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Webelos to Scout Transition – Part 6 May 16, 2009

Posted by thetrainerscorner in Uncategorized.
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Hello fellow Scouters,

This is part 6 in a series I’ve written about Webelos to Scout flagtransition. This time we will look at preparing for the costs you will incur when you transfer into the Boy Scout program, especially the first summer camp. Many don’t know what costs to expect, and this can result in “sticker shock” when you join a troop.

The good news is that it is only $1 to transfer from your pack to a new troop. And if you bought a large enough tan shirt for Webelos, you should be able to take off the Cub Scout patches and awards and wear this in Boy Scouts (but keep the Arrow of Light award and purple religious knot, as these two patches can be worn on your Boy Scout uniform).

So what do you need to save for? First, there are uniform accessories you will need to buy. Your new troop will let you know what you will need, and how much this will cost. Examples would include a Boy Scout hat and kerchief slide, a troop kerchief, a Boy Scout handbook, and a troop information binder notebook. You might not know the exact cost now, but you can price these out to get an estimate of what you will need to come up with when you bridge.

As with your pack, your new troop will have dues. Now that your son is growing up, it’s a good idea to have him start paying for his own dues, if he doesn’t already. I made some chores for my son to do so I could increase his allowance and he could pay for his dues (these were new chores on top of the tasks he already had to do). Now my son cleans our back patio furniture and blow off the patio each week. Since a Scout pays his own way, he is earning his dues and his way in the troop.

The biggest expense that you will have when you join a troop is the first summer camp. The main reason why so many Webelos dens bridge into Boy Scouts before the end of the fifth grade is to get the boys plugged into the troop in time for the first summer camp. (I will write a separate post on getting your son ready for his first summer camp, so we will only look at the cost here).

Hopefully your pack or troop has some mechanism for helping to pay for the first summer camp, as it can cost several hundred dollars. This is a lot of money to come up with! Often, troops will need a decision as soon as you join if your son will attend summer camp. Does your pack have “scout accounts” that will come over with your son? Does the troops you are looking at have a spring fundraiser to help pay for this? These are questions to ask as soon as possible.

As we want to teach responsibility, we can actually do a disservice to our son, in the absence of a mechanism to pay for the first summer camp, by writing a check and paying for it. It’s time that the soon-to-be-graduating Webelos Scout has more of a stake in fundraising, if he doesn’t already. If you have to pay for this first summer camp, then have your son start collecting cans and bottles. Have him to chores around the neighborhood or for relatives. Have him save a portion of any Christmas money received. He will get more out of the first summer camp if he has a financial stake in it.

Finally, to help get our boys to their first summer camp, I offer two challenges. First, a challenge to packs: Consider Scout accounts at the pack level, or consider letting the fall fundraiser for the second-year Webelos go towards Boy Scout expenses. And, a challenge to troops: If you don’t have this already, consider putting in place some mechanism so new scouts can pay for their first summer camp without going to First National Bank of Mom and Dad, or missing out entirely.

The last thing we want when going into Boy Scouts is “Sticker Shock”. But by planning ahead, we can prepare for these costs, and the impact won’t be so painful.

“A Scout is thrifty. He pays his own way”.

[More Webelos to Scout transition topics can be found by clicking on the Webelos to Scout transition page of this blog]

In Scouting,

 – Scouter Jeff <><

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