As a young Scout I always enjoyed participating on hikes and other outdoor activities. I remember each time mowing lawns and doing other odd jobs to earn the money to go. While it was not easy, I knew that if I was to go to the activity, I had to make it happen.
Over the years as a Scoutmaster (twice), Venture leader (twice) and Varsity coach (twice), I have seen changes in what I refer to as the funding operations of Scouting. It has been a blessing to now have a more uniform way of how activities and the overall program funding functions.
The Church provides wise guidelines in Handbook 2, making it possible for all young boys to have the opportunity to learn, grow and develop key life skills.
I recall having a parent come to me with concern over the cost of the Scouting program. The uniform, outings, camps and other fun activities he knew his son would love to do were just not within his reach. Yet, this parent understood the benefit his son would gain by learning many important lessons that would help him throughout his life. Well, with the help of a good community and solid neighbors, this young boy was able to earn his own money.
There was another boy, whose parents took the approach that, the Church and Scouting “owed” their son the same privileges as others. In this case, the boy had no support or encouragement from parents to find ways to earn what was needed. This is where a great Scout committee came into action. Several adults in the ward took turns working with the parents and their son in a very meaningful and positive manner.
Just like your own personal household budget has an occasional challenge to make ends meet, so does running a good Scouting program. In a ward or branch where you may have more Cubs than Scouts, or more young women than young men, making a program work as we all want is sometimes just not possible. Adjustments are necessary and such adjustments do not have to lessen the “good” in anything you have planned.
As your deacons quorum presidency, troop youth leadership, Scouting committee and Scout adult leaders prepare your calendar, you also prepare a budget. This is reviewed with the bishopric. Once approved, you are prepared to visit with parents and boys. Doing this, a young boy and his family will know well in advance of any camp or other special activity how much “he” is responsible for. No family will ever have to help their boy come up with the needed money for camp in 2-3 weeks.
The other important element of a solid Scouting program is that of supporting Friends of Scouting. When families, neighbors and communities see the benefits of Scouting for their boys, getting everyone involved in supporting local council camps and other needs is not a problem. Again, boys, parents, leaders, and Scout committee members are all involved as they reach out to neighbors and the community to make Scouting even stronger .
Important guidelines for financing youth activities include: (Handbook 2 – 8.13.7; 13.2.8; 13.2.9; 13.6.8; Scouting Handbook, 8.15)
Activities should be simple and have little or no cost. Expenditures must be approved by the stake presidency or bishopric before they are incurred.
- Stake and ward budget funds should be used to pay for all activities, programs, and supplies. Members should not pay fees to participate. Nor should they provide materials, supplies, or long-distance transportation at their own expense.
- If the ward budget does not have sufficient funds to pay for one annual extended Scout camp or similar activity, leaders may ask participants to pay for part or all of it.
- If funds from participants are not sufficient, a stake president or bishop may authorize one group fund- raising activity each year for the following purposes only: a) To help pay the cost of one annual camp or similar activity and b) to help purchase equipment that the unit needs for annual camps.
- If a fund-raising activity is held, it should provide a meaningful value or service. The activity should not advertise or solicit beyond the stake or ward boundaries nor sell commercially produced or packaged goods or services door to door. It should be a positive experience that builds unity.
- In no case should the expenses or travel for an annual camp or similar activity be excessive. Nor should the lack of personal funds prohibit a member from participating.
- Voluntary contributions may be accepted from families of young men and boys of other faiths participating in Scouting activities (see Scouting Handbook 8.17).As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints follow the funding guidelines, outlined in Handbook 2, and invite parents and guardians to be involved, our boys will have experiences that will benefit them throughout their lives.
~Contributed by Paul Jackson, Executive Secretary to the Young Men General Presidency