Do adults in your pack or troop pay their own way at campouts?

Tuesday-TalkbackIn some packs, troops and crews, adults pay nothing to attend weekend camping trips.

Instead, as a way to thank the Scouters for their service and time, their costs are included in the campout fee for the Scouts/Venturers.

In other words, instead of paying $12 to cover food and supplies during a weekend trip, Scouts might pay $15. That would cover the cost of adult leaders’ food, facility fees and any other one-time expenses.

Michael R. belongs to one of those troops, and he wrote me with this question:

I wanted to know if it is only something troops in our area do. … Please let me know. We are reviewing our bylaws and want to be sure we are doing what is right/expected — not something that we just came up with on our own.

Michael is referring to those weekend trips most troops take every month. He isn’t including things like summer camp or trips to BSA high-adventure bases or the national jamboree. For those costlier events, adults do pay their own way.

For this Tuesday Talkback, let’s discuss: Who pays for the adult leaders’ camping fees in your Scout unit?

92 Comments

  1. In our Troop, for weekend camps, adults pay for food and any activities that may have a major cost (like rock climbing). They don’t pay for camp entrance fees or transportation, those fees are split among the Scouts camping that weekend.

    • In our town the Cubs have been paying for the scouts, the scouts just started back up so my shelf and the other leader have been paying for our shelfs this allows the mony from donation and fund raising to be used the the kids, my opinion as we get more on our feet we will probably keep doing this to alow the kids to have the chance for more atavities, I feel if am am going to donate to the scouts I rather see most of it go locally

  2. In our Troop, the adults pay the same rate as the Scouts for weekend campouts (not too sure on Summer Camp payments). However, their annual dues are covered by the troop.

    • Summer camp fees will depend on the camp. Camp Wilderness (Northern Lights Council) covers the first two adults needed for two deep leadership. The Troop covers the other adults fees.

  3. We encourage youth to pitch in for gas, but don’t require it. Most of our adults enjoy their time (and coffee) with us that they don’t accept payment. Our fundraisers give us enough to reimburse the guy who pulls the troop trailer. The troop tries to cover the fees for the primary adults, but often they’ll just slip a donation in the treasury regardless.

    There was one notable exception: our Seabase trip needed one more adult, so to entice a father to come with his son at the last minute, the crew absorbed half of his fees.

  4. In general an adult who drives will not pay to go on a weekend trip. And if there is any extra after all the troop expenses he may get a little toll money (assuming we are going over a bridge).

  5. In our Pack, when camping everyone covers their own. We usually find a state park where it’s $2 per person per day. Makes for a cheap weekend. Annual registration fees for adults are covered in our boys dues.

    In the Troop it is different where you have to pay the same amount of dues for a leader as a Boy Scout.

  6. We establish a single fee for each outing, and ask all attendees (scouts and adults) to pay that amount. The fee is listed on our event permission slip with destination, departure, and return times so everything is in one place.

    The fee includes food, campsite fees, and event fees, but not gas, so drivers end up paying more. We are fortunate to be in a state with a great state park system, so most of our campouts are within a 2-hour drive, but gas costs can add up over multiple outings.

    I will be interested to read what other troops say. We have not had any complaints with our system, but as with any group, we have parents that attend every outing (driving and paying gas out of pocket) and parents who do not attend anything. On the whole, parents that do not like to camp often end up helping with non-camping events like Scouting for Food, so I would like to think it evens out a bit in the end.

    • Our troop covers the major fees, and scouters pay for their food. We handle gas based on distance. Short trips, the drivers just cover it. Longer trips are about $5 per hour per passenger. That gets us in the ballpark of gas fees and makes it easy to remember. The scouts bring cash and it gets distributed among the drivers. If someone drives the gear up (our trailer is too big to pull) they might get a bit extra.

  7. Our troop does not charge adults to go on the monthly weekend trips, as long as they are driving and helping to transport scouts. The expenses associated with driving to some of the trips that are further away may add up to be more than the cost of the trip would be, but for the most part it evens out. The only driver who is reimbursed for tolls and mileage expenses is the person pulling the troop trailer.

  8. Really? Scouts follow the Scout Law in our unit … A Scout is thirfty. A scout pays is own way. Volunteers, Scouters and parents are to set the example and should do the same thing.

    • A Scout is Thrifty, and Courteous. As a courtesy, my troop doesn’t charge me for outings. In return, I haul Scouts and all of our troop gear and do not charge the troop for diesel or vehicle maintenance. Everyone contributes in their own way.

    • First – the definition of thrifty is to use resources wisely. It has NOTHING to do with who pays.

      Second – if a scout is paying his (her) way, then part of that is paying for the adults that are making it possible.

    • Troops have different personalities and different methods of operation. If your method works for your troop, then it’s a good method. If it doesn’t work (parents complaining, numbers dropping, etc.), then change it.

      If you think your method is the only method or even the best method, please don’t become my Unit Commissioner.

