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I'm not out of line in thinking this is just too much, right?


frugalmamatx
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DD showed interest in maybe doing a girl scout troop this year. And I found a homeschool one that meets in a location we can actually get to. So I emailed for information. And was shocked at some of it. Dues $50 a year. Not including actual girl scout membership or uniform and BOTH parents must be registered members {so add $25 per person}. Plus Must Sell $150 of Candy in Fall and $250 of Cookies in spring. Or contribute $100 for each to the activity fund. And no drop offs - all parents must volunteer for EVERY meeting. 

 

 

Seriously? DD looked at me and said she'd rather stay a lone scout! 

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If cookies are $4.00 a box, that's 63 boxes of cookies. That's a lot of cookies for many families, and candy is HARD to sell these days. It really is. The local band gave up on selling candy because the profit is low, and people aren't buying. Some activities might be worth $100.00, and some very well may not. While the $56.00 per child doesn't bother me when it is if for a whole year - think of that as $5.00 a month and they may be having to rent a facility in order to meet - the $25.00 a parent seems excessive. 

 

4H is $20.00 per child, parents don't have to "join".  Fundraisers are a volunteer basis but if one never participate, then one can't get scholarships to camps and specialty events that are more expensive, but it doesn't preclude being in the club and working on projects.

 

The lack of drop offs does not bother me. Some leaders have been burned by not being able to get enough help or having major behavior problems. Keeping the parent there means that the leader is free to teach and mentor, not babysit. Our rule with our 4H club is that in order to complete our science experiments or projects in the time allotted, we have to have two other adults. We have one dad who absolutely loves being there and volunteers for every meeting. Then the parents make up their own schedule for which month they each want to help. They got it all figured out, and it is nice because Dh and I don't have that to worry about on top of everything else as leaders.

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1) The dues sound OK.

2) I like that they give you the option to fundraise OR donate.

3) Requiring both parents to be members is ridiculous.

4) Requiring parents to be present and volunteer at every meeting is too much.  I understand *some* volunteering, and I understand that under a certain age, drop-offs could be an issue.  But every parent, every meeting, nope.

 

Keep looking - maybe you will find a better troop.

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I can see both sides of this.  If it's a homeschool oriented troop, I can see why they might prefer parental involvement.  It just depends on the volunteers running it.  Some want total control.  Some want a troop to happen but it to be more of a co-operative.

 

The equivalent of $300 a year for an activity that will meet most weeks is really not that steep in the scope of the kid's activity world.  It probably rounds to less than $10 per meeting.  I've run groups like this and the cost of supplies and activities adds up pretty fast.  Honestly, this group sounds like maybe they've been doing it a while and just have their heads on pretty straight about how these things tend to go.  If parents aren't there especially for younger kids and complaints come back from parents, it's just really hard to deal with.  Much easier with parents on site.  There can be liability issues with drop offs for some ages and some locations.  And maybe they just know to do a decent quality club, they need a certain budget.  At least you have a sell vs. buy out option.   If they say nothing about it and cookie sales come around and little Suzie doesn't do their part, it's much harder to say something after the fact. 

 

If it's not your thing, that is absolutely fine, skip it.  Complaints about how someone runs a group as a volunteer aren't super kind.  You can start your own troop too.  I've done it.

 

ETA - do BOTH parents need to be at every meeting?  If so that is weird.

Edited by WoolySocks
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My troop is not a homeschool-specific troop (DD is the only homeschooler). We charge $5 per meeting in dues, which covers snack, badges, craft materials, small field trips. No one is required to sell anything. Parents do not have to register or volunteer for anything. Parents do pay for their child to go on activities (overnights, museums, camping trips, etc) unless they are during a meeting time and within the troop's budget. I'd look for another troop!

 

ETA: We may go up to $6 per meeting in dues this year. 

Edited by ebrindam
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No, I don't think you're out of line. Too much of Scouting seems to be focused on moneymaking. That's beyond sad.

 

My thoughts exactly. Especially when I am a former trained leader and see the "requirements" matching up exactly with the "troop bonuses"

 

That might violate GSC rules. It is crazypants even if it doesn't.

 

 

If cookies are $4.00 a box, that's 63 boxes of cookies. That's a lot of cookies for many families, and candy is HARD to sell these days. It really is. The local band gave up on selling candy because the profit is low, and people aren't buying. Some activities might be worth $100.00, and some very well may not. While the $56.00 per child doesn't bother me when it is if for a whole year - think of that as $5.00 a month and they may be having to rent a facility in order to meet - the $25.00 a parent seems excessive. 

