For more than 100 years, Scouting has helped build future leaders by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun and adventure in the outdoors. At Boy Scouts of America, we are dedicated to developing leaders of character by preparing young men and women for life by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The timeless ideals of the Scout Law, such as being trustworthy, helpful, kind and brave, make up the foundation young people need to address and overcome challenges in their lives and the issues facing their generation.
Here in Hawk Mountain Council, Scouting serves more than 5,000 youth and 2,000 adult leaders in Berks, Schuylkill and Carbon Counties annually. Now as we continue the Scouting mission, it is important that we keep pace with an ever-changing world. While costs to the organization have increased every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level we have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically. We kept the cost low to make Scouting available to as many young people as possible but keeping the cost artificially low for many years now magnifies the impact of changes.
To ensure we have the resources to fulfill the promise of Scouting despite increasing operating costs, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has made the difficult but necessary decision to increase the annual membership fee effective January 1, 2020 to:
- $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts
- $36 for youth members in Exploring
- $36 for adult members (includes the cost of a background check and Scouting Magazine)
- $8 per registered member for the Hawk Mountain Council insurance fee
- $60 for unit charter fees
Every dollar of the national membership fee will go toward the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, program resources, safety standards, youth protection and personal safety training, and services to councils nationwide to sustain Scouting. The National organization will also continue to develop and improve resources that support our volunteers and youth members such as online registration, Member Care and Scoutbook, which now includes the Den Leader experience to ensure the safe and consistent delivery of Cub Scouting; as well as improvements aimed at simplifying the annual renewal process. In Hawk Mountain Council, we collaborate with over 145 community partners to bring Scouting and its leadership development programs to families and scouts in our service area.
Across the country and in our own community, we know that Scouting 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. From once-in-a-lifetime adventures to merit badges that spark interests and future careers; from campouts under the stars to service projects that leave a lasting impact on our communities; Scouting’s year-round program expands horizons and provides young people with a safe and welcoming place to learn, grow, and thrive.
That is why we are committed to ensuring that all youth can experience the character-building benefits of Scouting regardless of their financial situation. The Hawk Mountain Council will continue to provide scholarships for youth who cannot afford the membership fee as well as camping cost at Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation. Additional information will be provided to units during the re-chartering cycle for 2020. In addition to our existing council and unit membership assistance, the BSA has established a national Growing Future Leaders Fund, which is funded entirely through donations, to provide additional financial support to those who need it.
Thank you for your continued role in empowering a generation of future leaders of character through Scouting programs. Please contact me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 610-926-3406.
Yours in Scouting,