  9. In our troop the adults pay for food the same amount as the boys. Depending on the activity the boys may pay more if it is a shooting fee or climbing fee. We don’t pay gas costs except for Summer Camp where we try to build in some gas money for the adults that drive. Our adults are normally glad to give their time and gas to the troop

  10. We establish a single fee for the outing payable by Scouts and adults alike. However, as a means to encourage adults to get basic training (SM/IOLS), those adults get get trained go free. This is limited to “normal” outings. Outings with more substantial costs (a ski trip for example) are outside of this policy. Drivers on outings are generally reimbursed for their fuel costs.

  11. Adults absolutely pay, in fact, often it is a bit more then the boys as the adults tend to “live a little upscale” in their food, etc. we also pay any transport expenses on island or if we fly somewhere.

  12. For weekend campouts, the Troop covers registered leaders’ food (typically $15).

    For Summer Camp, the Troop pays for all the adults to attend, to encourage adult participation.

    As far as gas money, unless you’re towing the trailer or on an “over 2 hour” drive, gas money is covered by the driver. Other than that, it’s only reimbursed if you ask for it (some do religiously, others never do).

    For any HA outing, each participant shares equally in the cost, and gas is included in those costs, as it’s usually a good deal higher than for a weekend campout or Summer Camp.

  13. In our troop, we try to have everyone pay the same fee. That fee includes food, any facilities costs, and a contribution toward fuel. I have a formula I use for reimbursing for gas so drivers are not covering all of those costs.

    We used to allow drivers to attend free, but there were too many events where the fuel costs were far more than the rest of the event costs.

    I had run it by our committee to have all adults attend free (since our primary adults no longer have youth in the troop), but that was rejected.

  14. In my troop the adults pay the same fee as the scouts for the campout, and then we pay our own separate grub fee for the weekend. If there any extra events that have a fee the adult would pay with the ones he would like to do as well.

    The adults are even out of pocket for gas, at least the ones who drive are.

    In my pack we cover the recharter fees for the adults, and we usually try to price campouts and other activities by family, so that families with two or three boys in the unit aren’t priced out of the events.

  15. Our troop charges adults/scouts the same rate for the monthly campouts – $15. This price is the same regardless of what we are doing for the trip. This includes food, gas (for the Scout van/trailer), camping fees, etc. We have a great fundraiser where we are able to supplement this fee so that we can keep the cost low.

    The only change in this policy is for our December “campout”. Typically, we do a lock-in at the Scout church. However, if the boys vote to do something different we might charge a little more. One example was last year the boys voted to do Bubble Soccer. The Troop picked up some of the extra cost and we charged the boys $20 to make up the difference.

    For summer camp, we always paid the Scoutmaster’s fee. This last year our parent committee also decided to pick up one other adult fee for summer camp to help with expenses. We also offer offer to pick up training expenses if an adult takes a class which will benefit the Troop (Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguarding, etc.).

  16. In our Troop all adults attending a camping trip have their fees paid. Also, if they drive scouts, their gas is paid for. Realistically is doesn’t add that much to the Scouts’ costs.

  17. Our Troop over the years has done this a variety of ways.
    As a parent and leader I always felt like I was going anyway so what’s the big deal.
    We did institute a policy that if you are a trained adult leader the Troop would absorb your cost for the food for the outing.
    We did this to encourage adults to get trained and to say thank you to those that got trained and wear the Brown shirt.
    Many of your choices are based upon the funds within your Troop.
    We have grown from a starter Troop to 33 youth over the years and our funding was very challenged along the way so we needed to be flexible.
    I think if your Troop can afford to offer it than do so for the trained leaders and your trailer driver.
    These trained volunteers often will not partake but you may have some that can only afford to go on every campout if they get some assistance from the Troop.
    Trained leaders already give a substantial amount of time and effort a little thank you & incentive never hurts.

  18. Adults pay their own way. Always. The troop does cover tolls. When required the individual scouts may get some help. Both are line items in our annual budget

  19. Our policy is generally that registered and trained adults are free on food/camping costs, and other adults pay. So a common statement on our signup is “Registered Adult Leaders with current YPT and Weather Hazards Training free — other Adults pay Scout cost”. So we add a factor to the Scout and other Adult fee to cover food and camping for the adults.

    Where we have a per person program cost (like canoe or caving or zipline or climbing), the adults pay that cost, trained or not.

    Our thought is to encourage adults to register and get trained, and to reduce the economic burden on the registered leaders attending.

    And while that might increase the cost of Scouts attending from a base of $15 to $20 for a weekend, that’s probably still a pretty good deal for the families who send their kids off with those leaders.

  20. In our Troop the adults form their own patrol on weekend camp outs and we pay and provide our own food. We split up the meals and that adult buy’s for the appropriate number of adults. We do this to try and show the Scouts how they could be eating if they so choose. It also allows for extra food in case the boys mess something up. For the outing costs (entry fee, camping fee, etc) that is added into the total cost of the outing and the boys that attended split that cost from their scout accounts.

    Adults pay their own way on summer camp.

  21. Not a fan of the unit picking up the registration cost for the adults as I’ve felt it is an adult responsibility to provide a program for youth…people tend to spend their money on things important to them…the adult paying their own registration fee reflects their belief in the value of the Scouting program; perhaps we tend to be a little more committed to things when we have a financial investment.

