Michigan Cub Scout breaks regional record for popcorn sales

Mason Schlafer, a 10-year-old Cub Scout in Pack 4055 of the Michigan Crossroads Council, sold a lot of popcorn this year.

So much, the council and its popcorn supplier say, that Mason broke a Central Region record.

To date, the Cub Scout has sold more than $20,800 worth of the stuff, and the motivation for his record-breaking haul is rooted firmly in the Scout Oath: “to help other people at all times.”

And the winner is …

At a recent Pinewood Derby, Mason noticed that the trophies the pack presented to winners were a little, let’s say, lacking.

They actually were plastic glasses spray-painted gold — a clever and inexpensive solution. But, says Andrea Fearnley of Pack 4055, Mason wanted something a little more official.

“Mason said he’d prefer real trophies,” Fearnley told Jane Parikh, public relations director for the Michigan Crossroads Council. “I remember thinking, ‘So would I, but we’re working with a very limited budget!'”

And so Mason set a sales goal for himself: $10,000 — enough to pay for the trophies (and lots more Pack 4055 fun) well beyond next year.

“He wanted to make sure that he had enough trophies for them for a few years,” Matt Schafler, Mason’s dad, told Parikh.

A broken record

Turns out the $10,000 goal was nothing for Mason. He sold more than twice that, setting a record in the region that includes Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia.

The money will fund 10 years’ worth of trophies for the pack and cover the cost of camp for Mason and his father.

This cool story has been spreading far and wide, covered on TV, online and on the radio.

And here’s my favorite part: What Mason accomplished is just one awesome example of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts selling popcorn to fund their Scouting adventures.

Additional reporting by Jane Parikh, public relations director for the Michigan Crossroads Council.


    • He probably didn’t, it was probably his parents selling at work, etc. If it had really been him, they would have mentioned it to highlight his cleverness, etc. That they didn’t mention anything about it tells you who really did the selling.

      • If you look at the link to the online article, it actually mentions that dad “estimated they’ve canvassed nearly 800 doors since the start of the sales on Aug. 27, and that’s only counting the ones who have bought from them.”

        • Last year my kid sold $10,505 of cubscout popcorn. People tried to say “good job mom and dad” when they heard his numbers. We literally drove him to neighborhoods and he went door to door to every house selling. He took his form to school and asked every teacher and staff member he could. He worked his butt off to get #1 seller in our district and 4th place in our council. These kids do work to sell the popcorn.

      • Scouter John, to answer your question, he DID do the selling. As his father I know, I was standing 10 ft behind him at every single door. Mason canvassed over 800 houses in approximately a month and a half as well as sold at store fronts on 5 different occasions over another month. He sacrificed his time and put in the effort. To be more specific, Mason sold over $15,000 door to door, $6300 at store fronts and over $800 online. I’m not sure why all the skepticism from Bart, perhaps he could offer us an explanation. I agree the article didn’t get too in depth but I assure you Mason worked extremely hard to break both the State of Michigan record as well as the 13 state regional record. If you’d like to support Mason you can go to http://www.trails-end.com and click the support a scout tab and enter scout code: IQHO927H.

        Matt Schlafer

        • Great Job Mason…. Don’t listen to all the people that doubt your sales abilities. My son sold over 16,000 this year and over 50,000 in the last three years. A scout has to be willing to sell that much popcorn. Keep up the good work.

      • He actually did! His father is a stay at home dad and therefore was able to dedicate his time to taking Mason door to door. Matt and Mason sold door to door for 2 months, selling $14,000. They spent every weekday selling from 6-8:00 pm (Mason is in school all day, has homework and has to be in bed by 9:00). They also spent every Saturday and Sunday selling from 10:00am to 6:30pm. They would pack a lunch and eat on the side of the road in a neighborhood. For the final sales push to get to $22,500+, they sat at store fronts like Lowe’s and Sam’s Club from 10:00am to 4:00pm and sometimes later. There were certainly some sales made from moms work but only a drop in the bucket….around $230. Take if from me, Mason’s mom, that he most certainly did ALL the work, with Matt simply being there to drive him since he’s 10 and staying with him to keep him safe, well…since he’s 10.

