The Boy Scouts of America is 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. While operating costs have increased every year, the national organization has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance BSA must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. Unfortunately, the national council is no longer able to subsidize at the level it has in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically.
To ensure 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 for the 2020 program year. Effective January 1st, these fees are now:
Note: although Venturers and Sea Scouts 18-20 fill out an adult membership application, they will pay the youth membership fee
Note: the unit charter fee also increases to $60
As before, no portion of the national membership fee remains within the Greater Alabama Council. Every dollar of the fee goes 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.
Here in the Greater Alabama Council, we understand that this national fee increase may be challenging for some families and will offer financial aid for Scouts and adults in need whose unit or chartering organization are unable to help. Individuals and families can apply for this aid via the forms below.
If you have any questions, please contact your District Executive; you may find contact information for your District Executive here on our staff directory page. If you’re not sure which district you’re in, you can find your county and district on our Council map, available here.
Our Council is pleased to provide registration assistance, uniform assistance, and campership assistance to deserving Scouts who otherwise would not be able to participate in Scouting. Your Friends of Scouting donations provide the funds necessary for this assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the national membership fee?
The national membership fee is a required amount paid per each person, youth or adult, who register as a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Every dollar of the national membership fee pays for 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.
No part of the National membership fee remains with the local Council.
Why did the Boy Scouts of America increase this fee?
The national board raised the fee primarily to offset a significant increase in the cost of liability insurance necessary to cover all official Scouting activities. It’s an increase the national organization cannot afford to subsidize. A third-party company is going to provide this new coverage, replacing Scouting’s previous practice of self-insuring its members and chartering organizations.
Is this increase connected to the Boy Scouts of America’s possible financial reorganization?
The increase is due to Scouting’s necessary move to a third-party insurance provider in 2020. BSA’s preparations to fulfill its responsibility to past abuse victims also indirectly factor into this decision.
What measures has the national organization taken to offset these financial challenges?
The national organization has taken several steps to address its financial challenges, including the recent elimination of more than 35 positions at the National Service Center and ongoing consolidation of departments for the most effective utilization of resources in support of Scouting.
Will the national membership fee continue to increase?
Although no decision about future increases have been made, the cost of operating our organization and services increases every year. Should it be necessary to increase fees in the future, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has agreed to evaluate the needs and make such decisions, whenever possible, at the National Annual Meeting in May or early in the summer so that they can be announced with as much lead time as possible to allow for councils and units to be able to plan accordingly.
Will this change how my future Friends of Scouting (FOS) donations are used?
No. Our local council and its executive board operate independent of the national Boy Scouts of America, with our own operating budget, endowment, and assets. Just as they have in the past, your Friends of Scouting dollars stay local and support our programs here in Alabama.
How will this affect families in Scouting?
No one likes to pay more, but at $5 a month and compared to the cost of select sports, high school band, and many other activities, Scouting remains a value for youth. Our council understands, however, that this national fee increase may be challenging for some families and will offer financial aid for Scouts and adults in need whose unit or chartering organization are unable to help.
How will this impact the current rechartering process?
The online rechartering process will continue as usual except for the “calculate fees”/payment portion, which the national organization will activate November 1. Until then, units should continue the process that began October 1 of updating their unit roster with new and returning youth and adult members plus collecting the new background check authorization form from each registered adult member. All recharter forms and fees are due to our local council office by December 13.
What should units do if they have already collected 2020 membership fees?
Units may collect additional funds from families to satisfy the new national membership fee amount. Alternatively, units may choose to use popcorn sale funds for this purpose or ask for help from their chartering organization. Our Council will allow units to continue selling popcorn as a means to overcome the increased fee. Please work this out with your District Executive.
Is there some way to share my opinion on this with BSA?
You may contact the national Boy Scouts of America organization at 972-580-2000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.