    The adult who expects (or feels entitled) to his/her way paid by the youth may not have the heart for the job…( little Johnny needs to sell a few more boxes of popcorn to pay for me)

    We do want all adults to also benefit from their participation in Scouting, we grow adults as well as youth. In some circumstances, the charter organization, as part of their mission, may provide some assistance to economically challenged adults so that they may grow with their child.

    • Should add, we’ve chartered 50+ adults with our unit and all paid their own registration fee, never an issue; we do provide all uniform wearing adults with a troop t shirt, neckerchief, and position insignia (same for all youth)…

  22. Our pack includes $20 fee in yearly registration fees for the pack for at least one active adult. Fundraisers are usually successful so we provide food for all day Saturday and a light brunch on Sunday. Since most of the adults and scouts arrive late on Friday evening we suggest they eat before coming to camp. Transportation and gas is the responsibility of the parent.

    The scouts in the patrols pay $15 each for food. Adults pay for their own food. Now and then the troop will rent vans for long distance camp outs depending on the number of boys attending. The troop pays camp fees. We try not to nickel and dime our parents. This is why we encourage participation in our yearly fundraisers for both pack and troop.

  23. In my son’s first troop – we moved – everyone paid their share including adults. That was a small Troop with very active adults. However, in his new Troop where we moved the troop pays for adults as a way to encourage more leaders to attend. I think it started out with just offering to pay for summer camp to get more adults to take vacation from their jobs for a week, but over time it extended to any campout. This, however, is an older, historic troop with more scouts and more resources, but has only a small core of leaders willing to go.

  24. In our troop the adults have their own grub master and the food cost is divided equally among the adults in attendance. For longer trips the troop pays mileage for those that drive scouts to the camp out. The troop pays the camp fees for all.
    The youth have a grub master and split the cost of food equally.

  25. In our Troop, we tack on $5 to almost every campout for gas. On trips an hour or further away we will reimburse the “necessary” adult drivers for gas & tolls to make sure we can get everyone there and back. If someone decides they “have” to drive, but we really don’t need them, or if they don’t want to take anyone other than their son and no gear, then gas is on their own. But everybody pays the same amount, unless there is some program differences (like adults who don’t want to climb, don’t pay for that part). But then the adults who drive get reimbursed for that. We had many long discussions at Committee Meetings on how to handle this, and decided this was the fairest way.

  26. Let’s see… Adults camp with other adults, , I don’t know what arrangements they have, Scouts pay $3. per campout for food and pay their driver a buck each to help with gas and tolls and… oh , wait, that was when I was a Scout.

    Home Troop now , Committee approved that registered Scouters driving go free (covered by other fees/dues) to summer camp, weekend camps adults camp separately, cover own food/cooking. Sometimes “guest” at Patrol sites, sometimes not. Scouts riding in Scouter cars chip in “at least” $5. , sometimes more to cover gas and tolls. When I towed the Troop trailer, Troop gave me a per mile (? 50 cents per?) .

  27. Our troop reimburses all drives for their mileage using a fair amount per mile. This amount was raised slightly when gas prices went up.
    Our troop however does not pay for the mandatory 2 leaders per outing which I think is very wrong. Being the wife of our scoutmaster, who goes on almost every single trip or else we most likely would not have the trip for the boys, I believe the boys should absorb at least a portion of those costs, for all trips.
    My husband will attend all summer camps, we will do 2-3 per summer, high adventure for older boys, something for newer boys, and a family trip. Plus when you add up all of the monthly trips usually work ups to the summer trips, this is extremely costly for us. We have in the past had to cancel trips if the scoutmaster did not go due to poor adult attendance.
    Since it is mandatory that at least 2 adult leaders attend it is my opinion that the price for the 2 adult leaders is either 1/2 paid or fully paid. We continue paying gas for any additional adults who may drive, but it is the leaders who get a slight break because the reality is without these adults your boys will not be going on these trips. If someone wants their trip partially covered then they need to go through the same trainings to become an asm or scoutmaster.
    Many parents in our troop feel the same way it just has never been changed in our bylaws.
    Before anyone may say something, I agree this is a volunteer position, my husband puts in at least 20+ hours a month not including outings. But when the cost becomes so much and the outings are on their shoulders then they should be partially or fully compensated.

  28. In our Troop adults pay the same as scouts for weekend outings. With the exception of the ski trip, caving outing or other expensive outings the only expense is food. The adults eat in their own group, with an adult grubmaster for each outing. The Troop covers the rest in our budget. For summer camp we cover the cost for the adults out of our budget. For high adventure the adults pay the same as the Scouts. The Troop covers required training like CPR and Wilderness First Aid for the adults and/or youth that take it. If a parent/leader wants to do a high adventure camp at summer camp with their son, we’ll cover the base cost and they pick up the extra expense. This is for things like SCUBA certification at summer camp.

