The Scoutmaster’s Corner:
“A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.” ~ Boy Scout Handbook. 12th Edition
I love to hear stories of Scouts who work hard to pay their own way for Scouting activities. I often hear great stories about a Scout who offers to mow the lawn to help raise money for a weekend trip. I have even heard of Scouts opening a small business to help fund an expensive high adventure trip like Alaska or Philmont. Paying your own way is an important part of being thrifty.
Boys (and their parents) who have recently joined Scouts realize early on how quickly the cost of Scouting can add up. The uniform, the camping gear, the trips and many other miscellaneous supplies. But Scouting also offers the opportunity to teach responsibility and to teach a Scout how to be thrifty. Parents can work with their sons to determine an appropriate level of participation. Maybe the Scout should pay for 1/2 the trips or do one extra job around the house every time he wants to go camping. Parents: Give your son the opportunity to raise some or all of the cost of trips. Scouts: Show that Scouts is important to you by offering to help pay the cost. Both of you can work together to determine what is appropriate for your family.
Our Troop has two formal opportunities to help pay for Scouting. Wreath and Garland sales which we have just wrapped up and Luminaria distribution which will kick off in December. Both give a Scout the opportunity to work to pay his way in Scouting. Wreath sales has the added benefit of allowing Scouts to “bank” funds to pay for trips and Scouting related expenses. This is why I think it is important for EVERY SCOUT to participate in these two fund raisers. Not only do you gain important skills which serve you later in life such as cold calls, salesmanship, responsibility, and time management; but you also live up to the expectations of the Scout Law by being thrifty I have often heard Ms. Dragon relate that her son knew EXACTLY how many wreaths he needed to sell to pay for 1/2 of summer camp (their financial agreement) and he would reach that goal every year. This kind of responsibility, goal setting, and goal achievement is exactly what we want to foster in Scouting.
Before I leave the topic of being thrifty, I want to acknowledge that paying for your Scout activities may be difficult or impossible for you. Rest assured that the Troop has provisions for that very situation. If you need help paying for a trip please speak with myself, Mr. Battle or Mr. Miller. We can confidentially allocate money so you can get all the benefits that Scouting has to offer in an outdoor program. The Troop has set aside funds to help pay for trips for boys who could not otherwise afford them. We never want money to be a reason that you do not go camping.
Being thrifty may mean being creative to figure out ways that you can pay your own way, and save for unforeseen needs. If you have not done so already, work out an agreement between Scout and Parent as to HOW (not if) the Scout will contribute to the cost of Scouting in a way that fits your family.
William Schmidt, Scoutmaster – Troop 204