 

4H is $20.00 per child, parents don't have to "join".  Fundraisers are a volunteer basis but if one never participate, then one can't get scholarships to camps and specialty events that are more expensive, but it doesn't preclude being in the club and working on projects.

 

The lack of drop offs does not bother me. Some leaders have been burned by not being able to get enough help or having major behavior problems. Keeping the parent there means that the leader is free to teach and mentor, not babysit. Our rule with our 4H club is that in order to complete our science experiments or projects in the time allotted, we have to have two other adults. We have one dad who absolutely loves being there and volunteers for every meeting. Then the parents make up their own schedule for which month they each want to help. They got it all figured out, and it is nice because Dh and I don't have that to worry about on top of everything else as leaders.

 

Facility is the Girl Scout center, so I'm presuming free. 

 

I want 4-H. DD wants it. But it's so darn hard to find out anything or a group that isn't out in the country!

 

I can see both sides of this.  If it's a homeschool oriented troop, I can see why they might prefer parental involvement.  It just depends on the volunteers running it.  Some want total control.  Some want a troop to happen but it to be more of a co-operative.

 

The equivalent of $300 a year for an activity that will meet most weeks is really not that steep in the scope of the kid's activity world.  It probably rounds to less than $10 per meeting.  I've run groups like this and the cost of supplies and activities adds up pretty fast.  Honestly, this group sounds like maybe they've been doing it a while and just have their heads on pretty straight about how these things tend to go.  If parents aren't there especially for younger kids and complaints come back from parents, it's just really hard to deal with.  Much easier with parents on site.  There can be liability issues with drop offs for some ages and some locations.  And maybe they just know to do a decent quality club, they need a certain budget.  At least you have a sell vs. buy out option.   If they say nothing about it and cookie sales come around and little Suzie doesn't do their part, it's much harder to say something after the fact. 

 

If it's not your thing, that is absolutely fine, skip it.  Complaints about how someone runs a group as a volunteer aren't super kind.  You can start your own troop too.  I've done it.

 

ETA - do BOTH parents need to be at every meeting?  If so that is weird.

 

They meet twice a month. INCLUDING field trips - most of which they listed are free or nearly free. Camp was listed but parents have to pay extra for that. So where's the money going? And yes they specified BOTH parents. Which I also found odd since they meet during the day. 

 

 

Are you set on GS?  If you're Christian there are alternatives.

 

Not Christian. So no AHS or anything else. 

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My thoughts exactly. Especially when I am a former trained leader and see the "requirements" matching up exactly with the "troop bonuses"

 

 

 

 

Facility is the Girl Scout center, so I'm presuming free. 

 

I want 4-H. DD wants it. But it's so darn hard to find out anything or a group that isn't out in the country!

 

 

They meet twice a month. INCLUDING field trips - most of which they listed are free or nearly free. Camp was listed but parents have to pay extra for that. So where's the money going? And yes they specified BOTH parents. Which I also found odd since they meet during the day. 

 

 

 

Not Christian. So no AHS or anything else. 

 

I would clarify on the both parents being in attendance at every meeting. I can get one, but both is kind of crazy and not possible for most.

 

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The dues seem higher then what I paid but the troop also asked for money for supplies and for a whole year that is not bad. Most activities have registration costs and some are even higher. There are ways of getting help with those for really low income families.

 

I think making both parents sign up as members and also volunteer at every meeting is too much. There is no need to make parents sign up as members and pay more. In the troop with one leader she did need a helper at each meeting but she had a sign up sheet and it rotated. Some like helping and did it a lot. There also was a snack rotation.

 

I also do not like how you need to sell popcorn or pay. It should not be required. It is hard for some to sell cookies and that is a lot of cookies. Our troop did not make it a requirement but rather signed up for booth sales at various and allowed girls to sign up. This facilitated cookie sales for money for activities for the troop without forcing it for girls who were not interested.

Edited by MistyMountain
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I think it depends on what the money is being used for.  They probably have to pay for the location to meet and maybe this means their trips and activities cost next to nothing in addition.  But if trips and activities cost a lot on top of that I'd definitely want to know where the money was going. 

 

 

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Seems like a lot to me.

I agree with SKL, the dues are reasonable.

Having a buy-out is good, but the totals seem high. FM is right about candy not being a very good fundraiser. We sell coffee, which is so much easier.

Requiring all parents to register and volunteer every week is crazy. Registration may be for child protection rules. Can't help with kids or meet two deep leadership quotas without background checks and training. Encouraging parents to volunteer is great, but many people need a year to settle in or just can't because of family circumstances.

Sparkly is right about the need for transparency about their budget. People have a right to know where the money goes.