    Our budget has been strong the past few years thanks to good luminaria sales at Christmas and grants from my employer for my volunteer time and two other leaders. Since we’re in good shape financially we’ve been allocating $50 for each youth to use towards expensive outings. Use it or lose it in that calendar year. They can apply it to Philmont or Sea Base from one year for a trip the next. We’ve also covered some of the expenses on more expensive outings like spending the night in a cave.

    • We’ll also cover any and all costs for a Scout that can’t attend due to family financial difficulties, up to and including paying a Scout’s way to Philmont several years ago.

  29. In our troop, adult leaders (scouters) and scouts have to equally pay the same every time either our Troop or with other troops or multi-level units camp outs. Sometimes troop including scouters, parents and scouts are doing fundraising once a year or seldomly to pay for scout’s training camps.

  30. G.,Gorman El Sol District MN.Our troops and packs pay for adults food and camping fees if the parrents attends and drives or otherwise helps out in the case of unemployed pareents or low -income Scout Parents we may pay for gas state park fees or other barriers to participation.! In some cases were there are 2 or 3 boys in 1 family participating and the family has limited means we arrage a family discounted rate for them.All discounts depend on the boys and or families participating in troop@ pack fund raising events we have 3 such events..

  31. We try to minimize the adults’ costs. They are already spending their time. For “necessary” adults and drivers (which is a bit gray), the troop pays mileage, for food, and for camping fees. If we stop for fast food or eat at a restaurant, everybody pays for themselves.

    The same is true for summer camp.

  32. Generally, my son’s troop paid for adult’s food and fees, but the adults absorbed the costs of transportation (gas, wear and tear, etc.). You don’t have to drive very far before the transportation costs far exceeded the $15 campout fee that the youth paid.

    This included summer camp. We looked at it like, the adults were taking a week of their vacation to volunteer at summer camp. Regardless of how much fun they had (and we had some fun!), they were still out a week of vacation which was far more valuable than a $150 camp fee…..

  33. For my Troop:

    Registration – The annual registration fee for Adult Leaders is covered by the Troop

    Short Term Campouts – Adults pay their own way. Camp Fees, Food, Gas, etc. Adults model the patrol method and have their own menu and duty roster. All food costs for adults and Scouts are totaled and each participant pays their share of the food cost. Generally the adults have enough food if something goes wrong within the patrols that the Scouts will not starve.

    Summer Camp – The Summer Camps that we have been to generally offer no fee for the first adults. This will go to the Scoutmaster and our Assistant Scoutmaster. If there are any additional Adult Leader discounts, they will be split equally among the remaining registered Adult Leaders.

    High Adventure Trips – everyone pays their own way. The cost of gas will be a calculated expense in which it is divided evenly amongst all participants (Adults & Scouts)

    Person pulling our trailer – the person pulling the Troop trailer to any event can submit the cost of gas and be reimbursed. That expense is divided evenly amongst all participants (Adults & Scouts). It is available, yet seldom claimed

    Adult Leader Training – The troop will cover the cost of required adult leader training that is required in order to support the Troop. The only time this has been claimed has been for Wilderness First Aid.

  34. In our troop, adults generally pay for their own food shared by other adults. Once a year the troop funds pay for the food for all the adults attending the annual campout where the boys build tree platforms to sleep on. The troop pays for adults at summer camp(kind of unfair to ask adults to pay for the privilege of using their vacation time to be in charge of a bunch of boys for a week).

    I’ve done a lot of driving for the troop(yay for minivans), and have only been offered gas money by parents a couple of times. If you itemize deductions on your tax returns, though, you can include mileage for driving for non-profit organizations- including Boy Scouts. I haven’t gotten to that point in my taxes, though.

    In our Pack, all training, leader uniforms, and registration fees are paid by the Pack. I think it’s important not to make adults pay for volunteering their time and talents. I tried to suggest that in my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and I think I offended people. :shrug:

  35. And, I want to hear more about those troops where adults who never volunteered for the camping program then volunteered (on their own) to help with the non-camping things? In our medium-sized troop (60 boys), the same 20 adults did almost everything and only when specifically asked (or guilted) into doing something, would others get involved. This was even after we had parents sign a contract when joining the troop, where one part was about helping with at least two events each year! But what are you going to do, kick the boys out because their parents don’t want to help??

    • We are a much smaller troop (25 scouts) so it is probably a different dynamic than a larger troop. Maybe it is more obvious you are not helping if you are in a much smaller parent pool?

      Regardless, I would rather have someone who wants to be there than forcing participation. Like many here, I participate in groups outside of scouting and my experience has been the same – there will be a core group of people with passion who do everything and then the rest of the group who show up and leave, but provide limited help. That is what makes succession planning so important – you need to find that next core group of passionate people.

      I have heard of youth sports leagues where every family has a service requirement – which can be coaching, assisting with the concession stand, etc. Most of these groups offer a buyout. I suppose one could take that route – collect a buyout fee at the beginning of the year and refund it at the end of the year to those have helped with a pre-set number of outings. The buyout fees that are not given back could then be split amongst those who assisted during the year.

    • I believe that adult participation has a tendency to cycle over time. We have been in the situation where we have had to count seat belts to make sure we have had enough drivers and then we have had way to many adults on the campout where 2 to 3 vehicles heading to a campout just had one Scout and their registered adult leader/parent.

