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.


  1. I have no problem with an increase.
    I have a problem with the timing. Many units have already collected dues. This should have waited until Feb 1. They could have done this since “they are on good financial position.”
    Bad form BSA.

    • I agree. The program is well worth the increased fee; however, the timing is really awful! My committee set our fees for this Scouting year FOUR weeks ago. This is a substantial increase per child and will significantly impact our budget. I don’t feel it’s fair to push that increase onto our families AFTER we’ve published our fees. BSA takes YEARS to change a program item but wants to change a budget item within the SAME Scouting year?! Doesn’t make sense.

      • I know that most of our budgets are set around here as well but do you seriously think that if you go back to your families and explain that what happened is out of your hands they would have too much of an issue for them to spend $9.00?

        • So are you saying that $9.00 (just this one time as next year it will be in the budget) will be the financial end to families? I mean I know what hard times are. I live below the poverty line and can cough up $9.00

        • Seasoned families, sure. Not a problem. New families, yeah, I can see that as an issue…and bad form. Plus the headache of the treasurer having to do it. Just really bad timing. I wonder sometimes if National people even have kids in the program any more.

        • Connie,
          For new kids coming in, the cost is much higher with uniforms, etc. Going to camps & campouts can get costly as well. Add a couple or 3 kids in scouting to a family can add even more money. Make it a single parent & it can be even more money. Some parents will see the added cost & not see the value.
          I think the real increase in cost has to do with the recent policy change. I know Trail life already has 200 troops enrolled & the Boy scouts have lost quite a few charter orginizations. Call it what it is. After all, a scout is supposed to be honest last time I looked.

        • 200 units formed under TLU? TLU is not even started until January 2014. Sounds like 200 plus units lost from the BSA. In TLU, one unit can be formed, but the unit covers ages 5-24. That means that up to 3 BSA units would be closed. Cub Scouts, Scout Troop, and a Venture Crew. They are also running the TLU program concurrently with American Heritage Girls. Shared leadership and expenses running two ministries under the same roof. It is not hard to figure which group is going to grow and which one is going to shrink. TLU and AHG do not have the national administrative overhead to cover. The BSA needs to rethink things and do it quickly. They are not the only game in town anymore.

    • I have a problem with both the amount and timing. 2003 the registration fee was $7.00, so the cost of administration in scouting has went up 300% in 11 years??
      Timing – Units have already set their goals and are selling popcorn. A LOT of them pay for their scouts and leaders registration with this money. They just increased it by 62.5%. What would you do if your cable or phone bill just went up by that same amount?

      • Since BSA is a “tax-exempt” organization, it must submit an IRS Form 990 each year explaining their expenses and income. You can get a PDF of last year’s form (2011) for the National Council at Register and then search for “Boy Scouts of America National Council”. It’s the one in Irving, Texas. In fact you can view 2009 and 2010. (You can also search on your council’s form, too.)

        I think accountability is important in a mostly volunteer organization and I’m glad the IRS gives you the right to know where (most) of your Dues and Friends of Scouting money go.

  2. Agree with Mike. We already established our budget and collected dues. A 60% increase is fine if necessary, but given how Scout units plan their years, it should have been either phased in or announced prior to the program planning cycle. We will have to dedicate more popcorn sales to meeting registration fees and less to actual program now.

  3. It’s not about the fact that there’s an increase. The problem is that 1) It’s a 65% increase with zero notice and 2) Most units have already announced/collected dues for the year. Sorry, but this was a poorly executed change.

    • JustMe, unit are being given 90 notice and most unit around here collect dues all year to pay for registration, boys life, and awards.

      • You and I must live in different “around heres.” We collect dues in October for a December rechartering. Glad you’ve got that kind of flexibility.

        • “Around here” we collect when they sign up or return at call out a few weeks ago. Actually Some signed up end of school last year in our spring call out (before JR Football gets them).

          In Boy scouts we charge when they first cross over or sign up and the Troop pays the renewal (which just went up). The good news is even though our budget is not well off, have the funds. The bad news is it is because we will be rechartering 1/3 fewer scouts and scouters than last year.

  4. While the timing at first seemed off to me in retrospect if asked to go back to your budget a few months after the year has begun (and for us the fundraising is over) would be worse.

  5. I have no problem with the increase, but in thelast part you compair other things to scouts, well we have to buy the uniform books and whatever elese we need.. scouting is not a cheap thing to do..

    • You’re right, Justin. That section compares each activity’s dues to one another. Not other costs, just dues.

      The numbers in bold don’t include, for example, pads for the football team, new strings for the orchestra, or handbooks for Scouting. Those are all in addition to the membership fees each activity charges. And Scouting’s the lowest there.

      • I think scouting is a good value – absolutely. However, we can’t look at the $24 in isolation. Anyone that pays $24 to join scouts gets nothing. They must join a unit that will have their own set of dues and fees. The $24 is just a necessary overhead cost. It’s hard to look at those comparisons for that reason.

      • This only assumes national dues, and does not include personal unit determined program costs, while most units try to settle as much of this as possible with fundraising efforts many charge unit dues to help offset the cost of awards and program supplys. I have been CM of 2 packs, and about to start a 3rd, and am serving on the committee for a 4th, all of these units have charged an additional 40 dollars annually to support some of these costs.

      • You also compare to programs in urban areas. Around here 4-H was free until until last year (Now only $15), Youth sports programs $25-35 and uniform is included. One scouts loose change is anothers… I have kids who can not camp until they get through fundraising because they can’t get the $10 weekend fee from their parents.

        Too big a jump at once.

    • Around here it is $300.00 just for the right to play. Now I have to purchase all of the uniforms and equipment stuff. So Boy Scouts is the same in my book………..happy to do both as I see value in both.

  6. They are constantly telling us to plan, plan, plan. Where is their example? I have a problem paying for technology that doesn’t do the job. Many of the examples include the fact that participants have additional expenses. Boy Scouts also has additional expenses for participants.

    How much of this is going to pay for the cost overruns at the Summit??????

  7. So, since we are rechartering in December (and everything will be submitted before the beginning of the year, wouldn’t that mean that the fee won’t apply until the following December (2014)? I agree with Mike – a delay so that it affects the new scouts, rather than those who (as Journey to Excellence suggests) have already done their budgets for the program year.

    • Having said this, I agree that $24 is a bargain…but some of the changes are not very well thought through [membership vote, New Jambo website with a lot of bugs, the awkwardness of Unit Tools, etc.] Perhaps national need to include more of the people affected by their decisions into the decision process.

    • That’s how I read it initially as well but since we are actually paying for 2014 in December of 2013 all units are affected.

  8. This is a huge increase! How can anyone compare this, 4-H Program, $25: Participants of the 4-H Program in College Station, Texas, pay $25 a year, not including fees for individual activities, and say we get a great deal. We pay for all of our outings and events as well.

    I also agree with the above. We have already set our fees and dues for this coming year, now we have to increase that too?!?

  9. Well, that was nice of the blog to eat my post. 🙁

    This is poorly timed. Poorly communicated. Poorly planned. We are told in our training that we should be planning our program in the late spring for the following year. We already had multiple popcorn kickoff events, all of which had us “plan your budget” “plan how popcorn can fund your program”. Goals have been set. Rewards established. Dues established. Plans made. And then a 60% increase on registrations for our recharter. Well thanks. That’s another $600 in our unit that’s NOT going to go to local programs, unit events, pinewood derby, awards, supplies, rockets, rocket engines, pinewood derby car kits, handbooks (oh, wait, we SPENT that last year as a retainment effort), etc etc.

    And in the same breath, while I’m sure that not all councils are seeing it, our council just announced a doubling of access fees at our council camps.

    Are the BSA financial running off the rails? Did the policy change kill our donations? I have a feeling that, down the road, we’ll be seeing that “revenue from donations declined drastically” and “promises of revenue were not realized” – but that’ll be after the fact.

    This is a hard pill to swallow – especially when all the training is telling us to plan and budget ahead. You’re right though Blogger Bryan, it might be a good value compared to other things (really, comparing to “prestigious LA Youth Orchestra”? REALLY? Apples and oranges) but my youth athletic league didn’t change registration fees from $10 to $16 this year. As a matter of fact, it’s still $10. And my kid still gets a t-shirt. And insurance.


    It won’t be the recent policy decision that kills the organization, it’ll be the poor management and communication.

  10. I want to make sure I understand this correctly. In 2009, the fee was $10. Five years later the fee is $24.

    While I agree that Boy Scouts is by far the best value, I am curious if this is anticipation of a drop in membership after recharter.

    There is a marketing perception that is in error here. If the drop in membership is the real reason, then state that. In my opinion, there was nothing listed in the reasons from Wayne Brock that the National Office does not already do. As a matter of fact many of the items listed are additional fees on top of the registration fee. There does not appear to be an add on of anything that constitutes a 140% increase over 5 years.

    The value of the increase has not been communicated correctly.

  11. I agree with most the comments here. The timing was in bad form since we have had our budget set for quite some time. $9 per scout and adult will cost us over $900 since we have a large unit. (80+ scouts and 20+ adults)

  12. I wholeheartedly agree with mikemenn. The timing is terrible and poses an extremely challenging issue with those Packs like ours, that recruit from a Title 1 school! We found out about the change DURING our Roundup! With all of our Pack materials and fees printed out. Our treasurer nearly quit over the frustration and disappointment. It made us and BSA look like a bunch of idiots trying to bait and switch and made for a tough sell for many parents. Any fee changes in the future should be announced by the end of July, therefore Packs can update info in time for Back to the Pack activities in early August. By the way we start school the 1st week of August!

  13. I agree that the $24 fee is lower than most other activities, but it is a false assumption to say that is all it costs to be a scout. You have to buy the uniform, which is another $40 to $60, and the handbook, and then all the camping activities and events you attend that have fees. In my opinion, this price increase comes now because the fall roundups are doing so poorly. Our council is down almost 25 percent, I’m told.

    • Agree, but it’s actually worse than that – the uniform prices recently increased by about 10% over what they were a year ago. Today, a new shirt, cap, belt, neckerchief, slide, patches, and sales tax for a Tiger Cub uniform comes to about $75. Add in pants and socks and the total goes to about $105.

    • Yes it is. You have the option to take it or not. Very few in my current troop, and only one in my old troop did. We did for years (before I realized we were paying for it when we didn’t have to). Grandson does not read it. Now if it was on-line, he might, lol.

  14. While the cost itself is not a bad price for the program, I have issue with this increase without seeing a budget savings on the National level especially, and even on the local level with a large reduction in the salaries of the top executives. The very top tier in Irving are way overpaid, especially since their benefits are so good. And in most councils, the top exec is making more than three times his lowest paid professional underling. It is really a shame that these factors appear to not have been given any consideration. Just my opinion of course; but no non-profit executive should be paid more than most people make in a lifetime.