Edited by ScoutTN
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Honestly, it doesn't sound that bad to me.  Our cub scout pack charges more than that in dues.  I think it is around $6 or $7 a month, plus ask for $24 a year for chartering fees (all of the charter money goes to national, not to us).  That money just covers awards and a few other administrative expenses.  They don't require fundraising, but it is really hard to have money for parties and supplies for meetings without funds.  We also try very hard to pay for the yearly charter fee for all of our registered adults, rather than ask them to pay out of pocket.  We do a minimal amount of fundraising each year.  Our boy scout troop is a bit cheaper as far as dues, it is $1 per meeting, but we also charge ~ $10 per outing each month plus the cost of food for the weekend.  We have started to require either participation in fundraisers or a buyout because so munch falls on so few volunteers.  Last year for candy sales we requested selling a set amount or a buyout of $60 (I think) per scout.  These funds help pay for awards, charter fees, and camp costs.  Camp for each scout is over $300, and we have many scouts whose families can't afford that.

 

As for volunteering, I get it, but I don't think that forcing volunteerism is really a benefit.  People who are forced to be there are not the best workers IME.  But, being on the other side of the coin, we have so many parents that just want a place to drop off kid and leave.  We don't have enough parents to help and it really limits what we can do.  My DH is scoutmaster of our troop and has surgery next week, we had to cancel the troop meeting for next week because we can't be there to run it and no parents will step up and help out.  It is very frustrating.  I get not every parent can be there all the time or has the skill set to work directly with the boys, but it would be nice if more parents stepped up a bit.

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If it meets more than once a month, then I think the dues are okay. I would still be concerned about selling all that candy and the cookies. People in many communities are just so darn tired of having this stuff pedaled door to door, and sales are really down, at least in this area.

 

It takes a LOT of time to do that kind of fundraiser.

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I have no experience with Girl Scouts, limited experience with Cub Scouts (none with Boy Scouts) and a good deal of experience with Camp Fire USA.

 

The dues and uniform costs sound about right.

The sales requirements and/or contributions sound excessive.

No drop-offs and parents required to be at everything is over the top.

 

Now for the requirement that parents be members.

 

This could be due to it being a homeschool troop. When ds was in Camp Fire USA it was with other homeschoolers. Requiring all parents to be members allowed any of the parents to be leaders, having already been background checked and (hopefully) cleared. When the group is through a school or church they have specific leaders who go through background checks and anyone who steps up to become a leader also does it. The fact that it's a homeschool group and might need parents to step into the leadership role at any point is the only reason I can think of for that requirement. And if that isn't their reason, then it shouldn't be required.

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I don't remember what our dues are. Both dh and I are registered volunteers with completed background checks for our troop, but I'm usually the only one who volunteers. I volunteer every other meeting which turns out to be once a month, but only if it's not soccer season. I do not tend to volunteer for field trips and I definitely do not volunteer for overnights.

 

The fall is nuts, candy, and magazines. We do not put a lot of effort into selling them, but I think both my girls sell probably at least $100. We sell to family members and I buy my magazine subscriptions that way.

 

We sold 1600 boxes of cookies between the two girls last year and it was like having a part time job. 63 boxes each girl would have been fairly easy to do with just signing the girls up for cookie booths during cookie season. I told the girls this year that one of their cookie incentives needs to be the membership for the following year because all of the Girl Scout stuff gets expensive and I figure I should get something for the hours I spend going door to door with them selling cookies.

 

The money part doesn't really bother me. Expecting both parents to stay is a deal breaker for me. It would be unrealistic for our family. Our troop is super active and the girls earned a lot of badges both of the years we've done it. I would say to check with other troops, but your post makes it seem like maybe that's not an option? We're not Christian either so it's Girl Scouts or no-scouting for the girls - which is also why it was no-scouting for ds.

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I suspect that this is a well-run, very active troop.

 

Leaders are volunteers who put significant time and effort into providing a good program. As a leader I have put $$ into the troop to make the program a good one. I pay for trainings, my registration, plus snacks and supplies. I do not have a problem with leaders collecting enough to cover all the costs.

 

As far as requiring both parents to register and attend every meeting, is it perhaps that both parents must be able to attend every meeting? With younger scouts the "glorified babysitting" problem is quite real. I think this leader has been burned before.

 

You might look at the school based GS troops if you don't like this one.

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I don't think the expenses sound unreasonable, depending on what the troop plans to use the money for. If they want to do a lot of outside activities, it makes sense.

 

My dd has been in GS for a few years now, and I wish I could have had the option to pay a set amount instead of selling cookies. God, do I hate selling cookies. No one buys them. They're overpriced, the quality seems to get worse every year, and you can buy cheaper identical knock-off cookies from almost every grocery store in town. And every troop seems to have that one parent who spends eight hours a day for two months straight selling thousands of boxes of cookies, and then flies into a rage that the other families don't do the same thing.

