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Why so much?! And different amongst packs

Hello everyone. I’m a dad that’s new to this organization for my 6 and 7.5 year old boys. A pack that we’re thinking of joining is charging the following fees and would you like to get your opinion on this matter.

• BSA Annual Fee $120 per cub ($60 National + $36 Council + $24 Insurance)
• BSA Annual Fee $60 per Adult ($36 National + $24 Insurance)
• Annual den fee $80 per cub
• Pack One Time Administration Registration Fee $50 per cub
• Neckerchief/Slide $15 per cub
• B Uniform (t shirt) $15 per adult and cub
• Total for 1 adult + 2 cubs is $635 (not including the actual uniforms yet)

However what really got me to think about joining another pack instead is that my sister said for her son’s pack is that all she had to pay was the $60 period, which i assumed was the BSA adult annual fee. So what gives here?

I also want to mention that the pack has been around for quite a while, part of a well known religious group in our community, and meets 2x a month there.

Every pack is different - ours pays all dues do to very effective fundraising. Never heard of a one time fee? and $80 per scout for Den is a little crazy to me.


I could understand the one time fee if it covered the neckerchief/slide and t-shirt plus anything else the Scout receives. Other than items the unit purchases for the Scout, there should not be any additional cost to the unit for registering a Scout. I would ask what the $50 fee includes.

I also agree with Donovan that an annual $80 den fee sounds excessive. Even if a Cub Scout earned every adventure, the cost of awards would not be $80/year. Does this pack do any fundraising? Where does that money go?

My pack was fortunate that it had very good fundraising so the only cost to the family was the annual BSA fee, which at the time was $24/year. The pack covered the Boy’s Life Subscription, all awards, etc.

With numbers like this, I would want to see the pack’s annual budget before I agreed to register my Scout there.


I agree. I think i might explore another pack. These fees do sound excessive. BSA is meant to cater to all social classes i would imagine. Regardless, i would wonder where this money is going. They go 1 outing per month and do fundraisers but of course it wont even put a good dent into the subsidy as one would want. I heard depending on the pack you’ll be required to participate in the fundraising; meaning buy stuff to sell like popcorn, camp cards etc. Wondering if that is true or not.

You should find out what the unit and den costs cover. It may build in costs that the other one charges for activities. Every unit runs things differently.


$80 per Scout den fee might not be so crazy - it all depends on what the den fee is being used for. I would definitely ask. Maybe it’s intended to cover all kinds of activities, such as admission for den outings, etc.

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Different packs have different activities and methods. Some packs in my area “require” a certain level of popcorn sales. Some have $100+ in annual dues over and above registration. Some pack dues cover the handbook, neckerchief, day camp, and other activities.

Our pack has $40 annual dues and ask parents to “pay as they go” – that’s what the parents decided. That amount is set by the pack committee.

I’ve seen packs that offer “credit” toward parents who volunteer as Cubmaster or Den Leader.

Questions to consider:

  1. What external activities does your pack/den do?
  2. Do they go camping often?
  3. Do you have Pinewood Derby, Space Derby, Raingutter Regatta, and more?
  4. Is your “Blue and Gold Banquet” a feast or some cupcakes?
  5. How active is your NOVA/SUPERNOVA program–field trips, etc?

The bottom line: pick that pack that is right for your scout.

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The other bottom line is, pay now or pay later. Activities aren’t free, one way or another the costs have to get covered… just make sure nobody is embezzling.