  15. Bryan,
    I too have no problem with an increase in fees. That is normal. Your article failed though to point out any other costs to be a Scout. Membership fees simple get you in the door. Scouting is not an inexpensive adventure. Many costs are shouldered by youth and parents. Uniforms, books, equipment, camps fees, high adventure fees, activity fees, unit dues……………. The list goes on. These fees are not insignificant. What did it cost the participants at the recent National Jamboree? What did it cost to “volunteer” staff the National Jamboree. Why do most councils have to sell popcorn? I just think it is not fair to say Scouting costs $24.00.

  16. I don’t mind the increase, but as others have said, the timing is not good. Dues have already been established. I do think the cost of one uniform and a handbook should be in the cost comparison also, just for transparency. We generally have told parents to expect right around $100 when joining with all expenses, not including events/camp outs.

  17. We already pay top dollar for uniforms and program materials, why not charge more fees to make up executive salaries and bonus packages. Plus they have to make up for the loss of the thousands who are walking away because of the “decision”.

    • It’s not accurate for you to state membership is declining by the thousands due to “the decision”. We have a pack of 35 and have not lost one. We do 2 round ups a year and get Tigers right before summer camp and again when school starts. We have seen no decline.

  18. Wow! A 60% increase on top of the 50% increase only 3 years ago.
    Salaries haven’t risen that much, so it must be something else in the administrative fees.

  19. We already pay a separate $3 fee for liability insurance when we re-charter. Is this fee going away and is part of the $9 increase. I am not paying it twice.

    • My understanding is that insurance fees have nothing to do with this. Whatever you paid your council for insurance before you need to keep paying.

  20. This is amazing. That is a huge jump. We get nothing for free from the BSA. We pay for all outing and even Boy’s Life. Increasing this when the budgets are set, and when the country is still trying to recover from the financial crises does not pass the smell test. Is this to make up for the expected drop in membership? The BSA keeps messing up. I am really saddened by this and deeply disturbed.

  21. The timing is an issue for many. Budgets are set, promotional materials ready, websites updated (okay, I sat down specifically to post to the website). Now to go back or eat it. And in some areas and for some units, I can see the going back or eating it to be deal breakers for individuals and/or units.

  22. I’m confused as to ‘What does your $24 buy?’

    Aside from the Liability Insurance, just about everything listed in that section costs Scouts money well above and beyond the $24… especially the uniforms, handbooks, merit badge literature/materials and high-adventure bases (did you SEE the costs for Jamboree this year).

    In any case, a surprise 60% fee increase does not speak to ‘…a strong financial position.’

  23. It is disingenuous to claim the BSA membership fee “is a steal” at only $24 a year (and quite a jump from $15). Just about every unit charges its own additional fees, plus charges for individual events and activities, so the price of Scouting does add up.

    While select soccer in Cleveland may look expensive, consider how much a Scout uniform costs. Add in a sleeping bag, a mess kit, good hiking boots, and the related personal supplies and equipment a Scout in an active outdoor troop needs and the costs start to come pretty close.

    Then look at how much it costs to make a trip to Philmont, or the fee for the most-recent Jamboree, and Scouting is not an inexpensive activity. So please don’t pretend the jump in one part of the total cost really isn’t a big deal. It just isn’t trustworthy.

  24. Having to read through what $24 buys me, it is a bunch of crap. I am paying for Boy’s Life, I pay for uniforms, equipment and program supplies and I also have to pay to “Make them available” What does that mean. I guess I can walk into council and just pick a uniform off the shelf and the merit badge pamphlets since my $24 has made them available

  25. Just a comment on the Jamboree costs. My son was able to pay his entire Jambo fees from his scout account from Popcorn sales. Even at well over $1,000, he and I both think it was a steal for the experience and the leadership opportunity. Think about it… how many 10 day trips can you get for a $1,000?

    • Lee,
      That actually is a great question. So how is a trip like that able to cost so little? Not trying to be sarcastic, but really don’t know how the cost is kept down, especially with so many give aways to participants. Are some of the fees being paid by all scouts being used to under write a smaller group able to attend Jamboree. Along the same lines, if the High Adventure bases can’t support themselves financially, then maybe they need a relook also?

    • I agree. Nothing about the Boy Scouts’ programs and opportunities are in question here. Even though I think the comparison to other organizations that Bryan gives is more apples to pizza dough, Scouting is still the best value around by far. We recycle uniforms, volunteer our time, have really good facilities and most of all, dedicated people.

    • Well, here’s the issue there. That’s a vacation for ONE. Remember, there are no amenities, no choices in your activities (as in a family vacation). I would have loved to have gone, or do the high adventure. But I have a family to think about. And with some planning, and not staying in 5 star hotels, coupons, discounts, and a little work, our whole family can take a vacation for not much more. We’ve done it.

  26. I think that the upper administrative staff have forgot that they work for us the volunteers and not the other way around. I think that more and more of the program monies are going to the 100k-350k salaries and retirements and less toward program. I know that in my council (CIEC) the last Head honcho walked away with a fat 350k retirement. The council staff is rude the camp(s) aren’t maintained or staffed well. We had two scout camps but they just walked away form one(camp HelenDade) just to let it rot.
    More money less program.

  27. Why not just increase it, when Councils go through recharter. In doesn’t add up to say that BSA is on strong financial footing, but we have to pull the trigger now on this. Where is the additional funding that was supposed to reappear with the change in the membership policy?

  28. Since BSA is a “tax-exempt” organization, it must submit an IRS Form 990 each year explaining their expenses and income. You can get a PDF of last year’s form (2011) for the National Council at Register and then search for “Boy Scouts of America National Council”. It’s the one in Irving, Texas. In fact you can view 2009 and 2010. (You can also search on your council’s form, too.)

    I think accountability is important in a mostly volunteer organization and I’m glad the IRS gives you the right to know where (most) of your Dues and Friends of Scouting money go.

  29. Well it does make it hard for 5 years and an increase of $14. Do remember that this only supports the national level and nothing comes to the local level.

    But as you comparing the cost. You are also forgetting about the uniforms, books, cost to run an outing in scouting. I spend $100 a month to run our scouting program and for that I see results for what I am giving. But to give to the national level we don’t really see it. Maybe the national level should look at the way local councils run. Go out and fundraiser your money like a lot of orginazations do.

    It is hard to figure out how to set the budget when troops run there schedule from August to August. In fact if they did not notice this is September.

    But how much of our budget is going to support the high adventure and legal fees.

    I think the BSA needs to explain to use why they need to do this on so short notice.

    But how many boys do we lose? How much is the troop going to support to cover this huge increase.

  30. Be glad you don’t live in Canada we pay $160 registration fees for the year (part is a national fee and part is a provincial council fee) plus uniforms, dues, books and camps etc.

  31. This increase, times the number of scouts and leaders is about $27 million dollars.

    That is about exactly what the debt service is on the Summit, in West Virginia.

    We have a half billion dollar themepark that can only sell tickets (legally) to scouts. (or we lose our non profit property exemption).

    Was wondering if they would dip into their $247 million endowment… Guess that piggybank is too sturdy to break.

  32. What I don’t understand, if you are going to raise it, fine, the Boy Scouting program is amazing and by far one of the best opportunities for you men and woman to learn and excel in their lives, however, when is the money going to start coming back to the local Boy Scout Councils and camps? Not a penny of money from national dues comes back to local councils or camps. Raising funds is becoming harder and harder. Also, national is pushing hard, and I agree with it, that camps become self sufficient with funds. Why aren’t the National Bases held to the same standard? Why are they being supplemented by everyone’s dues when local councils aren’t allowed to do the same?

    • What about some of that money filtering all the way back to individual Packs & Troops. Every time I have to ask my Committee for funds, they always want to know how much money we get from BSA National and Council, as well as the Charter Organization. They are not happy when I tell them we get no financial support from any of them.

  33. One of America’s best youth programs, Civil Air Patrol, charges its Cadets (youth) $35 per year and its adults $70. Making Boy Scouts a bargain for us adults.

  34. i just read all of this and no one has even mentioned what some units are going through. this will probably get deleted and it has been posted on the yahoo group but short and sweet.

    some troops or packs are loosing their charter locations due to the vote to change their membership rules and or change their morals. some CO can not support this change as it goes against their beliefs.

    when you add a move and having to rent space do to another charter not being able to store stuff this increases the bottom line of the fixed cost of the troop/pack.

    then u add the simple 9.00. I’m not the best in math but it will be around 42.00 increase per person at recharter. if u have two or three per household then it could be 124.00 increase.


  35. Interesting that you left out the obvious comparison activity, Girl Scouts, which just went up from $12 to $15 last year. The new requirement to have parents registered effectively raises the cost of joining, also. I will happily pay my family’s extra $27 though, if it means that Internet Advancement will be updated to work with a current web browser.

  36. A lot of things my son has been in include something with the registration fee that we do not get nickeled and dimed for like we do with the BSA. Lacrosse, for example, sends out a magazine. Little League includes the uniform. So I’m having a hard time figuring out why you list things in the $24 fee justification above that we still have to purchase like a uniform, merit badge pamphlets and program materials. Or the $800 or $900 we pay to attend jamboree or a high adventure base. We don’t get those things with our $24. We still have to pay for them all.

    It would be nice if the national council could just be honest with its members and explain the true reasons for the 60% increase. To cover legal costs? To cover a decrease in membership? To help pay down the huge debt from The Summit?

    We’ll drop a large number of adults from our registration next time our unit recharters. I suspect that the resulting sum of money we send to Texas might end up the same as last year if we drop 40 adults from our roster. I’ll have to do a spreadsheet and see where the tipping point is for our unit.

      • Because it is not a Boy scout Troop but a Man Scout troop.

        That is what happens when Troops become Camping or High Adventure Clubs

        • Completely judgmental and patently wrong. The troop I serve has 110+ Scouts and over 40 registered leaders. Not all of them serve all the time but they are trained and as active as they wish to be. We are totally youth led and no one can say different. It doesn’t matter how many you have it matters how they are managed.

        • Your troop is too large. I one of those who believe a troop should never exceed 30. and 40 if you include the adult leadership.

          I really enjoyed your comment on how they are managed……Are you referring to the adults or the boys????

      • Keep in mind there are some large Troops out there. I recall one in TX with over 100 scouts.

        We have 20 registered scouts this year and 16 scouters including 2 scout parents. Yet we still had multiple times this year we couldn’t camp because of lack of 2 deep leadership. Jobs, divorce, inactivity, activity only on certain events. Seven of those don’t even camp.

        For 2014, It looks like we will recharter 14 scouts (reduction of 6 or 30%), and recharter 10 Scouters- picking up 1 new adult & dropping 7 (reduction of 37.5% due to jobs, inactivity, etc.)

        If my math is correct.

        • That is really tragic.

          I have one ASM and myself….The boys plan a troop outing as well as a Patrol outings every month.

  37. It is still a 60% hike ($9 on a $15 base), and comes on top of rumors that the BSA had to do substantial borrowing to finish The Summit for the Jamboree.

