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Can Scouts handle money?

My sons recently crossed over from Cub Scouts to a Troop that (in my opinion) seems to be much more adult run than it should be. One of the rules that they have is that scouts can’t handle money at any of our fundraisers. Before I go trying to change this silliness, I wanted to find out if that’s actually a BSA level rule or just our troop?

My daughter started handling a cash box and counting change at her Girl Scout cookie booths when she was in kindergarten. My boys have done it since they were Wolves or Bears (our pack didn’t have booths when we started) at our popcorn booths. Now that they are older apparently they can’t be trusted with it? Obviously there needs to be adult supervision, but I firmly believe that at these type of booths, that’s all the adults should be doing - supervising.

If the adults are cooking brats because the scouts can’t be trusted for food safety reasons and the adults are handling the money, why even have the scouts there? To hold a sign?

I’m just wondering if this is unique to our troop so I have a little encouragement to try to change it.
Thanks!

I’ll be honest, @HerbKraft, this is the first I’ve ever heard of such a rule. Our scouts handle much of the money at our fundraisers, and have since they were Cub Scouts. We often have an adult at the cash box, more to deter opportunistic thieves who think that a 13-year-old is an easy target than because we don’t trust the boys to manage things.

Are there some sort of a unit-level set of bylaws for the troop? This might be one of those situations where the chartering organization has a rule that they imposed on the unit, either due to some accounting thing they need to deal with or based on a previous problem with scouts handling money.

Personally, I’d ask for the story behind the “rule” before I challenged it. Maybe lead with “When the boys were Cub Scouts, they used to handle all of the money. Why does your troop only have the adults handling the money?” It might even be a council rule (or misinterpretation thereof) of which your pack wasn’t aware. I try not to simply assume it’s poor judgment just because it doesn’t make sense to me.

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There is no such BSA policy.

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That Troop policy sure seems to defeat the whole concept of what the “Personal Management” Merit Badge teaches.

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We agave the scouts handle the mony, plus have two count it at the end of fundraiser to teach them good checks and balance

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I’m with you there, @WilliamC.

The soft-start I suggested is intended to give the unit the opportunity to explain what might be an uncomfortable past issue, like an adult (or youth) who pocketed money from the fundraising. I’m not suggesting that scenario is the case with this particular troop, obviously, just that I can see how a charter (or the unit) might impose a policy requiring accountable adults to handle all of the money in such a case, especially if their investigation never got any further than finger pointing.

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We do the same in our troop. At the end of each fundraiser shift, one of the outgoing scouts and one of the incoming scouts have to reconcile the cash box and inventory to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.

It dramatically reduced my popcorn kernel headaches when we made this change.

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As far as the cooking thing, that may be a local health code thing…

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I had asked about it when I first heard about it, and I was told something to the effect of “that’s just the way we’ve always done it,” or maybe it was “that’s the way we do it.” I didn’t get any more background info than that. I would think that if it were a chartered org rule (which I didn’t even think about) that they would have mentioned it at that time.

We are a troop that has been around a while and most of the committee and leaders have also been around a long time. It’s nice to have that much experience, but it also is a hinderence if they aren’t willing to try new things and are fairly set on auto-pilot since they have done things a certain way for so long.

I’m not sure when this particular policy was set, but I suspect there were issues tracking money 15-30 years ago so the rule was put in place and never revisited.

Thanks for all the feedback!

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@HerbKraft -oh the old… “Thats the way we have always done it” The most dangerous phrase.

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A good response to “that’s the way we have always done it” is to ask why the unit now sends e-mail and texts instead of letters to communicate. Times change, units need to change.

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We battle the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” and “historically” all the time in our Troop. There are a group of leaders that are actively trying to overcome this for our Troop so that we can keep up with new technology and ideas.

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I go a bit further back and say that we used to always travel by horse, but now we use cars. We used to use outhouses, but now have indoor plumbing, etc…evolution happens whether we notice it or not, we can’t stop it we can only slow it down…

Times, they are a changin’… :slight_smile:

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A post was split to a new topic: Handling Scout Summer Camp Money

I like to follow up the “that’s how we’ve done it historically” type of statement (which I am guilty of at least as much as others) with “Is there a reason to keep doing it this way?” Because sometimes there is an underlying reason that makes sense to continue. But if you can’t find an actual reason behind the precedent, then it may be good to change.

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That’s a great way to redefine the discussion. I’m stealing it.

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Me too. I’ll toss that out either at our next committee meeting or maybe we have an annual review of by-laws to bring it up.

Thanks!

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In my Pack and Troop they have not learned to say that because I have been there for all 21 and 15 years respectively, so chances are we have not :).

When I had a group of type A mom’s on the Committee my favorite question became, “What will they learn?” The application here is, if you don’t trust them, then it’s time to teach them. I like the ideas above for that. Yes, having an adult at the cash box is a good thing, but it is time to mentor the Scouts, not just do what is easiest for the adults :grinning:

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I like that one too. I’m totally stealing that one. :slight_smile:

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There isn’t a lot of info, but you are dropping hints to a very adult run program. Though it could be quite the opposite as well.

Unfortunately some think scout led means let whatever happen. And the scouts don’t learn the life skills. I would trust my scouts to cook brats for the public. I trust my scouts to handle money. They have earned that trust.

You have raised up an issue that I should add to the list of things to look for in a troop. And that an abundance of hard rules often indicate reactionary adults at the cost of scouts learning and growing.

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