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. We care passionately about what is happening to Scouts and our communities – and are dedicated to supporting an exciting, quality program that builds better young people and our future leaders.
As we continue the Scouting mission, it is important that we keep pace with an ever-changing world. To ensure Scouting has the resources to support our mission, National BSA has decided to change the National Annual Membership Fee.
What does the National BSA Membership fee cover?
Every dollar of the national membership fee goes directly to National BSA 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.
Why is the National BSA Membership fee increasing?
While costs to the organization have increased every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the National BSA Annual Membership Fee as low as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level National BSA has in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased significantly. Costs continue to increase to fund program curriculum and safety standards, training, Youth Protection resources, criminal background checks, technology upgrades, and especially insurance coverage.
This increase will get the National BSA fee more in line with the true cost of Scouting.
What is the new fee and does it apply to youth members and volunteers?
Here are the new national fee amounts:
- $72 for youth in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouting
- $45 for youth in Exploring
- $45 for adult members in all programs
- $75 for a unit charter fee
There is also a one-time $25 joining fee for new program participants in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts.
Does this increase cover financial challenges National BSA is facing?
The increase was prompted mostly because the cost of liability insurance the BSA must carry to cover all Scouting activities has increased significantly, but it also covers program development and training resources, continuously updated youth protection and youth safety training, and improved IT/digital experiences.
Is Scouting still a good value?
Absolutely! While most extracurricular activities are seasonal, Scouting is a year-round program and 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. For most of our youth members, the new registration fee amounts to $5 a month, which is an enormous value when you consider that many seasonal extracurricular activities often start at $100 for programs that last a few weeks.
For reference, the fees below are samples of other children’s programs in Metro-St. Louis.
- 3 months of sports $165
- 4 months of chess $240
- 10 months of dance $700
- 12 months of music lessons $1,800
It is also important to note that while there is an increase in the National BSA Annual Membership Fee, the remaining costs of Scouting should remain the same.
Why is this happening now?
Costs continue to increase to fund program curriculum and safety standards, training, Youth Protection resources, criminal background checks, technology upgrades and especially insurance coverage. Since our units recharter in December and our schools start in early August, we understand that the timing of this announcement is difficult.
Who was guiding the process regarding Membership Fee changes?
A National BSA vision team of volunteers and staff from across the country worked to identify viable options and closely considered the best way forward as they evaluated the growing cost of delivering Scouting.
Any suggestions to help alleviate challenges with the new increase?
A committee of experienced Pack and Troop leaders put together suggestions to help assist with challenges a fee increase may cause.
- Continue to sell Popcorn and Camp Cards.
- 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 an additional fee will be due, and you will notify them in early November of the amount.
What if a family cannot afford the increase?
The Greater St. Louis Area Council is committed to ensuring that all youth can experience the character-building benefits of Scouting regardless of their financial situation. Based on financial needs, registration assistance will be available. Please contact your District Professional for more information.
Download a copy of this infographic here.