Scouting Fees and Information

Resources about our Fees and the cost of Scouting

The costs of Scouting and how it is paid for

Financial resources for the Council largely come from individual and/or community donors who give either sustaining or annual gifts, corporate matching funds, fundraising events, foundation grants, project sales, annual activity fee, individual program or activity fees, camping revenue, investment income and sale of scouting supplies. These funds provide services such as professional staff supervision, program support staff, organization of new Scouting units, service for existing units, training of volunteer leaders, camping programs and operations, additional insurance, website and communications, and a full-time ranger for the maintenance of camp.

Click HERE to find out more about the methods the Mount Baker Council uses to raise the critical dollars needed to keep Scouting growing in our communities.

Check out the Scouting Fees Infographic - UPDATE: Effective May 1, 2024

Council Activity Fee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes. The Council Activity Fee pays for rank advancement patches for Scouts who earn them with an Advancement form submitted to the Council. This includes Bobcat, Wolf, Bear etc. for Cub Scouts and Second Class, Star etc. for Scouts BSA.
Merit Badges and Cub Scout belt loops are not free.

According to National, these fees are not tax deductible. Please consult with your tax professional for advice. Also, per BSA policies, all fees are non-refundable.

As of April 1, 2024, the one-time $25 new member fee has been discontinued. There are no joining fees for youth, adult volunteers, exploring participants, members previously registered in any BSA program, or those transferring from one program to another.

The Mount Baker Council does have a small donor-funded account to help families needing support. Please contact your Membership District Executive for assistance or you can follow the Opportunity Fund Membership Assistance link to apply online.

The Council budgets are approved by the volunteer-driven Council Executive Board. Over the past couple of years, the budget has reduced staff and made other expense cuts to remain financially sound.

Most youth members will be charged the current Council Activity Fee. Registered Adult Members (Council, District and Unit) will pay a reduced fee.  There is no activity fee for Merit Badge Counselors.

To your local unit. We have found local units charge anywhere from an additional $25 – $150 or more each year to belong to the Cub Scout, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scout or Exploring Program. You will have to ask your local unit how they budget these dollars because each unit is different.

Correct. The annual registration fee for a member of the BSA goes directly to our National BSA organization.

The Activity Fee will support the council operation by keeping the council service center and camp open and maintained and by providing training and support to all the unit leaders and parents of the council. We will continue to provide the essential council services, insurances and council staff that will be able to spend more time working with unit leaders and Scouts providing quality program and trainings.

Like everything in life the cost of goods and services do not ever seem to be going down, that being said if the fee goes up, the intent would be to give the council membership as much notice as possible. The Board Resolution states that the Board will try to notify units of any changes in fees as soon as possible and/or after any changes in membership fees set by the National BSA.

That will be the decision of the National BSA Executive Board.

There has always been and will continue to be our Opportunity Fund assistance programs to help individuals in true need.

The total cost to recharter as a current youth member of a Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship as of April 1, 2024 will be $85 + $85 = $170, plus $15 for Scout Life magazine if desired. 

The total cost to recharter as a current adult member of a Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship effective on April 1, 2024, will be $65 + $30 = $95, plus $15 for Scout Life magazine if desired.

The Council Activity Fee Family Plan has been set at full fee for the first $200 for a family (two youth members and two adults for 12 months). Once the threshold of $200 is reached by a family during the charter year, each additional registered member/leader will be $10 for the remainder of the charter year. Lion and Tiger Adult Partners are non-paid adults; they will not be charged the Activity Fee. Merit Badge Counselors are also non-paid volunteers and are not registered leaders unless they are registered in a unit, district, or council position.
To apply for the Family Plan please complete the Activity Fee Family Plan Form

The annual fee includes both National BSA registration and our activity fee which includes programs and insurance. The national registration fee goes directly to National. No portion of the annual national registration fee goes toward council program support.

These funds will be used for recruiting members, training leaders, development and operation of camps, insurance coverage, and for program activities. They provide support for unit registration, advancement, membership, and to maintain our Council Camp, Service Center, and store. Basically, all program features that were originally designed to be mostly supported by Family Friends of Scouting contributions will now be supported by the Activity Fee.

Yes, all registered adult leaders within the Council will pay the annual activity fee.

The activity fee will be collected at the time of re-charter or whenever a youth or adult registers. 

