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. What does this cover? I am trying to sell this to unit with multiple boys in scouting. Also if this is an all inclusive fee to save unit money on separate insurance or parts that the charter partner has to pay as some units pay this also. Does this cover the cost of Boy Life Magazine as well. This would easier to sell to scouts. Sandy Jones
    District Commissioner
    Big Hatchie District

    • Administrative costs? OK. I will consider that. …but, the BSA total administrative budget reported in 2010 was $19 (BBB reported), in 2012 there were over 3.5M members ( Simple math would leave me to believe that is a one-year increase in revenue of $31.5M… so administrative costs increased over 50% since 2010?

      • My apologies! Bad typing, bad math. I meant to say the reported 2010 budget for administrative costs was ~$19 Million. However, as the additional $9 is supposed to cover additional administrative costs — that would mean administrative costs increased not by 50% but by ~150%?!?!? Obviously I am missing something here…and admit I math is not my strong point, but is there more to the story?

    • So this is really simple folks. The National has fixed costs. What with the large number of units who abandoned Scouting this summer due to the poorly thought through and executed Membership standards vote, those costs must be divided over a smaller base. So, instead of reducing overhead, the National is raising fees on the surviving membership.

  2. This fails to take into account what a pack provides to the scout – advancements, derby cars and programming costs. I doubt this includes Boys Life Magazine because that was an additional $12. I think this should have been announced earlier in the year because we’ve already announced our registration fee so we basically have cut programs or sell more popcorn to cover.

  3. I was told by my Council Office that units that recharter on December 31st, 2013 do not have to pay the higher fee since the rate increase goes into effect on January 1st. According to your article we do have to pay the higher rate. So, I searched the BSA website to find the exact wording of the announcement (insert song here) so I could determine what fee we should be charged at recharter….There is NOTHING on the National Website that indicated that there will be a fee increase. What is going on? Is there a fee increase? Why is national not admitting to it? Why does our Council office have different information?

    • I had checked with our council a few months ago about the posiblility of registering early to save and they said no. They were already charging the higher fee in September when we had the recruitments. To explain better, the person would pay till the end of February the regular fee and they would also be charged the 24 for the February 2014 coming up.

      • The REAL problem as I see it is that this has been a volunteer organization run for Boys and Young Men. Suddenly we have almost 3/4 of a Billion dollars in trust funds. What do we need that for ? Why are we paying the people at the top 400-800K a year EACH and they can’t bring in the Bechtel project without cost runovers from an estimate of 176 million to 426 million ( NBCs number not mine) ? If this truly was a business, the board would can the lot of them and start over. Take a look at the money they are spending on themselves :

        • I read over the Form 990 and in Part V 1 C, a box is checked concerning gambling.

          What is all that about?

          I thought that scouts is not to have anything to do with gambling with its fundraising policy.

          Part V 4 C. Bahamas Banking?

          Part V 8-13 not completed.

        • I wish I knew more about just what they are doing and have done in Irving Texas….I am just a Scoutmaster and as such I am more focused ON MY TROOP than what the national people are doing. I only got into this because while I was willing to go for an increase from $7 to $10 and then a decade later from $10 to $15, they really royally pissed me off jacking up the price to $24 a kid. So I looked up their Form 990 to the IRS (on and found all this grievous ( my opinion) STUFF -outrageous salaries…revenues of $30 Million dollars for the OA., etc…the more I find out, the worse it gets. Jeemanelly ! Gambling ? Banking in the Bahamas ? What Happened ? Did we get taken over by Wall Street tycoons ? Or has it always been like this and we are just noticing ?

        • Please tell me where the $400K-$800K number comes from. I am not an accountant and the form confuses me.

  4. Let’s set a baseline at the Year 2000. At that time, the registration fee was $7. In what will be the 14 years since 2000, the rate has increased to $10 (2003), then $15 (2010), then $24 (2014). At $24, his will have been a 242.9% increase in fees since 2000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, there has been a total inflation of 36% from 2000-2013 ($1 in 2000 is equivalent to $1.36 in 2013). Thus, the BSA registration fee has increased 6.75 times the rate of inflation.