    Also, the statement that “administrative costs have continued to rise faster than projected” implies to me that this increase is not associated with the program, but with overhead.

    I agree that it’s still a bargain, but I also have to explain this to the parents of 30 boys. (In my opinion) The boys that benefit the most from Scouting are often those who come from families with the least resources.

  38. Ditto to the above sentiments…poor form on the timing. Our budget has been set, and to offset the cost, we won’t be including Boy’s Life for the Scout’s this year. It’s easier to do it that way, instead of telling them that dues are going up $9.

    • Nice. I wonder how units will cut back somewhere to compensate. Most probably won’t. They figure it out and pay for it. But yours and others are going to take a cut somewhere thus affecting (and effecting) someone or something else.

    • Pretty weak. All you’re doing is kicking the can down the road a year over less than the cost of a movie ticket or Chinese food. You’re telling us you collected enough money to cover Boys’ Life ($12) but now you’re going to cover the increase instead…so you’re now profiting $3/head on a fee hike you’re not telling anyone about and they don’t get the magazine they expect. Setting yourself up for a pitchfork mob.

    • We did that last year due to bad results of our main fundraiser. The troop only paid for those who actually said thy read it which were very few.

  39. In public I tow the party line. In private, like every other non profit there are people getting rich. The BSA made me eat shit for my initiation into boy scouts. My oldest is crossing over this year. I hope he quits. At least I didn’t get raped. At one time I am sure it worked, now it is a money grabbing scam trying to survive.

    • I see your sons are swimmers, what’s that about $100 in Speedos alone but you don’t have an extra $9? Grow up and go suck a bar of soap.

    • As a director of a nonprofit I am offended by your ignorance of the nonprofit industry. While some may appear to have large salaries, most are low income. My kids missed qualifying for reduced lunches at school by $500 this year. I don’t even get retirement.

      The nonprofit industry does good works and deserves good staff and respectable budgets for marketing,etc to manage their missions. If they don’t get paid well they jump ship to the private sector and the cause suffers.

      While I believe fully in utilizing donor dollars in the most efficient way, it is interesting that some in our society assumes that a for-profit business should have the best equipment, salaries, marketing budget, operational budget to be competitive and succeed in the business world but expects the nonprofit industry to work with archaic computers and low income salaries, no marketing budget and expects them to fulfill their mission.

      • Profit / nonprofit. Who cares but when your making 700k and you have everything done for you and then raise the price and the avg household is 40-50k +/- even at 17k or 125k it is nowhere near what they make.

      • Hi Mike-
        I don’t know what the post that preceded yours was really about. Most non-profits do not pay out big salaries. I would guess that the majority may have no paid employees. But the big non-profits like Komen, United Way and the BSA give non-profits a bad name when their top execs are given extravagant salaries and benefits. People give to the non-profits in the belief that their money is going to further the mission of those who are served – not to fund the huge salaries, benefits and retirements of a few at the top.

  40. It would have been helpful for the BSA to let us know before we annou ced our dues and made our fliers for the year. Now the Pack will have to figure out how to make up that extra $9 per person without raising dues.

  41. Something definitely ISNT right with this. I am guessing that professional salaries will NOT be cut… but the amount of time and effort we see from them will be cut…. Again- NOT RIGHT!

  42. Bryan, thanks for sharing this information. I hadn’t heard about it from our district or council, and we have our annual registration picnic this weekend. We do collect the registration fee from each family, so that proceeds from our fundraisers like popcorn sales can go fully toward paying for activities. Glad to know now that we need to collect $9 more than planned – otherwise we’d be facing a $500 budget surprise come January when we recharter!

    • Fail to concur. The vast majority of professional Scouters I have encountered have been outstanding, from the lowest paid Council secretaries up to and including National Office executives. Unfortunately, most working at the district level are grossly under-paid. In fact, our district consistently has had numerous, well-trained, highly responsive DE’s who have moved on because they cannot support a family of two or three on the meager salaries the BSA pays them. One left because he could make more as an entry-level elementary school teacher.

      That said, I do not think that the National Office execs should be getting a raise and it is not at all unreasonable for some review of those salaries to occur. By the way, absurd levels of compensation to non-profit executives are not limited to the BSA. By way of comparison, the President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America raked in a base salary in 2011 of $455,829 with an additional $116,000 bonus and (and here is the real shocker) $1.2 million in deferred compensation and retirement. Having seen first-hand the condition of their facilities, this is appalling.

  43. As CEO, Mazzuca earned total compensation of $1.2 million in 2009 (the most recent year available), including a base salary of $490,420, retirement and deferred compensation of $136,282, and “other reportable compensation” of $555,995, part of which was accrued under a qualified retirement plan with payments starting after an employee’s retirement.

    Unfortunately HERE is where our boys fundraising money goes…. Deep pockets for the income but not so deep for the outcome. Im ashamed of this whole situation.

  44. “Administrative Costs” like salaries of top paid executive of nearly $750,000 annually? and there are a lot of people that make that sort of cash at the National / Regional level. Sorta brings the ‘Non Profit’ into focus… looking at the national council’s 990 tax form is a bit sobering.

    • Perhaps the upper paid scouters should take a cut in pay like most of the people in the US. Paying out 6 figures for a salary is over paying and not a good investment or return for services.
      I am reading this and I am thinking “Really?!? Are you kidding” The BSA is looking to a future of declining membership, a lose of membership due to the pro-gay agenda which is going to show up at charter renewal next year. REMEBER your numbers “60%” of the chartering organizations did not want the change. They will vote with their feet. I hope GLAAD ends up financially supporting you.
      The local DE’s are the ones doing the work and how much do they get paid? Very little. Wake up National. You need an IRS audit.
      I can email or call the Royal Ranger National Commander Doug Marsh and get a reply within 24 hours. Try that with National BSA. It won’t happen. So much for service.

  45. I very rarely post, but this is beyond frustrating to me. I am the Mom of 2 Eagle Scouts who are 3rd Generation Eagle Scouts. I am Committee Chair for our Cub Scout Pack, Asst. District Committee Chair for Programs and Asst. District Commissioner. One issue is the timing. We just finished our first round of Recruiting for the Cub Pack and had our First Pack Meeting last week. We do our planning in the summer, including our budget, and announced all at the Pack Meeting. The last time we held out our hands at the very next meeting and said pay more, we lost 2/3 of the new Scouts we recruited that year. As it is recruiting was low this year in Mississippi, now we will have issues keeping what we have recruited.
    My other issue is that our Pack usually pays a portion of the fee and all of the Boys Life out of our Fall Fundraising. These Scouts will not increase the amount that they sell, so it will impact the program that we can put on for these Scouts. Isn’t that what we are here for? To create the best possible program for the Scouts? How can we do that if we don’t have the Scouts or the money for the program?

  46. Your comparison is askew. While you are charging the charter $24 per scout, what you are not considering is what that charter spends on pins, badges, etc. We have to build in some of that cost into the registration fee as well. So, this increase hits the units directly and it’s quite unfair.

  47. I strongly disagree with this parents can barely afford it now. It’s hard enough keeping scouts with so much competition. Oh and you want to compare apples to apples news flash not all children play sports. Camping prices go up event prices go up and now registration. The way scouting is going it won’t be long like everything else a thing of the past. Next time you may want to do a census on all areas before you change things

  48. If you consider the cost of camping, summer camp, uniforms and other items along with the annual fee your still in the range of $500 or more per year and that is a low end figure. Multiply that times 3 youth and adults, and your spending 2500 per year more or less. I believe it’s worth it but I think we need to take another look at the finances. Unfortunately, I see the biggest cuts happening to program. The worse place you need to cut…

    • Just curious here…

      who is responsible for cutting the program?

      The boys at national aren’t cancelling our camping trip or summer resident camp……or last months canoe trip

      I call BS on support for the national high adventure bases…… If they are not paying for themselves make the rich folks that use them pay for them…..Not the rest of us. Increase the fee at Philmont or northern tier and triple it at sea base….

      My scout will never attend these because I cannot afford 1500 bucks or more to send him….

      With that said, 9 bucks isn’t a big deal.

      • My grandson and I would die to go to Seabase, but the cost of that trip would pay for our whole family to go to Florida on a vacation. Granted, it’s not a scouting vacation, but reality and fairness has to set in at some time. So, I agree with you that only the rich or those that are good at fundraising (our old troop was never good at that – with 7 boys you can’t do very much with that – no workers) get to attend those events. I would like to see an accounting of WHY they are so high… a breakdown of all the costs for that event that justify the costs. I don’t want to hear a bottom line or profit margin – we aren’t supposed to make a profit, we’re non-profit!

  49. Its sad to see it get higher but we are way behind in doing this. I remember paying $12.00 as a boy in the 70’s. So we need to build better camps. I know there will be some scout family’s that won’t be able to afford it and that’s a shame. Nat’l should see what they can do for these boy’s so they wont drop out of scouting.

  50. We already printed our recruitment flyers with the old fee. We already completed our popcorn budget with the old fee. Why all of the sudden? Now the leaders look like they don’t know what is going on. This is not something that was decided overnight (I would hope) so why not give plenty of advance notice. This is an organization full of adult volunteers we would like to have a little respect when it comes to major changes like this. We should have been informed well in advance so we could prepare. Now we are looking bad with no good explaination. Perfect.

  51. Okay, I’m not happy with the timing either (is there ANYBODY who is??!!) but there must have been a SERIOUS reason for it or they would have been able to “massage” this increase in better! If it’s SBR, lawsuits, insurance hikes, declining enrollment, salary hikes, inflation or all of the above, I really don’t care! It’s here and it’s not going away so we have to deal with it.
    My only other problem is the $14 increase in 4 years! It’s still manageable now but what happens when the rate increase hits $35, $45, $55 per scout per year? In my district, there are people who get by on $8.50/hr who have had their hours cut back to part time. There will come a time when these parents will look at the high cost of registration dues and decide that little Jonny will just have to miss out on Scouting!
    The timing was poor! The explanations given were less than satisfactory and there is no guarantee that the increases wont continue until they have reached that threshold where low-income families perceive that it’s just too expensive!
    If the feedback from this forum is any indication, this little plan went over like a lead baloon! The communication should have been MUCH better handled!

    • Steve, this is the way Scouting has done every increase over the last 15 years that i’ve been serving as a Scouter (and there’s been several). I can remember sitting in a Roundtable about 10 years ago where our Council Exec came and the bulk of comments were about an increase announced in identical fashion. They just can’t get — or just don’t care about — the pr problem.

  52. I have just lost members over the membership policy change and I can see more dropping because they can’t afford the Registration increase, plus the cost of buying uniforms for their boys, plus the cost of their advancements. Seems like somebody at National doesn’t know how to balance a budget. Sort of like the Federal Government.

