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Why so much?! And different amongst packs

Robert, two things:

First, Popcorn Sales money does not go to National BSA. All money raised for scouting, 73%, stays with local scouting. Percentages may vary between vendors; these are for Trails End.

  • 27% goes to the vendor to pay for the popcorn
  • 35%ish goes to the unit whose scouts sold it
  • 38%ish goes to the council which pays for prizes, printing, etc.

Side note - I do not do storefront sales with my grandkids. We do door to door in their neighborhood. We get better results per hour and we get to choose which hours we go.

Second, folks on here and elsewhere have said that current insurance timing and costs are the driving force behind the cost increase. It would make no sense for National BSA to lie about what the increase is to be applied toward. The bad PR created in such a scenario, when the truth came out, would be much worse than telling the truth now.

Best wishes for your scouting, may it be fun and personally rewarding,

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@DougWright - thank you for that as the post was most likely meant for another thread. Each of us make the program work for each other. If he wants to move on and deny a child of the potential of scouting then so be it.

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My Tiger liked going door to door. My only beef with it is that it took us forever to get our popcorn for delivery. I am tempted to push for sales via the App while going door to door, but I don’t know if using a card would make people less likely to purchase something.

@RobertGreenstreet - thank you for your post, but this is not an airport so no need to announce your departure. Beyond that, if your child had fun in scouting, then you are hurting them and do find a good explanation of why that will no longer happen beyond that reflect upon your post and decision.

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I want to give you a break down of our pack located in TX:
• BSA Annual Fee $122 per cub ($60 National + $0 Council + $62 Pack)
• BSA Annual Fee $0 per Adult (Pack pays fees for Adult Leaders) Thanks for the Help!!!
• Annual den fee $0 per cub (We do not do Den Dues)
• Pack One Time Administration Registration Fee $0
• Activity Uniform (t shirt) $15 per adult (optional)- $0 per Cub ($15 replacement)
• Total for 1 adult + 2 cubs is $244 (not including the actual uniforms)

If you question the cost of the higher costing pack then you should ask them? Personally I think they are very right on for cost. When I added up the cost of the belt loops and patches (all) for one rank it was over 120. That covered every patch that we get, all belt loops, book, etc.
The other pack that only charged the national fee, you will find that they will be asking for month throughout the month I would assume. Every campout, outing, and maybe even awards are going to be out of your pocket. You really need to ask more question on both packs to see what they cover in regards to outings and campouts. $635 seems like a lot but if you look in to other sports its really right in the same ball park as travel soccer, football, and hockey .

As others have pointed out it depends on what is included but $636 seems like a correct ballpark for 2 cubs and 1 adult for what I expect is a pretty robust program. I question the $50 registration fee though, that doesn’t seem appropriate for cub scouts.

Our annual rate is almost $200 per cub, and next year I expect it will be higher due to added Council costs. But we include all the awards, insignia, neckerchief/slide, regatta boat, model rocket and engines, pinewood derby, annual blue and gold dinner with a magic show, spring bbq and so on. The only items we don’t cover in that fee are the camping trip food costs of $25 per person, park admissions fees for group museum trips, and the uniform/handbook. We are also understaffed and don’t do much fundraising unfortunately.

I expect that Packs with lower costs have more per event fees so as others have suggested talk with the leaders. Most are parents like you and would be happy to discuss.

Remember, recharter fees cover the calendar year. So my guess is that much of this “registration” fee goes towards pro-rated national/council fees to cover the first few months a scout is registered. For example, to cover September to December (4 months) the registration cost could conceivably be $120 *4/12 = $40.

Tack on an initial neckerchief (which in my Pack we give out at the end of the year, but ask new scouts to buy on their own when they join), and you have $50.

I’m guessing that one-time fee may cover the first half-year. As cub scout’s start in June and that annual fee probably covers January-December. My council charges $95 per scout for the year including the National fees. We usually cover leader fees at $60 per year to the council. So our pack fees have to pay that. We also include blue and gold banquet and food on the Cuboree for the cubs in our pack dues. Depending on what is included that is about right. The cost per scout is somewhere around $300 a year.

