The Cost of Scouting

Compared to many other youth programs, Scouting is extremely affordable, both in the annual dues as well as the costs of summer camps and other opportunities. Plus, there are opportunities for Scouts to earn their own way, as well as need-based assistance.

Funding the Scouting Experience

Scouts have the opportunity to pay their own way through fundraisers. These let Scouts earn money to help pay for dues, Many Point fees, Scouting events, and Scouting-related gear. When a Scout earns money through these fundraisers, money earned goes into the youth’s individual Scout account.

Also, if friends or relatives wish to donate to a Scout’s personal account, a donation may be made through the troop treasurer, and a gift certificate is available to print out for presentation.

New Northern Star Council Re-registration Costs and Process

As of August 1, 2020, the Northern Star Council made several changes to the registration and renewal process. Along with that was a major change in the funding structure of Scouting in the council. This has been tested for four years in the widely diverse Metro Lakes District, with Scouts from the inner city and suburbs, extremely low income to very wealthy, poor access to education and many educational opportunities. The new funding structure has worked for every unit. It has reduced the registration and charter renewal process, giving units more time and energy to focus on delivering a sound Scouting program, and membership has increased across the district. That said, it’s very different from how we we operated for many years.

Why the Change?

There are several reasons for the changes. First, this helps Scouts and their families recognize the true cost of Scouting, which is well over $200 per Scout. It also creates a sustainable source of funding for the Scouting program, one that will keep Northern Star Council Scouting strong for years to come. The new mantra for the council is “Units First,” and by streamlining the individual registration and payment, adult leaders spend less time collecting money and more time focusing on Scouting programs.

Many parents want a price up front, which this delivers. It also eliminates a lot of paperwork for Troop 141, the district, and the council. Additionally, parents who need financial assistance the ability to request it during the online process without having to request it through the troop.

Current Northern Star Council Registration Costs and Information

  • Annual Northern Star Council fee is $180 for youth. This covers the costs of the local Scouting program, the $72 national registration fee, and insurance
  • $25 one-time fee for new Scouts
  • Adult registration fees will be $45
  • Payments can be made in two installments
  • Registration and payment will be all done online in August and September
  • Financial aid requests will be made online during the registration process and will only involve the council, not Troop 141
  • Financial aid is up to 50% of the fees, but no youth will be turned away (explain during the registration process)
  • Families with multiple youth in Scouting can request financial aid
  • Boys’ Life payment ($12/year) will also be done online with registration
  • New adult volunteer applications will all be done online
  • No more Family Friends of Scouting presentations and asks for additional funding during the year

For more on the new registration and payment policy, see the Northern Star Council’s Annual Program Registration/Renewal page.

How Much Are Troop Costs?

Troop 141 charges dues when initially joining the troop, and once a year in December. Dues pay for all troop expenses including camping fees, training, merit badges, rank patches/pins, and equipment. Due to the changes on a council level, dues are currently being reviewed by the Troop Committee.

  • Annual program and equipment fee: The Troop Committee is discussing a $75—$100 fee that would fund the troop
  • Scouts crossing over from an Arrow of Light den: $60 (for those with an existing BSA membership in a Cub Scout pack who join the troop in February–April; covers troop fees through the end of the current year)
  • Scouts joining in the fall: Had been $35 (for Scouts joining in September–December; covers troop fees and national registration fees through the end of the current year), but being discussed

What Do the Dues Cover?

Funding the troop

  • Camping facility fees
  • Some adult and youth training programs
  • Merit badges
  • Rank patches and pins
  • Troop equipment, including tents, tarps, propane, and cooking gear

Youth and adults attending Troop camping weekends will pay only for food costs. Special events like snow tubing, skiing, or canoeing often have an extra fee.

When you join Troop 141 you will be presented with a neckerchief, neckerchief slide, Scout Handbook, green shoulder loops and a Troop 141 numeral patch.

Troop 141 is a 100% Scouts Life unit. All youth joining will must include a subscription to the monthly Scout-focused magazine as a part of their online registration.

Other Costs of Scouting

In addition to dues (which deliver the essential Scouting program), other events and activities may have other costs, including:

  • Uniform shirt
  • Many Point Scout Camp
  • Merit badge opportunities besides troop activities or Many Point
  • Equipment rental for troop outings such as skis, kayaks, or mountain bikes
  • High adventure trips
  • Order of the Arrow gatherings
  • Special troop or patrol outings

Scout Account Information

Funds that Scouts raise or are given as a gift to a Scout are credited to a personal Scout account. This money may be used for the following items:

  • Annual dues
  • Long-term camp (such as Many Point)
  • Scout events, such as jamborees or high adventure trips
  • Scout-related equipment, such as tents, backpacks, hiking boots, sleeping bags, etc.

Policies that govern Scout accounts include:

  • Funds may only be used for Scout-related gear and activities.
  • Any equipment purchases must first be approved by the Scoutmaster. A Scout must turn in purchase receipts, and will be reimbursed from their Scout account for approved purchases only.
  • Funds covering annual troop dues, Many Point costs, and high-adventure trip costs will automatically be withdrawn from Scout accounts before any other funding sources.
  • Scouts may use up to $250 from their account annually for equipment purchases ($150 if the Scout does not go to Many Point).
  • Funds are not available to be “cashed out.”
  • If a Scout transfers to another troop, the funds in that Scout’s account will be transferred to the new troop. If the Scout leaves the Scouting program, the funds will revert to the general troop fund. If the Scout returns to Scouting, the account will be re-opened with the amount that existed when the Scout left.