  53. I have to wonder if this increase helps cover lost revenue due to membership decreases based on the recent decision to allow gay scouts to join or from big donors pulling funding based on the decision. Yes it would be a bargain if we got something for our money, plus we have to do council sponsored fundraisers and FOS and then shell out for summer camp.
    The money part of scouting really sucks, do council executives really need company cars and big ticket salaries when the low level workers barely make a decent wage and do a majority of the grunt work to make scouting work.

  54. Bryan, as an Eagle Scout, older brother to an Eagle Scout, and a Cub Scout Leader to two boys I have a lot of issues with the reasons for the Fee Increase.
    1) I have never found a discounted uniform that was not used.
    2) One of our local camps has their own funding and budget.
    3) The High Adventure/OA/NESA, that is all paid for through fees (high ones at that).
    4) Maintaining communication with the C.O.R. has been pushed down onto the volunteers. AND more is being pushed onto them including pinching the volunteer and parent harder for money through Friends of Scouting.
    How this is going to be preceived in my area is that Wanye and the other Lead Profressionals are attempting to line their pockets with more money. The timing is wrong, this should have been introduced before units planned their budgets in order to meet the benchmark for JTE and They need to list better reasons with transparency.

    • And those used uniforms have absolutely nothing to do with National. That would be on craigs list, auctions, Goodwill, or rummage sales. National cannot take credit. High adventure is out of the reach of, I’m guessing, about 80% of the membership.

  55. A family of 4., now a hundred bucks. Then 1.50 per person for insurance. Merit badges. 2.50 per merit badge. Average 20 per scout per year. Then camp. 320.00 per scout. 75.00 per adult.Oa. 10.00 a year. 20.00 per person per camping trip. 5 trips. 1380. For a family of four. And we haven’t even hit supplies. Equipment, gas, books. And gas. I spent over 2700.00 dollars for supplies at Lowe’s for the troop in the last year. I could not send my boys to the jamboree this year because of the cost. Or any of the high adventure camps. Don’t tell me that scouts is cheap. We leaders are the ones that teach the boys. Take them camping and give of our time and hearts. And we pay cash for that privilege. We also have to pay for the training that we need to help the boys. What dose national do for us. I will lose a number of boys and parents because of the cost. No child should miss out on scouting because of money. While your making money of the boys you should think of that.

    • Thank you. I just said that earlier today and some of the guys were surprised that I had to PAY for my training to be a volunteer (SM/ASM). They said in 25 years they hadn’t seen that. Well guess what, it happens in more areas than you think. Required training should not have a cost. Period. It’s done by volunteers anyway, so where the heck is the cost? It’s not like you receive a book!

  56. Obvious things already stated
    1. This is obviously not the actual cost of Scouting
    2. The arrogant statement that the registration cost allows us access to buy scout stuff is ridiculous
    3. As stated previously by others some people are working with very limited income

    What I would personally add
    1. I support even higher registration fees. I support them only if a large portion of the money went to the Pack and Dens.
    2. Our registration only actually gets us access to the Scout network (i.e. Scout Shop, ways to find a pack and other things like the opportunity to rent really nice camping areas). We have to basically get our friends and family to support the pack through sales of popcorn. This is very difficult in areas (including entire cities) where people just don’t have $10 or more to buy popcorn to support scouting. We do not get an acceptable level of support or training for the registration fee. See a further explanation in thought 3.
    3. When I decided to sign my son up for Scouts, I had super high expectations. This is mostly due to ads and the image that the BSA puts out about how great and exciting the program is. I expected a professional program that had some level of consistency. What I found was groups of very dedicated parents “winging” it to make good programs for their kids. Due to drastic differences in parental affluence the Leaders often have to take a lot of the cost for their den upon themselves.
    4. When you break it down, I could gather a bunch of my kids friends into a “pack”, have them buy similar shirts and do activities outdoors and teach them what I know. The only thing they wouldn’t get that they get through scouts is a little patch for activities, and one patch each year saying they did the minimum.
    5. A large cost to BSA is the Jamboree and other national events. These events are at the cost of every Scout but only reasonably available to the ones with a lot of money for travel and entry, or a very select few near the Jamboree location. The Jamboree has never been within 1,000 miles of us.

    I will quit here as I’m sure I could write much more. This frustration comes from knowing that the program could be engaging and irresistibly fun for all of the Scouts and volunteers. It is not due to the lack of extended infrastructure into the Packs and Dens. It’s all up to the individuals in those Packs and Dens.

  57. 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

  58. 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.

  59. •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……

  60. 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.

  61. 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!

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

      • 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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?

  70. 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?

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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

  74. 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

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. Hey Bryan! Don’t mean to hack close to home but here’s a cost-cutting move I’d like to see from BSA (and some fine print that these scouters seem to be missing):
    Let’s get that $2 cost of Scouting magazine down to $.50! How? Go to black-and-white, two-column format.

    In fact, return all MB books to $2 color format. Produce only one new book. And revise only 5 per year.

    In fact, make all BSA publications – including letterhead – black and white.

    Stop curriculum changes, now!

    No more high end video production.

    Start looking like the lean, rugged organization that boys and girls who spend thier own $24 to form real patrols and go out on their own unsupervised would be proud to join.

    • I say we take it one step further. Keep the color. Go .pdf for all of them. That way there is zero printing cost on the BSA end. How about an annual Pack, Troop, Crew, Ship, fee for unlimited use of the materials so we don’t violate any laws in use of the copyrights. Several other organizations do this. Plus if you are really looking at reducing cost, this is printing, shipping, cost to inventory, cost to sell them, etc.

      • Don, open publishing is a fine idea, but not everyone in this country has equal viewing/print capacity. Paper still has its uses. Let’s just put our devices down and see what else is lying on tables at the coffee shop!

        My point is: drop the typesetter, look lean, and you might attract some of those millions of members lost who are happy to learn to hike and camp from “parsimonious media” and spend the bulk of their $24 on a good weekend in the woods.

        • No, they don’t. That’s why my recommendation (lost amid many other posts on here, lol) was that like Don said – make them pdf’s, charge a yearly fee for on-line access (like many, many magazines now do), but also have a fee for those who want a hard copy. My suggestion might be a tad low, but not by much, because the money made from the on-line fee which has no printing costs and we already have a website, so it could just be added as a link to that. My suggestion is $5 a year for on-line, if they only want hard copy $7.50, and if they want BOTH, $10.

    • Or how about the ‘administrators’ take a pay cut? no reason people in charge of a non profit organization to be making more than $100,000 a year. THAT is the only reason they are increasing costs.

      • I referenced this talk earlier in the discussion. It’s an interesting take on non-profits, salaries, and fund-raising.

        Dan Pallotta makes the case that you should pay wages that are competitive with for-profit corporations, in order to get the quality leadership that makes a non-profit highly successful in their mission.

        $100,000 is not an exorbitant salary for someone with major responsibilities in a nation-wide organization with over 2,000,000 members. In fact, it’s a fairly typical salary for engineers and software developers.

        A number of folks here made Dan’s point for him. If you have the skills to make the BSA successful, it’s a far easier path to work in Silicon Valley or Wall Street, donate $100,000 to the BSA and be a member of the board, a philanthropist, and a hero. If you actually work for the non-profit and are paid what you’re worth, then everyone criticizes you for being overpaid.

        • $100,000 is not enough, but is $1.2 million too much? The top 9 at BSA make at least $400,000 in compensation each & the top dog is at $1.2 Million? For paying that much to the BSA top executives, they should be successful in what they are doing. But are they? Number of Scouts going the wrong direction nationally . . . cost overruns at the Summit . . . decision on the homosexual issue that pleased hardly anyone.

          I think that if the Top 9 refused to take a 10% pay cut until things started getting better, they should all be fired. The next 9 up in seniority among the professionals take over at 50% of the pay. They sure CANNOT do any worse than those currently at the top of the heap.

    • Everyone understand that this increase is do to a loss in membership for recent changes, they just don’t want to say it….

  85. I thought “A scout is thrifty.” Why is national not thrifty?

    And “A scout is trustworthy.” Announcing an increase by surprise after fees are gathered based amounts listed in blue ink in the membership application is not trustworthy.

    • It’s tough to be thrifty when your bringing home $400k a year…

      Q when you knock down that much cash it all has to be in color.

  86. Your numbers are disingenious and if $24.00 was all we paid to be involved in Scouting I would agree.

    If $24 from each Scout was all that is required to Develop and maintain year-round national high-adventure bases then the cost to attend them should be $0. Which it certainly isn’t. How many Scouts are 14 and under and aren’t eligible to attend these High Adventure Bases? Not complaining about the $24.00 but really be honest about the use of the money.

  87. Wow, talk about comparing apples to oranges!

    The problem in your “comparison” is that NONE of the $24 goes back to the UNIT. So tackle football may cost $140, but that is all the cost the boy has to pay to be in the program. Now, if he had to pay $140 to some national organization just to play football in his state, that would be an equal comparison.

    Instead, scouts must pay $24 for national overhead, then fundraise or pay a la carte for events and camps over the course of the year.

    And saying that the national dues go to “Make available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies.” Wow, what great marketing-speak. So the money goes to the support the privilege of being able to walk into a scout store and spend hundreds of dollars on uniforming, gear, equipment, patches made in China, etc….

    A 50% increase in 2010 followed by a whopping 60% fee increase just 3 years later says only one thing–problems with the program at a national level.

    • I think your comparison if flawed…

      So how many years did your scout get out of his uniform book and camping gear?????

      And any unit worth anything has a uniform closet or gear exchange.

      • And again, you insult others. My old troop had 6 active, 11 on books. Parents great as far as making sure boys able to attend functions, but for various reasons (health, job, other children) never took part in campouts or other events. We had to scramble to get 2 deep. Fundraisers were impossible….no help. THEREFORE, the idea that we should have a ‘closet’ is ludicrous! We not only didn’t have a closet, but our equipment had to be stored in one of our storage sheds (we have a farm) as we did not have a ‘home’ for our stuff and certainly had no money to rent a commercial storage shed!

        Just because your troop was large enough to be financially stable doesn’t give you the right to insult others.

        • Hi Mariah-
          Pay no attention to Bob Basement. He is being a contrarian. It doesn’t matter what is being said, he disagrees and then insults the person who posted. We have a large troop in a suburb. We attend a camp in a neighboring state that has many small troops from rural farming communities. Talking with those leaders – I know it can be hard because it is often just a handful of parents all trying to arrange their schedules to help provide the activities for the boys. Plus – we have the best time at that camp because EVERYONE is so nice and so helpful.

        • Thank you so much! I try really hard not to post negative things, but I’m also not one to back down from a fight, lol. Everyone has a right to their opinions but I have never seen one person who generally has nothing good to say about anything, lol!

          I think scout troops, in general, are all great people. There have been a few (in my own council) who are very stuck up, and ‘I’m better than you’ attitude. We live within 5 miles of the capitol of my state, so VERY VERY rural. The capitol is suburb/rural. There really isn’t much urban around here, lol. At least not in comparison to our big cities – STL and KC. Columbia has a troop that when they go to camp, they call themselves the ‘HORDE’ because there are over 100 in the troop and almost all of them go to camp, lol!

