant, Scout masters and assistants, trainers, merit badge counselors)
    I’m sure I have missed a few things but I think I’ve made my point.

    And we don’t see a cent of that $24 actually come back to our scouts or adult leaders directly.

    If this increase was really justifiable then you wouldn’t be trying to “Sell” it to us, you would be laying out the budget in a clear concise effort to show transparency!!!

  11. After reading the explanation/key points of what is receivied for the $24 and the comments posted by readers, I find I have to comment as well. The as others have pointed out the wording of the key points might almost make it seem these things are provided to the units free by the National Council. I see very little there that any of us receive free, but a long list of items that we at the volunteer and family level pay ever increasing charges and fees for. The rest are items that any organization must provide or there would be no reason at all for a “national” or coordinating level to exist. I am coming to the belief that our National Council has lost touch with the real life, day to day realities of small units in rural communities. I would like them to remember that the boys, parents, volunteers, charter organizations, sponsors that make up the local units have always been and remain the backbone of the organization. No the increase won’t stop our unit, not this time at least, but there is somewhere a breaking point. Please don’t continue til you find it. The BOYS need Scouting.

  12. I am very unhappy about this. Like many of the previous commentators, we have already had our registration night and quoted the current price to the parents. Now we either have to eat the difference or go back to the parents and get more $$. We also will no longer carry any kids that may have come back. It’s going to be cheaper to dump them and if they come back we can register them later.

    An earlier post alluded to the cost overruns at the Summit. This Reuters article really spells it out:

    Not only has the BSA had to borrow millions of dollars to cover the costs, they have had to pledge all of the BSA’s uncommitted assets and property as collateral in the bond issue.

    This is totally reckless in my opinion, putting at risk the entire organization for the Summit.

    I also agree with C Fisher’s comments above about National having lost touch with the small rural communities that make up a large percentage of units across the nation. We have many poor families in our communities that can barely make it the way it is. Yes the kids could sell popcorn or batteries, but the local council’s keep way to much of the profit for the amount of effort the kids put in.

    Obviously I am not pleased with the way things have gone this year. It is well beyond just the changes in the membership standards. From just a basic business practices, the BSA has been a poor steward of resources.

    I hope we can recover.

  13. Let’s do the math—-it was $10 a year to be a Boy Scout in 2009.FOUR YEARS ago. We had a 50% increase in 2010. Now it is ANOTHER 60% increase….We have gone from 10 to 24 dollars a year in 4 years. Somebody please tell me that we have suffered a 140 % increase because of inflation…No….Unemployment is receding…the government says the Economy is improving….So tell me —why are we shooting ourselves in the foot for recruiting -particularly among lower income kids who are at higher risk and probably need Scouting more than the higher income kids…..This will hamper recruiting. We are erecting barriers to kids joining Scouting…ok WHY? Because we can ? What is the reason for this. Just tell us.

  14. I, and the whole Pack 2 (Austin, TX) leadership, was disappointed to learn this week of the increase in fees effective January 1, 2014 for registered scouts and adults. Not because we think the fees (old or new) are unreasonable – quite the opposite – $24/year (plus boys life, plus insurance) is an amazing bargain for what Scouting delivers to our families. It is merely the timing of such announcement that bothers us.

    Pack 2 started our recruiting drive last Spring, as recommended by the Council and National organizations. Over the summer we set our budget for the year, planned our activities, and continued recruiting, again as best practices suggest. It had somehow escaped me that BSA National was even considering raising fees by $9/person, so our first notice of such was the email sent this past Tuesday. Had we known even 2 weeks earlier that this was a possibility, we would have accounted for this in our budget for the year. As it stands, we were left with several uncomfortable choices: retroactively raise our dues for the year, find or generate alternate sources of income to cover the increase, or take it out of our (limited) reserves. Fortunately last year left us with a surplus that we have decided we will apply towards this increase (for us, about $1000), and we plan to increase our dues going into next year. Perhaps for Packs and Troops that are only just now planning their year, the timing of this change won’t be as much of an impact, but for those who do annual planning in late Spring / early Summer as is recommended, it will come as a surprise.