 

Sorry, I'm not making much of a case for GS, lol. Outside of cookie sales we've loved it. I'd jump at the chance to join a troop with an option to pay instead of selling.

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4H often has suburban or urban groups for things like raising puppies; small garden projects etc.    If your area does not, it could be worth going to something in country to get the feel for a year and then starting a group yourself.

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Since you mentioned 4H, call the office. It seems impossible to get involved at first, but once you are, communication is good. 4h doesn't seem to have a good online presence in many places. Some counties are better than others at some activities so if your daughter has an interest in a particular club, ask about that club at the location you want to attend.

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My family has done Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Scouts, Explorer Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4H.  The 4h clubs we were in were always urban because we never lived in a rural area.  My girls were only once in a special interest 4H club and that was air rifles.  The rest of the time, they chose projects that made sense for them.  Stuff like sewing and pet care.  Overall my least favorite groups were Girl Scout troops and I served as assistant leader several different times.  The badges were lame compared to merit badges that the boy scouts had or the projects 4H had.  The groups we were in were not money obsessed nor girl scout cookie obsessed.  All except the last one when the girls decided to quit- there were major issues with the last one including the leader. 

 

But yes, explore 4H, Camp Fire, and I think the YMCA has/had a program too.

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The financials sounds about right to me. Our dues are $5 a month, registration fees are separate from National. We also have fees for individual events. We get $1000 a year from our sponsor and us leaders are always out money too. Our buyout is just $100 but if we didn't get that $1000 we'd have to ask for more and do a lot fewer scholarships. 

 

I do not read the OP as stating that both parents have to be there at all meetings, just that one parent has to be there. I do know that is a pain in the butt BUT I get it. More parents involved helps spread out the work load and makes for a Troop with people are more invested. 

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As to having an opt out of cookie sales, I would have gladly done that.  My girls never sold very many at all- maybe 30 boxes at most.  They did sell at booths.  Boy Scouts sold popcorn and my youngest, as a venture scout, made enough money both with individual selling (lesser amount) and working booths and organization work- sorting orders, unpacking, etc on the council side, that she paid for her summer trip one year and saved us I think 300 dollars. 

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And every troop seems to have that one parent who spends eight hours a day for two months straight selling thousands of boxes of cookies, and then flies into a rage that the other families don't do the same thing.

I haven't found that, although I'm the parent that spends 20+ hours a week selling cookies. I like the way our troop handles it because some of us sell a lot while others sell a little and it all averages out for the troop as a whole. I remember what it was like when I was a kid and I couldn't collect enough funds to go on a trip and I benefited from those who collected more. I figure this is my way to pay it forward.

 

What really annoys the heck out of me is when other families check a bunch of cookies out from the troop and then sit on them all season, only to return them at the last minute so that the troop has to eat the cost. I do wish our troop leader was better at making those parents face some consequences for that. Last year our baker couldn't keep up with demand and there were people sitting on those limited stock cookies and yet not selling them. We could have sold those cookies.

 

We do not sign up for booths because I have found that going door to door is a more efficient use of my time, but at least around here, the girls could have met a 63 box goal with three or four booth shifts and less effort on my part.

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Oh and finally, the two parent requirement, even if in the evenings, would have meant that my kids could not have been in any activities.  That is because my dh traveled a lot in his job in the Air Force and still travels enough as a civilian even today that even if I still had kids, I couldn't guarantee anything. Both dh and I were involved in our kids' activities from being Scout leaders to coaching or team parenting soccer to helping at drama productions to many more things.  But for most of that time, our roles were done separately. Asking two parents to be at every meeting is just too much.

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Sounds like they set it up to keep parents who would be completely uninvolved out. 

 

With regard to 4H, you should be able to get a list of groups in your local county. Perhaps there is a 4H fair coming up that you can get information from (our fair was last weekend). I live in a densely populated suburb. My dd was in a 4H groups that  centered around large farm animals, but dd was not raising a lamb in our townhouse. Among the parks in our county is a working farm --that's where the group met. There are also groups covering a massive selection of subjects meeting everywhere (rabbits, dog agility, electronics, robotrics, sewing, horticulture, etc) . Anyway, find out the contact for your county extension agent to get started. You don't have to be waaay out in the country.

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You might want to see if there's a Camp Fire USA club (that's what they call troops) near you. While they do have "worship god" in the Camp Fire Law, they allow you do define what god means. 

 

We made our own campfire group under this group but we did whatever activities we wanted and rarely used their curriculum.  We were a secular group.  We had fun with it for a couple years and it worked both for my son and my daughter.