          He was dissing troops that have a lot of adult leadership. Another troop (Actually one of the stuck up ones), has more adults than kids. Many of the adults have stayed with the troop long after their boys were adults and gone. Many of the campouts have more adults attending than boys.

          Reading all this stuff, I was sent searching for info. Found that in Canada they actually have ADULT boy scout troops, but it wouldn’t help me – I’m past that age, lol. The age is 18-26. That was where their first gay troop started – with the adult group….but it died a few years later. Maybe they need a JACK BENNY scout troop, lol! We have that class in our horse shows.

        • So how do the boys get a chance to lead when there are 20 adults along?

          Gee, how do you build a uniform closet???? You have the boys donate or you give them patches for their new shirt when they out grow theirs….No cost. So the cost of the uniform closet is zero or minimal at best.

          I am from a poor urban area, money is always a problem, but we look after our own and used uniforms are not a problem for our families.

        • How, with a large number of adults (Our troop has 60+boys, 90+ adults) do they learn leadership? The boys and adult campsites are separate, but adjacent. Boys request permission to enter adult site, and vice versa. SPL controls the boys, SM or ASM in charge runs the adult camp. SM indicates to SPL what needs to be done, if necessary, and SPL takes it from there – with patrol method, they learn leadership. Adults are encouraged to go through SM, and called down if, except for safety, they violate chain of command. Tha’t how they learn leadership

    • NONE of the football leagues my son has played in provided shoulder pads, pants or cleats……

      I paided $145 to join then another $100 for used gear and another $50 for the required shoes.

  88. From 2010 to 2113 the registration cost has gone from $10 to $24. That is a 41.7% increase in 4 years in administrative costs. If that happened in any for profit corporation, the entire management team would be immediately fired. Perhaps that is what the Boy Scouts should do. The absolute minimum acceptable explantion that should be given to the members of the Boy Scout Organization is what administrative costs are rising so quickly.

    • This is exactly why so the majority of families in all three of my sons units (1 Pack & 2 Troops) have elected not to participate in FOS anymore, they support the unit directly instead. The famiies have stated they simply can’t see any value in FOS.
      They feel ignored when they try to contact anyone at Council HQ (unanswered voicemails & emails). The prices for camping programs at District events & Council summer camps keep going up & up with no added value taking place. And whatever you do, don’t get them started on the cost uniforms, books, and other such scout gear.
      On top of all this, for the last 3 years running our local District has been in a non-stop FOS mode year round. They literally begin talking about the next FOS cycle before the current one is even finished! As a unit leader, I was told to provide the personal contact information (name/address/phone#/emails) of each family that didn’t contribute to FOS in 2013 so the District FOS committee could “follow up with each family individually about their decision not to support scouting”. I refused to do so, advising them that they already had the name & address of every family in our unit via Scout registration data if they wished to pursue such a course of action.

      • WHAT! They want to harass those who choose not to donate? UNITED WAY anyone! I no longer donate to United Way because of the harassment I got in the work place. Funny, most state office buildings have a no begging sign out front, yet they actively take part, give time off to those helping, etc. for United Way. Hypocrits anyone?

        On top of that, when they assigned me to help, I was asked to do just that – follow up with those who did not donate. I refused. Since it was basically a volunteer issue and had nothing to with my ‘job’, they could only give me dirty looks. With UW you fill out that little card and say what you want to pay and to who (which is a joke – or it was when I was helping), and you sign it, and it comes auto out of your paycheck each month. They already KNOW who didn’t donate by those that DID. It’s harassment to keep after someone. If they wanted to donate, they would.

        Just so you know, I do donate to things, but not to ones that harass. I was getting a phone call from one of the kids non-profits FOUR TIMES A DAY! For more than a month. I finally called the local office and told them that I realized they ‘farm’ out their call service to idiots but they need to be more careful as they are not doing this very worthwhile cause any good. They are alienating people!

        People already have enough making ends meet, and feel guilty when they don’t donate, so putting this additional pressure on them is unconscienable (ok, I butchered that word).

  89. Bryan – I hope you’re going to pass these comments along to National (I’m sure we’d all like to pass along our comments to National if they provided a method for us to do that). Although I didn’t read every post, there wasn’t a single one in the ones that I read that said this is a good idea.

    I think a lot of us could accept an increase in dues if we got a truthful and complete explanation of the reasons. I think we all understand that costs rise, but to just pin them to “administrative cost increases” is not doing the change justice. Also, let’s be honest, a good portion of this money is probably needed to pay off the cost over-runs for Summit.

    The other problem with this change has been mentioned frequently; the units have already set their budgets and communicated their costs to the parents – using the process that National says we should. To change the costs now is not acceptable. If they want to increase them for 2015, that would be an acceptable timeframe.

    Lastly, I’m very disappointed in how this is being communicated to the units. The only place I’ve seen this mentioned is in your blog (which doesn’t cover every unit) and reposts of your blog on Facebook (which also doesn’t cover every unit). Is a letter going to be sent to every unit and CO?

    • Dave,

      Thanks for your feedback and rest assured that national- and council-level professionals and volunteers read this blog. This is an official communication channel of the BSA, but expect your council and other BSA communications methods to share additional information about this change soon.

      • Dave: This information just bubbled out of the Top Hands meeting last week. For those of us who surf the Internet Scout sites and who are really plugged in, we got the info. Yes, information travels slowly at times. Not all Councils react as fast as others.

        On the first day back from a National Holiday, Bryan got the word out. He actually had more information than Wayne Brock’s email that has been floating around the Interwebs.

        • It came out today from our Council Commissioner to all of our District Commissioners. As DC, I will be making sure all this gets out to all of my Unit Commissioners and all unit leaders at Roundtable tomorrow night.

  90. The real problems began when the Boy Scouts stopped focusing on the boys, they (the youth) will never see a penny of that money. I have 3 boys in the program plus myself. Not to mention every camping trip, OA weekend, and summer camp. Talk about comparing apples and oranges, but why not have Scouting go back to the ideals Baden Powell founded it on and concentrate on the boys and we wouldn’t have to worry about where the extra money would come from, people would be clambering to get their child in the program.

  91. There’s a narrative missing here, and it would really be helpful if that could be shared with us. The bald statement that “administrative costs are rising,” is simply not adequate. Which administrative costs are rising? Is all of the increase in personnel? Is it in travel? Publications? As noted, the increase in 3-4 years is 140%. That would suggest, at the very least, very poor planning and cost projection. In the absence of any further information, that is somewhat unbelievable. So, where can we find a detailed cost history of national/district?

    Perhaps the difficulty is not so much that costs have risen, but that the per unit (scout or local unit) cost has increased. To put this another way, the administrative costs spread over fewer scouts or units will of course rise. So it would also be helpful to see what the scout or unit enrollments have been recently. Yes, I read the PR reports as well, but one really wonders whether the financials do not tell another story.

  92. I am shaking my head at such a drastic increase with short notice. Holiday spending & local city/county taxes at the same time as BSA dues already makes for some major penny pinching. Honestly if we had more children in scouting I would seriously reconsider volunteering just to make sure they could join. A $24 annual membership fee is not a lot to expect for such an outstanding program, but when considering $24 multiplied by five ($120 when I was only expecting $75) is a big deal. I do not support a 60% increase without adequate notice.

  93. This article/poll is only a year old:

    from the poll, most units don’t charge $24, they charge $24+”whatever fundraising doesn’t cover” which seems to average out to $50-75/yr, but ranges from the $24 to $150. And many still require individuals to pick up uniforms, book, specific event payments, etc.

    Not all units can fully fund via fundraisers. If fundraising could cover all costs, National would have no need for the fee increase, now would it? If an increase is needed, so be it, but provide an explanation, not ‘cover’ with poor comparisons. (I pay maybe $100/yr/child for rec sports, and zero to volunteer…)

    Also, timing is a bit poor. Sure, it’s a few months before the increase gets charged, but it’s 1-3 months after Units are told to (and rewarded for!) get their yearly budget together. Recruitment is already happening, many have already paid dues to the pack for the year. It now looks poor to go back hat-in-hand, and with what explanation? We’ll make it work, (perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, and faith…) but they didn’t make this job any easier.

  94. Increases are always hard. There are people who understand it and just go with it and others that have issues with it. Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing. Not sure where I heard that before?

    Yes, Scouting at the local level on the front lines is more expensive that just $24. Yes, $24 registration fee is a lot less than many other “things” that youth could do. Which, really if your youth really already is doing more than just Scouting. Swimming, Baseball, Football, LaCrosse, Crosscountry, Soccer, Hockey and many many other things.

    Yes, I fully suspect that along with everything Bryan noted that National is doing for us as a group is well intended and needed. Yes, I suspect that the lawsuits and cost overruns for The Summit are factors.

    Yes, it would be nice if those at National who have large paychecks would actually reduce them and be “Thrifty”.

    But, I do not sit in their chair and I do not see what they see or deal with what they deal with. I suspect that I might come to understand more of why if I were there. I also might have ideas on how to better impliment things?

    Yes, I know that those at National do read and listen to online blogs, posts and forums. I am glad that Bryan and the BSA have this channel. It’s good to put a voice to something knowing that someone will read this.

    So, here is my wishlist. I think someone stated it here earlier.

    As a now retired Cubmaster since my son just crossover this spring, I am getting into more Troop activities. I am still focused on Cubscouts since I am a District Training Chair.

    The Cubscout program is really at the District and Pack level. If the Council has Council run Summer Camp, that’s one thing. Many District’s put on their own camp. It is largely then left to the Pack & Den to create and excute the Program. Yes, there is training (if those who are leaders get trained. And by trained I don’t mean taking the online trainging. That does not connect local resources to that leader. Nor does it answer a lot of their questions. Get in-person trained!)

    Yes, National put out the Den & Pack Planning Guides in 2010. Great. 2010. Yes, I know in 2014/15 the Cubscout program changes and all new books come out.

    But what I would love to see is…New Beltloops, New Webelos Activity Pins, new things that Cubscouts can do and achive. Yes, there is NOVA. But, my council really has not pushed it and I really don’t see a push from National. So, that’s a fail in my eyes.

    Boy Scouts have Jamborees put on by National. There are Order of the Arrow events. Philmont, The Summit, Northern Tier and Sea Base. Cubscouts cannot go to these or join. Yes, if the Cubscouts are close to one, they could. Cubscouts cannot go to Philmont unless their parents go to Philmont Training Center.

    So, really, there isn’t much Nationally a Cubscout can do. They also cannot join the Order of the Arrow and go to Conclave or other National events.

    So, my ask is this….focus on Cubscouts. Cubscouts are where Boy Scouts come from. Create good programming content for Cubscouts. Create programs at Philmont, Northern Tier, Sea Base and The Summit. Cubscouting is a family enviroment. Families can travel (if they can afford it). They go to Disney and many other theme parks.