I would see what you are getting for your money and how they are applying it but the unit/den portion doesn’t sound out of line. Some units are able to keep expenses low by doing a lot of fundraising but in some areas this is not feasible. Other than the $50 one time registration fee, I’m not seeing any unit fees or dues to pay for things like advancements or administration costs, so perhaps they are covering that through fundraising. New scouts wouldn’t have participated in any fundraising yet so that $50 might be how the pack pays for their first advancements and their portion of unit overhead until they are contributing. And no matter how careful with money you are, running an organization today requires some overhead if you want to have a website, maintain any kind of equipment, or need to have reserves on hand to pay security deposits when renting a camp site, etc. At the pack level, a lot of the achievements require materials and it’s not fair to expect leaders to pay for that out of their own pocket. It’s also a pain to chase parents for funds. Asking for it up front with the $80 den fee might just be a way of making volunteers lives easier. To me, $80 seems a little high but if they are also including admission fees for den outings then it makes sense. Again, see what you are getting for your money.

If it’s that big of a concern, I’m sure that you would be welcome at the Pack Committee Meeting to discuss it and learn the details!

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Well, I could easily see one outing per month averaging about $10/month which is about $80 over the school year… If they’re not charging for those as they go…

Funny you should say that. We ran the numbers as part of our yearly budget, and if you include 1) Handbook, 2) Kit for all events (pinewood, raingutter, space derby, trophies, medals, awards), our numbers per Cub came out as (ex tax):

Lions: $80
Tigers: $100
Wolf: $100
Bear: $100
Webelos I: $105
Webelos 2: $100
(numbers rounded to nearest $5)

We made some assumptions with this:

  • Numbers are based on a new cub per den, so would earn bobcat & rank badge, so doesn’t account for advancing.
  • We assumed Webelos II den would already have at least Bobcat & Webelos I award.
  • We included the cost of rank award certificates in that too (0.19, cheaper in bulk)
    For just awards, take off $50 or per from the above numbers.

We have a large pack (65 cubs), and generate a ton of money from the Popcorn sales which covers the majority of yearly outgoing, and can count towards annual dues depending on how much each Cub raises. Boys life is also covered in our annual dues.

EDIT: There is a whole bunch more to this too on what we pay for out of funds vs parents. We’re also 100% transparent with our budget, so parents can ask to see the accounts without too much hassle.


That’s a great list, and that’s about what we come to as well.

I presume those numbers do not cover…

  • World Conservation Award
  • Presidential Active Lifestyle Award
  • Shooting Sports awards (and pins)
  • Outdoor Activity award (and pins)
  • National Summertime Pack award
  • Whittling Chip
  • Nova patch and pins
  • Supernova medal
  • Emergency Preparedness BSA pin
  • Cyber Chip and Cyber Chip Recharge
  • Service stars

Our pack has an additional $35 activity fee for the nova/supernova program. It works for us, and 100% of eligible Cubs earn at least one nova, and almost all earn at least one Supernova.

Not everyone earns everything, but they certainly can.

Probably doesn’t cover pizza either…

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Yes to Cyberchip & various related certificates, but nothing else: basically the bare minimums.
Some other assumptions we made when calculating numbers:

  • Assume all Cubs will earn rank badge per year and perhaps 30-40% of total elective loops over what’s required, but expect some deviation from those numbers. So right there you come under budget from initial max calculations. Not sure of exact numbers, but we had a >85% (non webelos…) graduation rate last year.
  • You can also assume a percent of Cubs will not be able to earn the minimums required for advancement; conflicting activities and only attending Pack meetings, loss of motivation, parents etc.
  • The money left over from coming under budget then gets allocated to what we shall call the ‘adhoc purchases’: those that fall outside of the required minimums for the year. (aka those you mentioned above!).

Despite being JTE Gold the last couple of years, 2020 will be the first year we’ve gone into this much detail regarding badge budget; we’ll generate Scoutbook reports to see how close reality matches assumptions :wink:

Fundraising efforts and budget surplus from last couple of years meant we were able to soak up fee increase during rechartering (and purchase our own decent Pinewood Derby track too) without going back to Parents asking for the fee difference.

It’s as-if we’re running a small business…
(pizza and beer funds are ‘self sponsored’…)

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The coucil fees and insurance are a little excessive, but the rest seems inline. Is this all you have to pay. Does the Pack offer fundraising opportunities (popcorn) to defer these costs?