 

Mamaraby brings up a good point about paying for the parents to register.  That does cover background checks which is just good policy and actually required by GSA if parents are going to be hands on.  Having both parents there every meeting seems nuts to me and I do really wonder if that is there policy and intention.  I just can't believe that is possible for most families and that is what actually happens.

 

If you take out the $50 for 1 time parent registration, at twice a month that's about $6 a meeting.  If they're paying or donating money to a church for example for a space, much of the money might just be going to cover that.  It's hard to find space that cheap honestly.  Even churches that will "let" you use space will strongly encourage a group donation.  I had to up the price of a club this year because of that.  It's a book club, it comes out to about $8 a month.  And I often lose money on it (we do snacks and activities related to the book). 

 

To me these volunteer leaders sound experienced and saavy.  What is more often the case in groups like this with newer volunteers is you start up and then there are surprise expenses as you go.  Or the leaders just start covering it out of pocket until they come to their senses.   Causing an avalanche of complaints when the policy changes.  

 

Anyway, doesn't sound like the right kind of group for everyone.  It really sounds more modeled like a homeschool co-op.  As a parent who has been around the block on both the volunteer and the receiving end of many groups, I can appreciate a group that is up front on group requirements.

 

ETA - I really think you need to send mail to ask about both parents being at every meeting to satisfy our curiosity.  :lol:

 

 

Edited by WoolySocks
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Yikes! Boy Scouts is way cheaper than that!

 

The Boy Scouts are voting this year on whether to make Cub Scouts co-ed and then there'd be a girls and boys track...Scouts for Girls and Scouts for Boys are the names currently being tossed around. Anyway so hopefully if that happens you'd have an alternative option in a year or so that would be much cheaper with fewer fundraising requirements!

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Yikes! Boy Scouts is way cheaper than that!

 

The Boy Scouts are voting this year on whether to make Cub Scouts co-ed and then there'd be a girls and boys track...Scouts for Girls and Scouts for Boys are the names currently being tossed around. Anyway so hopefully if that happens you'd have an alternative option in a year or so that would be much cheaper with fewer fundraising requirements!

 

Is it just cub scouts or BSA as a whole?

 

 

I'd totally back DD doing that. I used to volunteer with BSA here and it's run MUCH better than our local GSA council. As is I'm counting down until she's 13 and can do Venture Crew {she'll be 11 next month}.

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Both parents members and at every meeting - what do they do about single parents?  What about kids who have a parent who would fail the background check?  A policy that excludes kids in those situations should not be allowed in Girl Scouts IMO.

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Dues are for Girl Scout membership or to the troop?

 

We pay nothing in dues to our troop. If there's an activity we want to do, we pay the $5-10 to our leader and she pays for it out of our account.

 

We don't have any selling requirements. Each family just makes sure to buy at least ONE thing during candy sales because it has some impact on cookie sales.

And everyone just sells what they want/can during cookie sales, no pressure.

 

I think we might be in the most relaxed GS troup ever.

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I would clarify on the both parents being in attendance at every meeting. I can get one, but both is kind of crazy and not possible for most.

 

Definitely not. DD's GS troop and DS's BS troop meet at the same time, different locations. How would we swing that? And if you have more than two kids, forget it.

 

DD's Cadette troop fees are, I believe, $100. I do not recall a single additional charge from last year, except for her uniform. But she can use the same one from now until she graduates if she remains in scouts.

 

Her troop sets a goal for what they'd like to do with their fundraising money and works toward that goal together. I really like this approach. By middle school, selling cookies should be mainly the responsibility of the scouts, and they should have ownership in it. I will admit to being a little miffed last year at the parents of younger scouts who pushed the heck out of their cookie sales and saturated the market, making it hard for DD, who worked diligently to sell on her own. But c'est la vie. Her troop still was able to raise enough money for an expenses-paid trip to Savannah, and she did a great job and learned a ton.

 

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Both parents members and at every meeting - what do they do about single parents?  What about kids who have a parent who would fail the background check?  A policy that excludes kids in those situations should not be allowed in Girl Scouts IMO.

 

Also, does that mean siblings, regardless of age, are allowed at all meetings and events? If both parents are required to attend, they'd either have to pay a babysitter or bring the other kids along (assuming there's not a child at home old enough to babysit). To me that's the most ridiculous of the requirements. The fundraising amount required is a bit much, the others make some sense, but this one is just nuts imo.

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Yikes! Boy Scouts is way cheaper than that!

 

The Boy Scouts are voting this year on whether to make Cub Scouts co-ed and then there'd be a girls and boys track...Scouts for Girls and Scouts for Boys are the names currently being tossed around. Anyway so hopefully if that happens you'd have an alternative option in a year or so that would be much cheaper with fewer fundraising requirements!