    Outside of all that, Cubscouts really is local to 50-75 miles from their meeting area.
    Yes, I will be paying the $24.
    Yours in Scouting.

    • “Increases are always hard. … Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing. Not sure where I heard that before?” It is not clear what Tuckman’s stages of group development have to do with a poorly planned membership fee increase. With five executives soaking up $3 million between them, it is reasonable to expect that such a membership increase would be better managed than this.

      Also, with all respect, I’m not sure that there would be much value in providing Cub Scout programming at an existing or new nationally-managed facility. My son has been as involved in and excited about Scouts as any you will find and our family is blessed with solid financial and time resources. However, I would have been hard pressed to justify spending the money to put two of us on to a plane to go to Philmont or somesuch when he was of Cub Scout age, even if they had offered age-appropriate programming. Much less would I have been inclined to chaperone a den of such little guys on a national trip.

      By the way, a national facility that provides Cub Scout-age programming already exists. It’s called the National Scouting Museum. Albeit inconveniently located for most Americans (really, who thought an Irving, TX office park was a good idea?), it is a world-class facility.

  95. So in 2010 the national level would take in membership cost of $27,396,920. But in 2012 with membership at 2,658,794 and the cost of membership at $15. Would collect $39,881,910. But for the same numbers at $24 they would collect $63,811,056. So for year to year we have an increase of over $20 million. But in 4 years we had in increase over double. I can tell you I not seen not seen an increase of support coming from the national level. I know cost have gone up but it hard to believe the national budget is so far out of line that this is really needed.

    Where is the money going?
    What has increased so much?
    How much memebership have we lost because of the change in polices?
    Is this to cover lawers , Court cost and litigation cost?

    I know for you as a volunteer it cost me over $2,000 per year. But last year it was over $3,000.

    But the increase is not a killer but when all you hear coming for the local level is ways to raise money to support the local council. I am just get tired of hearing this all the time. We don’t do scouting to hear about money all the time.

    • I love your “questions” which are actually irrational attempts to blame the increases on the membership standards change. My response “question” would be: How much membership has BSA lost over the past several years due to its discriminatory policies? It is a fact that my local unit has increased enormously since BSA changed its policies for the better.

      • I’m not pro or anti gay membership in BS. I have several gay friends who would make great leaders. Remember, anyone who attacks a child is no longer human. Has nothing to do with what their sexual preference is (hetero/gay). They are then pedophiles whether male or female and sorry, they don’t deserve to be on this earth.

        But what I would be interested in seeing just for stat sakes is what were the increases/decreases nationally, council, district and local level. But we won’t know that until around January or February when everyone recharters.

        I’m hoping it has helped BSA. I don’t know. We’ve lost a few long-time and will be very missed scouters. And of course their boys along with them. Some of the charters have refused to recharter, but that doesn’t mean the troops are going to die, they will just need to find another charter.

        So, this decision is still up in the air as to how it affects BSA in the long run. It could be months or even a year before we know for sure.

      • My only question for you after you took it there. Do your homework look at Canada and what’s going on with there scouting program in the last 20 years.

      • Well in Scouts Canada in 1992 membership was 256720 in 2012 it was 101283 . They are open to all. So if your think we would increase membership only time will tell. But I can tell you I don’t know much about scouts in Canada but news reports. But the memebership is up over the last few years.

        But I do wounder how this will affect scouts in the US. But only time will tell.

        I do hope the national leaders really do have a plan and are not reacting to numbers they see and made this change to try to keep the money in the same are so they don’t have to cut back there staff and there own salaries.

        I think they need to get to the rank and file and not talking to paid staff so they know what is really going on.

  96. This year has probably been one of my most disappointing in the BSA. First the policy change which national totally bungled. The “”We are listening ” campaign sickened me. 60% were against the policy change but national knew best. Then I attended the Summit. Three years of promises how great the white water rafting was going to be.World class we were told . Class 4 and 5 we were told. We got a float trip.
    What amazed me at the Summit was how often all of the zip lines were never manned because they didn’t have enough people to man them because you had to PAY for the privilege.RESULT A LOT OF DISCOURAGED BOYS & LEADERS. Is another $ 9 going to affect me or my boy? No< but it just seems that national is a group that can't shoot straight. It is another example of very poor planning and timing . I am in scouting because I love seeing my son and other youth have experience's that they would normally would not have. My advice, go to Philmont before national screws that up with their REBRANDING.

  97. Maybe I’m a little slow today, but where is this increase in costs being told to members? I didn’t see anything on the BSA website about this, nor on my Council’s website. I’ve got 70 Cubs and 25 adult leaders that we have already told what the next year was going to cost them (you know, doing a Pack planning meeting and budget during the summer like the BSA wants us to do). We even had a district meeting last night and the rumors were there but the district exec. “didn’t have the information on this yet”. So what gives? Where is the communication? How can there be an expectation of forward planning when all of the sudden the BSA is asking for more money in the next 4 months, especially since I JUST TOLD ALL MY PARENTS WHAT THE DUES WERE GOING TO BE FOR THE YEAR!

    On the same topic but a different note, the raising of costs by 140% in 4 years is unconscionable, especially without a significant addition of services. If I raised the costs to my Scouts and parents by the same % in the same time frame, while giving them nothing additional for the money, we wouldn’t have a Pack at all. There is obviously nowhere near enough accountability and/or ability in those running the BSA.

  98. Bryan – I think the worm can just got opened up wide.

    First – the program cost comparison used isn’t accurate. The $24 is all money to national. That’s $0 to fund the local unit; I don’t know enough about how money moves between councils and national to know if any of that $24 stays to fund the local council.

    Our pack spends about $100 per scout to deliver program each year, plus money charged for things like food when camping. Total cost of scouting is still a bargain compared to other youth programs, but this $24 (formerly $15) isn’t very tangible at the unit level, other than as an expense.

  99. My Cub Scouts don’t fall in many of those categories that they say the money is used for! So does that mean we can still pay the old recharter fees?!?! I bet not!!! I don’t understand why boys who are too young and are not included in most activities that BSA offers still have to pay what the older boys pay!

  100. Sorry for the wall of text, like many this has me a bit upset.

    In June we were notified there would be an increase, from national, of $4.00 per person for liability insurance. We were not thrilled but we budgeted for it in our annual planning. Now we are being told it will cost an additional $9.00 per person for “administrative expenses”?

    Last year we paid $33.00 per scout and $20.00 per Scouter, this year we will be paying $46.00 per scout and $33.00 per Scouter.

    If a unit follows BSA recomend they had their budget set in June or July. Almost universally the Scouting program year follows the school year, as a result many of us have already published our annual registration information, which is now $9.00 short. Our pack budget is now short by SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS! Do I cut corners? Do I increase fees after many families have already paid for the year?

    If BSA “…maintains a strong financial position,” then why is this not happening at a later dater so Units can budget for it?

    So let’s talk about what my $24.00 buys (I think they mean $33.00, but whatever…)

    1. liability insurance. This was communiccated to my unit in June as a seperate $4.00 per person increase.

    2. BSA Technical Platforms – It’s better then it was, but when the Tour plan cannot pull leader training from a seperate BSA database, not impressive… And the things you do to Council staff with Scoutnet should be considered hostile workplace.

    The worst BSA technology, in my opinion is internet advancement and its contradictions. Many of us use a package like Packmaster to avoid it, upload our data but it won’t accept Belt Loops & Pins from the text file. Troopmaster says BSA wont accept that data, but use the BSA web tool and you can input this data DEAR BSA MAKE IT EASY FOR ME TO BUY EXPENSIVE BELT LOOPS!!!!

    3. Programs & Tools for councils & camps? extensive financial counseling? Planned giving and fundraising info? Ignoring the camp stuff… You are notifying us of a 65% increase in fees and we should take your financial counseling seriously???

    4. Communication network – These should be paid for by the purchase of these books and magazines themselves? Are you seriously saying that a Handbook costs more to develop, print and distribute then the retail price?

    That Boys Life costs more then the advertisement fees and the subscription fee combined? This seems insane to me.

    5. Uniforms, equipment and supplies – These things should entirely be covered by their retail costs, especially considering the uniform is made overseas!

    Also, with the World Scout Crest being a required emblem, why is it not on every shirt like the American Flag?

    6. National High Adventure Bases, I imagine there needs to be some degree os subsidy, but dont they also qualify for open space grants? Environmental grants? The only big change in this space seems to be Bechtel.

    National meetings? Do they all need to be in person? Skype is free and a Scout is Thrifty.

    7. Communicate with chartered orgs? Our DE tries to speak with our Troop and our Packs Institutional Heads each year to keep in touch. I imagine National tries to cultivate new major Charter Organizations, but seriously, every unit has one, I am not aware of any new major Organizations coming on board, why is money spent in this area? Or do you mean to disucss policy changes like the change to Membership policy this past May?

    8. How expensive can it be to maintain these associations. I imagine there is some cost with face to face time, but how often does this occur?

    9 Program standards to ensure BRAND CONSISTENCY??? not to ensure we are meeting the Mission and Vision of the BSA? Does anyone else think this is absolutely the wrong priority?

    Then they actually tell us Scouting is a “steal” at $24 per year. If it were only $24 then why would we need to sell popcorn? They know what belt loops and patches cost, how much camps charge per scout per night, how much Philmont costs.

    So let’s see what it costs to be active in my Pack. This assumes one Cub, and your not a leader with your own uniform and other scout related expenses.

    The Shirt & Pants lets say $70 with patches depending on size (Webelos of course cost more) but this is good for say 3 years because we recomend they buy big so $24 per year

    Every year a new hat $13.00, neckerchief $7.00, slide $5.00 and book about $9.00. OR $34.00 per year.

    We go camping as a Pack 3 times a year at about $25 per person, A parent has to attend so $50 per family, per trip or $150.00 per year.

    We also do a variety of district sponsored day trips like Cub Mobile and Gold Rush, about $15.00 per head, add a parent for double that per event. so $60.00 per year.

    Our Pack annual fee is $120.00 some units are more, some les and they include a variety of different things, a discussion for another time.

    Assuming you participate in everything, a year in scouting, in my Pack is about $388. One week of summer camp is over $300 and not included in that price but many families do participate I have 2 boys in the pack, and I am the Cubmaster, we spend several hundred to participate in the pack each year.

    But that’s not all, my oldest son is a Boy Scout, and I am an ASM, it would not be ridiculous to say we spend more than $1400 on the Troop each year.

    I am also a District Scouter, I get to pay for that privelage in time and expenses.

    Make no mistake I do not begrudge ANY of these expense, seeing my sons enjoy something that had a profound impact on the man I became is worth every penny.

    BUT, other parents do not se it that way, I compete against other youth programs like:

    Little League – It is hard to convince parents Scouting will do mroe for your kids then baseball when they regularly make the regionals and have played in the Little League World Series.

    Football – our PAL program has coaches who have played in the NFL.

