Council Fees and Changes
Council Activity Fee Case for Support
Limited participation in voluntary donations through the Family Friends of Scouting, Popcorn Sales and other income sources has placed additional burden on the council to continue providing the level of support needed to successfully deliver and grow the Scouting program.
- Annual National BSA membership fee – this registration fee, which goes entirely to the National BSA, is updating on August 1st, 2020. For youth members with a Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship, the fee will be $66 at recharter and Post youth members will be charged $42. Adult leaders’ fees will be $42.
- New Member Joining Fee – this fee of $25, which goes entirely to the National BSA, is paid one time only for a new youth member joining a Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship. Post members and Adults will not have to pay. Currently registered BSA members will also not have to pay.
- Council Activity Fee – this fee will be paid to the Mount Baker Council by its current members and leaders at rechartering. New members, starting January 1st, 2021 will pay a prorated fee when they join. This fee stays here to support Council youth programs.
- Unit Dues or Fees – this fee is charged by a unit for its own members to support unit activities. The amount and payment schedule are set by the unit.
Council Activity Fee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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.
The new Council Activity Fee will launch on January 1st, 2021 with the current recharter cycle. New youth members (Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship), joining after the launch date, will pay a prorated fee of $5.50 for each month until October 31st (the new recharter month as of 2021). Example, a new youth joining as a Troop member in March, 2021 will need to pay a prorated National BSA registration fee of $44, a New Member Joining Fee of $25 (both go directly to National BSA) and a prorated Council Activity Fee of $44 ($5.50 per month for 8 months) for a total of $113.
This one-time new member joining fee is only paid by youth who have never been a registered BSA member. It is a small flat fee no matter when you join during the year. (no prorating) New members pay the joining fee in addition to the BSA membership fee and the council activity fee, both prorated. There are no joining fees for 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.
While the Mount Baker Council will cease Unit Family Friends of Scouting presentations, families that are interested in helping Scouting programs grow in our area will be able to make charitable contributions through other campaigns such as our Good Scout Events, Sporting Clay Shoot, the Council Auction, Capital Projects and Endowment gifts. These donations will be used to outreach to more youth, help grow our premier camp properties, provide camperships and scholarships, provide capital funds for new program facilities or endowing our programs for the future as well as helping expand the mission of the Boy Scouts of America in our counties.
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.
There is a current Annual National Registration fee of $60 ($66 starting August 1, 2020) which was charged by the National Boy Scout of America organization and paid directly to them to support program development, national high adventure bases, criminal background checks on all adult volunteers and the national websites and much more. The remaining $7 paid was to offset unit accident and liability insurance premiums for the local Council.
Most youth members will be charged the Council Activity Fee of $66 ($5.50 for a month of Scouting). Adult Members will pay a reduced fee of $24 ($2 for each month).
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 $66 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 a 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 before June 30th each year and/or after any changes in membership fees set by the National BSA.
That will be the decision of the National BSA Executive Board.
The activity fee will go into effect with the 2021 recharter process that is due by December 31, 2020.
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 on January 1, 2021 will be $110 as the charter cycle has been adjusted to a 10-month period this year. Then on November 1, 2021, the total cost will be $132 for the 2021-2022 charter year.
We have discussed that this change may affect our membership. We do not have any false expectations. Right now, our goal is to make ourselves available to District and Unit leaders through webinars. We believe, when stated, the leadership will be more comfortable with what we are doing. Then in turn, they will be able to work with parents and Scouts to ease their concerns. The value of Scouting is best communicated by the leaders and the volunteers.
The Council Activity Fee Family Plan has been set at full fee for the first $180 for a family (two youth members and two adults for 12 months). Once the threshold of $180 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 $132 annual fee includes $66 for National BSA registration and $66 for our activity fee which includes programs and insurance. The $66 national registration fee goes directly to National. No portion of the annual national registration fee goes toward council program support.
In truth, it costs MBC $464 to provide life-changing experiences and opportunities for one Scout in our program for a year and has risen 5% in two years. We have implemented significant cost-cutting measures starting in 2018 such as a reduced staff. Unit dues and national registration do not support this cost. Our Board must raise over two million dollars to balance our annual budget. So, of the total cost of $464, we need our families to contribute the first $66.
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 Centers, and stores. 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.
The activity fee will be collected at the time of re-charter or when a new member joins (prorated). A worksheet will be included in your re-charter packet. Starting in 2021, it will be included in the member registration fees and collected at the same time as registration.
If a family truly cannot afford $66, 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.
- Any family unable to pay the Activity Fee may apply for consideration to the Opportunity Fund.
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.
While our annual campaigns, fundraisers, and special events (e.g., Good Scout Breakfast), etc. will continue, Friends of Scouting presentations at the unit level will cease. But, if a unit or individual chooses to, there will still be opportunities to support the annual giving campaigns and they can designate their gifts to help defray the cost of the program fee for families that cannot afford it.
We have online portals available for submitting donations to the Annual Giving Campaign. As well as live events such as the Council and District Good Scout Breakfasts, Sporting Clay Shoot, and the Council Auction. Of course, donations can always be mailed or turned in to the Council Scout Service Centers.
No, you will only be charged the Council Activity Fee once.
Yes, all registered adult leaders within the Council will pay the annual $24 activity fee (prorated depending on month joined).
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 (FOS, Project Sales, Grants), product sales, camping, activity and trading post revenues, special events such as the Auction and Clay Shoot, investment 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 of $132 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 year. Costs 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 the 2019 popcorn sale. 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, his family, and his 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 Basic 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.
Yes. When the charter renewal paperwork is sent to the units this year, there will be a webinar for the key leaders and support documents that will outline the changes in the new charter renewal process for this December and the updated recharter cycle starting on October 31st, 2021.
Insurance has been rolled into the new Council Activity Fee.