      Personally I want to go camping every chance I can get. Others don’t have the same desire. I don’t want to force anyone to do something they don’t want to and I certainly don’t need un-engaged adults just sitting around waiting for the next meal to be served.

      This year, the PLC decided on a long distance campout where we don’t have enough adults to support the necessary transportation needs required. As the Committee Chair, I put out a call to the registered adults and parents to garner the support for this event. It was not there. The Committee, citing the lack of adult assistance to provide the logistic resources to support, had to go back to the PLC to let them know that they needed to come up with an alternative activity. Yes it is a shame the Scout don’t get to do their originally planned outing, but now they as a PLC have had to deal with the fact of life where not every plan works out and sometimes you have to have a plan B.

      For the future, the Scouts know if they want to do something with a similar logistical requirement, they need to pressure their parents to support.

      • Like your comments, HG.

        Interestingly, last weekend we had one vehicle that had only adults in it. Boys all want to ride with their friends. So after the SPL did his vehicle/passenger breakdown, we had one with no Scouts. Adults were “rock, paper, scissoring” to ride in that SUV.

        Part of our annual planning process is for the SPL to propose their plan to the committee for approval. Last year, one of the events was not approved because it was too expensive. It’s a great lesson in “real life” for that lucky SPL.

  36. Our scouts use trip planning as an exercise in budgeting. The Scouts estimate miles and MPG per vehicle, research tolls, and include any other expenses to calculate cost per person. Scouts and Scouters pay equally. Troop leadership feels it is important for all Scouts to recognize the costs for their trips, and the contributions from Scouters.

  37. In my Troop the only thing people pay for the average campout is for food. Each patrol has their own food which they pay for, and the adults do the same thing. All other aspects of the weekend campout, (gas, camping fees, etc), are paid by the troop via fundraising.

    For special campouts, such as skiing, the Troop subsidizes everything 50%, and then adults pay the same rates for rentals and lift tickets that the Scouts pay.

    Every summer my Troop does a one week trip somewhere, (over and above summer camp). The whole Troop goes, (it’s not Philmont or anything like that). If we are flying or taking Amtrak then the adults pay for that, otherwise if we are just driving then the adults don’t pay anything.

    Our thought is that we tend to get the same adult volunteers, and if they are willing to give up that much time, not to mention the joys of dealing with a couple dozen 11-17 year olds, then the parents who aren’t volunteering can subsidize those who are.

  38. I assume that those adults whose expenses are reimbursed by the unit don’t then deduct those expenses on their tax forms. Since I never get reimbursed (and don’t ask for nor expect it), I log all of my expenses for tax time.

  39. In our troop adults don’t pay unless we have more than 1 adult per 3 scouts. We reimburse the drivers at $0.20 per mile as long as they transport at least 3 scouts along with them. Our rational is that the adults are working for the troop providing transportation and supervision and deserve something in return. If there is a separate activity fee (e.g. rock climbing) then the adults would be expected to pay that if they participated. Adults eat the same food as the troop (cooked by the troop), nothing special unless they bring their own. We do ask adults to pay their annual registration fee.

  40. In our Troop the costs of the Trip are covered by our Annual Fundraiser each year. Scouts pay for there food costs in there patrol. The patrols shop for themselves and cook for themselves. The Troop provides the tools. Gas is only covered for those driving scouts. If you decide to drive up yourself well that is your expense. Food is the same as the Patrols for the Adults we pool the cost between us.

    I usually try to do the shopping for my son’s patrol as I am a bargain hunter and can usually get enough for 3-4 camping trips for the cost of 1 of theirs. It helps to have memberships at every wholesale club and the Trade only suppliers. So, I get deals the general public may NOT be able to get.

  41. I heard one parent make a comment that they had their son in scouting because it was cheaper than hiring a babysitter. After an event, the parent was given a bill for 38 hours worth of babysitting fees. Supportive parents joked and went along with it and said they paid the same fee after every scout event. On the permission slip it was stated that parents were responsible for all fees and the parent signed the form. I am not sure if the parent paid it or not. But it was funny to see the expression on their face when they read the bill.

    People always balk over the cost for things, but how much do they pay for sporting leagues? Do those coaches get reimbursed. I bet they are in it for the same reason we are in it, for the boys!

  42. Regular camps are usually covered by troop funds, but week-long summer camp is a different story. We usually try to breakdown camp fees and food fees for the scouts, and I’ve always donated the amount of the food fee to the troop. Some other leaders have followed my example, while others haven’t. Considering they are often giving up a week of pay, I’d say we’re getting the better part of the deal.

  43. We recently decided the first two IOLS-trained adults who sign up for the trip don’t need to pay. This encourages having trained leaders, makes scouting affordable for a few adults who go on 8 or 10 of our monthly events, and doesn’t shift too much financial burden onto our scouts. (This applies to simple camping trips, not more expensive canoe or ski trips.)

