Value for your dollar…

During my discussion with Steve, Dave, and Shawn, we talked about Pack and Troop finances. At one point Dave said that we would think that what his Pack charges for dues would be excessive. I commented that as long as the people that have to pay for it do not think so, then it does not matter what anyone else thinks.
And that is not to be a smug comment, but a matter of fact that in our programs we see the value that comes from our dollar.
Our troop also charges a lot. We operate on a pretty big budget, and we would not have it any other way. You see, in order to have a great program you need to do great things. You can, and should be thrifty about it, but not at the expense of your program.
For example, every year we rent canoes. We find the best place that gives us the best deal and rent from them, currently we get the best deal from the Cascade Pacific Council. They have the cheapest rental out there, especially because we are a Presidential FOS unit.
Which brings me back to value.
Each year when we present our annual FOS Campaign, we hand out the cards and tell the audience to just look around. The room is filled with tan shirts and the bodies in those tan shirts are directly effected by the contributions made to the Friends of Scouting Campaign. We may never see a dollar, but we stay at Council camp site free because of our Presidential status, reduced rates at Summer camp, reduced canoe rates and other rentals. The benefits are many for the small amount that we ask in the campaign.
But it takes money to run a Scout unit… no if ands or buts.. it takes dollars to make the unit go.
Some may argue that Scouting should be less expensive, and while there are area in which I think the cost is inflated, I think that rather than complain about the cost, get creative.
Our Scouts pay their own way through the Scouting year. They fund raise, collect pop cans, and yeah… ask grandma and grandpa… but by and large the onus is on the Scout. There is no reason a Scout can not participate, as long as he is willing and able sell popcorn, Christmas wreaths, or get wet at a car wash, the Scout can pay his way. Cubbie too.
To many times I hear the parents of Scouts complain about the cost… they complain, because they do not see the value.
If they saw the value that they receive for their dollar, they would never complain.
We all know that you get what you pay for.
If you buy cheap camping gear, you will certainly buy it over and over again. When you invest in good gear and take care of it, it will last you a life time.
And so it is with Scouting. When we invest in the program with our time, our energy, and our dollars, we keep it strong and alive.
The BSA knows this and manages it’s dollars well. Keeping in mind that a Scout is thrifty, so is the BSA. Rarely do we hear of scandals about money in the Scouting movement. Rarely do we hear of mis use or treatment of funds or resources.
And so we invest. We invest, just like we invest in our homes, our cars, and our future. We invest in our Scouts and the Scouting program that we want to see thrive and continue to provide for the next generations.
We invest in Scouting because we know and can see the value of Scouting.
Last night, without giving it to much thought I invested more into Scouting. And I tell you this not for recognition or self promotion, but as an example of how we all should value our program.
On top of our families FOS contribution we made a contribution to the James E. West Fellowship, money which goes to the Cascade Pacific Council’s Endowment fund. The money was not the issue, nor is the award, but the value that money will have in Scouting in my community. Money that I will see in programs, scholarship, and support for Scouting.
I am glad that the BSA is in the business of fundraising. When we break it down, this program can be a lot more expensive if it were not for the endowments, fundraising through FOS, grants and other methods of collective the dollars that are so needed to have a quality program.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation that “an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.” We lengthen our shadow on Scouting when we make the contributions and support our units.
We see the value for our dollar when we see the smiling faces of the Scouts, the merit badge sashes, and the proud parents as they wear their parent pins. We see the value when we enter awesome Scout reservations and camps. We see the value in happy camp staffs and great resources. We see value each Monday night as close our meeting and Scouts raise their right hands and pledge to live the Scout Law. We see the value in those young men… our future. We are casting a shadow on them. And the it will be far reaching.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

One comment

  1. When I was listening to the show and you said each parent pays $200 for each Scout per year, I was kind of surprised. But then I started to work out roughly how much our parents pay. Without any activities they pay £25 per year in capitation fees (this goes to Gilwell to run the SA) and around £1.50 (depending on section) per weekly meeting. So that’s around £75 a year already. Then a weekend camp is around £25 – £30 a time so it all adds up.However, if we were to ask for £200 in one go, a lot of our parents could not actually afford that in one go. In fact we do offer those parents who have two or more children in the Group some discount for capitation fees.As a Group we are lucky in that financially we are quite secure. We don’t have to do too much fund raising. Which is not a bad thing as there is always some reluctance from both the kids and parents to participate in it (want to go camping – YES, can you help out at a fund raising event – oh I’m washing the goldfish or other such reason!).There is also the fact that there are grants available from various organisations for groups who do activities for young people. For example, when we held our family camp in May where virtually the whole Group went, including parents, the total cost came to around £1500. For us that was a lot of money to pay out, but we raised about one third of the cost by packing bags at the local supermarket, a third from our local County Councillor’s ‘community fund’ and the final third from existing funds.Another useful source of funding is that we can claim back around 25p for every £1 paid to us from the tax man! We actually get something back from taxes!!As you say, if you buy cheap stuff, you end up paying more often. We have patrol tents which we bought in 1983 which are still usable, although they are showing their age. Spending money sensibly is part of being a Scout, Thrifty (US), A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property (UK – we are a bit more wordy!).I think we do what works best for us locally.The money spent on our Scouts, from whatever source it comes from, is an investment in our young people’s future.


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