You may have already received word from your council, but in case you haven’t heard – be prepared to shell out a few more dollars soon.
The National Council has announced that effective December 1, 2017, the registration fee for all members of the Boy Scouts of America, from Cub Scout to adult, will increase to $33 annually from the current $24.
While this won’t impact those who join this fall, pretty much everyone will be affected at recharter time. And since many units, particularly Cub Scout packs, collect registration fees for next year in the fall, the nine dollar increase may throw off pack budgets that have already been established, along with fees that packs are charging.
The usual reasons – higher costs – are given for the increase, such as for technology, administration and insurance, but the BSA reminds us that Scouting is still very affordable when compared with many other youth programs.
If your pack is one of those that has already set your registration fees for next year – and is possibly even collecting them – you’ll have to figure out how to account for another $9 times the number of Scouts. If it’s not too late, you might consider bumping your fee up to cover the increased cost – otherwise you’ll have to make it up some other way, such as from popcorn sales or cutting back somewhere else.
Although it’s collected by your council, the registration fee is forwarded directly to the National Council, and does not include the Boys’ Life subscription or your council’s insurance charge. LDS units are affected differently, as are units where the council pays the fees. Check with your council registrar or district executive to find out more.
Three other big changes were also announced:
- Youth Protection Training is now required for registration. Many councils were already requiring evidence of completing Youth Protection Training before a new adult registration could be accepted, but the National Council is now mandating this. As of September 1, they will not accept for registration any adult who does not include the YPT certificate with their registration. Council registrars won’t be able to override the YPT requirement, and the national office won’t accept a registration or renewal for any adult whose YPT is not current. (Get ahead of this in time for rechartering.)
- All adults at summer camp must be registered. In the past, a parent of a Scout could camp with the troop, subject to local requirements such as completing YPT or being cleared by the state’s human services central registry. Beginning in 2018, however, any adult who accompanies a troop to a long-term (over 72 hours) resident camp or other activity (such as high adventure) must be registered with the BSA, even if they are the parent of a Scout on the trip. This is to allow the BSA to conduct the criminal background check and for the chartered organization to explicitly approve of the adult. They can be registered with the unit in any of the positions available, including Assistant Scoutmaster, committee member or Unit Scouter Reserve. The latter is preferred if the adult has no other responsibilities with the troop – but if you have vacancies on your committee, this might be a good way to bolster it.
- Internet Rechartering is improved. I haven’t seen too many specifics, but the new rechartering process is more in line with the tools available at my.scouting.org. Most of us have suffered with the previous Internet rechartering system, including its reliance on a specific browser to complete some of the steps. If the new system is like the other current tools, it’ll work with a variety of modern browsers including Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It’ll also include many convenience improvements such as allowing electronic authorization and online payment.
If you have any questions about these changes, be sure to talk with your Scouting professional.
Image: Sira Anamwong / freedigitalphotos.net