Groups do sometimes fall into financial difficulties. How do sections continue to deliver a good program while the group struggles?

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Ken and Colin respond to a message from a listener, Barbara, whose Group is in a bit of a financial pickle:

I'm a returning Scouter ( and now a Beaver contact scouter), and determined to not be a curmudgeon. 9 out of 10 youth in our Beaver Colony are brand new to our group; all new Scouters, except me. So much motivation and big hearts within our Scouter team, and a great bunch of spunky youth. I am only just realizing, to my dismay, that our group has been floundering financially for years and is below rock bottom. Group is (obviously) very unwilling to help finance our first camp and are being very difficult and evasive in communications. I have kept my brand new team ( except one) unaware of this problem, since it could destroy morale. Oh: another FIRST- first time this group has done Canadian Path in Beavers ( and we are actually loving it)

This is probably not an uncommon situation, especially with smaller groups.

If the group isn't being terribly communicative, or terribly supportive at all, then the next best thing to do is turn to the parents and be up front with them. Let them know that the group isn't really going to be able to help offset activity costs at this time, and maybe even survey them as to what they think a reasonable cost would be for a weekend-length camp. In particular, there are three dollar-value figures to capture here:

  • The maximum out-of-pocket cost families are willing to pay for a weekend camp.
  • The maximum out-of-pocket cost for a day event.
  • The overall maximum amount of additional fees over the course of a year.

So, for example: maybe families will be willing to pay $80 for a weekend camp, $30 for a day event, and not more than $200 in total for all activities per year. With that feedback, it will be easier to draw up plans for the year, to decide which activities are and aren't within reach.

Beyond that, it becomes a question of looking for fundraising opportunities: popcorn sales, Apple Day, bottle drives, and other such things. Communication with the Scouting Council covering the area will also be important; Council may have information about additional fundraising options, or places to turn to for grants and donations.

OPEN INVITATION: If your group has recovered from being in a similar financial situation, we'd love to have you on the podcast to tell us about how the group was able to turn the situation around.


For the second week in a row, Raul gets a shout-out. He left a comment on Facebook, thanking us for answering his question about the word “woggle” on-air:

Ayer, cuando estaba acabando de correr, lo escuché y me encantó el "shout-out"...

Escuché un mensaje que había enviado preguntando sobre como se escribía una palabra que había escuchado varias veces en el episodio 60... Ken muy amablemente me respondió.

Pues bien, ayer me hizo mucha ilusión escuchar mi mensaje. Gracias, Ken

Second, Eric — friend and occasional guest of the podcast, Scouter to the Northern Lights MedVents — sent us a message with a happy remembrance of a long-ago camp:

Hey Ken and Colin, just catching up on some podcasts, and was listening to Episode 65. Colin commented that Scouts have been solving Escape Room puzzles for decades and it made me think back to one of the 100+ camps I attended as a Scout (100+11??) with the theme Spy Vs Spy. That night time wide game where patrols had to collect the parts of a spy message decoder (a simple circuit board, memory chip, battery, and rudimentary LCD numeric display) that when correctly assembled gave you the message 100+. After close to 20 some years in Scouting, NOTHING has come close to that amazing wide game puzzle...

And, as always, a big thank you to the folks at Scouting Radio for rebroadcasting Scouting Stuff episodes to their worldwide Scouting audience. If you're listening to us on Scouting Radio right now, let us know; reach out and get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.

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Slow Burn, by Kevin MacLeod

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