Fees to rise again

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America has announced another in what has become an annual increase in membership fees.

Effective August 1, 2021, the fee for an individual Scout in traditional programs (Cub Scouts, ScoutsBSA and Venturing) along with Sea Scouting will increase from $66 to $72. Adult volunteers and those in the Exploring program will see a rise from $42 to $45. The one-time joining fee will remain at $25, and the annual charter fee stays at $75. BSA has provided an infographic explaining the new fee structure.

The three-year fee increase progression was not unanticipated. We were aware of the plan to step up fees through 2021, though it would not be official until approved by the National Annual Meeting. The National Council continues to assert that increased fees are not being used to offset abuse claims and litigation underway or to fund a victims’ compensation trust. However, the liabilities that the ongoing legal action and the bankruptcy case have created cause the organization to experience dramatic increases in insurance costs for everyday business operations.

Local councils can also impose fees for activities, programs, operations and insurance up to the amount of the national fee, meaning that your council can add as much as $72 to each Scout’s annual registration. Our council has been adding a $60 fee, but in return, units receive free campsite rentals at council camps among other bonuses, and we no longer conduct a unit-by-unit Family Friends of Scouting campaign. Check with your Unit Commissioner or Unit-Serving Executive if you need clarification.

Cub Scout packs especially will want to take note of the fees, which take effect prior to the traditional September recruiting season. Parents will want to know the cost of the program, so be sure to include the new registration fee and the joining fee, any fees your council charges, and any activity fees your unit charges (plus the customary uniforms and handbooks) to come up with the total number. And remember that since your charter renewal happens in the middle of your program year, you’ll want to include next year’s fees as well. And ScoutPay is available for families that want to spread out some of the payments.

Scouting is getting more expensive, just like everything else, but it still provides a great value and is still the premier youth program as it combines the fun and adventure of Scouting with the values of the Oath and Law.  Plus, it’s a year-round program, unlike seasonal camps and most sports. Importantly, it provides youth the opportunity to learn how to work with others, chart their own course, learn about new interests, and take charge and lead, giving them a head start when it comes to the challenges they’ll face in adulthood. Everyone who has been a Scouter for some time can give you examples of young people – their own children included – who have benefited from the lessons learned in Scouting. (I’d go on about my sons, but I like to limit my articles to around 500 words.)

So, plan ahead, be prepared, and start the new Scouting year stronger than ever.

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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