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Membership fees increasing again


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#21 Col. Flagg

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 08:26 AM

$34 to join
$12 for Boys' Life
$xx unit join fee
$xx council add on fee
$30/month for camp outs ($300/year)
$200 for summer camp
$87-$134 for Scout uniform
$74-$357 for adult inform

When BSA actually adds up all the costs to be a Boy Scout and compares that with select sports, they are actually just as expensive as many sports. So their logic for raising fees is a lie. Supply doesn't operate at a loss, it's paid for through cost recovery and profit from sales.

http://www.scoutstuf...s-insignia.html
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#22 T2Eagle

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 08:59 AM

It isn't the cost that bothers me so much, it's the disdain for the members demonstrated by a complete lack of transparency. Show us some respect by just honestly answering your own first two FAQs:
"1. Why are you increasing the membership fee?
2. What is directly contributing to the need for this increase?"

The need to do this cannot be some small change or just across the board cost increases. This is nowhere near any kind of inflation rate. Just tell us honestly: here are the big cost increases that have occurred, and/or here are the big revenue decreases --- even and especially if these changes may seem a little embarrassing or off message. If the costs of lawsuits and insuring against them has gone up (as I've heard) then tell us. If the LDS membership changes are going to result in big revenue declines, tell us. If it's just been bad forecasting and there are cost overruns for things like the Summit or technology tell us that.

But simply being opaque solves none of those problems, does nothing to reassure the members of the quality of stewardship, and frankly strikes me as violating the Scout Law to be Trustworthy. Courteous, and Brave. Probably especially violative of Brave.

Edited by T2Eagle, 04 September 2017 - 09:01 AM.

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#23 CalicoPenn

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:57 PM

 

This is the most "official" message I've seen, so far. https://www.facebook..._location=group

 

While I think Scouts is still a good value, could someone please enlighten me on what exactly registration fees go towards?  Am I correct that NONE of this money is retained by council?  

 

I found this article on the previous increase to $24 which lists out some benefits funded by our fees (with my comments in red).  Please help me understand this. https://blog.scoutin...our-24-get-you/

 