    • Sorry. I am measuring the increase from the 2009-2010 (not long ago…with NO inflation to speak of) increase..It was $10 …now it is $24….$14 increase in 3 140%…

      • Example. There are 4 Regions. I am sure that is important to someone but I have been an Eagle Scout since 1966 and I don’t know of anyone working at the regional level nor have I ever. Yet we are paying someone $400 K a year at each “Region” to be in charge . TO DO WHAT ?

        • If you look t the IRS return, you will see the highest paid person is getting close to $800,000.00 per year. If you add on top of that the benefits and expenses he receives, his income EXCEEDS well over $1mil per year. All told, the BSA is paying in excess of $60mil per year in salaries. What I also found interesting is that if you look at prior year expenses vs. current year, most were down this year. So, where is the increased administrative costs other than salaries, expenses, and benefits.

          If this fee is raised, then I may have to apply for the financial assistance in order for my son to be able to stay in. That is due to the fact that my son’s pack also started charging a $5.00 monthly due that we never had to pay before. So, just this year alone, it will cost me $69 more for my son to attend. I do not have that.

  5. Other than insurance what do we get from national??? We are told that the volunteers run all the committees and make the decisions. We pay for the books and uniforms. We pay for everything and have NO VOICE. For me that’s the biggest issue, NO DIRECT VOICE.

    • The units choose to have no say…go to At the beginning it states: “The following official description of a chartered organization representative
      is found in the current revision of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. Refer to Article VI., Local Councils, Section 3, Chartered Organization Representative, Clause 7, which reads, “In territory supervised by local councils, each chartered organization shall appoint a volunteer, other than the unit leader or assistant unit leader, as its chartered organization representative to represent it as a member of the district committee and as a voting member of the local council.”

      If you are a COR, then you are a voting member of the local council. Go to Council Meetings – exercise that right. Educate yourself on what a COR does (i.e., read the manual). Take training. Vote, and express your opinion to the council. If enough do it we can influence the council. If enough councils do it, we can make our voice heard at national…to many CORs think their job is just to sign applications.

      I am a COR. I express my opinions, and vote, but I feel like I am a lone voice crying in the wilderness. Wake up, CORs – DO YOUR JOB

    • I’m not understanding where the money is going to either. Everything we do we pay for it. 10 dollars for this. Buy your uniforms derby cars and boats. Pay for camp out. 2 dollar dues every meeting. Where is this going to. Sad to say but I’m not doing it again next year. It’s gettin redicilois the amount of money spent. I thought I would be bringing my son into a place where it’s already set up peoe teach him stuff that work there but it’s basically ran by parents who volunteer there time so who’s getting paid what salary? I thougt everyone was a volunteer. I’ll pay less keeping him in sports especially now knowing our money isn’t being spent on the boys.

  6. As a parent, I’ll accept the $24 dollar fee for the benefit of wearing the uniform. Like many who have posted here, I wonder where the money goes. In selling popcorn, I understand that 1/3 of what is sold goes to district. The pack pays for awards and patches but parents buy the uniforms. I see very little of the money returning to the Scouts that we are supposed to support. I’m a leader (Cub Scout) as well and would think that district would provide training materials to help me support my den. I’m frequently told of the great opportunities to buy material but would expect a little more support. In the end, I actually prefer not to think of the money. If I understood where it truely went, I might not be able to carry on in Scouting!

  7. Within the form 990 (also Form 8453-EO) for 2011 that someone supplied the link to, it clearly states that in 2011 the BSA lost $21 Million. Revenue was down roughly 33%, yet expenses went up $2 Million. Contributions were down 5%. I do not have 2012 numbers, but suspect that it may indicate the same. Locally, we had two councils merge into one, paid staff at the Council office lost their jobs and present staff seem overburden with work (too much to accomplish). Not certain how their recent decision on gay youth will have on membership and revenue (we are one of those units that lost their charter due to this decision). Clearly this fee increase is a decision to promote longevity of the scouting program (a good program). If it means selling more popcorn, then so be it. We allocate a portion of our sales to each scout with what we call Cub Bucks. Boys can use this money towards dues. A way to make it affordable, but they must participate in the sales.

  8. Popcorn is not a good way to make money. Why? Because it is NOT good for the most part, and way over-priced. We need to sell something affordable that isn’t available throughout the year. What do I mean? Well, Orville R’s popcorn is soooo much better than anything the scouts sell and much cheaper, so why buy it from the scouts unless you are a dedicated scouter, family tradition, etc.?