    Soccer – Northern NJ is very multicultural, Soccer is a huge sport here, they have a youth tournament that brings 25,000 players to town.

    The cost of any one of those sports is about the same as a year in Cub Scouts (I know because we do Football and Baseball also) And most families participate in several sports without flinching.

    So not only is the comparison of expenses Disingenious, it is pointelss. It is not the cost, it is the perceived value! I understand that my boys will be grown men who are self sufficient and productive men. But those other parents focus on scholarships to pay for the huge burden of college; or that their child will be the next star athelete and be able to take care of them in their old age.

    Further, the comparison is pointless when informing existing members of it, because they are already sold on the program, so like me, they are wondering how a major business like the BSA could have done such poor planning that they have a 65% increase in cost in one year!

    For the Record, if anyone from the BSA wants to give me a call and get my $0.02 then just call Al Thomas (The finest District Executive I have worked with) at Patriots Path Council and ask him for my contact info.

    Yours in Scouting,
    Adam Sonzogni
    Cubmaster, Pack 215
    Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 72
    Assistant District Commissioner
    Fishawack District in Patriots’ Path Council

    • Adam, you make many good points. I am curious, however, what the $120 annual fee for your pack covers, since it obviously doesn’t cover books, hats, neckerchiefs, unit camping trips, or district camping trips?

      Our pack does not charge an annual fee, only the actual recharter cost (youth only – pack pays for leaders). Their only fundraiser is popcorn sales. Scouts who attend district day camp have to pay that fee, but all other pack activities (food for camping trips – for the whole family, car kits for Pinewood, entry fee for district Klondike, cub admission to the hockey game or swim park, patches) are covered by the pack. Many years (depending on funds available), cubs are also given their handbook and neckerchief for the new year. If a boy sells above a set popcorn goal, the pack pays his recharter fee.

      • Hi MT_Momma,
        Our pack dues are not $120 – but $80. It covers things like new neckerchiefs as boys get a year older, new books each year, pinewood derby track rental, supplies for pack meetings, blue and gold, etc. Plus it has to cover the cost of all the myriad of awards, beads, patches, belt loops, pins, bling and flair that get stuck on the shirt of an eight year old. And we have to pay to rent space at the school. It all adds up pretty quickly. Popcorn and wreath sales help keep the cost down.

        • Thanks, db – I can see that rental fees would make costs go up significantly! We are fortunate to not have any fees for space or for derby track. Most of our camping areas also do not charge the pack a fee and we run our Blue & Gold as a potluck with the pack providing the main dish and cake. Sounds like your pack covers many of the same costs that ours does, so my guess is that the dues pretty much pay for rental fees.

          I was curious with Adam, since he listed neckerchiefs, handbooks, and food at campouts as specific costs to the families in addition to the $120 annual fee. Made me wonder what the $120 DID pay for…

      • I don’t know if I live in a depressed area or what….but no way would most of the boys/parents I know cough up $80+ for a troop membership. The troops I belong to charge about $20 more than National (which of course now brings it up to $44! where it was $30). The additional $20 is for badges and rank advancements, that’s all. The boys have to pay for all events: camp, klondike, monthly campouts (which might include additional fees such as a nightly charge where we camp, entrance to things like Six Flags, etc.). So, basically, I still want to know what benefit is that $24 to the individual scout/leader. I don’t see it.

  101. I too would like to comment on the timing of this. Most units have already set budgets for the 2013-2014 scouting year and informed parents of the costs for the year. For our pack based on 60 boys, this will be an additional $540 that we did not factor into our annual budget. I hate to say it but, the timing of this implementation shows a real disregard for unit committees and our annual unit budget setting process.

  102. I think the sentiments of most people are simply that $9 or even $14 is not that big of a deal IF you actually see the benefits of the increase. The fees to national are like a black hole IMO. Heck, I’d even be ok if the increase went to the council or district level (Lord knows those folks are over worked and under paid) BUT other than the crappy national site, disjointed reporting systems and buggy online training, I don’t see or use any “national” services.

    The cost increase for us is resulting in no new troop t-shirts next year since it’s the easiest thing to cut out of our already-established budget.

  103. Many and most excellent points have been made already, just look at the highest rated comments. Nice job fellow ‘Scouts’ ! Nationals action here reminds of the desperate attempts of the ‘former’ sound US post office, which is currently still going down the tube despite continuous price increases that make it less and less competitive…
    Please take all these good points to heart, and FIX IT. Be honest , forthright, transparent and more scout like in all aspects. Remember our mission, and be done with these outrageous fee increases !

  104. As a fellow scouter I just cringe at the thought of facing units that have already told the families what they need to pay for Recharter.School night season is all but over in our neck of the woods. Now they have to go back and ask for $9 more per registered member??? I agree with the comment that the increase should have waited til the 2015 charter year, so units could plan for it.
    I sure hope “they” know what they are doing….. this and the vote in one year is a lot to take.
    By the way I have 2 sons that are Eagles, I Life scout and both Daughters were in a Ship and Venturing. I LOVE scouting- but I never could have afforded these fees for 5 teenagers. Popcorn is great, but the public likes to buy from cute cubs not teens.

    I pray that Scouting will last another 100 + years.

  105. I only know from my Troop, we pay the $24.00 a year, then the $250.00 for summer camp, $10.00 for each camp out through out the summer, Spring Fall Camporees and Klondike derby who knows how much they will cost.
    Then you take into effect the adult that hauls the trailer full of camp geer around all year no pay for his gas, or the other adults that volunteeer their time to be on the camp out no reimbursement for them either..
    We give our time and money for all the Scouts we mentor just so Headquarters can get fatter wallets..

    I’m tired of it though, 10 years involved in Scouting..

    • WOW! Sounds like our area! I want to know what National does (or even council for that matter) for our boys….that is FREE. NOTHING. In our case, each campout is at LEAST $25 – so if two of you go (one boy, one parent – which is my case) – that’s $50 a month. $600 a year. Then there’s the clothing – we don’t even HAVE the pants. Shirts are $40-$50. Depending on age of boy – could have to replace those a number of times – if a cub – you definitely have to replace a number of times. Then there’s the badges at around $3 apiece and they even charge you for that stupid card that is proof you go the badge. Sorry, that should be INCLUDED. Rank badges are even more. Pins and belt loops are expensive. OA stuff is expensive. OA TRIPS are expensive (when you have to double the cost).

      Bottom line is that for one adult/one child a years’ involvement with BS is in the hundreds if not thousands, and that’s if they don’t do any high adventure stuff. If a family has more kids, then it goes up exponentially.

      I don’t mind paying memberships IF you can show me what I get for the money. We quit doing the Boys Life long ago. My grandson did not read it…it was a waste of money. The first year we didn’t want to do it, I did it anyway, so the troop would get the 100% patch, but the next 2 more boys decided not to, so no need.

      Just tell me where my boy will benefit from this increase and not line the rich pockets of the top level (our council members are not paid that well), then I won’t have a beef with it.

        • Well, I can’t say for sure how well paid, but I pretty much can say it is not six figures, lol. I don’t know if their pay is open record or not, but I do know we lose people to private industry. I don’t want to say which council, but I will give you the state – Missouri. Do you know something I don’t? Could be I’m very wrong.

    • Our scouts reimburse the drivers for fuel….The drivers show up with a full tank and then we fuel just before returning to the CO and divide by the participants. Nobody complains

      If your lad is at home he will eat….So sorry he has to pay for his food when he camps.

  106. for being a “non=profit” organization it sure seems to me that the administration is making money!!! I agree with so many of the previous comments! As a Scouter of 7 years with 3 boys in the program I am very frustrated with this increase. If the increase were to help the boys I would be all for it, but when it is all going to “admins” who are doing nothing but playing political games, it is not worth it! The people actually putting on the program and doing the real work of having successful units are VOLUNTEERS!!! So so many of us pay more than half the costs of our units activities out of our own pockets in addition to paying these fees that go to pencil pushers who don’t get their hands dirty actually working with the boys (and girls in Venturing units). So now we pay $24 in annual dues, $12 for Boy’s Life, then my council forces me to pay per enrolled family member for Friends of Scouting (when my previous council it was a voluntary pay) and we pay $5 per boy a month in Troop fees and we pay a fee plus $4 per meal for EVERY campout every month. Not to mention the $700+ I had to pay to send 2 of my boys to summer camp! So this “comparison” to other youth activities is garbage! At least those other activities the money benefits directly to the kids not a bunch of admins playing beurocratic games!!!!

    • So why are you paying for your unit activities out of your own pockets????

      The boys should be paying their own way…….If they cannot afford it then the adult leadership should step in and show the boys the unit finances and help them make more affordable program choices.

      • How’s a Tiger going to understand finances?

        I think this is more of a Pack issue than a Troop one. Packs work differently and have to interface with parents.

        And please don’t be condescending.


        • Anyl tiger scout knows that a bag of his favorite gummies cost $1… He knows that short of stealing that bag it will hang there until mom buys it or he has a $1 to buy it himself.

          So it isn’t a real big leap for the Cub scout families to be able to understand that the program has associated cost….

          It is sad that Pack Committees are not all that open about the Packs finances. This leads to what we have now….

          A bunch of folks scrambling around trying to figure out how to pay for it????

          Don’t explain it….It isn’t your fault….. Just print old waynes email and attach it to a letter from the committee chair and it’s done…..Parents can decide if belonging to scouting is worth it or not.

          It is not the fault of anyone on the unit level.

  107. How often do we even see any one from counsel?
    Our Troop hardly see’s them at all unless we are at an OA event or a mandatory meeting we have to drive hours to get to for a camporee. They say that money goes for uniforms? for who non of our Scouts ever got a discounted uniform, I have two Scouts in the program both Life Scouts, I can’t wait for them to be Eagle..

    • Exactly. I don’t understand how they can say the money has anything at all to do with clothing, badges, belt loops, rank patches or any other item worn by the boys and/or adults. No discounts (unless last year’s t-shirts), and not even reasonable costs. I can buy a dress shirt (male or female) at Kohl’s on clearance for less than $10. No, it won’t say BSA. I would honestly (I know it won’t happen) what do those shirts ACTUALLY COST National. They aren’t American made, so no doubt they are made in a sweat factory or something close to it (not that that is ok). Those poor people are probably getting less than 10 cents per shirt. My guess is they cost less than $5 to produce in the quantities they get them. That’s probably the high end. We are non-profit. The boys (aka parents) should get the benefits of the low costs of that production.

  108. We already published the fee for the year. Many of our families are hard pressed to pay what we asked in the first place. The cost has to come from some where. I will not take it our of program and I will not ask them for more.
    Only place I can cut is Boys life. Shame I always enjoyed reading the joke with my son but something as to give. Wonder if they have a 0% ribbon?

  109. How many units camp in caves, battleships, aircraft carriers, white water raft, canoe, climb commercial caves or rent lodges at national parks. on an on.

