The Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible, but with rising operating costs, the fee will be increased to maintain the program.
Starting Aug. 1, the membership fee for Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouting participants will be $72, a $6 increase from the $66 fee enacted last August. The fee for Exploring participants will be $45, up from $42.
The one-time $25 joining fee for new program participants in Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouting will still be required. There is no joining fee for Exploring, participants previously registered in any BSA program, those transferring from one program to another, council-paid memberships or adult volunteers.
Fees for all adult volunteers will be $45, also up from $42. That includes the cost of a background check. Council-paid memberships will remain at $30 and the unit charter fee will stay at $75.
Scouting remains a valuable investment. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Scouts were forced to stay home, they still learned skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. They still helped those in need. They still became leaders in their units and communities. Scouting is needed now in America, just as much as it was in 1910.
Your questions answered
Why are the fees increasing?
The national annual membership fee is increasing because the costs associated with Scouting, including liability insurance, continue to increase. The organization is not able to subsidize the increased costs as it had in the past.
When will this increase take effect?
The updated membership fees will take effect August 1, 2021. To recap, the updated fees will be:
- $72 for Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouting participants
- $45 for Exploring participants
- $30 for council-paid memberships
- $45 for all adult volunteers (includes cost of background check)
- $75 for a unit charter fee
Does the fee increase apply to council-paid memberships?
Council-paid memberships will be $30 annually for youth members in fully funded council-paid units for low-income communities.
What will the money be used for?
The annual national membership fee and new-member joining fee help pay for the cost of essential services, including program resources, liability insurance, youth protection and other local council resources. It will not be funding a victims’ compensation trust. The cost of background checks is paid for by the national organization, but it is not the driver of this increase.
In addition to the national membership fee, my council is implementing a council fee. Is that allowed?
Starting August 1, 2021, councils can also choose to charge a fee up to, but no more than, the national membership fee. The council fee can include local insurance costs, as well as the cost to administer unique local programming. Units can continue to assess activity fees.
What measures has the national organization taken to offset its financial challenges?
The BSA has continued to make efforts to streamline and simplify the organization, which included reductions last year as well as the consolidation of departments and elimination of some significant vendors. You can watch this year’s National Annual Meeting business meeting here, which includes a financial report.
Will the national membership fee continue to increase?
Although no decision about future increases has 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 so that decisions can be announced with as much lead time as possible to allow councils and units to plan accordingly.
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