    The specialty popcorn has priced itself out of the market. $20 dollars for a bag of popcorn? COME ON! Especially now, with factories closing down (we just lost one that has been there for 70 years).

    Girl Scouts have an expensive product, but if you only buy one (Ok, I buy about 10 because it’s a product I love and I can freeze them and they are NOT available anywhere else – it’s called supply and demand), the price is doable. Boy Scouts don’t have anything for $4!!! I don’t buy it to support the boy scouts, I buy it because I love them. You don’t target already supportive people, you target the masses. Popcorn does not do it.

    We sat in front of Wal-Mart for 8 hours and only sold $400. It was not worth the effort. The boys also quit going door to door, it didn’t matter whether they had the popcorn with them or whether they did the orders…most had already promised a neighbor, had their own kids/grandkids to buy from, or had no interest at all.

    We have to sell a quality product at a reasonable price, and one that people actually want – the non-scouting public.

  9. So, National again is looking to pillage the membership. It’s easy and simple, “Gee, we’d LIKE to donate to FOS, but all the money we were going to donate went to the unnecessary increase in registration fees. I hope the paid professionals appreciate their raises because they’ll be losing their bonuses for making their FOS levels!”

  10. One other comment, Wayne Brock, who was the spokesperson for this article received over $670,00 in compensation and benefits in 2011. I am sure it was more for 2012 and will be even more for 2013 and 2014.

    • NO ! In 2011 The Chief Scout Executive received $815,004 in salary and $165.571 in “other forms of compensation” according the ttp:// which is the mandatory reporting to the IRS. Wayne Brock was his Assistant and received $568, 296 and an additional $99K that year. We do not have the 2012 IRS Form 990 yet. What is interesting is all the OTHER salaries –including 4 Regional “Heads” who received $400K each. The CFO that year received $697K… The document itself is pretty easy to understand once you get your bearing and over your anger.

    • Does anyone know what percentage of revenue goes towards scouting programs and services versus administration costs? That is the real question we are trying to get to. Many non-profit organizations tout having low admin costs. That shouldn’t be the final guage to be used ion rating charities, however. Here is a web site that tries to rate charities based upon financial and program health. Other factors (they call it advisories), like sexual abuse lawsuit expenses are included. I found that each council of the Boy Scouts is rated individually. Look up yours and do something productive about it if you don’t like it. See

        • I am a retired Army colonel, retired public health director, retired nurse practitioner and I have taught at 5 Universities….I have worked for a major city, a county, state and at the federal level. At NO time, did I EVER work anywhere that if I fluffed as much as these guys are fluffing, would I have been allowed to stay or would I have allowed subordinates to stay. What is ironic, is that Scouting is a pretty low key, go-along/get along group of people and if they would just have kept their heads down and colored between the lines, everybody would be pretty copacetic with the organization ( barring the entire way they handled the gay scout /.leader issue – that was a no win for them –they pissed a LOT of people off on that one).
          As a Scoutmaster, I guess I was willing to let them make outrageous salaries as long as they kept the boat afloat and that should have been a no brainer with the amount of resource they had available then. But the over spending by over twice on the hybrid Scouting/Disneyland in West Virginia is unacceptable when they increase the dues as that just makes our recruiting twice as hard…Not only is the $24 an impediment to bringing in new boys, but it is a barrier to bringing in parents to run the programs as suddenly it is starting to get into serious money with a couple of kids involved, a parent in the program and a parent on the Committee….The icing on the cake is the over 700 million dollars in trust….What is this IBM ? Why oh Why do we need that kind of resource stashed ? How much of this years $24 is going to go into the “Trust Fund”? Do they really need to spend over $5 million on salaries for 11 people ? REALLY?

    • What really pisses me off is not only have they raised the dues for kids but they are raising the dues on Adult Volunteers….We volunteer as Scoutmasters etc and they charge us for the privilege of providing Scouting !We do the work and we pay for the privilege.

      It was $7 a year in 2000. It was $10 a year in 2009. It was $15 a year in 2010….Now they want $24 a year. That is 140% increase in 4 years.

      The BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA have 714 million dollars in TRUST. That is nearly 3/4 of a Billion dollars in TRUST.

      SOMEBODY tell me what we need that for please !

