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Camp outs and Activities ... do parents pay?

Do your packs make your parents pay for camp outs and activities or does the pack cover it and you only pay for scouts?


In a pack parent attendance is expected in my book if scout is attending (this is talking Lion-Bear, Webelos is different - though they are remiss if not going when camping with a troop). My troop pays for parents on regular campouts and subsidizes for High Adventure


For campouts we charge $25 for 1 scout and 1 adult. If they have a second adult or a sibling we ask for $10 which basically offsets food cost.

We do waive the campout fee for scouts that sell over $500 in popcorn. Extra guests still pay.

We also budget $6 per scout each year to subsidise other non camping pack outings (swimming, museum, etc). Usually we break the $6 up over two or three events throughout the year. Whatever the admission cost is we subtract our budgeted subsidy and the parent pays the rest. Parents & siblings pay full price. We don’t get much pushback because it usually ends up being cheaper for each family because the pack collects the money and buys at a group rate.

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We charge the same amount to cover food for all attendees (excluding those under age 5) at our campouts. We don’t charge for much else unless there is an entry cost.

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We generally budgeted to cover one parent per family on over-night events, unless there was some kind of admission involved (for example, camping after a baseball game). For those events, we asked for the family to cover a portion of the event.

Our baseline is $20 per attendee. Children under 5 are free, and there’s a $100 maximum per family. Depending on fundraising efforts, we’ll reduce the per-person charge. But we don’t like to make it totally free, because then people may register and then not show up.

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If I’m camping with a unit, I pay my fair share … be I a parent, leader, or guest instructor. Always have, always will. That may involve leaving a donation because the unit/district won’t accept payment. It may also involve making a large pot of espresso in the morning!

But it’s a big country. In your part of it, it may be deemed rude to ask a parent to pay for him/herself. After all parents are providing the one thing that makes Packs go: the scouts! In those cases, however, the dollars to just appear. Each scouts’ fee is increases accordingly, either directly or through fundraising, to cover the cost of the estimated number of parents attending.


We make everyone pay $20 for food for the weekend. As most of our troop keeps kosher this gets quite expensive. The troops will cover campsite and park fees.

Our pack covers the Cubs but asks parents to pay for themselves or siblings.

The pack/cubs are fundraising to cover their costs. We try to make sure that there is no additional cost for the kids in the program to participate in anything (within reason, if we elect to go to sleep unusually more expensive event there may be an additional fee, but we typically offset it as much as possible), but the parents aren’t part of the budget, or a second parent, or any siblings.

For us, scouts are free and everyone else pays $10. This usually covers the camping fees and buying wood.

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Our troop charges a flat rate of $20 per Scout for camping trips to cover the cost of campsites and food.

We do not charge the adults for two reasons: 1) we encourage parent participation and 2) the parents are giving up their time to help ensure we have enough adult leaders.

In our pack, we charge per family for camping. For Webelos overnight we charge “per scout”. As a pack we are run a very lean budget so that our dues are very low. That being said we have to ask parents to pay special activities. Our “dues” are then spread out over the year instead of at re-charter.

our pack pays leader dues on their behalf to encourage them to become volunteers.

This question partly comes down to what your dues cover and what you do with your fundraising dollars. Our dues and fundraising cover BSA fees, the cost of advancements, facilities, derbies, and other basic supplies, but not campouts. For campouts we collect for the cost of food and camping fees charged (district campouts cost a certain activity fee per youth). Because cub camping is family themed we used to collect $ per person but with certain maximum per family. (Perhaps $10 per person with $30 max per family for example).
We usually have about half our Cubs come with just 1 parent and the other half bring the family. We often have last minute cancellations or addons within a family which is a hassle for collecting money. Looking at our spending over time, we have found that we spend about $20 per food per scout family that attends. To make things easier on our treasurer and to encourage more families this year we just collect $20 per family. This has made our treasurer very happy and not caused any complaints from our families.
We are soon going to a one night campout and attending an activity which will cost $30 per person. For this we are just collecting $30 per person and pack can cover cost of the campsite and breakfast for the campers.

Everyone pays in our pack.

For admission events like museum/zoo sleepover/lock-ins or something it is pass-through payment, if its a pack campout (spring and fall) the event is usually heavily subsidized at around $10 per person or something.

I think it depends on what you charge for registration. My Pack only charges National and Council dues. Thus, we function solely on fundraising, no dues. We have been very fortunate with our fundraising efforts. We do not charge for campouts. The Pack picks up the tab for the group campground, food for dinner, s’mores (of course!), firewood, and activities. But, we also live in an area where group campsites are pretty reasonable. We generally try to pay for the scout for all activities. The exception is overnights at museums/submarines/etc. and big events (admission over $10). We try to have one big event per year, and we do a specific fundraiser for that event. For example, we are doing a submarine overnight this year. If a scout sells 10 pancake breakfast tickets, the Pack will pay for his ticket to the submarine. Because it’s a few hours away, and we have to be there, all together, at a specific time, we are also meeting for dinner and paying for dinner for everyone. If anyone is having financial problems, they can always talk to a member of the committee. We don’t want a scout to miss out on anything due to financial constraints.
In my personal opinion, if you require dues for the Pack alone, you should be paying for everything- awards, overnights, and activities. But, that is my opinion only.