  • Provide liability insurance to registered adult members, local councils, chartered organizations and the national organization (Ok, insurance, but seems like an organization as large as BSA could self-insure.)  The BSA could self-insure but that would be a fools errand.  The majority of claims against the BSA is small scale stuff - a few thousand here, a few thousand there - but enough to add up to significant money.  When there is a claim, of any size, the insurance company takes over - they evaluate the claims, the decide if the claims have enough merit to offer a settlement, they negotiate the settlement terms.  If they decide to deny the claim, they are the ones that go to court if neccessary.  As part of that process, they incur all the costs to evaluate, settle and litigate.  Only in very large losses is it likely that the BSA would have to pony up additional cash.  Most will come from the insurance company whose goal is to keep the payments and expenses on claims lower than the amount of the premiums they've collected.  If the BSA were to self insure, then the BSA is going to have to hire people who have the expertise that the insurance company has to process, settle, negotiate, litigate, etc.  The BSA will have to pay all the settlement amounts out of their operating cash.  Do you really think the BSA could reduce their fees if they self-managed?  They'll still be charging those same fees for insurance - just keeping it so that they can administer it on their own without a loss to operating expenses.
  • Provide technological platforms for the Scouting movement (BSA & Technology aren't usually spoken together in the same sentence   The BSA has a number of web sites - but more importantly, it does training online as well - just about everyone on this board has done at least the online youth protection training.  Perhaps you're still laboring under the assumption that the BSA is still maintaining it's registrations in paper ledgers?  Maybe you're under the impression that the BSA is still doing their banking the old fashioned way?  Ok - maybe you don;t like the tech platforms that you are seeing (and a lot of folks are 20/20 hindsight tech gurus in here it seems) but this is a modern world, and the BSA is part of that - what you see is just the tip of the iceberg that is technological platforms.
  • Provide local councils with program as well as tools for camp and office planning and evaluation, extensive financial counseling, planned giving and fundraising information, and professional personnel support (My mandatory registration fee is used to teach fund raising?  Nothing better for fundraising than mandatory fees)  I have no problem with National training people in the local councils how to do their jobs - including fundraising - do you think a DE right out of college has any real clue how to ask a philnthropist for money?  How to write a grant?  Heck, half of them can barely ask parents effectively for money at FOS presentations.
  • Coordinate a communications network through magazines and literature (handbooks, merit badge pamphlets, brochures, training materials, and professional development training) (We pay directly for handbooks, MB pamphlets, & UofScouting materials, etc..  Why do they need separate fees?)  To keep the costs of the books lower by sharing staff instead of having a separate publishing arm. 
  • Make available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies (Again, we purchase uniforms & equipment.  Why a fee to "make them available"?)  Same again - to keep the costs down by sharing staff as much as possible - we already complain about the high cost of uniforms - do you want them to be even higher?
  • Develop and maintain year-round national high-adventure bases and execute national events (jamborees, National Eagle Scout Association and Order of the Arrow conferences, and National Council meetings) (High-adventure bases, jamborees, and summits that Scouts pay thousands of dollars to attend?)  The biggest reason that Councils aer closing Boy Scout Camps - because they don;t have the money to both operate and maintain the camps.  A summer camp season may barely break even, let alone raise enough money to maintain the camp for an additional 10 months.  The same goes for the high adventure bases - think the costs are out of control now?  Imagine what they woul be if they to into account the annual maintenance budget.
  • Maintain communication with chartered organizations that use the Scouting program (religious institutions, civic organizations, labor unions, professional organizations, business, and industry) (Completely comical.  I know of zero instances where National has communicated with a CO.)   National is rarely going to communicate with local CO's - thats one of the jobs of Councils.  But they are going to be communicating with the national organizations.  They don't talk to individual VFW posts, they talk with the national VFW guys.  When they say they are in talks with the Mormons, that means they are talking to the national leadership in SLC, not the Stake President of Boise.
  • Maintain liaison with Scouting associations in other countries as a member of the World Scout Conference (Sure, but how much exactly does that really cost?)  Fair enough question - I imagine it fluctuates depending on what's on the radar - with the BSA sponsoring an International Jamboree, I imagine its going to be much more than it has the past few years.
  • Set and maintain program standards (e.g., Advancement, health and safety, etc.) to ensure consistency of the brand throughout councils across the country.  (Uh, ok...finally our last bullet actually deals with program development)

 

Could the BSA be more transparent? Sure - I'd especially like it if they would make it easier to find their annual report. 

 

For me, the biggest flag here is that LDS units are exempt.  Why?  Why should they be exempt from the increase? 

 


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#24 Cleveland Rocks

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:06 PM

 

 

  • The BSA could self-insure but that would be a fools errand.  The majority of claims against the BSA is small scale stuff - a few thousand here, a few thousand there - but enough to add up to significant money.  When there is a claim, of any size, the insurance company takes over - they evaluate the claims, the decide if the claims have enough merit to offer a settlement, they negotiate the settlement terms.  If they decide to deny the claim, they are the ones that go to court if neccessary.  As part of that process, they incur all the costs to evaluate, settle and litigate.  Only in very large losses is it likely that the BSA would have to pony up additional cash.  Most will come from the insurance company whose goal is to keep the payments and expenses on claims lower than the amount of the premiums they've collected.  If the BSA were to self insure, then the BSA is going to have to hire people who have the expertise that the insurance company has to process, settle, negotiate, litigate, etc.  The BSA will have to pay all the settlement amounts out of their operating cash.  Do you really think the BSA could reduce their fees if they self-managed?  They'll still be charging those same fees for insurance - just keeping it so that they can administer it on their own without a loss to operating expenses

 

 

 

The BSA is self-insured. That's the reason for this proposed increase: the insurance fund is depleting.