    Should National feel the need to increase fees again in the future, as one would naturally expect, please encourage them to decide such much further in advance of the implementation date – early Spring would be perfect.

    Yours in Scouting,
    Matt Domsch
    Pack 2 Cubmaster

  15. So I got over being mad and realized I need more facts…..So I looked up things like ther 2011 BSA IRS Form 990 and found out these things:
    1. The Boy Scouts of America have net assets of $714 MILLION dollars listed.
    2. The Form 990 says they have revenues of 218 Million that year.
    3. The Chief Scout Executive makes $815K (plus 165K) a year.
    4. They list $5 million more in salaries to the top people….
    IF you don’t believe this Eagle Scout (me)/Scoutmaster/retired Lieutenant Colonel then go read it off the BSA page :

    I don’t need to even state what I think of the above…..Do I ?

    Plus I found this from NBC:

    It says and I quote: It isn’t panning out that way. Costs are rising. Initially budgeted at $176 million through 2013, the Summit’s cost is now estimated to reach at least $350 million by the end of this year and $439 million by the end of 2015, according to Scouts documents reviewed by Reuters. To keep up, the Scouts issued new bonds last year – more than doubling their previous borrowing for the project.

    The bottom line, said Doug White, who teaches nonprofit management at Columbia University, is that the Scouts “have real problems.” The combination of the Summit fundraising slowdown, extra borrowing for the project and the financial impact of the gay-rights controversy “puts them in a very precarious position.”

    Connect the Dots…? Yeah that $24 is a GREAT bargain !

    • Wow, now I understand their big picture better. They are out of touch with the rank and file.
      Our Troop held the first Blastcar race in our council. Our Pack gave out the first STEM awards in our council. We figure out the cost and plan for success. We did our budgets on time according to JTE requirements. Last year the pack got gold and the troop got silver. I just recruited 22 new cubs and told them it cost $15.00 per year. National needs to communicate better in a timely way. None of this money stays in our units, we don’t have a say, and what expenses went up 60%.
      Re-charter fees are not the biggest expense in scouting, but communication is key to success. This is where the six figure executive has lost touch with what scouting truly is. When was the last time they camped in a tent on the ground and was woke up by a homesick scout.
      Gary Thewes
      Cubmaster Pack 150 and an Eagle Scout

  16. As Cubmaster of my Pack who achieved gold last year on JTE I have done my budget, plan my popcorn sale, and did my fall recruit where I signed 22 new scouts. That night I told all their families it cost $15.00 to recharter.
    All the BSA training we take tells us to plan ahead. We all know that if we let our families know what’s coming they can “Be Prepared”.
    The National office sets the dates for JTE requirements and should have let us know earlier so we could have been “Prepared” for the cost change. They are making my volunteer work harder and harder. I barely kept my chartering organization after their last decision. They need to learn follow the scout motto.
    Our Boy Scouts ran the first Blastcar race in our council. Our Pack presented the first STEM awards in our council. We do our homework and understand the cost before we plan our program.
    I wish National would do the same. If I raised my cost 60% at work my company would be out of business. Their cost did not go up that much in one year. What are they paying for?Perhaps they are going to supply books now. I hope they didn’t give them selfs a raise.

  17. You will find there are 4 Regions in the US and each of the heads of the Regions make 400K a year (one makes a little less). Exactly what do WE get for that money ?

    Attorney fees : 2 firms over a million each !

    26 Million in legal settlements !

    The Order of the Arrow brings in 30 million a year !

    Over a Million dollars on Marketing.

    4 million a year sent to OTHER countries for “International Support” ???

    87 million in “Insurance Reserves”.

    1.5 million a year in “Lobbying”

    There is a lot I do NOT understand but somehow these and others seems over the top.

    I urge you to download the pdf off of the BSA site: and see for yourself.

    Also do Not miss the article by NBC on the BSA cost over runs at Bechtel—
    “It isn’t panning out that way. Costs are rising. Initially budgeted at $176 million through 2013, the Summit’s cost is now estimated to reach at least $350 million by the end of this year and $439 million by the end of 2015, according to Scouts documents reviewed by Reuters.”

