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Board Announces - Program and Insurance Fee Information

Background and Situation

Letter to Members - Download

Over the last several years the Westchester-Putnam Council has made difficult decisions that were meant to stabilize and advance the scouting program in our council area. We have succeeded on many levels, including keeping our council out of debt and keeping our expenses as low as possible while maintaining our quality program.

Unfortunately, with all of these measures, we still have a significant financial problem facing our council. While we have no debt, and we have trimmed our expenses as much as possible, we have a revenue problem that threatens our ability to provide the program services needed for a meaningful scouting experience.

We have seen a drastic reduction in the sale (participating/sponsorship) of our fundraisers including our largest one, Popcorn. Also, our summer camp and off season camping programs have seen less campers.  Our Family Friends of Scouting (FOS) campaign, which accounts for over twenty percent of the direct support to the council, has not our met goal for several years. In fact, this year only twelve percent of families in our council donated and only forty-eight percent of the units allowed presentations.

Considering the present difficulties and the future needs of the council, the Council Board has spent considerable time in determining a path that will help secure the future.

Program Outline

At the September Board Meeting, a Program and Insurance Fee was discussed and approved. This fee, set at $54.00 per youth member, will be assessed at re-chartering time.   It will help cover all insurance requirements and other services provided by the council.  The Fee will be phased in over the next two years.  For 2019, the Fee will be $27.00 (50%) and in 2020 the fee will be $54.00.  We are aware that Units have already made plans for 2019 and thus wanted to make sure that we phased in the Fee.  As part of this resolution, the Board will develop and implement a process to assist underprivileged Scouts with the increased fee.

  • 2019
    • Youth Fee:  $33 National Fee + $27 Council Fee = $60
    • Adult Fee:  $33 National Fee + $4 Insurance Fee = $37
  • 2020
    • Youth Fee:  $33 National Fee + $54 Council Fee = $87
    • Adult Fee:  $33 National Fee + $4 Insurance Fee = $37
    • (We have not been informed at this time of any increase in the National Fee)

More Information and Meetings

Included on this webpage is more information on the reasons for the decision.  Board Representatives will also be visiting District Events and Roundtables to listen and answer questions.  You can send an email to officers@wpcbsa.org.

 

Questions and Answers

Currently our Annual Registration fee is $37.00 or more, where does that money go?

There is an Annual National Registration fee of $33 which is charged by the National Boy Scout of America organization and is sent to them directly to support program development, national high adventure bases, criminal background checks on all adult volunteers and the national websites. The remaining $4 paid is to offset unit accident and liability insurance premiums for the local Council.

Who pays the new Fee?

Youth Members will be charged the Program & Insurance Fee.  Adult Members will still pay the $4.00 Insurance Fee.

In our Pack/Troop/Crew we pay more than $37.00, where does that money go?

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

The Westchester-Putnam Council gets none of the annual registration fee?

Correct, the insurance fee that is collected is used to offset the insurance bills of the council.

Where will the $54.00 go? 

The $54 will support the council operation by keeping the council service center and camps open and maintained and by providing training and support to all the unit leaders and parents of the council. We will provide updated and upgraded council web services and a council staff that will be able to spend more time working with unit leaders and scouts providing quality program and trainings.

The program fee is being set at $54.00, do you see that going up?

Like everything in life the cost of goods and services don’t ever seem to be going down, that being said if it goes up the intent would be to give the council membership as much notice as possible.  The Board Resolution states that the Board has to set the fee before April 15 each year.

Will Friends of Scouting go away?

As you know it today, yes. There will be no more individual pack and troop FOS presentations. We will however be working on some concepts that will still allow individuals and families to support Scouting financially. 

Will the National Registration Fee be going up?

As of this writing we are unaware of any price increase from National.

When will this go into effect?

The program & insurance fee will go into effect with the 2019 recharter process.  The Fee will be staged - $27 for 2019 and then $54 for 2020. 

What happens if I have a scout who is unable to pay the registration fee?

There has always been and will continue to be assistance programs to help individuals in true need. Similar to the campership process there will be an application for assistance and it will be ready for your use in the recharter packets.

I assume after the fee goes into effect the fee will be prorated similar to the way registration fees are collected?

Correct. 

What will be the new total cost to register a youth member?

Assuming there are no changes to the National annual registration fee (which is currently at $33), the total cost to register a new Scout on January 1, 2019 will be $60 then on January 1, 2020 it will be $87.  

  • $33 per youth member will be sent to the national office for registration fees.
  • $27 per youth member will be collected by the council to cover program and insurance for 2019.
  • $54 per youth member will be collected by the council to cover program and insurance for 2020.

Why not let the membership decide on the best course?

This program was developed over time by a committee appointed by the President and Officers of the Board. Finally, it was discussed and approved by the Board (made up of volunteers). While we understand the desire to have the membership involved in this process, the feasibility of that is just not there. Financial decisions such as this are the sole responsibility of the Board. To have these decisions vetted by a membership that numbers in the thousands would not be effective. 

What is the Council doing to make sure the membership knows about this decision and the reasoning behind it, and to help offset any decline in membership because of it? 

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. We will use whatever means possible to explain the change and state our case. 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. Jann Mirchandani, our Marketing Chairman for the Council, is working with the Marketing Committee and staff on how best to deliver this message and express the value of Scouting in hand with the new fee.  Josh Davies, our Council Commissioner, is also working closely with the Commissioner staff to tie all the efforts together.

I would like to better understand the need, and the finances of the Council. How can I do that? 

Voting members of the Council, which include, Council Members At Large and Charter Organizational Representatives, are able to make an appointment with our management staff to send some time reviewing our financials.

We are making available Audit Reports from the last several years. You can find them linked below:

Also, for those interested, here is the PowerPoint presentation used at the Board meeting in September.

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