If a family truly cannot afford the activity fee, the Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship can:

  • Choose to pay the Program Support Fees on the family’s behalf.
  • Participate in Council Popcorn Sales, Camp Cards Sales, or other Unit Money Earning Projects to help raise the funds to pay the fees.
  • Families who meet the requirements for the Family Plan should complete the Activity Fee Family Plan Form.

While Fire Mountain Scout Camp is considered one of the premier camps in the Western region, has had over $2 million (raised through dedicated contributions and grants) in capital improvements recently, has hosted National BSA Camp Schools and is home to awesome summer camps for many units from the Puget Sound area, Eastern Washington, Northern Oregon and states far away, only 30% of our Council’s Troops attend summer camp on a given year. Therefore, most of our own Troops and Packs are not supporting through camp fees. Our activities are designed for a great value and will generally pay for themselves with little surplus.

Membership fees paid all go directly to the National BSA for benefits such as youth protection resources, criminal background checks, technology upgrades, online training resources and access to BSA programs & curriculum.  Our local council’s budget is funded through several methods including unrestricted donations by members and our community (Annual Appeals, Project Sales, Grants), product sales, camping, activity and trading post revenues, special events such as the Auction and Clay Shootinvestment income and the new activity fee.   Your local unit has its own operating budget that is usually funded by unit dues and product sales. 

While your unit dues and product sales funds go to books, uniforms, unit equipment, activity expenses, leader recognition, meeting place costs and field trips, the council budgets its revenue to support expenses for volunteer and staff training, liability, accident and property insurances, service center and trading post operations and inventories, reference resources, program equipment, camp promotion, recognitions, national service fees, administration costs, maintenance of facilities, postage and printing, technology needs, unit service and field staff operations and many other items to help provide council and unit program support.  Your BSA joining fee and membership fee all goes to our National Council.

Yes, your fees will provide youth program within our Council.  

Yes, Scouting is still one of the most affordable and valuable programs for your family today.  The average Pack or Troop program costs per Scout (before a summer camp experience and inclusive of the BSA membership fee and the new council activity fee for 12 months) is typically in the range of: 

Pack:  $275-$325 per year Costs could include advancement awards such as Adventure Loops and Pins, Bridging and Crossover awards, recognition of leaders and parents, special event costs i.e. Blue & Gold, Pinewood Derby and Holiday Party, district Webelos-ree attendance, leader training and ceremony materials. 

Troop:  $350—$400 per yearCosts could include advancement awards such as merit badges and cards, monthly camping or field trips, leader and parent training and recognition, district camporees, special activities, handbooks, and leader summer camp fees 

The average-selling Scout earned over $265 for their unit program during past popcorn sales.  Selling popcorn or camp cards is a great way for a Scout and the unit to earn money for its activities while teaching the youth that Scouts earn our own way.  

Scouting has always been a leadership training and character development program for our youth which has a proven track record for value and quality program time for the Scout, their family, and their friends. Scouting programs can run year-long for our participants and for several years as they move up through ranks and age-based programs.   Today’s families know it’s also costing more for all sorts of after-school activities. In fact, the increase in scout fees is modest compared to other after-school costs. For example, a single music lesson can cost between $40 and $60, a language lesson can run $30 to $45 and an art lesson can cost $30 to $60, according to Thumbtack, an app that matches instructors with clients.   

Youth sports are typically a shorter time frame for participation. Parents also spend an average of $693 on their child’s sports participation, according to the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. But travel, equipment and training costs can make some sports soar far higher, its survey said. For instance, parents of a budding ice hockey player pay almost $2,600 a year on average. 

Parents are encouraged to volunteer in many roles such as field trip transportation driver or helping with the Pinewood Derby. For parents who want to work directly with the youth, it is highly encouraged that they register as a leader in the unit and take Youth Protection Training and Position-specific Leader Training for the position.  This ensures that the youth are being led by trained volunteers and meeting Youth Protection Standards.   

Successful units and charter partners know that volunteerism is the key to a great program and they will budget, as part of their annual training, the cost of registering all the necessary adults with the local council and providing funds to support their training.  

No, you will only be charged the Council Activity Fee once. However, the programs are different and the registration fees are paid in both programs.

Adventure is Waiting.

Build Yours.

With adventure, fun and discovery at every turn, Scouting makes the most of right now.


Everett Service Center
1715 100th Pl SE, Suite B
Everett, WA 98208
Phone: 425.338.0380


Fire Mountain Scout Camp
26027 Walker Valley Road
Mount Vernon, WA 98274