      • I have not seen the trusts, so I cannot say what they are for. However, almost all trusts have conditions for use of the funds, and many if not most, limit how much can be used per a specified period of time. My guess would be most of these have come from private donations and are for the upkeep of the various camps.

        • While there are conditions as far as I know national only owns 4 camps. The rest are owned by councils.

        • I read an interesting article today (some of you may have seen it) postulating that maybe non-profit leadership should be compensated, and held accountable, like the for profit world. They should be judged on results. If they spend $1,000,000 on a super bowl ad BUT it generates $3,000,000 in additional donations that’s great!!! In the case of BSA I would think we would be looking at money & membership. If we see increases in those items then it makes sense to increase the CSE’s compensation. I’m guessing if the money and numbers go down pay should be cut and maybe employment status revisited. Food for thought.

        • You make a very good point. To get competent leadership, it costs. Ben and Jerry’s found that with some restrictive compensation policies (CEO couldn’t make mor than 20x lowest paid employee), they couldn’t attract compenetnt leaders. You have to pay for good leadership in a corporate sense. That same measure should be applied here…if you leave the organization in a weaker position, then you get replaced. The additional requirement for a paid leader of something like BSA is a commitment to the organization and its ideals…you cannot push for increased membership, increased contributions, etc. while at the same time sacrificing the ideals of scouting. Holding people accountable is the key {As an aside, if we have now changed our membership requirements in response to lessening donations from certain corporations, then those corporations should be told that we made the change you advised…now pony up}. I’m not questioning the dedication of our top leaders, just their judgement and competence. If their value to the organization is greater than their salary, keep them…otherwise replace with someone dedicated who can effectively lead the organization…I know some DEs who work 60-80hrs/week, and a lot of evenings, who are dedicated and successful, but not well compensated…to see top guys who are well compensated, but not effective is demoralizing for them…and yet they keep going.

  11. The BSA is conducting another “Voice of the Scout” survey right now. This is an opportunity to express your opinion on the dues increase by providing your comments about the increase.

    • You may have to PAY for leadership and competence but remind me again about what they are SUPPOSED to be doing please….IF managing finances is on that list, then the Bechtel Debacle certainly obliterates that one. IF paying everyone there HUGE salaries qualifies, then something is wrong. And I think something is wrong not only in Denmark but Irving Texas. We are supposed to be LOYAL. But you have to decide — do you want to be LOYAL to the scouts and Scouting or to the people mismanaging this so poorly ? I feel alienated, taken advantage of, exploited, and betrayed.

      • …sounds like one more person ready to check out the ‘Trail Life USA’ website… BSA sure seems to be promoting that development with their decision process…

  12. You missed a very pertinent example of the membership fees charged by other organizations: Girl Scouts membership fee is still only $15 per year.
    Also, I think some of your bullets for “What does this buy” are misleading. For example, you said “provide liability insurance”, but we already pay insurance fees separately on our recharter form. Also, the bullets for “magazines and literature” and “uniforms, equipment, and program supplies” mean very little to the parents that have to shell out their own money for the magazines, literature, uniforms, equipment, and program supplies.

    • Absolutely! The $24 gets you in the door, nothing more. You pay for everything else. Trying to compare the $24 to the total cost of a travel soccer team where almost everything is included is, at best, disingenuous.

  13. What you are now paying for is the lawsuits for all the molesting that was covered up by the prior leaders. This is what they are claiming to be an “administration” cost.

  14. I don’t begrudge the money. Yes, it’s a 60% increase to the second largest line item on our Pack’s budget but it’s still an exceptional value for the boys. It will hurt but we will survive. The timing of this announcement, however, was inexcusable.

    BSA has very good guidance on the unit planning process. It tells Packs that we should conduct our annual planning meeting early in the summer (and definitely before school starts). Because of the need to coordinate for space at our sponsoring organization, we have to build our annual plans in late May or early June. We try to do it right and build out both our annual budget and the annual activity plan based on that budget. Early June might be sooner than most Packs need to plan but I suspect we’re not that uncommon either. Regardless, all Packs are supposed to be finished with their planning well before school starts.

