Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1998: The high cost of Scouting
The high cost of Scouting
Thu, 24 Sep 1998 22:32:33 -0500
Bruce Major wrote:
> Agreed. But as we have both acknowledged, we do not have the complete budget
> figures in front of us, so determining overall performance is difficult.
> Also, I say again, your Scouting magazine comes out of that seven dollars.
> That may be less than it costs, but it takes a chunk out of it nonetheless.
Actually, the costs of publishing Scouting are probably paid by the sales of
advertisements - as there are more pages of ads than content in every issue. I
suspect there are large profits related to those ads, making the $28M in adult
dues a non-interesting number with regards to revenue from Scouting.
> >We at the unit level have our hands tied when it comes to raising
> >money, because National and Council reserve the right to solicit direct
> >donations themselves.
> For the BSA, yes. You and I are not the BSA. We are Troop/Pack/Crew # x, etc.
> Everybody I know solicits donations for their unit for various things all
> the time. And I mean cash, discounts, work, goods, etc. Does that not happen
> in Maine? I know that you are not supposed to ask directly for funds for
> Scouting, but I think you may be overstating the restrictiveness somewhat.
If everyone you know solicits donations, then everyone you know is also
breaking the rules, and yes the rule is very clear in that regard. When you
submit an application for fund raising and tell your Council that you are
going to ask for money or donations or gear, how do they respond? Mine says no
way - so units break the rules anyway. You do ask permission before your fund
raisers don't you? This is also required, and clearly spelled out in the fund
I think these policies stinks and the rules should be changed.
>From the BSA Finance Support Division pages at http://www.fsd.org
The first policy listed reads:
"No direct solicitation for funds by units is permitted."
My Council also interprets this to read:
"No direct solicitation for gear, or funds to buy gear, or funds
to send kids to camp, or funds to subsidize uniform costs by
units is permitted."
So I cannot go to my local Rotary Club, or Knights of Columbus, or the big
business down the street and ask them if they would like to make a donation of
money or gear to my unit to directly support Scouting in their community.
If you are doing these things, you are breaking the rules. Period. If you ask
your Chartered Organization to do these things for you, you are sill breaking
the rules - only you have a clearer conscience about it than I would. I've
been told specifically not to ask and so I won't. I will however keep
badgering National and Council until I either finally give in and cheat like
"everyone else," or the policy is changed.
As an Eagle Scout, I hate to cheat. I have not had to do it to be successful
in my personal or professional lives, and I hate to think that Scouting will
be what makes me finally give in and cheat.
I think the existing policy is stupid and short sighted. "No one" follows it,
causing us all to violate the Scout Oath and Law in order to run our units.
The only purpose I can see for having this policy is to keep units from
dipping into the pool of money that Councils believe they should be solely
able to tap.
> I just think that it is finally counter-productive to worry too much about
> what the organization is doing. I'm too concerned about whether or not my
> SPL has everything in hand for our next meeting:>) I'll wager that is a more
> immediate concern for you, too.
I don't worry about it too much, but I will try to change the things I can. I
think this is one of those things.
In a democracy, the people who vote make a difference in the way the
government is run. In an "all volunteer" organization like the BSA, we, the
volunteers are supposed to make that difference.
I will worry about how the money is spent until I can look every kid's family
squarely in the eye and tell them that the money I am asking them to spend to
uniform their child ($100+), buy him books and pay his dues ($30-50/yr), and
attend camp ($150+/yr) is being spent in the best way possible.
Right now I find myself making excuses more often than not when I tell a
parent that to be in full uniform they will have to spend more than $100 on
their child, and oh yeah - he needs Scout shorts in the summer, with special
socks, and when he outgrows this stuff, it's $100 all over again.
Scouting is expensive. For many families, too expensive, so we tone down the
uniform. No Scout pants or shorts required. Scouting T's instead of Class As.
Hats are optional (they weren't when I was a kid), etc. We should be working
to make that change. Scouting should not be expensive if it doesn't have to
be. National should be working on driving down the costs for a unit, not on
how to raise enough money to pay high professional salaries.