        • Great job! I have an Eagle Scout who also sold a lot of popcorn. He is a college student now and earned 1500.00 in scholarship money from Trailsend. Don’t forget to apply and start earning cash for college.

      • No cub scout achieves any thing without the help of his parents, leaders and chartered organization sponsors and for a ten year old any degree of success is noteworthy. It’s fair to recognize their efforts in assisting the young man but let’s give him his 15 minutes of fame.

      • It is really all Mason. I am his Aunt, and I can vouch it was all Mason. His parents drove him, but did not do the selling.

  1. Good job, but can we have more affordable goodies to sell? A $25 box of microwaveable popcorn is ridiculous! Most of boys achieve dismal sales because everything is so expensive! We want all our boys to succeed not just the few who have the time, parental support and the drive to sell.

    • You are right, it is expensive. In fact, it is a 73% mark up (which it says on the packaging). However, my understanding is that all of that goes back into Cub Scouts with 33% of it going to Mason’s pack and some to his account to help pay for scouting adventures such as camp.

      • It’s a FUNDraiser, there has to be markup. I wish more went to packs/troops, therefore local scouts.
        Good job kiddo & dad! My son and hubby do the same, my Star scout has. Sold over $2500 for 6 yrs running.

        • Girl scouts earn. 70 per $4 box. As a parent to one of each, a an Eagle who sold thousands of dollars in popcorn and a cadette who sold 5000 boxes last year alone….the money ads up faster w less physical product than girl scouts.

    • When we sell, we always ask people “Would you like to support Scouting and receive some popcorn?” It’s much easier to frame it as a $25 donation to the scouts, and as a Thank You, you receive some popcorn.

    • Once a pack or troop sells the popcorn, they get their cut. Mason’s pack simply allocated the funds to pay for their summer camp.

      • Our pack credits the scout with 15 cents on the dollar. 17 cents goes to the pack, then gets aroun 38 cents.

        My son sold 2600, because for the first time we agreed to do our best rather than decide no one would buy do to high prices. He knocked on about 900 doors for about 1800 in door to door, he got almost 800 from booths by going to them all. My wife and I sold maybe 250 for him at work and what we ordered.

    • For specifics you can look up scout account rules online at scouting.org or check with your local council. There is also a CubCast episode from 2014 on the issue of scout accounts. The biggies are that funds must be controlled by the unit and not the scout and funds must be used specifically for purposes of scouting and not anything tangential like the cost of travel or food. Units can transfer funds to another unit but a scout should never be given cash except as a qualified reimbursement.

      Scouts can receive a small personal benefit. The benefit to the scout must be “insubstantial” aka less than 2% of gross sales. So if your unit has $10,000 in gross popcorn sales then private benefit threshold per individual scout would be $200. As an example, a unit could take advantage of private benefit to give incentive prizes/gift cards, etc. beyond council awards.

  2. Another suggestion for Troops lacking funds, we were able to get used trophies donated that people had earned in all sorts of different ways, but didn’t want anymore. The local Trophy shop took off the parts that didn’t belong, added new name plates and new tops to fit the racing theme, cleaned them all up and we had some huge trophies for about $8.00 each!

  3. I have a Troop here in Pierre, South Dakota and all the popcorn sales profits go into the Scouts Campership Accounts that all units should have.

  4. Way to go Mason!!!!!!!! You should be so proud of your accomplishment- and so many scouts will benefit from Your hard work and dedication!

  5. That’s awesome! Congrats. I am sure you already have, but check into the scholarship program for scouts who sell more than $2,500 in popcorn. A portion goes into a fund towards college for the scout. Way to go!

  6. I sold 1004 units (popping corn or microwave box) in 1987 at $5 / unit. It can be done. Sold Monday, Tuesday, Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. BTW, I was the top salesman in the nation and won a $5,000 savings bond from Trails End Popcorn Co.

  7. Fantastic work, Mason! I’m so sorry that there are some people who are going to denigrate your hard work, but as people today like to say, “Haters gonna hate.” It will be difficult to keep up these sales levels every year, but you know what? You have a HUGE customer base now that you can return to each year of your scouting career to help you fund your scouting adventures. Do the best you can not tongove that up! You’re very fortunate to have parents who are positive about the sale and are supportive of your participation. Lots of amazing things are going to come your way. Popcorn is a fantastic fundraiser, and you just proved the naysayers wrong. It takes work, but it CAN be done. Way to go!!