 

Oh wow, that is really cool. 

 

keep us posted

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My dd was a GS from ages 6-12 and paid a $12 annual fee plus $2 per meeting.  The only uniform requirement was a sash or vest (added charge but I can't remember how much).  No one was required to sell anything  - ever.  Most people did not do individual cookie sales but many of the girls did participate in the cookie booth.  Cookie sales from the booth were distributed among the girls who participated.

 

If a girl wanted to participate in a trip or activity that was paid for with cookie money they she would just have to pay the fee directly.  We never did anything that cost more than $5 or $10 per girl.

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I haven't found that, although I'm the parent that spends 20+ hours a week selling cookies. I like the way our troop handles it because some of us sell a lot while others sell a little and it all averages out for the troop as a whole. I remember what it was like when I was a kid and I couldn't collect enough funds to go on a trip and I benefited from those who collected more. I figure this is my way to pay it forward.

 

What really annoys the heck out of me is when other families check a bunch of cookies out from the troop and then sit on them all season, only to return them at the last minute so that the troop has to eat the cost. I do wish our troop leader was better at making those parents face some consequences for that. Last year our baker couldn't keep up with demand and there were people sitting on those limited stock cookies and yet not selling them. We could have sold those cookies.

 

We do not sign up for booths because I have found that going door to door is a more efficient use of my time, but at least around here, the girls could have met a 63 box goal with three or four booth shifts and less effort on my part.

 

 

Sales here are handled completely differently.  Girls take pre-orders (along with payments).  When the cookies come in each girl gets exactly what she sold.  No more, no less.

 

We would do one cookie booth a season.  You get as many cartons as you would like for your booth from a local cookie cupboard.  Then after the sale you just return any unsold items.  

 

Girls can set a goal for themselves but there are no goals they have to meet.  Some girls do not sell at all and when the girls were Daisies, the troop skipped cookie sales altogether because we all agreed that the girls were too young.

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I agree with checking out 4-H.   Here's the website to find your local 4-H:  http://4-h.org/find/.  I agree with the suggestion to see if there's a fair near you to check out.

 

Dh and I run a 4-H STEM club.  We collect $25/child for supply fees each year, field trips cost extra.  That's it, there are no fees to National, State or County levels, but I guess that may vary depending on where you're located.

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Yikes! Boy Scouts is way cheaper than that!

 

The Boy Scouts are voting this year on whether to make Cub Scouts co-ed and then there'd be a girls and boys track...Scouts for Girls and Scouts for Boys are the names currently being tossed around. Anyway so hopefully if that happens you'd have an alternative option in a year or so that would be much cheaper with fewer fundraising requirements!

Our Cub Scout and Boy Scout Pack/Troops are not, the cost are the same as I mentioned for our AHG group. 

 

I haven't heard that about Scouts. I much prefer the Boy Scout program over AHG, I'd love for there to be a option for girls, I can't wait until my girls are old enough to join Venturers.

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Our 4H is a homeschool only group (it has been around 25+ yrs, this particular club, the founder's grandchildren are now in it). We meet every Tuesday during typical school hours 8:30am-2:30pm . And we do lots of projects. It's $65/yr/child.

A Parent must stay on site if kids is <13 (or hand over kid to another parent who agrees to be responsible for that kid) due to too many drop offs of young kids who were left wondering the large property between projects. So I understand that requirement. 

Parents only have to register if they are going to lead a project. Like next year I am leading 2, so I had to do the whole background check, training. It's like $25 to register with the county per parent.

No fundraising requirements, but we may do some next year. Totally optional.

Some projects have supply fees (STEM, arts & crafts) or required materials (archery), but parents can choose which projects to do. So those costs are optional.

 

ETA: Totally call the local 4H office. Mine was hard to find, no web page or facebook group. I had to dig to find it. If you're in SoCal, PM me and I'll tell you where it's at.

Edited by Um_2_4
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I haven't found that, although I'm the parent that spends 20+ hours a week selling cookies. I like the way our troop handles it because some of us sell a lot while others sell a little and it all averages out for the troop as a whole. I remember what it was like when I was a kid and I couldn't collect enough funds to go on a trip and I benefited from those who collected more. I figure this is my way to pay it forward.

 

What really annoys the heck out of me is when other families check a bunch of cookies out from the troop and then sit on them all season, only to return them at the last minute so that the troop has to eat the cost. I do wish our troop leader was better at making those parents face some consequences for that. Last year our baker couldn't keep up with demand and there were people sitting on those limited stock cookies and yet not selling them. We could have sold those cookies.