  44. In our troop, adult leader registrations are paid for by troop committee funds. Beyond that all adults pay their own way for camping, activity, and grub expenses. Gas costs are calculated for the total estimated mileage of trips, and split up equally among youth and adults under the average of 5 persons per vehicle at 18-20 MPG. Some vehicles get better mileage obviously but those vehicles are full of passengers and gear, and sometimes one of them is pulling a troop trailer.

    There’s no “best” way regarding this topic. If your troop does something different that works for its members then it’s all good. The bottom line is that the youth get the quality program that they signed up for, and I’d hope that all involved volunteer adults enjoy being part of that experience.

    If I was keeping tally of how much money and time I’ve poured into scouting, the total cash value owed back would be huge (as in I could buy a house with it). But I can’t take that money with me into Heaven and I could be spending it on a lot less valuable things in the grand scheme. I think that it’s a very worthy investment in humanity’s future.

    • I’m with you Stuart. The amount it costs me to be a volunteer is dwarfed by the personal satisfaction I receive in return.

  45. Great Topic! We are a mix of these things (everyone pays same activity fee, troop pays adult registrations, gas fees for non-drivers, no summer camp fee for adults and we gave SM same troop subsidy as scouts for our ‘big troop’ where other adults paid full fare.)

    Just a note for thrifty scouters … I’m no accountant, but there are plenty of articles out there regarding itemizing unreimbursed volunteer expenses for Scouters as tax deductions which can be a little something back.

  46. Adults pay the same as scouts for outings. Campsite fees, gas, and tolls are factored in with $15 grub fee. Base cost for monthly trips is ~$25-35/person depending on distance. Other fees (admissions, tickets, or rentals) are added to that. I’ve developed a spreadsheet for estimating trip costs that is fairly accurate even at estimating gas costs for drivers including the driver with the trailer. Some adults give their gas reimbursement to the troop or don’t turn in their gas/food receipts as a gesture. But we try to plan to cover it. Adults usually cook in their own patrol to set example for scouts. Luckily, we rarely are short on adult volunteers on trips, so adults paying doesn’t seem to be an issue.

  47. For weekend camping our adults buy and cook their own food. For summer camp the fee is split between the scouts going to camp. Most our adult leader do not get a paid vacation, we are self employed or on fixed retirement encome, so most times they lose funds while at summer camp. Our troop does fund raise so that off sets the adult summer camp fees as well.

  48. In our Troop, adults pay for their food – they have their own “patrol” that cooks for them. Any expensive fees (rock climbing) they also pay for.

    Adults do not pay a membership fee. This comes from troop fundraising.

    No one pays for campsite fees, gas, etc – the troop raises enough every year to cover that.

    Scouts pay an annual membership fee – $125.

    We have 10 – 12 outings per year.

  49. In our troop: For weekend campouts, adults pay for grub, but that is allm the troop covers everything else. For long-term camp (summer or winter camp), the troop covers the cost of the adults who attend (i.e. the cost is spread amongst all the Scouts). For high-adventure trips, adults pay their own way.

  50. We have had lots of discussion of who pays what, but as a rule, you pull the Troop trailer you get paid for gas. Right now everyone pays, adults as well. If you take boys in your vehicle you get paid for gas even for summer camp…This helps those who drive because its not fair to pay for an outing and then pay for gas as well and others just through kids at you and say take them without every pitching in. Our rule is over 20 miles, you get paid for gas. We do fund raise and do use that money for camper ships for boys or adults who are strapped. I have some parents who have 3 boys in our troop, so it can get tight at times.. I like the idea of the Adults going for free if they are driving. You start getting the free thing in there and then adults will just show up and want to ride with someone else and not drive. They are the ones that just sit around while all the others are busy with the boys on advancements and leadership training….As the Scoutmaster, I’m not one for freeloaders…and of course there the ones that want to jump in and make comments or suggestions while sitting in there chair drinking coffee and eating for free. So it can be a catch 22…Pay for there gas goes a long way and shows appreciation,..

  51. Our Troop reimburses the drivers for fuel costs but other than that, adults pay their share equally on weekend outings.

  52. Our Troop pays for all food, fees, activities, reimburses for gas and tolls, etc. While some adults sometimes choose not to submit their receipts, we do not expect it. We cover the cost of the campout with fees for both Scouts and adults but the adult fees are much smaller. $10 for a typical campout – enough to cover about 2/3 of their food for the weekend.

    We found that the nominal charge encourages the adults to sign up (and discourages them from cancelling at the last minute) so that we have time to plan properly.

  53. Our Troop (usually 25-30 scouts) pays for adults registration & we expect help with fundraisers, campouts, drivers, etc. Parents have been good about help. Then monthly trips are free for first 2-3 adults; ACM discusses Troop need of 3+ adults & covers $ if needed.

    Summer Camp and our International Trip is Four Adults, (this year with only 12 scouts we might only cover 2 adults – need to add to Agenda). On all trips we cover SM or Committee Chair, first ASM, or other adult and then by Troop need. We add to Scout fee a $5 – $25 to help cover some adult fees, food, and gas; Troop picks up the rest. In 15 years, I have only paid for my T-Shirt and lunch on the way up or back but I don’t turn in gas. Best part, the Scouts make sure I have coffee all day long. Standing joke, don’t let “Mrs. Davis run out of coffee”. Then I go searching for someone who has it and usually bring back a 2nd service project.

