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 Exploring youth and adult members. Effective January 1, 2020, the new fees are:
- $36 for youth members in Exploring, and
- $36 for adult members (includes cost of background check and Scouting Magazine)
- $60 for unit charter fees
Q: Are there increases in other programs of the Boy Scouts of America?
A: Yes, the fee increase for other membership fees for 2020 are:
- $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouts
- $36 for adult members within these Scouting units and Council/District volunteers
Q: Is Scouting still a good value?
A: Absolutely! While most extracurricular activities are seasonal, Exploring 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. 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.
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 we 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. We are committed to supporting you through this process and are 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. The national membership fee also enables us program development and training resources, continuously updated youth protection and youth safety training, improved IT/digital experiences and services to our councils nationwide.
Q: When will this increase take effect?
A: The new membership fees will take effect starting January 1, 2020 for the 2020-21 program year.
Q: Is financial assistance available?
A: We are committed to ensuring that all youth can experience the character-building benefits of Scouting regardless of their financial situation. In addition to the many existing council and unit membership assistance funds, we have established the donor-funded Growing Future Leaders Fund to provide financial support to those who need it. In addition, the Mount Baker Council has had in place an Opportunity Fund for those Scouts in need to assistance to participate in the program. The Mount Baker Council Opportunity Fund is still available to those youth needing assistance.
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.
Q: My council recently announced a new fee 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, which can include such as local property and accident insurance, as well as unique local programming costs. The Mount Baker Council will continue to charge the $7 per year insurance fee as previously announced. This means every Explorer youth member and every registered adult leader will pay $43 at recharter time.
Q: In addition to the national membership fee, my council is implementing a program fee. Is that allowed?
A:Starting August 1, 2020, councils can choose to charge a local program fee, up to but no more than the national membership fee – up to $36 for youth members in Exploring and up to $36 for adult members. The local program fee can include local insurance costs (i.e., accident, property, etc.), as well as cost to administer unique local programming efforts.
Q: Will be I charged the new fee for multiple registrations or positions?
A: No. You will only be charged the membership fee for your primary position.