Homepage Forums General Scouting Options for youth that cannot afford dues

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    • #60399


      My unit has recently adopted a one time fee/dues practice that covers advancement badges, patches, training, camporee fees, etc. The current treasurer is of the opinion that each youth must pay the same amount as everyone else. While I agree with the fairness of this method, i’m worried about the the boys/families that cannot afford the program.

      We haven’t gotten into the “what happens if a boy can’t pay his dues” scenario yet. The obvious answer is to kick him out of scouts since he cannot afford to be in scouts. This idea scares the heck out of me. In my experience, the boys that come from families that might not necessarily be able to afford the program are often broken and the boy needs Scouting the most.

      One option is to urge the boy to participate more in fundraising efforts. Again, in the broken family scenario, the parents might not be very supportive with time to help the boy raise funds but our troop sells chocolate bars that the boy could maybe sell at school and to his classmates and friends?

      Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • #60544

      I often ruffle feathers with my answer to this but IMO there is ONLY ONE acceptable “Scout” answer, and that is to hold a fund raiser and TEACH a boy to EARN HIS OWN WAY.

      There is no dignity in “free” nor should a scout be given anything he hasn’t earned. I understand the concept of “charity”, but that’s not what we’re here for.

      There are some fundraisers that are big and raise a lot of money; we have boys who put $600 a year in their own “scout accounts” through fund raising, and then there are others (like candy bar sales) which would be perfect to raise annual dues and/or pay for a uniform.

      Money should never be an excuse for a boy to not participate, but remember we are HERE TO TEACH LIFE LESSONS. Extending a hand looking for charity is a “life lesson” all too many people have already. Let’s create WORKING HANDS instead.

      • #255988
        Tamara Potter

        This answer is horrible what about children k they cant raise money on their own and their parents are not involved we have made sports cub scouts and other organizations that help keep kids out of trouble cost too.ich for parents and kids to participate in

    • #131650
      Pamela Oyerly

      I am all for a Scout earning their way through the Scouting program, but as a Cubmaster who worked with lower income families for 8 years, there are several things I find wrong with the above replies.
      The first is that a potential Scout fom a low income family may not have the same resources as a Scout from a middle class family. Many lower income families (either one or two parents) often work multiple jobs which means at least one of those jobs is going to fall into an evening and/or weekend job, and not be available to supervise the Scout going door to door to sell things. In order to cut back on costs, the Scout may have to babysit younger siblings if the parent is working evenings and weekends. Friends and family of the Scout are more likely to be low income familiies themselves with little to no extra money to pay for items the Scout can sell to raise money. The area where they live is most likely a lower income neighborhood where neighbors fall into the same category. Transportation is also an issue. If a family is lucky enough to have a car it’s first priority is to take someone to and from work. Public Transportation is a fine alternative but a younger Scout must be accompanied by an adult on the bus. Have you ever used it to deliver popcorn or when you have a lot to carry? It is a lot more extra work than you can even imagine. The school they attend is more likely to have a higher percentage of free and reduced lunch reciepents where teachers are even more likely to have to provide extra supplies to students who have none, and now the teacher has a Scout asking them to buy something to help support them in Scouting. Do you know that there are more than a few teachers who have to have a second job just to make ends meet with student loans, school supplies, and living expenses? And finally do you realize what a poor value the Trails End popcorn is for people with a lesser income?
      Until you have been there or worked with Scouts who are in a lower income bracket you have no idea the obstacles they and their families face. There was a reason that Scoutreach was started. Check into it! I do not believe their is an easy solution to this issue, but no Scout should be turned away due to finances.

      • #255989
        Tamara Potter

        So right you said it so well

    • #132154

      Paul makes some good points, and Pamela brings some necessary insight into the debate. Personal hardship aside, the Scout Law includes Thrifty. A scout should pay their own way, but it’s the committee’s job to keep those costs down to the bare minimum. I’ve seen scouts from both broken and poor homes hustle like crazy earning funds in order to stay in the troop and actively participate. There are ways, and providing the scouts with excuses for not trying doesn’t do anyone any good.

      One of the major traps we fall into is the myth of fairness, so let’s not even try to apply it in this situation. Scouts from broken and/or poor homes will probably have a harder time staying in and advancing in scouts, but let’s neither rob them of the struggle nor set the boundary too high in a vain attempt to achieve fairness.

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