  54. Our pack does not ask Leaders to pay annual dues, and we have rarely asked leaders and parents to pay for pack events. We do, however, ask everyone to pay for district events where the fees are a tad higher. Our pack has grown immensely though, so we are revisiting this thought. For instance, We fed 35 adults and 30 kids 2 meals and snacks this past weekend at a pack campout…a $500 cost that we probably should have asked attendees to help cover.

  55. In our troop all registered adult leaders do not pay for regular monthly camping trips. They do pay their own way for special costs or fees for such things as summer camp, high adventure trips, rafting fees, ski trip costs for equipment and lift tickets, etc.

  56. In our troop, the adults act as a patrol and plan meals, sharing the cost equally. We also feed the SPL and ASPLs. The cost for the weekend outing is also paid by the adults. The adult pulling the trailer can request a stipend from the troop treasurer to cover gas, wear and tear, etc., but most of our adults don’t.

    Scouts are required to call an adult or talk to him/her in person at a troop meeting to request a ride. There is a driver fee, payable in cash to the driver at the time of departure to offset costs associated with transporting scouts.

  57. Why give adults a free pass? Our adults do pay their own registration fees and Outing fees, bring and cook their own food and set up tents/sleeping bags/hammocks in their own area (close to Scouts but the adult sleeping area is not intermingled with Scouts) This is done to promote the Patrol method and responsibility! Scouts cook by Patrol for themselves so they plan meals, buy food, bring whatever food and cooking gear they need and cook for themselves.
    We do reimburse drivers (if they drive non-family members, i.e. more than just themselves and their scout in the car) for gas but many choose not to submit receipts for reimbursement.
    Because we need adults to participate when the troop goes to weeklong summer camp, the Troop pays the adults summer camp fee as a thank you for taking time off from their job and using vacation days.

  58. Our troop committee recently voted to cover registered adults grub money on monthly campouts as a way of thanking our small dedicated “Scoutmaster Corps”. We are also reimbursed for gas if we haul scouts and/or troop gear. The troop also pays for summer camp for leaders. Obviously, we would do it all anyway. But, since these same leaders also work very hard to support the scouts in our successful troop fundraisers I believe it’s justifiable.

  59. Every unit is different. Unit I was first an ASM in, the unit picked up everything: registration, insurance, camp outs, food etc. But the adults were also asked to help with one fundraiser that only the adults could do per the activities’ organizers. Scouts did another fundraiser at the event. Several troops i was in did the same or nearly the same thing. Food for camp outs might not be covered.

    Pack I was in picked up registration and we paid for everything else.

    Current troop adults pay for everything. We have limited funds, and fundraising we have done went towards purchasing gear as we have quadrupled in size over the 3 years i’ve been with them. We do have an interesting twist regarding meals. The adults will pick a meal to do and are responsible for getting everything needed for that meal themselves. And we take turns. Really helpful since 4 of the adults are responsible for various district/council activities. When we run an event, we know everything is covered for that weekend.

  60. In our troop, adults pay the same fees as Scouts for monthly campouts. For summer camp, our adults are expected to pay whatever fee the camp charges for adults. For high adventure (Philmont, Northern Tier, Sea Base, etc.), our adults pay whatever the base charges for adults (typically the same as youth). As far as transportation expenses, our Scouts reimburse the driver of each vehicle for an amount designed to cover the cost of fuel. The amount depends on distance traveled and the cost of fuel. For summer camp and high adventure trips, everyone (both youths and adults) share in the cost of transportation, which sometimes includes lodging for trips over 500 miles.

  61. I think we have an unusual troop in that we have more registered adult leaders than Scouts. We have no shortage of adult leaders when we camp, usually more than half the number of Scouts. We had seven adults at summer camp and eight adults at Northern Tier.

    Registration – every Scouter pays his/her registration but no dues. Scouts pay registration, Boy’s Life and annual dues.

    Weekend camping – Scouters pay their grub fees (usually $5 more than Scouts pay but we eat much better), activity fees and share of facility fees. There are usually no facility fees as we usually camp at our council facilities. If a Scouter doesn’t participate in the activity (I.e., ziplining), he/she doesn’t pay the fee. Drivers pay for their own gas and tolls.

    Summer camp – Scouters pay their own fees. Often you receive two free adults with a certain number of Scouts. That savings is put into our troop “campership fund” to help our less fortunate Scouts attend activities. If we summer camp outside of council (every other year) we add a transportation fee everyone’s registration fee to defray the cost of fuel for the driver’s.

    High adventure – All fees are split equally among all participants.

    Adult training – Adults pay for all of their own training unless they claim financial hardship. I’ve only seen this happen once. The troop needed an Aquatics Supervision/Swimming and Water Rescue person, identified the right person and paid his course fees due to financial hardship. Around the same time another leader paid for their own Paddlecraft Safety/Canoe add-on training.