So you have to be careful comparing what someone else’s pack charged last year versus what it charges now, and it’s also possible that the pack you’re looking at has an up-front “package” that covers almost everything, while some other pack has a low up-front cost but will ask for other payments in the middle of the year.

It’s also possible for a chartered organization to subsidize the pack (in fact, pack leader training says the CO should “support” the pack; not just “authorize” it by signing the registration once a year, and not even just by providing meeting-space).

I was a boy in LDS units, and I have been on the committees of a couple of LDS units. While those charters are all ending at the end of this year, I’ve heard of units chartered by fraternal organizations that have a similar cost to participants: the chartered organization donates the cost of each boy’s registration, and a budget sufficient to otherwise run an annual program. Boys’ families are responsible for purchasing books, uniforms, etc., directly from the Scout Shop.

Then there are ScoutReach units, Council-sponsored (including paid employees as den leaders), where (picking another council at random): “There is no cost to the School District or its contracted agencies to deliver an after school scouting program. Boys can participate in weekly meetings and activities free of charge.”

My daughter attends a pack chartered by her school’s PTO. Last year dues were $85 per scout, $25 per leader, of which $32 to National, $1 to Council (insurance), book included (but Council gave a free book to new registrants), race kits (all three) included, badges and sundry den supplies included, 2 campouts (pot-luck food for the second); but they also raised several thousand dollars from popcorn sales, and started the year with a comfortable surplus from the prior year’s fundraising and thrifty program. This year they raised dues slightly and are looking at ending with a razor-thin balance at the end: $90 per scout, $25 per leader, of which $60/$36 to National, $12 to Council, and popcorn sales are down something like 40%. The pack won’t decide officially until next fall, but will probably raise dues again, even if National and Council have no fee increases next year.

But the fees you quote do look “generous”. If you’re affiliated with the CO or already paid the fees and are registered, you would have every right to look at the treasurer’s report and the financial records, and ask where that money goes.

If you’re looking for more data, here’s our pack’s funding model.

We charge $60 for annual dues (this was before the fee increase this year) and ask every scout to sell a certain amount of popcorn to cover the entire program. If you don’t want to sell popcorn, you can opt-out by paying a fee equivalent to the after-commission cost of the minimum sales requirement.

Our pack is all-inclusive, so families only pay for uniforms and summer camp. If we sell enough popcorn, we might subsidize some of camp too (and we use camp cards for that). Our cost per scout is just over $200/yr, including all of the advancement items, patches, Boys Life, derby kits, trophies, campsite fees, blue and gold, promotion neckerchiefs, arrows of light gifts, etc. Popcorn fuels it all. Some years we have super sellers who want the iPad or whatever, so we built up a pad that helps us absorb costs like this year’s fee increase.

With the fee increase, we might have to increase our dues. Our dues are always higher than the national fee because it also pays for adults, whom we don’t charge to register. We made a video to explain it to our families - search youtube for Pack 680.

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Our council fees are $89/$69 for adults (prorated to change the recharter calendar for 2020)
That’s national + council
Parents pay this separately.

Then we’ve charged $100 in pack dues the past two years, which can be paid for through popcorn fundraising to a certain dollar amount. Every year the goal is to minimize that amount as much as possible, hoping to drop it down around $75 next year.

We don’t include a lot in this cost, it mainly covers supplies and badges and we’ve been purposefully building up a reusable supply collection so each year we’re getting ahead.

What we don’t do is expect parents to bring everything. Like for Bear we have knives the pack owns so parents don’t need to buy one for this meeting. We don’t do arts and crafts over and over with consumables, instead we have a giant jenga set I made out of 1x3 boards and cut myself as a one time purchase of ~$10. I bought 2000 popcycle sticks because they’ll last for years. They make a great recruitment night activity. Repeat that for so many activities and that’s what our dues go for.

I might roll in a pack tshirt and keep the number higher but I probably will try to keep mandatory costs down to keep the program affordable. A pack tshirt isn’t required to have fun.