    All are high dollar and there are a couple of hundred response complaining about $9

        • Bob. Drop it. The amount the zoo costs doesn’t matter. We want transparency from the BSA. We want to know why they need to raise dues by 60%. It is not because of a normal increase in the cost of doing business. National is going from $57 Million in revenue from dues to $91 Million. Why?

        • You know that the BSA National will Never open its books. Making too big a stink about it will simply get your membership revoked.

        • You are probably correct. The BSA national corporation fails to learn from history. The truth will eventually get out. It will get out because an honest employee will report the truth. Or via gossip. Or a hacker penetrates the BSA network and finds the financial documents. If it is found out the BSA is lying, then there will be continued fallout. But the truth will eventually get out. Whether the BSA chooses to be honest about it NOW or not, then that is the corporations choice. The choice the decision makers choose will reflect the character of those making the decision.

        • In our case it was $20. Depends on the # of scouts and scouters. Why are you being such an *** about what everyone says? Everyone has said it’s not about the $9, it’s about the statistical increase without good reasons. When you buy a service such as a lawyer, you get an itemize account as to where every dime you paid them goes. I see no difference here. Same for medical expenses/doctors. They want our money, they need to show us why and where it goes…every penny, including salaries.

  110. I’m disappointed in the (thankfully few) comments that have tried to tie the increase in with the membership standards change. There’s no factual basis for that, period.

    But I agree with everyone that the timing was not good. There should have been much more advance notice. Our pack did our budgeting, printed our recruiting materials with our dues rates, and has already started collecting dues for this coming year. Our dues are $75 for the first Cub Scout, $63 for any others in the same family, and $30 for Arrow of Light. We are 100% Boys’ Life. The dues also pay for handbooks, neckerchiefs, Pinewood and Space derby kits, and all earned patches, pins and emblems; plus each den gets a set amount to use for den meeting expenses. We rely upon wreath and plant sales to cover the gap, and some of our dens request additional contributions. An unplanned $9 addition really blows a hole in our planning.

    • I only have one problem with charging fees for stuff the den/troop does. That child/boy may not be interested in some of those activities and therefore not benefit from that. The pack we were in had only about 20-30% boys taking part in the derbies (any of them). So to include the fees for the kits in every boys expenses wasn’t fair. They did find out how many wanted them and purchased them in bulk according to that amount. Even badge work is kind of unfair. Some boys get dozens of badges a year – mine did. But we had some boys in our troop who barely got 3 or 4….just enough to advance. So, doing what you guys do would have benefitted ME, lol. But it would not have the other boys.

      I’m not saying it’s wrong by any stretch. It keeps down paperwork and having to worry about whether to purchase something because that parent hasn’t paid for it, but yet you don’t want to dissapoint the boy at the ceremonies. I think in a large troop you would HAVE to do that, but not in a small one.

        • how is that a finance issue? It’s just a fact that not all boys take part in all the activities. Not saying don’t have a fee to cover all those activities – much simpler than making sure each one pays up each time. But some boys (cub and scout) will get the full benefit of all the activities and some won’t. It may be because they don’t WANT to, or it may be because they can’t get there for whatever reason.

          But I still don’t see how the finance committee has anything to do with what activities a boy takes part in.

        • So, are your camp outs free???? The lad pays per campout. Doesn’t go doesn’t pay.

          Same for summer camps, and all troop activities…..

      • mariahwwa, I agree that it is difficult to find an equitable way to finance materials without charging individually (and nickle and diming folks to death) for every item. In our pack, my son certainly got more than his fair share since he earned lots of segments and attended most activities (with both parents, generally). OTOH, he was also one of the top 5 popcorn sellers I think 4 of his 5 years in the pack. (Oh yeah, and both of his parents served as leaders in the pack.)

        Our troop doesn’t pool fundraising like our pack does. The first $300 that each boy raises goes directly into his Scout account. We do have troop dues to pay for expenses such as leader registration, troop management software, supplies like climbing ropes, canoes, etc. Individual activities are paid out of Scout accounts (as are dues) so boys who are more active pay more (but they also tend to participate more in the fundraisers).

        • Mine would have definitely benefited from the ‘everyone pays one fee’, as he now has over 75 badges – doing the math, rounding up, thats about $300 in badges! But we had some boys who didn’t earn but 3-5 badges a year, so that would have hurt them. We sucked at selling popcorn. But then I was a GS all the way through the equivalent of Eagle. I couldn’t sell GS cookies! Who doesn’t love GS cookies! I must have passed on that ‘not able to sell anything’ gene to my grandson, lol!

  111. 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

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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 🙂

  115. 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??????

        • 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.

  116. 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.

  117. 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

  118. 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.

  119. 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.

  120. “•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!!!

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

  124. 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

  125. 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

  126. 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.

  127. 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 !

  128. 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.

  129. 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.

  130. 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.

  131. “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

  132. 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.

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. 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.

  136. 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]”?

  137. 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.

  138. 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.

  139. 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.

  140. 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.

  141. 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.

  142. 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!

  143. 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.

  144. 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.

  145. 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!”

  146. 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.

  147. 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…

  148. 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.

  149. 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.

  150. 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.

  151. 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.

  152. 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.

  153. 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.

  154. 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.

  155. 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.

  156. 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

  157. 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.

  158. 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.

  159. 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….

  160. 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.

  161. 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.

  162. 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.

  163. 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.

  164. 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.

  165. Okay $24 for the boys doesn’t sound bad, but charging the adult volunteers for the privilege of volunteering their time takes chutzpa. It’s not the amount, it’s the principle. My son just joined, and I signed up to help with the troop, because I feel that’s my duty since my son will benefit. But if BSA is going to charge me for the privilege of donating my free time…this cheapens the whole thing. Maybe they should go hire someone instead.

  166. Dear Anonymous, part of that fee goes toward running the background check on each volunteer who desires to help. Our Pack covers the costs for the Adult leaders through our annual Pack dues. Maybe your Pack could look into this as well.

  167. I lost four youth from my crew because the registration fee was more than they were willing to pay or raise funds for. That is 30%.

    Still, a $10 gain for the BSA. National’s loss of about $80 from my youth who dropped is offset by the $90 gain from increased fees on my remaining paid youth.

    Nation-wide, I hope BSA manages more than a 10% bump in income once the dust settles.

  168. And now I have received an email for fundraising asking for more money and two of the items claimed these funds will be used for: 1) maintaining camps, and 2) sending kids to camp. Hello BSA, isn’t that already supposed to be part of what the now increased registration fee is used for?

    • “The Summit gives us the opportunity to reintroduce ourselves to America and raise $1 billion for the best youth development in the world,” says a slide from a June 2010 presentation on the project…..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 Reuter….. The real questions remain: Why are the people at the top being paid so much to mismanage so badly ? AND Why do we need a 3/4 billion dollar trust fund ?

      • What would happen in most companies if a project ran 100% over budget. I’m thinking there would be some personnel changes. What have we seen from BSA; a 60% increase in dues plus fund requests.

    • No, your council sees exactly $0 from the increase. Your council supplies all of the direct service your boys receive, not national. That money all goes to national.

    • In our Council, we’re starting the Friends of Scouting campaign (trying to get to units at Blue and Golds and Courts of Honor.) That is a Council level fundraiser that goes to the camps and to camp scholarships.

      The fee increase goes directly to National. The email you received is (probably) for local programs.

  169. The resentment toward increased dues is greatly misplaced. I have been volunteering & have occasionally served as paid camp staff for the NWSC for many years & have a very clear idea of where dues & Friends of Scouting funds are spent. This Council does an incredible job of juggling income with expenses. As pointed out earlier, the Membership fee goes to National to offset similar expenses our Council is responsible for at a local level. Here are a few examples off the top of my head: Our Council maintains 2 full service camps & a service center, meaning it bears the responsibility for purchasing, maintaining & replacing equipment ranging from lawn mowers to refrigerators to computers to medical equipment & to docks to canoes to new life jackets to smaller items such as water jugs & silverware. It must ensure safety for anyone using any of the 3 facilities – for instance, must keep water & food supplies safe for consumption, must purchase & maintain reliable equipment for intracamp communication, must build & maintain restroom & shower facilities, replace program equipment such as worn life jackets, frayed ropes, even coolers when they wear out, ensure safe equip. Council pays taxes & insurance on its properties, pays staff(none of them are getting the big bucks either), trains its volunteers, provides council wide programming for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts & Venturers, markets the Scouting program, pays for office supplies & pays postage. I have never volunteered for an organization that offers so much gain to its members for so little cost. Your children can not help but benefit from the Scouting Program in many small ways, & in the bigger picture, from lifelong friendships, unforgettable experiences & developing leadership skills…if the youth are getting all this out of Scouting, imagine what you as a volunteer will get….food for thought….how much would you spend taking your child to a Cubs game…probably close to $24 for parking alone…..BSA is a great deal don’t you think?

  170. Why mandatory liability insurance? Can’t this be made available if a unit needs it? Our unit is covered under our Charter Organization’s insurance, why then are we forced to purchase more?

    We have a VERY SMALL unit with only eleven boys, yet we are required to have a full committee that we have to pay extra for, yet they are really only names on paper so that the charter can be filed.

    The list of costs in the article are fees very few are paying, lets compare other national organizations for kids, not sports for the elite or wealthy. Sports in large part are why we have such a small unit.

    Where I am in Michigan, is costs $40 for Rocket Football, equipment is included. While it is for only a few months, it is 4-5 times a week for those 3-4 months, this is around 60 days, and 3 hours each of these days. Scouts here is 1 1/2 hour twice a month through the school year with parades, flag ceremonies, fundraisers, hikes, camping, field trips and projects added to the schedule. So here, football is the better deal and the organization doesn’t have to pay for the parents of the football players.

  171. I think Scouting is a great program and affordable program even with the recent increase. But I do think it is misleading to say $24 is the true cost of scouting. $24 does NOT include actual scout activities costs, materials, uniforms, handbooks, camp, or anything else that actually touches the boys. The cost for my son is around $1400 annually which he earns himself through fundraising. Granted he is an extremely active scout but saying $24 is the cost of scouting is not corect.

  172. To me… the increase was merely to pad the pensions of the top brass and to create a slush fund for the looming lawsuits that will occur when a gay 17 year old that has been taught to be a leader his whole scouting career is told he can’t be a leader when he turns 18. The timing was a decision of leadership that is out of touch with the units. The decisions of the change of policy was a decision of leadership with their hands too deep in cooperate pockets. The leadership will spinelessly let the courts decide upon a policy change for adult volunteers. They made the decisions and threw all of us volunteers under the buss to implement their policies without any help from the top.

  173. I think the timing is horrible! It COST way more than $24 a year. A week at camp, $240, a uniform about $100, do I need to go on? We love scouts! My husband and I are both leaders and we have 2 boys who are scouts. SO….I need to $100 in recharter fees, about $100 in popcorn money due, AND all the out of pocket money we spend each week for our den. All of this several weeks before Christmas. Recharger should be done in January.

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