 

Here is the text of what our council sent out regarding this proposed increase:

 

This increase is due to the number and the size of claims made against the General Liability Insurance Plan (GLIP). As a movement we are self-insured, so every time there is claim or litigation the GLIP takes a hit.


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#25 Pale Horse

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:14 PM

The BSA is self-insured. That's the reason for this proposed increase: the insurance fund is depleting.

 

Here is the text of what our council sent out regarding this proposed increase:

 

This increase is due to the number and the size of claims made against the General Liability Insurance Plan (GLIP). As a movement we are self-insured, so every time there is claim or litigation the GLIP takes a hit.

 

Thanks Cleveland. Good to know.  And that's fair, if the actual litigation/settlements are driving increases vs. cost increases of carrying insurance.


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#26 skeptic

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:45 PM

Thanks Cleveland. Good to know.  And that's fair, if the actual litigation/settlements are driving increases vs. cost increases of carrying insurance.

Ideally, that info would be made directly known to all up front.  Since our council adds an insurance fee onto the charter, what is the difference?  Is it simply additional, or does it cover something not covered on the national level?


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#27 ItsBrian

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:47 PM

Ideally, that info would be made directly known to all up front.  Since our council adds an insurance fee onto the charter, what is the difference?  Is it simply additional, or does it cover something not covered on the national level?


Maybe the extra fee your Council is charging will be gone now due to the National rise?
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#28 Cleveland Rocks

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:16 PM

Many councils have insurance in addition to National's that they charge extra for. On another forum I read someone say that their council charges an additional $25/year for their insurance.
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#29 ItsBrian

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 04:06 PM

Many councils have insurance in addition to National's that they charge extra for. On another forum I read someone say that their council charges an additional $25/year for their insurance.

Wow.. that's a lot. I don't see the need for that if National has insurance built into the dues?


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#30 sierracharliescouter

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 12:32 AM

Many councils have insurance in addition to National's that they charge extra for. On another forum I read someone say that their council charges an additional $25/year for their insurance.

 

That sounds like the amount they charge an individual unit. Our council charges $1 per registered youth toward their insurance.


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#31 Snow Owl

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 06:26 AM

@Snow Owl  My troop has always collected dues the calendar year. I haven't heard of many troops around me that follow the academic year.

 So you collect dues in January not Sept or Aug?


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#32 Snow Owl

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 06:33 AM

$34 to join
$12 for Boys' Life
$xx unit join fee
$xx council add on fee
$30/month for camp outs ($300/year)
$200 for summer camp
$87-$134 for Scout uniform
$74-$357 for adult inform

When BSA actually adds up all the costs to be a Boy Scout and compares that with select sports, they are actually just as expensive as many sports. So their logic for raising fees is a lie. Supply doesn't operate at a loss, it's paid for through cost recovery and profit from sales.

http://www.scoutstuf...s-insignia.html

 

I have posted a similar argument several times.  The total cost for scouting is just as high as other activities.  I'm not saying its not worth it but that BSA needs to stop using that argument.  From a schools prospective, looking at programs, Scouting has a high indirect cost.  leaders, leader training, uniforms, handbooks etc.  It is not like the scout paying the fee is the only cost.

 

And the notion that they can easily raise the money by selling popcorn is another ridiculous argument.  That is akin to saying the Mercedes is not expensive, you just need a better paying job.

 

BSA is top heavy, way too many paid professionals.  I would happily pack our SEs boxes for him and load it into the moving van :)


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#33 fred johnson

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 08:54 AM

It would be nice to see the adult fee drop -
even if the youth fee had to rise a little more. At some point it will be hard to ask adults for the money to volunteer.

