National BSA Membership Fee Increase

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:45:00 PM

For more than 100 years, Scouting has helped build future leaders by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun and adventure in the outdoors. At Boy Scouts of America, we are dedicated to developing leaders of character by preparing young men and women for life by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The timeless ideals of the Scout Law, such as being trustworthy, helpful, kind and brave, make up the foundation young people need to address and overcome challenges in their lives and the issues facing their generation.

Here in the Sam Houston Area Council, Scouting serves more than 46,000 youth in 16 counties. Now as BSA continues the Scouting mission, it is important that to keep pace with an ever-changing world. While costs to the organization have increased every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance that we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level we have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically. BSA has kept the registration cost low to make Scouting available to as many young people as possible but keeping the cost artificially low for many years now magnifies the impact of changes.

To ensure that BSA has the resources to fulfill the promise of Scouting, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has made the difficult but necessary decision to increase the annual membership fee effective January 1, 2020 to:

  • $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts,
  • $36 for youth members in Exploring, and
  • $36 for adult members
  • $60 for unit charter fees

The Sam Houston Area Council does not receive any portion of these registration fees. Every dollar of the national membership fee will go toward the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, program resources, safety standards, youth protection and personal safety training, and services to councils nationwide to sustain Scouting. The National organization will also continue to develop and improve resources that support our volunteers and youth members such as online registration, Member Care and Scoutbook, which now includes the Den Leader experience to ensure the safe and consistent delivery of Cub Scouting; as well as improvements aimed at simplifying the annual renewal process.

Across the country and in our own community, we know that Scouting remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow. From once-in-a-lifetime adventures to merit badges that spark interests and future careers; from campouts under the stars to service projects that leave a lasting impact on our communities; Scouting’s year-round program expands horizons and provides young people with a safe and welcoming place to learn, grow, and thrive.

Thank you for your continued role in empowering a generation of future leaders of character through Scouting programs.

Questions

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:        Why are the fees increasing now?

A:         While costs increase every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible to make Scouting available to as many young people as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. As the organization’s financial situation has shifted over the past several months, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level we have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically.

Q:        Does this apply to youth members and volunteers?

A:         Yes, the new fees apply for youth and adult members renewing their membership in 2020. Effective January 1, 2020, the new fees are:

  • $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts (this is an increase from $33),
  • $36 for youth members in Exploring (this is an increase from $24), and
  • $36 for adult members (includes cost of background check and Scouting Magazine) (this is an increase from $33)
  • $60 for unit charter fee (this is an increase from $40)

Q:        Is Scouting still a good value?

A:         Absolutely! At $5 a month Scouting is a tremendous value. While most extracurricular activities are seasonal, Scouting is a year-round program that remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow. 

Q:        What will the money be used for?

A:         Every dollar of membership fees will go to cover the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for members participating in approved Scouting activities, background checks for adult leaders, program development and training resources, continuously updated youth protection and youth safety training, improved IT/digital experiences and services to our councils nationwide.

Q:        Is this increase being implemented to cover the cost of the additional background checks?

A:         No, the cost of background checks is not the prompting the fee increase.

Q:        Why is this being announced now?

A:         We recognize the timing of this fee increase creates challenges as units have already begun collecting fees for their 2020 registration renewal process, and BSA would not make this difficult decision if it were not absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the cost of liability insurance we must carry to cover all Scouting activities has increased dramatically over the past several months, and the organization is no longer able to offset the cost of insurance. BSA is making necessary adjustments to the online rechartering system to ensure units can carry out the recharter process.

Q:        Does this increase cover financial challenges the organization is facing?

A:         The increase was prompted because the cost of liability insurance we must carry to cover all Scouting activities has increased dramatically over the past several months, and the organization is no longer able to offset the cost of insurance.

Q:        When will this increase take effect?

A:         The new membership fees will take effect starting January 1, 2020. In the Sam Houston Area Council, all units recharter in December and therefore will need to pay the updated fee structure for the upcoming recharter that is due December 15, 2019.

Q:        Any suggestions to help alleviate challenges with the new increase?

A:         Yes. Here are a few:

  • Continue to sell Popcorn via the online sale and take order sale.
  • We are securing vendors to have a successful Scout Fair Coupon Books sale which will begin in late January for unit fundraising.
  • Determine if a quarterly dues structure for your families might be more convenient.
  • Revisit your unit budget to make sure fees align with actual costs.
  • Inform families now that an additional fee will be due.

Q:        The Sam Houston Area Council recently announced an increase from $1 to $3 to cover insurance. Does this change mean that fee is no longer necessary?

A:         No, the liability insurance that we need to carry for all Scouting activities at the national level is different from local fees that are collected to address local needs. The SHAC charge of $3 per member covers additional insurance carried for all of our Scouts and leaders, including the Accident & Sickness insurance policy.

Q:        What measures has the national organization taken to offset the financial challenges?

A:         In addition to ongoing efforts to streamline and simplify the organization, the national organization has taken a number of steps in addressing its financial challenges, including the recent elimination of more than 35 positions at the National Service Center and ongoing consolidation of departments for the most effective utilization of resources in support of Scouting.

Q:        Will the national membership fee continue to increase?

A:         Although no decision about future increases have been made, the cost of operating our organization and services increases every year. Should it be necessary to increase fees in the future, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has agreed to evaluate the needs and make such decisions, whenever possible, at the National Annual Meeting in May or early in the summer so that they can be announced with as much lead time as possible to allow for councils and units to be able to plan accordingly. 

 

Questions

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

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