    This fee announcement was rolled out to us in September. The fact that it’s not effective until January is of little help. Our plans are locked in and funds are in many cases already committed. More than that, we have already announced the annual dues that we are collecting from parents. We are behind the eight-ball not because of the amount but because of the timing of this announcement. If we’d known dues were going up when we wrote the budget, we would have built the plan within that constraint. Our options now are limited to 1) increase fundraising (always a sketchy proposition with Cubs), 2) cut spring programs, 3) go back to parents with a second request for money (and look like we don’t know what we’re doing) or 4) eat into that rainy day fund we’ve been trying to build.

    It’s too late to change it now but we must learn from the mistake. Give us more lead time in the future. We really need these kinds of changes to be rolled out concurrent with the annual planning process.

    • We had a nearly identical situation — annual program planning in early August and we baked the budget and began recruiting efforts right away, then the announcement.

      We opted to eat the increase and push hard on our fundraising efforts so as not to have to cancel anything in the spring. We were fortunate in 2 ways, 1) we we financially able to cover the increase, and 2) we were successful in achieving our fundraising goals.

      This is part of the challenge of a program year that tracks a common school year (Sep-Jun) and the charter year (Jan-Dec). Decisions like this may make sense being a full Quarter in advance, but where the program and charter are mismatched, it has negative impacts.

  15. The one issue I haven’t heard addressed in terms of rising administrative costs is: how this sounds exactly like big government. It gets bloated and bureaucratic. Demanding more money from the little people.
    I don’t want to sell popcorn. I want to start real fires, shoot real guns and keep from getting lost by even using the stars. We don’t need sexual identities other than sharing the same chromosomes.
    The percent increase won’t stop unless the foot is put down.
    Look at who is really running the BSA. Not the time sacrificing hard working parents.
    The bureaucrats have lost the vision. Our burgeoning family of boys will be looking for an alternative like Trail Life USA.

  16. I also wonder if its to cover the cost of the people they’ve recently lost. Our local troops are down 30% and we lost 25% of our local leaders. People just aren’t supporting scouts here. A pack that normally does 3k in popcorn sales is only a a couple hundred. Kind of makes you wonder how orchestrated this might have been.

  17. This is outrageous; I am a dedicated scouter but I feel that someone is really taking advantage of the kids in this program. They are likely to get away with it because the $/scout are still small but these increases are absolutely outrageous. CEOs are paid big money to increase stock price. I’m sad to say that the BSA “stock price” is not what it used to be.

  18. Opening my Recharter package was quite the sticker shock. Reading this and other info, the increase wouldn’t go into effect until 2014 (“This does include units with a Dec. 31, 2013, expiration date”) so seeing the $26 per person ($24 + $1 for accident insurance + $40 per unit for liability), that’s a 73.3% increase over last year: Incredible for any organization. They need to rescind this increase, tighten their belts like EVERYONE else has, and implement modest increases over the next few years so people can plan their personal and Unit finances.

  19. Lets tell the TRUTH now……
    National Fee: $24
    Boy Life: $15
    Council Fee: $ 2
    Nat Unit Fee: $ 2 (per Scout assuming 20 Scout/Unit)
    Handbook & MB:$25 (3 MB handbook/yr + Scout Handbook & revisions)
    Advancements: $10 (1 rank + 3 MBs/yr)
    Weekends: $120 (1weekend a month @ $10/ea)
    Resident Camp:$350
    Uniform: $100 (does not account for replacement parts or working in Resident Camps who require 3 sets.)
    I’m sure there are more that I’m missing but this is an annual cost of participating in BSA Scouting $648 ($548/yr).
    STOP KIDDING YOURSELF you are not the cheapest around BUT you are the BEST Program for Youth in my book. If your paying ANY Executive over $100K you are paying way to much for what WE get.

  20. what i dont like is the the national office didn’t consider the scouts and leader that are on fixed incomes and that are barely affording to be in the scout programs as it is…or the troops from small towns that cant afford the increase in price

  21. Of course there’s a fee increase- BSA membership is going to be significantly lower in 2014 since the Key 3 decided to make all of the morally straight Scouts unwelcome in their own program. Expect another fee increase next year to cover the membership losses of all the Scouts from families who can’t afford the 2014 massive increase.

  22. I was just looking at a February 1915 local Council newsletter. The national dues was 25 cents a year at that point in time. Almost 100 years later it is very close to 100 times as much dues. As far as “Make available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies”, uniforms and equipment sales and program supplies (badges?) are not free but are profit making ventures. Uniform parts are very expensive in my opinion. I do not see where dues have anything to do with providing those three items. I would be curious to know what 25 cents in 1915 dollars is today adjusted for inflation since 1915. Maybe $24 is a good deal…maybe not though.