Consider this. Our pack attends resident camp in the summer. It’s four nights for the Webelos who want something extra and two nights for everyone else. If little Tony is going to be a Tiger over the summer, and he has a single mom who would not be able to get those days off from work, why would he pay pack dues that has the cost of that activity built in? He simply cannot go without an adult partner.

I wish we didn’t need to do so, but we charge $28 per year for pack dues. Out of that, we pay for Pinewood Derby cars, awards and adult registration fees. Four adults made donations to the pack that exceeded the fees we had to pay for them.

We sold meat sticks as a fundraiser in the late fall and earned a $450 profit for our 19 Scouts. They earn lots of awards, but that should hold us for the rest of 2020.

Youth and adult participants pay the estimated cost of their participation in nearly all activities. We attended a college hockey game a week and a half ago (Delaware hosting Georgetown), and the tickets were $3 each. Scouts got a patch commemorating Delaware Blue Hens hockey night. We considered making it free, but we opted to just charge everyone $3, since people sometimes sign up for free events and then don’t show (in all walks of life, not just Scouting). If finances are good, we’ll add a fun activity like an amusement park trip to the calendar in the late spring or early summer and subsidize part of the cost.

If we could earn more from fundraising, I would love to make all events free. But in our situation, we would have to raise the pack dues in order to do that.

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@PeterHopkins, as I said, in my personal opinion. However, I should have also said that if a pack requires “significant” dues, all things should be paid for by the pack. (Again, this is my opinion alone.) But, it all depends on your pack’s financial situation. One of my goals as a leader is to be as thrifty as possible and offer as many opportunities as possible.

@DesireeSierens, I was aware that it was just your opinion, and you labeled it so. I happen to agree with it, if the dues are as you say “significant.” I just wanted to point out a different perspective that didn’t come across in your post.

If I thought it wouldn’t cause us to lose any Scouts, and that it wouldn’t be a hardship on any of the families, I would suggest our pack raise the dues, add a few events to the calendar and make everything very low cost. But the economics of our pack don’t really support that right now.

It was 20 years ago that I met a man named Gordon who had at that point been the Scoutmaster of the same troop in which he was a youth member for more than 30 years. He ended up topping 40 years as Scoutmaster before passing a few years ago. One of his former Scouts is now the Scoutmaster there. Gordon told me that in his district (one of the eight districts in New York City), there was readily available funding to send a contingent of Scouts to the Florida Sea Base every spring. The idea had financial backers who simply wanted to make this opportunity available, and there’s a system set up to select the participants that considers merit and whether the Scout has had a previous opportunity. As far as I know, that district still does this annually. When they first launched the program, they made it free, because that was the intent of the donors. They noticed that each year, they had a few Scouts pull out in the late stages, and it was usually too late to pull other Scouts from any waiting list they might have had. They realized that the Scouts and their families had no skin in the game. No harm would come their way, if they just pulled out, because they decided to go somewhere else over spring break instead. So, they started charging $100 per Scout payable as soon as the Scout is selected to make the trip, and the money is nonrefundable. They immediately noticed a precipitous drop in the rate of Scouts pulling out, even though $100 represents only a small part of the total cost.

That’s why I suggested my pack charge each Scout $3, our pack’s cost, for our recent trip to attend a college hockey game.


@PeterHopkins, I totally get the backing out at the last minute! We have in our bylaws that if you do that, you have to reimburse the Pack if tickets have already been purchased. Though, I admit, we haven’t been extremely diligent in collecting those. As leaders, it is one of the things we want to focus on so that Pack funds aren’t depleted due to people not showing up. Again, it’s a case by case basis, but we are hoping to solve the “problem” that way. It’s really a fine line. You want people to come to activities so the Pack pays for the scout, but some people take advantage of it because there are zero consequences. I wish more people took personal responsibility.
As an aside, I would love it if our council did something like the district in NYC! My oldest crosses over this year, and I’m learning more about Boy Scouts. We have a lot of Troops in our area with young scouts, making it difficult for Troops to go on high adventures, due to the age requirements. A few of us think it would be great if our Council reserved a set number of tickets each year to a high adventure camp and opened it up to all Troops in the council. The scouts who get to attend would make up their own patrol, even though they are from different Troops. Each scout would have to pay his way (unless funding is available for scholarships, etc.), but it could be a great way to keep the older scouts engaged and they can meet other scouts in the area. The NYC program you mentioned sounds awesome!