 

We do not sign up for booths because I have found that going door to door is a more efficient use of my time, but at least around here, the girls could have met a 63 box goal with three or four booth shifts and less effort on my part.

Ugh, we have both in our troop. Overachiever mom raged for a month because she thought we should have had a special party for her kid and engraved a trophy to present to her. Six months later she was still complaining to anyone who would listen that she financed the whole troop by herself and so she should have gotten to decide what all the money was used for. And then we had a mom who tried to return like a hundred boxes a year after the sale ended. Um, no.

 

We also had the mom who ordered hundreds of boxes of cookies, sold them, and then ran off with all the money and made the troop eat the cost. That was special.

 

Have I mentioned I hate cookie sales? Lol.

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Wow. I feel really grateful for my troop now. $15 dues/year, but this year is covered because of last year's cookie sales. Other than that, we just pay for uniforms (optional, but the sash or vest is standard). Unless there is a special field trip, no extra costs. And the special field trips are specifically not on regular troop meeting days, so there is no pay-to-play vibe usually. All costs of the troop are covered by cookie profits. One leader tried to collect $5/month last year to offset craft costs. She was told to give back the money, and that if she needed anything the troop would just refund her. She was mad about it because she thought it limited her budget about what crafts she could do, but really I don't think it did -- it was more of a "use the supplies we already have in stock and buy what you need, don't just go to Michael's on a spending spree" type of direction. We meet once a week, but after all of the special days off for holidays, etc., maybe 3/month. Parents don't need to stay for meetings.

 

So yeah, I guess I have it good.

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Just to compare for costs. Registration for Scouts Canada for the year is $210. That all goes to national. (Insurance and whatever. ) Some groups have a yearly fee on top of that. My kids' doesn't but has about $20/ month dues (varies by age group). Popcorn sales is highly encouraged but not forced. Scout age and up can sell chocolate bars to entirely fund the yearly international camp (or parents can pay but must sell a couple of boxes for travel costs). Camps and activities cost extra. However.... we have a no one left out policy for the group. The group committee finds a way to pay for every scout for all the activities if needed. They ask for sponsorships from businesses. The one leader designed and sold a crest to fundraise one year. It is a great group.

 

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DD showed interest in maybe doing a girl scout troop this year. And I found a homeschool one that meets in a location we can actually get to. So I emailed for information. And was shocked at some of it. Dues $50 a year. Not including actual girl scout membership or uniform and BOTH parents must be registered members {so add $25 per person}. Plus Must Sell $150 of Candy in Fall and $250 of Cookies in spring. Or contribute $100 for each to the activity fund. And no drop offs - all parents must volunteer for EVERY meeting. 

 

 

Seriously? DD looked at me and said she'd rather stay a lone scout! 

 

Wow, first glance is that it seems like too much of a lot of different things, except maybe the dues.

 

Is it a large group?  I assume only one parent needs to be there, because otherwise that leaves out kids who only have one parent, or who have one parent who works during that time, or who have other siblings that need to be taken care of.  But even then, if there are 20 girls at each meeting, what are 20 parents supposed to do?  (I've never been involved in GS so don't know what typical numbers are.)  Having parents take turns volunteering at meetings is certainly not unreasonable, but at every single meeting?  That makes it more a family event rather than a kid's event.  I would want a better understanding of that.  I assume the $25 parent registration fee is to cover background checks that they require for volunteering.  

 

Our 4H group required parents to be at meetings, but only one needed to be there and they did make allowances based on circumstances.  That worked out for us, because in 4H all ages and genders are part of the same club and are at meetings together.

 

I've never liked fundraising at all, but I could see that if the group sets it up and makes it pretty easy to sell those items as long as the girls put in two Saturdays working at a table that the group routinely sets up at the mall, or something like that, it wouldn't be so bad.  But if they're completely on their own selling, then it would probably be more effort than I'd want to put in.

 

My kids enjoyed 4H for the five years or so that we were involved.  We don't live out in the country but there are several urban groups in our area.  Our group was pretty laid back.  At least one parent was at most meetings, but they weren't necessarily volunteering;  they were sitting there listening and showing support, and of course they were involved in many ways outside of meetings helping to get projects done, volunteering at the county fair, etc.  But it was expected to be more of a family activity and it really was.  Not much money was involved in 4H.

 

A couple of my girls were involved in private state choirs when they were teens where fundraising was expected or we had the option to pay out, but it just doesn't seem like young girls in GS should have to do all that.  That part would bother me.

 

What do they use the earnings for?

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As a Girl Scout leader and my girls are in two different troops, some of the expectations sound a little high but not completely unexpected. 