    Why are we paying people 5 million dollars worth of salaries if this is the best they can do ?
    This is disgraceful.

    • My question is how did the “Salaries, Other Compensation and employee benefits” grow by 18% from 2010 to 2011? (rhetorical question)

      • I don’t know Nik J., I know that $9 more times 2.2 million is about $20 MILLION dollars. I think you can give EVERYONE in Irving a raise with that kind of cash and have some left over to pay for some of the mismanaged Bechtel project with cost overruns in the hundreds of millions !

  18. Bad timing here. I am a unit commissioner and now my 2 units will have to come up with another $400 each to recharter this year after already making their budgets for the year. Thank goodness they both have good volunteer leadership that is always able to overcome such out of touch mismanagement form BSA national.

  19. Any of the other organizations you have listed have a CEO making 1.4 Million a year? Didn’t think so. A lot of high priced administrative personnel results in a 60% fee increase with no corresponding cost reductions. Sounds a whole lot like the Federal government.

  20. There waa a time to announce this change and it was at the end of the year 2012. The agenda of Brock is gay scouts and a new reservation. I was at the jamboree and I saw a lot of over the top expenses such as the bridge. I was surprised that every rain shower closed every activity area almost daily. If we are so afraid of the WV area why build it there….BSA bought into proprietary microsoft baed solutions that are not scalable and no one can get that online youth protection training … We have women selecting our vendors for our uniforms and Eagle Scout badges. Really are you crazy they don’t wear them obvious they do not know what we really need I mean the old puffy chest pocket shirts should have gotten someone fired ??? With the upmost respect I ask. Get a spine and throw these whimsy leaders at the top out today because the shadow of trouble is growing

    • Women don’t wear scouting uniforms? Then please tell me what I wear weekly that hangs next to my esgle scout husband’s and acouting sons that looks just the same.

    • I’m with Terry…I wish I could post a pic of me with our troop selling popcorn in front of Walmart. I have more awards on my uniform than most of the men. Believe me, if I was picking the color of uniform it would not be blah beige! And it would be designed to fit a woman and have separate shirts for the women. No, it’s not designed by women. At the risk of sounding sexist….or you anti-women in scouting? There are a few troops in our area that are. They don’t say it, but actions speak louder than words. I was a scoutmaster for 4 years, and assistant before that, and a den leader before that.

  21. “administrative costs have continued to rise faster than projected,” Brock wrote. “ follow the money…..BSA administrators padding their pockets….BSA CEO makes millions per year…..Greed is and will destroy the BSA and the USA

  22. Practically doubling the fee is ridiculous….and I agree poorly timed. I have been a Cub and Boy Scout committee member and Popcorn Kernal for YEARs and our budget for next year is always done by late August with last year’s fee. I am also a Girl Scout leader and their fees are $15….not $24!! Gradual increases are MUCH easier to take and there is A LOT to be said for more advanced notice so we can “BE PREPARED!”

    • Popcorn Kernal: It MORE THAN doubled –it was $10 a year in 2009 and it is NOW $24. The year that they went up 50%, salaries went up 18% (in 2010)…….. I think that says it all.

  23. Scouting is a business. And like all businesses when you spend more than you have you have to increase your fees. Also remember that all this money goes to national not your local council. It will just mean less for Friends for Scouting.

  24. Well, actually, no, the gay issue was not about money – at least not on the surface. It was either pressure from the outside not to be discriminatory, (or inside, too, maybe); pressure from sponsors (ok, that’s money) to PULL OUT if they didn’t do so, and then evidently promises for money to come in from all the new scouts and sponsors.

    But supposedly it was to be ‘fair’. I’m not saying it was good or not. I think if they were going to compromise, it was a good compromise. I think Bechtel was a stupid idea. They said it would be MORE cost effective than where they were having them. Somehow THAT good screwed up!

    When I get a ‘bid’ on a project, I make sure it’s a FIRM BID….in other words, if they screw up in their estimates, its on THEM, not me. Who made the Bechtel decisions? They need to be held accountable.

