Re: Scout Accounts
Jim Sleezer (JHS8@VM1.UCC.OKSTATE.EDU)
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 15:21:49 CST
On Tue, 5 Nov 1996 15:25:36 -0500 John Macko, Esq. said:
>Our Troop is considering establishing individual Scout accounts . . .
As a youth, my troop did not have individual scout accounts but everyone
who helped with our annual fund raiser got a portion of his camp fee
paid (how much depended on how much we raised but it was usually about
50-60 percent of the camp fee). In Jamboree years, we usually got about
half the jamboree fee paid by the troop if we signed up by a certain
deadline. For campouts, we often paid only a portion of the actual cost
with the troop treasury picking up the difference. Record keeping was
very simple and no one ever seemed upset.
More recently, the troops we have worked with all had "scout bucks" accounts.
A portion of each fund raiser are deposited to a scout's credit based on
some formula such as number of hours worked, number of pieces completed, etc.
Money could be used for summer camp, weekend campouts, equipment purchases
(with receipts presented for reimbursement), annual registration, uniforms,
or any scout-related activity.
Someone had to keep the records. Most of the time, the product of choice
was Quicken which allows for lots of individual account breakdowns. A few
used a spread sheet or something similar. While most have worked well,
there have been a few problems. The biggest one is when a scout thinks
he has more in his account than he does. Sometimes things didn't get
credited properly (or promptly). In one unit, the records got lost and
no one knew what was what. (They finally just gave everyone what they
thought they had and it worked out about right.)
One of the issues is how to treat parents who help. As you know, some
parents do more and some do a lot less. The best solution I saw was to
allow parents who were present to contribute their earnings to their
son's account or to a "scholarship" account. That way, parents who helped
the troop earn money got some return while those who never had time to
help could pay their own way (some were happy to pay rather than give
up their time). Parents only earned when they participated fully. Just
standing around while the kids worked didn't count!! The scholarship account
was used to subsidize parents who couldn't work because of conflicts beyond
their control (i.e., the single mother with two younger children at home;
a family whose work schedule included weekends). (In both cases, these
families did other things to help make things successful, they just couldn't
be present for designated fund raisers! The single mother handled all troop
mailings and drove to the council office about once a month to pick up
awards; the parents who worked weekends helped on their week day off time.)
One troop required a parent to be present when the scouts were working. This
troop contracted to assemble notebooks for university extension classes. A
typical project might only require about three or four scouts to work for
a couple of hours each.
Only really big battle that I saw was when someone wanted to purchase a
bunch of hobby equipment using scout bucks. Troop leadership did not want
to approve but scout pointed out that this was stuff that was listed in
scout catalog! Troop leadership wanted to limit to camping equipment! Be
clear up front.
Last item is disposal of funds when a scout leaves troop. I've seen several
options. One is to transfer funds to new unit if scout transfers. One
troop keeps anything not spent within 12 months of being earned (accounting
nightmare). One troop keeps money if scout doesn't reregister. One troop
allows transfers to another scout (usually siblings). One troop kept money
in reserve for one year after scout left troop. Scout could use for outdoor
equipment. One troop allowed scout to use money for college tuition as
long as he was registered in troop when he entered college. One troop
transfered any remaining funds when scout left troop into the "scholarship"
fund. One troop allowed scout to withdraw cash if he reached eagle and
left the troop--most just left money in account to pay registration fees
while they were off to college! In any case, be clear on this one up front!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City