  23. The true cost of scouting
    $24 to join
    $60-80 for dues
    $80+ uniform and books
    $100+ Summer camp
    $80 Resident camp

    Total $344+ (Does not include pack activities, pack campouts and more)

    Oh…. we also need $175 for Friends of Scouting….

  24. All the things the $24 gets you is load of bull. Those items are SOLD to the local council and the volunteers. That network provided–the council pays a fee to connect to it. The literature is not given to us, we buy it. The uniforms are sold to us. Every activity we participate in has a cost, including the volunteer appreciation dinner. Next time, just admit that administrative costs have gone up and be honest.

  25. I am not a fan of this increase. On top of the national increase, we also have to pay $36 more dollars toward an overseas council fee that DoD (Department of Defense) used to cover (before that budget item was cut). Now, we get to pay $60 per scout and adult member. You can imagine what our pack/troop costs will become. With multiple scouts (I am taking my name off as a volunteer now), it is more difficult to cover the basic annual fee. I understand that some of the money goes toward camps, but what about the rest? A recharter system that requires IE 9 or less? Really? I do more week as a volunteer than some of the paid workers “processing” our memberships (for the sole purpose of collecting dues). Yes, they process adult background checks…. but not every year. We pay for advancements, books, uniforms, camp, scouttracks, PWD equipment, camping equipment…. Exactly what does our money go to? Defray a few costs? Really? And then trap us into these costs AFTER we committed for the school year. Classy.

    I get that this is an “investment in our kids”. I coined the term at our last meeting. It’s not so much the pay increase that frustrates me (although I can afford it), I want to know WHAT this money pays for. I better see HUGE improvements in 2014 from BSA.

    • Cynde: I am with you. I am a military retiree. I served in Scouting as a volunteer during my career serving the Army. I have been a Den Leader, Assist CubMaster and Now a Scoutmaster for 10 years. I am an Eagle Scout since 1966. I have hiked Philmont and I have done Woodbadge.My son is an Eagle Scout. Those are my bonafides.. I am not new to this.
      What is New is that the BSA has been taken over by very greedy people who think that being A “Regional Director” is worthy of a 400K salary. The top 11 positions at National (see their IRS Form 990) ( were paid over 5 Million dollars of our money. On that Form 990 you will see over 700 million dollars in some trust fund. That is 3/4 of a BILLION dollars in trust.
      If you want to know where our money is going, look at this pdf.
      It will make you ill. Wall Street takes over the BSA. Baden-Powell would roll over in his grave.
      My local council sold over a million dollars of popcorn this year. National gets it’s cut of this. When I earned my Eagle badge, we didn’t turn out popcorn salesmen, we camped and we turned out young Men of Integrity…..There are 300 such councils in the US. I do NOT know what the total sales are but it must be a lot.
      You mentioned how much it costs to be a Boy Scout these days. Isn’t it interesting that 4 years ago it was $10 and it went to $15 and now to $24 ? That is a 140% increase in 4 years. What do we get for that ? Millionaire executives and Trust Funds is what. Look at the Form 990 !
      There is considerable evidence (according to NBC News) that Bechtel was budgeted at $176 million dollars and will cost upwards of $439 million by the end of next year ( Exactly why are we paying those 11 people over Million dollars a year to mismanage things?
      I am disgusted.
      This is slowly making me believe the Boy Scout movement is gone and this is a Scam with it’s name.

      • I’ve been a scout leader for 19 years. I’ve seen the decline in the support from council, training, and the overall program. I’m afraid you are right, but BSA needs to be about the boys, not money or politics.

  26. Honestly I don’t really understand why people are upset about $24 bucks here. With everything that scouting does for our children. The morals, respect and values learned are worth far more! Humm 24 dollars for good, clean and safe training and life experience seems rather cheap to me. Besides, has no one even stopped to think about the matter of this counties financial situation? The worse it gets the less your money will buy and pay for. 9 Bucks??? lol small price to pay!!!

    • You have to recruit the kids first. You have to deal with a parent who is looking at registration cost, uniforms, summer camp, and time.