    • I never saw any promises or pledges or statements that new money or a flood of new members would join after a change in the BSA youth membership standards. I do recall seeing statements that folks would leave the BSA. (it’s in the powerpoint presentation that National put together about the proposed change)

      • I believe in that video they anticipated loosing 400,000 members due to the policy change. I’m sure some of this increase is to make up for that. That would be about 6 million dollars in lost revenue.
        I still feel the bigger problem is timing. I’m sure they were afraid to let this cat out of the bag while they were in the mist of the policy change.

      • Not sure anything was in writing, but it was in all the ‘conversations’ at roundtables and troop committee meetings. But unless you get something in writing, it means nothing. It’s mute. Kind of like the cow and the milk issue. Once they got what they wanted, what is there to force them to follow through with any promises. I’m holding off judgment on the exodus until we see what the numbers are come February (because some troops – at least in our council – don’t come due until the end of January – our old troop didn’t). THAT will tell us everything we need to know.

        I did go out and read the ‘new’ scouting organization. Evidently some of the high level positions in BSA exited to the new group. And it appears that there is already over 10,000 signed up or showing interest in the new group.

        So, there’s no doubt this hurt us with the prior members. Now, only time will tell if new scouts come rolling in. My guess is they won’t. They were probably already there. Kind of like the old ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in the military. Because quite honestly, gays are no different than heteros….neither one should be discussing sex with the boys (that’s the parents job), initiating sex with the boys (or girls in the case of Venturing). It’s not appropriate and it is sick – meaning pedophiles – whether gay or hetero. It then becomes no longer a sexual preference, but a demented sick mind.

        But my issue in defense of the ‘old’ method is not one of religion, but one of the fact that scouting is a private organization and is not bound by the rules of a public organization. So, in the end, it should have been the decision of the members (not the upper echelons!) There is a bar in a city near us that is a members only bar….it does not allow blacks. I don’t think that’s right, but they pay a membership to go to so they are not bound by the ‘public’ policy. I avoid going anywhere near it.

  25. What I would like to know is, what’s up with a 40% increase, after 3 years? Did the Summit cost too much to build; admin costs have not risen 40% in three years. I would like to know the unvarnished truth. I am not questioning value, but a Scout is Honest. This is going to be hard to pay out of Troop funds to cover this cost at recharter. We will likely have to charge our adults to defray this cost, which we have not done in the past. We owe our membership a clear accounting, and I’m holding national accountable.

    • Well good luck on holding the National Office accountable and let us all know how that works out for you. I do NOT believe they will be held accountable for this. The incredible arrogance of raising dues from $10 in ’09 to $15 in ’10 and now to $24 in 2014 is beyond my comprehension. There was an 18% increase in salary in 2010 for them as well. Accountable ? You might as well ask for Trustworthy. Don’t forget Loyal and Considerate. The fact that we pay 4 Regional heads 400K a year ( to do exactly what I do NOT know) BESIDES the Irving payroll is Astounding. We are being “assessed” almost 20 million dollars with this increase. Every dollar they raise it is about 2.5 million dollars. Maybe they should consider retiring and letting us hire some Scouters instead.

    • Yes, the BSA had to borrow over well over $100M to complete the Summit. The other major factor is a large number of law suits related to the IV Files the BSA has been required to release. In other words, financial settlements caused by decisions made by Scout Executives during prior decades to not report child abuse to legal authorities is now going to be financed by youth and adult members that were not around when the bad decisions were made. Of course, our Chief Scout Executive, Wayne Brock, isn’t going to be honest and tell us the real reasons for the increase. It’s much easier to say “increased administrative expenses” are the reason. The bottom line in all of this is that Mr. Brock and the other top leaders at the National level of the BSA are not Trustworthy.

  26. Hey, folks. Let’s not underestimate how much BSA desires to extract from our families. Say you have your kids in the program but are on the rolls as a Scout Parent. (God bless you folks who can only fill that role by the way. That “one small thing” that you do every year and you think doesn’t mean much, means the world to our youth and the unit!) Well …

    That position will be no more! You will be asked to transfer to a new position called “Unit Reserve” which requires — you guessed it a membership fee. So, Bryan, how about a new topic with almost the same title as this one: “what does that $72 get you [two parent household with one scout]“?

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