Scouting Forums

Handling Scout Summer Camp Money

This is about another money-related issue that is different to the OP but seems to fall until the title of handling money. Summer Camp. I was wondering how everyone deals with the matter. If a parent asks us to keep a scouts money and ration it out in increments daily we will. I’m not a big fan of that but have also seen the younger boy plow through their money in the first day or two. If this needs to be a different topic that’s fine. It just seems to me a good catch-all topic to discuss ways and ideas to teach the scouts to be thrifty and a good steward of their money.


Moved to its own topic because this is a separate issue.

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As Scoutmaster - I moved our troop away from having an adult purser. We are here to allow Scouts to learn responsibility. Sometimes that is through making mistakes (5 sodas the first day and 6 candy bars.) OH? All your moneys gone? Let me teach you about budgeting.


This was our first year at summer camp and we couldn’t go the same time as our troop, so my boys were just with me. I cheated and simply ran the whole week as troop charges and paid once at the end of the week (my boys were not allowed to charge, so they had to ask me when they wanted something anyway), but obviously that wouldn’t work if the troop was there. My gut reaction is to make the scouts keep track of their own money so they learn that responsibility. If they blow it all on pop/candy the first day, then they don’t have any money the rest of the week. My kids go to 4H camp and Farmers Union camp where no one is rationing out their money, so why would Scout camp be any different?

I would probably look at it a little differently if it were the SCOUT asking for help rather than the PARENT as well, since they may realize that they don’t have a safe place to hide/carry their money.

That’s my 2 cents anyway.

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My son’s troop assigns an adult to serve as “banker.” This is a service that the kids are encouraged but but not mandated to use. The banker simpky keeps the money safe so the kids arent feeling the need to carry money while kayaking. The banker does not counsel or ration money, he simply keeps it safe for the scout.


Personally, I would not want the liability of being the “banker” for any unit. This is also why I refuse to allow electronic devices to be confiscated by my troop.


To add to my original comments, one thing we did was at a few Troop meetings prior to departing for summer camp we talked to the boys and parents about a number of items including money. One thing we discussed was the temptations to buy everything you see and be out of money in a day or two. The second was to take enough money which was a problem for some scouts. Some parents sent way too much and others didn’t send enough. We gave estimates on what things cost to give them some guidance. Another is we discussed was “mooching”. It’s a little awkward, but there are some boys that will take advantage of the kindness of other scouts to buy them stuff. Sometimes a scout might feel intimidated or perhaps too shy to say no. it’s one thing to forget your money that sitting in your locker that you will reimburse and another thing to seek others to subsidize you trip.

Typically what we had was some of the first year scouts that had never been to camp having the parents use a designate adult “banker” ration out the money as requested. I am personally with some of the others that the best way to learn how to handle money is to do it yourself.

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I’ve been part of 3 summer camps now and never once were the adults holding money for scouts. We do send out emails and hold a parents meeting prior to summer camp advising the adults on what scouts typically need and why, and also that the reality is that they will indeed buy candy and chips, etc. and that most may want to buy a knife too.

Being responsible for your money is a life skill the scouts need to learn, and handling money for them doesn’t allow for this growth. Even for first year scouts. In fact, especially first year scouts when learning early is best. It’s even an advancement requirement and part of a MB (e.g. learning how to budget and use funds).

You are far better off using it as a teaching point in how to budget for a week and making it a learning experience, IMHO.

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Our issue was purchasing numerous knives.

Education beforehand is helpful and asking parents not to send too much money. Beyond that, so what if they buy multiple knives? Is that any more wasteful than buying a bunch of junk food?

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It was just funny. The boys who bought multiple knives weren’t the ones who ran out of money and didn’t have any left for the drive home. When you are in Colorado and going to Texas, there are numerous meals required for the drive home.

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Adult “Banker” was not an option for us so I sent my son to camp with some “starter” funds and with envelopes marked for Wednesday and trip home and instructions not to open the envelopes until the day marked on them. We also talked about then need to ration funds for the whole week and plan for the meals on the ride home. Sure he could rip open those envelopes the first day, but he would have some barrier to just a wallet full of cash from day one. He came home with some cash left so it worked.

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We absolutely do not let adults take responsibility for scouts’ money. My own son forgot his wallet, so guess who had no spending money for the trading post? We also warned them that it was a long ride to camp and back so they needed to have lunch money for both ways and a couple had nothing left for the return trip. We didn’t let them go hungry, but we did make them sweat it out before we gave in to teach them a lesson about money management.

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Our Troop uses an adult banker, but it is the Scout’s responsibility to budget and handle the money. Each Scout has an envelope in the safe we take to camp. Once each morning the SM or ASM who’s responsible for the job will announce the bank is open. Scouts that want money can come and get whatever they want from their account. They get the money and initial and date the envelope. They can withdraw all or nothing; while the SM/ASM might council about it, it’s up to them how to manage it. They don’t have to use the “bank” if they choose. The only thing this does is keep excess money safe and provide them a way to manage their money.

In many cases, the parents do provide additional sub-envelopes intended for meals on the way up and home, but if a Scout were to request those funds, we’d give those to them.

The way I see it, the Scouts are managing their money. It’s no different than them having cash in a bank at home with free access via an ATM card. The bulk stays safe when not used, but they must manage it.

Also, note that we always have a second adult present when the bank is being used.


The is scout is Thrifty. In our Troop there is two scout and parent meetings before summer camp. Scouts and Parents are advise about expending money. The consequences of expending the money in one day.

I guess the one way we remedy the food/travel issue is we budget in cost for each scout to get $10 per meal on the road. And we just pass out $10 bills.


We do the same thing with $5 bills. if they spend $2 they get to pocket the rest. If they spend $6, I hope they have extra or a good friend to get a loan. Some get it right away some don’t, one way for them to learn, without going too hungry.

Scouts can never have enough knives, lol

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My son feels the same way!

Like @DonovanMcNeil our troop hands money to the scouts as we go on the road. And the first trip I discovered that way more scouts then I would have guessed are aware of sales tax.

I have offered to allow any scout to lock their money up. Now that service is as simple as putting it into an envelope with the scout’s name on it. The scout can get money when an adult is available to open the locked box. (We also lock all electronics in the same box upon arrival to summer camp.)

At parent meetings we discuss the subject and how such money might be spent. To date, I think the lock up of money has happened twice. Most scouts make no use of it. In one case a scout simply had us hold some amount he considered a lot. The other the scout followed a plan given by his parent.

I do think though that when considering help with a budget it should depend on the scout. I believe in meeting the scout where the scout is and helping said scout to grow. Some may not be ready for a full week of spending money. If I was asked to give out say $10 a day at camp, I would discuss it with the parent and scout and go with what the parent and scout decided.