BSA membership fee increase

Across the country, millions of Scouts rely on support from the National Boy Scouts of America to provide the world-class programming and training that makes Scouting the nation's foremost youth program.

The National BSA is funded directly by the membership fee you pay when you register to be a Scout or leader. In order to maintain their support of local Scouting, the national organization has announced an increase in their annual membership fee from $15 to $24 effective January 1, 2014.  We want to share the rationale for the change and its timing.

In a letter to Scouting professionals, Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock explained the reasoning behind the increase.  “First, I want to make clear that the Boy Scouts of America maintains a strong financial position,” he wrote. “In order to continue to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program, it is occasionally necessary to increase membership fees so that we can offset rising administrative costs.” These costs are in the areas of support to local councils that include technology, liability insurance, communications, program development/standards/supplies, and national high-adventure bases/events. As you know, the membership fee is collected locally, but transmitted to the National Office to pay these costs.

The BSA’s last fee increase — to $15 from $10 — was in 2010, and since then, the organization has taken steps to control and reduce costs. But “administrative costs have continued to rise faster than projected,” Brock wrote. “As always, our focus is to build the future leaders of this country by combining adventure, educational activities and lifelong values. The fee increase is a step we must take in order to continue providing the services you and our members expect and need.”

The National BSA Executive Board appointed a special committee in May to thoroughly review current and future budget needs. The August 30 fee increase announcement was the result of their recommendation which was approved by the BSA Executive Committee.

WHAT DOES YOUR $24 BUY?

What exactly does your $24 annual fee pay for? And how does that $24 fee compare to other youth organizations and activities?

Simply put, the Boy Scouts of America National Council provides program materials and support for 280 local councils that administer the Scouting program, with each covering a specific geographic area. To be more specific, the following are the key functions of the national council:

  • Provide liability insurance to registered adult members, local councils, chartered organizations and the national organization
  • Provide technological platforms for the Scouting movement
  • 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
  • Coordinate a communications network through magazines and literature (handbooks, merit badge pamphlets, brochures, training materials, and professional development training)
  • Make available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies
  • 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)
  • Maintain communication with chartered organizations that use the Scouting program (religious institutions, civic organizations, labor unions, professional organizations, business, and industry)
  • Maintain liaison with Scouting associations in other countries as a member of the World Scout Conference
  • Set and maintain program standards (e.g., Advancement, health and safety, etc.) to ensure consistency of the brand throughout councils across the country.

WHAT FEES DO OTHER YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS CHARGE?

Scouting’s a steal. That $24 a year works out to $2 a month or roughly 6.5 cents a day.

Look at what you’ll pay for other youth activities. Here’s a small sampling. Note: The costs in bold are just the fee to join and don’t include equipment, travel costs, uniforms, etc.

  • Tackle football, $140: In Plano, Texas, second- through sixth-graders who play tackle football pay $140 for a three-month season. That fee doesn’t include equipment.
  • Youth orchestra, $1,000: Members of the prestigious Los Angeles Youth Orchestra pay $1,000 annually and must buy their own instruments.
  • Soccer, $400: In Cleveland, youth soccer players age 15 to 18 pay $400 a season, plus $135 for uniforms.
  • Youth basketball, $500: In Queens, N.Y., boys age 8 to 13 pay $500 a year, not including uniforms.
  • 4-H Program, $25: Participants of the 4-H Program in College Station, Texas, pay $25 a year, not including fees for individual activities.

The annual membership fee is the only direct cost from the National BSA to youth and adult members. All other services from the National BSA are without additional charge. Scouting remains the best value among the many activities your family could choose to take part in. Even with this fee increase, it only costs $2 per month to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime adventures and leadership development programs you can only find in Scouting.

At $2 per month, Scouting continues to be a great investment compared to other choices, providing unique, life-enriching experiences that develop leadership, character, citizenship and fitness. This change will put Scouting in an even stronger position to continue to be a positive influence in all our communities.

As always, our focus is to build the leaders of this country by combining adventure, educational activities, and lifelong values. This fee increase ensures that the National BSA will be able to continue providing the excellent services you and your family count on - and will make sure that we can continue doing great things for the young people and communities we serve.

For questions about the National BSA membership fee, please check with your unit commissioner or District Executive.

 

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