    I think we’re a pretty lucky troop, rarely a complaint from the adults.

  62. Our troop has a bus. We recycle aluminum cans to pay for the fuel and maintenance. The scoutmaster usually has the troop trailer attached to his truck and recruits an adult to drive it. I’m not sure if his truck gets reimbursed for fuel or not. I would guess that he only does for trips over a couple of hours where a fill-up is required

    The cost of most camping activities is paid by the troop with funds from annual dues and fundraising. Food is covered by each patrol. The grubmaster estimates food cost and collects money a couple of weeks before the campout to purchase the food. The adults also in a patrol like manner have a grubmaster that purchases the food and is usually the head chef for the weekend. Prices vary depending on the menu selections but generally run in the 5-15 range.

    The adults pay the same fees as the boys to include registration, special events, and fuel cost. We also host our own summer camp, which the adults pay their own way, teach merit badge classes, and run the dinning hall with help from the scouts of course.

    As an adult, I think it is a privilege to be part of scouts and I try to contribute wherever I can.

    I would like to know more about those troops that charge a flat $15 for each campout. Is food purchased for the whole troop or do you reimburse the patrol grubmasters. What do you do with the underage or the overages that could be incurred? I can see how this system might have pros and cons. Please describe those if you can.

  63. If the parents of all Scouts were equally involved in contributing their time to help the troop, then I would say each adult should fully pay his costs. However, some adults do not contribute their time, and some seem to view Scouts as a child care function. I favor increasing the fee for Scouts to cover the costs for adults who are also donating their time. Otherwise we are subsidizing the child care costs for the slackers. The adults who also donate their time generally end up supporting the fund-raisers and contributing substantial money and materials in other ways.

  64. Our Troop doesn’t have the treasury to support camping fees for the adult volunteers so we have no other option than to pay our own way. We also have very few adults that volunteer so the cost adds up for those of us who attend regularly. Volunteering takes dedication but it is worth it to help shape the next generation.

  65. I have been with 2 troops with each of my boys who have a large enough age difference that they were never in the troop at the same time. I have been a leader in both and one troop does pay for the leader and the other does not. The first troop believed that we gave up our time from our family and we are providing transportation. Because I have a pickup truck and trailer it is in high demand for camping trips, and the gas alone on some of these trips is more than the camping fee that the boys are paying. So now the second troop has the leaders paying the same, plus using my vehicle the camping trip went from $20 for the others to $45 for me. For summer camp, the first troop would pay for the first 2 adults (they would generally split the cost savings with any of the other leaders going then, mutually to be fair). We did take a much longer trip where the estimated cost of fuel was figured into the cost and was paid out of the trip fund. I can say having the food portion included on a trip is a small bone that is thrown our way for all the time spent is a nice THANK YOU. The amount of time to be qualified and trained as a leader, the time that you put in to have a outstanding program is more than that one hour a week that they tried to recruit you with not to mention the material things that you must get to participate.

  66. In our Troop, adults pay their camping fees, plus we split the cost of our meals. However, we also reimburse for gas for those who transport Scouts out of the camping fees paid ny the Scouts.

  67. In our troop we have established a flat fee for most all the campouts, now there might be an extra charge for a “event” during the trip …. we want all scouts to be able to attend all campouts. The adults pay the same fees, however the adults bring the food they want to cook and the troop reimburses the adults for gas …. most adults don’t ask for the $ and figure it’s a donation towards their children’s experience. We do live in a state with great parks so we are thrifty that way and we figure the flat fee balances out some of the more costly weekends

  68. The Adults in our troop act like a patrol, they pay their own way including registration fee’s, patches and food. They are supposed to be an example of how the patrol works. They have a duty roster for all the chores a patrol would normally have. The summer camp we go to allows two adults to attend no charge, if we have more then two adults they have to pay. The Troop does however pay for all Adult leader training classes, as we also pay for any Scout leader training

  69. Well I do it all those ways. It really depends on the outing and how many adults are going. Drivers typically pay nothing. Dads going and not in leadership a d not driving will typically get charged like a scout.

    But on cost I will try to offer $5 outing a few times a year. But out average is mostly $10 to $15 per scout.

    But I will not turn a scout away from an outing because of .money. But he will know the rules to do his part. But if a scout don’t do his part to participate in troop fundraiser he will need to plan to do it a different way.

  70. In a true patrol method, the scouts are paying for their own meals, and collecting that money among themselves. We wouldn’t think of “taxing” that payment to siphon some of that money for the adult meals. We collect our own money and give it to our cook.

  71. In my Troop nobody pays: scouts nor scouters. We have an excellent fund raiser that takes place every Spring. Each scout has a reasonable quota. If met all is free with exception of meals the patrol plans. Same is true for scouters except they don’t have a fund raising quota. High adventure trips are handled separately but use similar systems. All training is paid for both scouts and scouters.

  72. In my unit the adults pay the same rate as the Scouts for weekend camping trips. They pay annual dues as well. We do, however, cover their fees for the required number of registered leaders for summer camp, provided that they are properly trained for their position. Everyone pays the required amounts for high adventure and special programs as well.

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