Our troop dues were $25/year but we had to raise them to $35/year because the price of badges went up. That only covers the cost for 11 badges and nothing else. No supplies, no trips, no fun patches, no service projects, nothing else.  We spent about $400 on badges and patches last year for 10 girls, dues didn't cover it.

We had an excellent cookie season last year (honestly - because of my daughter's sales and motivation to do a lot of booths) so we won't be charging dues this year because we carried over enough money from last year to cover dues. But if sales are low this year, then we will have to charge dues.

Our parents pay for registration and for uniforms, we don't get any money from that -- we don't require a parent from each family to join but most of our families do anyways in order to volunteer. I can see why a troop would require at least one (two seems excessive) parent join if they have an expectation that every family volunteers. 

The requirements for fundraising sounds high but I understand the reasoning, we don't make requirements for our families, but  I admit that it annoys me that we have a family that sells no cookies at all and her daughter only does one booth when it is the cookie sales that fund the majority of our activities. This year, we sold enough that we were able to pay for every event fee, which, even with low cost events, adds up.  Our cookie profits averaged out to about $125/girl. Our council doesn't have candy/nuts -- it's really just cookies for us

We spent over $400 on events last year for just 10 girls. The year before, parents had to pay for every event we attended - so it was nice the cookies were able to cover it.   We spent $200 on service projects that support our community. We are an averagely active troop.

My other daughter is in a more active troop that sells a ton of cookies (I think their cookie profit is more than $250/girl) and they spent about the same on badges but their activities and service projects spending was $1,700 and they're saving up for a Savannah, GA trip this year --- her troop will probably cover the total cost of the trip, versus other troops where parents still have to pay hundreds of dollars for trips like that. Her troops also covers registration fees and uniform costs, but again, they sell a lot of cookies to cover the cost.

You can always search out another troop because every one will be different in how they manage the troop.

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I think the only thing I might ask about is can just you join, why dh? We have been scouts K-High school. My dh has never joined. I do so that I can go to events when I am not co-leading. USually I am co-leading. I think there is only year I didn't.  We still do a family camp once a year that dh can go to, and he can go to ceremonies and such. He hasn't ever needed to join. WE do have some dads who are the main scout parent who join.

 

 IT is a lot of work on the leaders/volunteers. The dues don't sound high. There are snacks, crafts, curriculum to buy, badges, badges and pins to buy for every single meeting. That stuff adds up.  As for uniforms, the only required as a uniform is the vest/sash and a pin. The girls can wear any khaki pants and white polo style shirt. They don't have to be girl scout to be officially in uniform. Unless the troop is saying you are buying all of the badges and pins earned for the vest, then that could be uniform costs. Our troop uses dues and fundraised money to cover that stuff. (And actually our troop buys vests/sashes for girls bridging up to a new level, so a family only pays for their first one the first year they join. But how a troop's money is used is by the troop.) 

 

On the sales, every troop is different. Having a set amount is often the best way to do it, and letting others just pay their part is the best way to handle it. If you say everyone must participate in a fundraiser, some people will sell one case of cookies and feel they did what you said. That nets the troop something like $6.60, while others do the bulk of the work.  If you want to know what the money goes for, just ask. You have that right.  There are expenses you aren't thinking of.  And if you volunteer often, you might be able to come up with ways to help save money for the troop making it cost less in the future. 

 

On cookies our troop has an amount of around 185 boxes each child must sell. They work together and sell at booth sales on the weekends during cookie season for as much as they want, and sell individually. 

 

Camps can be paid for partly by what the child gets as their individual prize for selling cookies. We did not highly focus on cookie sales this past year. Each of my children only sold 200 boxes, when usually they hit around 300 each. So my dd14's personal cookie money was only $40. But she was able to put that towards her summer camp. She also got a partial scholarship, so as a family our part of camp for two weeks was really not very much at all. 

 

Scouting has been an amazing thing for this family. But like any of the extracurriculars we have joined and stuck with it takes commitment of our time and resources. My kids have gained so much from it. 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy
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The dues don't seem unreasonable and I like the option to either pay or participate in the fundraisers.  I would want to know what costs the troop covers before deciding if that is unreasonable (for example, multiple trips that require admission, summer camp, etc included without paying extra would make that seem very reasonable).  

 

As far as the parents go, I can understand why they want a parent at every meeting.  Requiring both parents at every meeting makes no sense though.  I can also understand why they require parents to join (parents have to join to be eligible to volunteer for certain things).  I would bet these policies are in response to issues they had previously and don't want to repeat.

 

Scouting still seems like a darn good deal as I write the $3000+ check for dance (that does not include practice gear, shoes, costumes, performance fees, etc.

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