My old Pack charged the BSA national fee, which was 24 dollars at one time, then had a minimum popcorn sales requirement, which paid for the entire years activities (4 camp outs including food,pw derby,Christmas parade float, recharter fees, etc…).
The parents were responsible for the uniform and we sold class B shirts for $15.
After they were Tigers, we paid for the next rank up neckerchiefs, the parents had to buy the slides.

Outside events like Blue and Gold, were also paid for by the Parents as ours was held at a Country Club, and we got a discounted rate.

I would ask what all of the total fees are including fundraising requirements, before joining any Pack.

I know that some packs do not charge anything above the recharter fees. From my experience this is because of one of two things (or a combination even): 1) They had a number of scouts that sold a LOT of popcorn (or whatever other fundraisers there are) in the past and the pack just has plenty of extra funds. 2) A lot of activities (campouts, activities, pinewood derby, B&G, etc.) are charged based on who is coming, sort of pay-as-you-go.

I know that the two units that I’ve been involved with both have moved from a “we’ll charge per event” to rolling that up to one number and giving it out to everyone at the beginning of the year. As others have mentioned, I would ask both units, “what’s included in the den / administration fees” and "what activities will have additional charges.

My current pack is around $200 after the new cost increase by national and we don’t have a council fee (but I’m guessing that’s coming to us in the near future :slight_smile: ). So, it’s not too far off what I would expect.

Also, if that’s too much for a one-time check from you. Ask to see if they are okay with paying a portion each month. Your pack leadership should be able to accommodate that.

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Interesting how people react. The biggest thing that jumped out at me is the one time administrative fee. I take issue with “administrative fees” when there is no administrative cost.

I also don’t know about the $24 insurance fee and would ask about that since they mention a council fee. It is possible the council is charging that broken apart from their program fee.

Our pack is able to raise most of the money through popcorn sales outside the BSA registration fee. At the same time, I met people from a nearby pack that charges more and found they had lower attrition because the parents put more into the program.

Our fees are something like this for my pack:

BSA Annual Fee per cub ($60 National + $0 Council [varies by council] ) (that extra insurance thing makes no sense? it’s part of the 60.)
• BSA Annual Fee per ADULT LEADER ($36 National)
• Annual den fee $75 per cub includes:

  • 40 for patches and adventures. we lose money on webelos that cost us well more than this.
  • 10 for T-shirt
  • 5 for pinewood derby
  • 15 for den leader to use
  • 5 to cover den leader fee (that 36 above)
  • 5 for our Christmas float

People buy their own:
• Neckerchief/Slide $15 per cub
• Uniform top, belt $45 per cub

  • Fall camp - $10
  • Fall Council event - $25
  • spring Camp - $10
  • Spring Council Event - $25

(summer camps covered by camp card sales)

next year i am adding in $20 for council and an increase to $60 for patches (because 1-2 over achievers and we spend a lot of money out of pocket). So our Den fees will be $115 instead of $75. Or $175 total with BSA fees.

IF they sell popcorn… we give them 100% of the first $600 sold (25% we get as a pack) to cover ALL fees.

Each council has its own separate insurance. Different councils own different properties, which have different insurance needs and fall under different state insurance laws. Councils have the option to purchase additional accident & sickness insurance, etc. They probably also have other insurance needs.

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And now the BSA has raise their cost to cover allthere lawsuits , and you can’t tell me different. Are pack sell popcorn after we pay to Recharter there is nothing left apparently because the person who runs are pack cry’s poor all the time and is parents have to step in and cover any materials you may need for den meetings. And from what I understand if your pack can’t pay what is due when it’s time to recharter guess what you lose your pack numbers and all that history. It’s extortion if you asked me I’m really considering leaving at the end of this year because I’m not going to have my kid stand outside a store to sell popcorn to Bail out the BSA for there bad judgment and contributing toward their lawsuits.