 

I hugely agree with this.  when the fee went from $15 to $24, our pack revisited our budget.  To make the numbers work, our pack changed adult rechartering practices because the pack pays the cost and the adults mostly didn't care.  Specifically, the pack only rechartered the bare minimum committee members (committee chair plus 1 ??).  Direct contact adult leaders were reduced to CM, ACM and DL.  No more rechartering assistant den leaders.  So while the cost went up to $24, our pack cost was about the same or even lessened a few dollars.  

 

We did the same at the troop level.  Best thing we ever did.

 

The sad part is we have fewer adult leaders getting BSA info and chasing BSA training.  


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#34 fred johnson

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:28 AM

The total cost for scouting is just as high as other activities.

Absolutely true.  At one point , I had four sons concurrently in scouting.  It was bleeding me dry.  I remember seeing my cost at about $7500 per year.

 

Right now, I only have two active sons in scouts as the others aged out.  I project my explicit cost right now at $2500 per year for them.  That includes splitting cost of one high adventure and several moderate adventures over the term of their membership.  Add another $1000 for indirect costs (spending money, patches, trinkets, tenting equipment and supplies).  Plus, another $1000 for being a committed leader (training, meetings, pulling trailer, lots of expenses not reimbursed).

 

I'd project our family cost every year is about $5000 right now.  

 

Now if we were not doing scouts, we would do an extra vacation or more incidental travel or other items.  So cumulatively scouts probably adds an extra $3500 of cost per year.  


Edited by fred johnson, 05 September 2017 - 09:39 AM.

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#35 qwazse

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:30 AM

...

The sad part is we have fewer adult leaders getting BSA info and chasing BSA training.  

The reduction in paid adults no doubt added to the increase.


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#36 fred johnson

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:50 AM

The reduction in paid adults no doubt added to the increase.

 

Absolutely direct connection.  It costs unit more to charter them.  So we don't charter them.  So they don't commit to training and background checks and ....


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#37 Eagledad

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:06 AM

It isn't the cost that bothers me so much, it's the disdain for the members demonstrated by a complete lack of transparency. Show us some respect by just honestly answering your own first two FAQs:
"1. Why are you increasing the membership fee?
2. What is directly contributing to the need for this increase?"

 

This pretty much is normal operation for National. We only need to refer to the coed change discussions to find ourselves reflecting on the same thought. In fact, where is the transparency for any changes pushed on the membership. Is there any method for volunteer members to hold professionals at National accountable. Maybe they come up with some of these ideas at the water cooler or coffee pot. I would like to know that my opinion on their performance counts.

 

Barry


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#38 CNYScouter

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:34 AM

This morning my council posted the notice about YPT and registration increase and the grumbling has already started.

Last year when National registration increased my council also increased the insurance cost from $1.80 per scout/leader to $10 per. They also added a “resource” fee of $24 to each registration to bring thetotal to $60. The resource fee was to pay for the DE salary increase due the federal regulations.

I know a lot of long-time scouters who dropped from the program due to this big jump. Most of these were Scouters who stayed in the program when their sons aged out and would help out once or twice a year.  I think with another increase this close together a lot more will drop the program.

I also think these increases are going to greatly reduce the number of new scouts just because of the cost. The area where I live is still losing jobs and population in general and I don’t see it getting any better.


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#39 skeptic

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:57 AM

Obliquely related.  I know that certain BSA costs, uniforming for adults, gas and travel expense, and mandatory fees, such as the adult registration, are tax deductions.  Do the groups with whom the comparison is made also get similar deductions?  For most of us the deduction is not large enough to make a tax reduction, especially over a certain age when the personal exemptions are doubled.  They did make a difference 15 years ago or more, at least for me.  


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#40 ItsBrian

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 11:40 AM

I also think these increases are going to greatly reduce the number of new scouts just because of the cost. The area where I live is still losing jobs and population in general and I don’t see it getting any better.


Yeah, honestly mostly the long-time volunteers and adult volunteers I think will stop due to the increase, rather than new scouts.
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