    • Jeremy I think people are upset because we just had a fee increase in 2010. That Fees are up 140% in 4 years. It was ten bucks before that….now it is $24. I think people are upset because there are plenty of kids that won’t join Scouting due to the increased costs of the fees. I think people are upset because the top 11 people at the national level make $5 million. I think people are upset as the BSA has over 700 MILLION DOLLARS in trust funds but operates as a “non profit”. I think people are tired of being milked. Scouting was NEVER supposed to be about money. Yet it is now a multimillion dollar business. My council sold over a million dollars worth of popcorn in Iowa last year. That is what Scouting has become. Business. I have been in Scouting since 1957. I am an Eagle & a Scoutmaster and the father of an Eagle. This is corruption and NOT moral. That’s why people are upset. Go look at this if you don’t believe me:

      • Whatever the true story may be, after talking to the parents and other scouters this is clear: Those of us out here in the field are losing confidence and trust in BSA National. I have read it on this website, heard it in council gatherings, among parents, and even discussed among the scouts themselves. I also agree there is an appearance -potentially just as damaging as if it were fact- that the folks down in Irving see BSA as a business, an industry. And that is going to be most damaging to the program in terms of membership, Don’t blame the youth, don’t blame the parents, and definitely not the volunteers. The idea of scouting is still very popular with America… if it weren’t, there wouldn’t be so many alternatives (Ambassadors, Royal Rangers, AMHG, and now Trail Life USA) emerging, and growing.

        I am in fear of what new ‘good idea’ the folks in Texas will come up with next…

        • Royal Rangers isn’t new. They just had their 40th Anniversary.

          If the National see’s the BSA as a business, they will be treated like a business. Other groups will rise up and compete for the youth and adult leaders. Not a good situation if that is your business and you are an employee. You loose a customer and you may loose them for good.

          Both Royal Rangers and TLUSA have been growing since May’s decision. There are a lot of church camp grounds that are opening their camps to both groups….for free.

          Both Royal Rangers and TLUSA has very low overhead with regards to paid staff. They also do not have to pay for the upkeep of camps. So just on the financial end they are better off than the BSA.

          I know that Royal Rangers runs their camps with unpaid volunteers. They split the boys up into age groups and teach 5 badges per camp per age group during the week. The boys don’t get the variation of MB’s, but the camps are only about $100 for the week. So a boy could attend 3 weeks of camp and earn 15 merit badges for the price of one week of BSA summer Camp. So more bang for the buck. Sounds like a good business model to me.

          The BSA isn’t the only game in town anymore.

    • Jeremy:
      OK, lets say it is just to cover increased administrative costs…and it is only a paltry $9. Well, $9 more over a membership of 3 million is a total revenue increase of $27M. Of course, fees had to go up, membership went down from 2011 to 2012 (can’t wait to see what 2013′s numbers will be). But here is the weird thing… from what I read in the budget report, while membership went DOWN by over a 100,000 members in 2012 (scouts and adults),…The total for paid salaries went UP by 1.5 million. …though the amount spent on programs, training, and services also went down. The numbers don’t support many good conclusions.

  27. Why do the BSA make the volunteer parents pay. I have never heard of an organization making parents pay to help out. Most places love to have help. I have even seen where some places pay the parents. It makes it very hard to have people help when they have to pay for their kids, buy their uniforms, and then they have to turn around and do the same fore their self. In my family there is me, my wife and 2 kids. That is 100$ then you add the uniforms and stuff and I am close to 300. Most organizations also give discounts if there is more then one kid but you don’t. After all that the parents need to shell more all the time for the activities. You end up paying much more. With sports that first fee is all there is. No hidden things. Also your prices for other sports is off. Soccer 65$, football 80, baseball 60, basketball 60$, and all volunteers DO NOT PAY.

  28. I’m a scout master. In our area membership is declining, cub scouts are loosing support. Without cub scouts and webelos, our troop is loosing membership. We are working hard to try to keep the program going. Part of the issue is cost, even if its only $2 a month, people don’t pay monthly. Some have 2 or three kids. They have uniforms, books, summer camp, and the ever annual friends of scouting to pay for. Some families are struggling. I wish the national organization would take a step back and acknowledge the struggle BSA is under and not try to keep business as usual. In a generation, I’m afraid Boy Scouts will be a thing of yesteryear in many locations.

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