  8. Great Job Mason!! That is dedication! I am a parent of a Scout who set high goals and surpassed them as well… it’s so rewarding to watch your Son work so hard to achieve success! I get so tired of the negativity in social media. Just a super amazing job Mason… way to go! And awesome job Mom and Dad being there and supporting your Son. I wish more families were this supportive. Future Eagle Scout right here!

  9. Congrat’s Mason!!!! I remember going door to door back in the ’70s selling Scout Expo tickets to our annual Scout Show which consisted of Troops having exhibits of different Scout Skills. We didn’t have the Popcorn Program back in the dark ages. Keep up the great work and your involvement in the Scouting Movement. John, Eagle Scout 1976.

  10. We have found reasonable trophies that once you spend $100 – the personalization plaques are free – and however they choose to spend the money is up to that Pack- he should have camp for free for several years! Awesome! Great dedication from parent and scout!!!!!

  11. Way to go Mason! My son is top seller in AZ At almost $11k in sales. He too does all the work and really enjoys the selling and is a bit competitive. He does door to door and a lot of storefront sales too, over 60 hours. I am disappointed to hear Bart put down your effort and assume Mason couldn’t have done it himself. It takes the whole family to be dedicated for the scout to reach this type of amazing goal. Shame on you Bart, not good scouting behavior. Great job Mason and family!

  12. Congrats! To both Mason and parents! My son sold $10k this year (he just turned 11)- mostly door to door. It is no small feat. I think its great.

  13. My son (age 11) has sold over 12k each of the last 2 years. It was done by going door to door in a very large neighborhood. We (mom & dad) were with him every step of the way. He did sell $375 at my office, but he had to come in and do his sales pitch in person. You see I work for a very small entrepreneurial company and I knew that the owners (2 brothers) would appreciate his hard work and he’d make a bigger sale by pitching in front of them. He is already planning for next year and has approached some small business owners for sales.

  14. It’s really frustrating to see all the people who think his parents did it for him. My son sold $11,000 this year. HE did it all. We sat in front of grocery stores and Walmarts every weekend from 9-5 during the sale. The only thing I did was get him there and stay with him. It is possible with hard work for the boys to do it on their own. Great job Mason!

  15. As our Pack popcorn kernel let me say congratulations on a job well done Mason! That is a rare level of effort. I hope to use your story to motivate our sales next year! We did ok selling $17,000 as a Pack… but you beat us! Nice job!

  16. My son is new to scouts he sold $1000.00 with out me taking any to work just going door to door and booth selling our pack lets us do! he was the top seller of our pack!

  17. I don’t doubt that he did it, but I can sort of understand the skepticism. My son was top seller in our District for seven years, and top in our Council for, I believe, three of those years, so I know the amount of time it takes. We kept a rough track of sales per hour. Going door-to-door, over all the years we sold, we averaged about $100 per hour. We were out every hour his school and my work allowed, and we only came close to $10,000 one year. Doing $20,000 in the popcorn sales period is certainly possible, but, unless you’re in an area that buys a lot more than ours did, one would have to be out selling many, many hours each day.

  18. That is through trails end here in the state of Wisconsin we use a different vendor and we have kids that out sold him the are only going by trails end records. They don’t tell the whole story. I believe the scout did sell but the parent always helps out. By the parent selling at work the parent doing the driving. So they are helping him taking him places. Remember to live and follow the 12 points. That is awesome what he is doing for his pack.

  19. I think it’s great he wanted to sell but we just want to spend all that time. Time away from family church and other acogotoes plus our other kids. Again congratulations we just could not give that much up and still be a family

    • I apologize for my typos was in a hurry please read my better edited response 😀 ………::…..

      I think it is great he wanted to sell that much popcorn but we just could not give up that much time and still be a family together. Time away from a complete family, church and other activities plus our other kids. Again congratulations! The time sacrificed to be a family together should be be something that is weighed.

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