Finances & Fundraising

Troop finances and billing for troop outings are run by the troop Treasurer, so as to relieve the Scoutmaster and other adult leaders from this burden.   All troop billing and payments goes through the troop treasurer.  No boys or adult leaders will ever collect or accept payment for any event, or otherwise touch money!  

The troop charges dues twice a year, in September and March.   You can think of dues as your son's membership fees for the following six months.   Dues provide for the base costs of outings for the six-month period, including food, stove fuel, camping and activitiy fees, meeting supplies, and minor gear maintenance.   In addition, the September dues include an additional charge for registration and chartering with the Boy Scouts of America.  

While dues cover all basic outing expenses, they do not cover costs for major trips like week-long summer camp, junior leader training week, or the biannual Vermont ski trip.   For these major events, a separate information packet is distributed to boys that explains the event and the event costs.   Payments for major events are typically split into two or more partial payments or deposits to reserve space.    The troop cash flow relies on timely deposit payments!    Trip deposits are generally non-refundable. 

Dues also do not cover large expenses for weekend outings which are individually incurred.   For example, dues are not sufficient to cover downhill skiing lift tickets for a weekend ski trip.    When a trip has such additional costs, those costs will be listed in the online information about the event.   If your son signs up for a trip, we will commit troop funds for his participation and you will be billed for that cost.   If your son cancels at the last minute and we have incurred non-refundable costs, you will be billed for those fees.

The troop treasurer maintains accounts for each family.   Approximately every two to three months, and any time major deposits are due, the treasurer will send out statements listing current account charges and requesting payment of any balance not covered by receipts you may have turned in.   We ask that you pay off your account promptly.   Troop 8 runs on a very limited budget, and delays in payment can compromise our ability to secure campsites and activities in a timely fashion and at the best price.

We recognize that sometimes individual families will be in financial circumstances that do not allow them to be able to afford some troop events.   We ask such families to do two things:  First, to pay the dues amount if at all possible, or if not possible in full to make some good faith effort toward paying the dues.    Second, to let the treasurer or the parish Scouting Coordinator know of the difficulty in advance of major trips, so that we can plan appropriately.   We value all our boys, and work hard to make sure we never turn a boy away from any trip because of family financial circumstances.   Through a combination of generous alumni, parish support, and troop fundraising, we have been 100% successful.   There are two important limits to our generosity, however.  We cannot use financial aid money for a boy who cancels out of a trip.  Therefore, if your son was receiving assistance but cancels out of a trip, you will be expected to pay our real cost.   Second, we cannot cover financial need that we are informed of after the fact. 

To help support our common troop gear and a portion of our scholarship support for boys, the troop conducts several fundraisers each year.   The troop prefers to schedule "one shot" fundraisers like a pancake breakfast, rather than sales like the BSA popcorn drive.   Parents of all troop scouts are expected to participate in a fair share of shifts (usually one or two) for each fundraiser as a condition of maintaining membership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! The troop’s programs and scholarships for kids are supported by the generosity of parents, troop alumni, and St. Thomas parishioners. Your participation in some troop fundraising is expected, but your generous contribution to making a strong program available to young men is most definitely appreciated. 100% of your contribution to Troop 8 goes directly into the program for boys.   Make checks payable to "St. Thomas - Troop 8," mark them as a donation, and send them to the troop treasurer.

 

You can also give money to supporting the administration of Boy Scouting in our area through a Friends of Scouting contribution to the Great Sauk Trail Council.   Checks should be be made payable to the Great Sauk Trail Council, and sent to the council office directly with a note that it is for Friends of Scouting from a member of Troop 8.

When a boy signs up for a trip, the troop commits money for reservations, campsite fees, etc.  That is true even if we have not received a deposit from you, because we want to ensure that your son does not miss out on a trip if your family is having financial difficulty.    

 

Because it is unfair to ask others to cover your son's expenses when he signs up but cancels out too late for a refund, troop policy is to hold boys liable for the costs incurred.   We would ask that you help your son learn this responsibility.


Call or email the troop treasurer (treasurer@troop8.org).   He or she will be happy to help.

About 25% of the troop families ask their son to pay a portion of trip costs. That's a family decision which the adult leaders will support.

 

Our experience with this practice over the years, however, is that it should be used with some caution. We have seen about half of the boys who had this sort of arrangement drop out because of it. Boys who participate in scouts, particularly in more expensive Venture outings, have a great deal of difficult responsibility for planning and "making the outing happen." It's a lot of work. To add the money-earning requirement (more responsibility & work) puts kids in the "hey, it's easier and almost as much fun to just hang out with friends & play video games" mode. Just as in the marketplace, higher cost discourages purchase, even when it's a good product.

 

We would also ask that you be realistic about the earning power of young teenagers in a town with a ready supply of college-aged laborers.

Boy Scouting is about boy leadership. Most of our trips are possible only because of the skills and contributions that each boy, and particularly the older boys, make. Each boy is a teammate, and each patrol needs enough team members to play the scouting game. When one can't come, it hurts everyone, from the boy who doesn't get to learn a skill, to the peer who has few friends on the outing, to the older boy who spent a ton of effort planning the campout or preparing to teach a skill.

 

Troop 8 practices the values of Catholic social teaching, reflected in the practice of the early disciples, where each gave according to his ability and took according to his need. Many friends and families of the troop give generously of their resources to provide for boys where family resources would be stretched. They recognize the value scouting has as an educational program, and were often themselves the recipients of such kind assistance in the past. We know your son will be similarly generous to others, by teaching younger boys, being a contributing part of the team instead of an occasional player, and supporting youth education programs in the future. It's a good investment.

 

The second half of the Christian principle is to "take according to your need." This notion tends to run counter to the Calvinist-Puritan tradition of thrifty independence in the U.S., and may seem uncomfortable to you. Please don't let it be. While accepting the troop's offer of assistance and allowing your son to go on more adventurous trips may require the practice of some humility, it gives others the opportunity to share, and helps bring our scouting community together. Accepting Troop 8 financial assistance is no different than accepting a scholarship to help pay your son's college tuition (except that we're going to expect more of him than just doing OK in classes!)

Troop 8 works hard to ensure that no boy is denied participation on any event because of ability to pay. Our boys are our trip leaders; it's more valuable to the troop to have them out learning skills and taking responsibility than the small cost of outings.

 

If you can't afford an outing with special costs but your son wants to go, please send him.   Just let the treasurer or Scoutmaster know in advance about your circumstances.  If a bill comes, simply write "we can't afford to do this at this time" on it, and we'll take care of the rest in complete confidence. Your work for troop fund-raising will be allocated to pay for your portion. 

The treasurer has to collect all the individual receipts and participant lists from a campout before doing a billing; this takes some time and effort. He or she will also usually accumulate bills until they're more than just a few dollars. Statements are sent out as necessary, usually every 2-3 months. Because we are billing after the fact for most special outing expenses, prompt payment is expected; the troop does not have the cash flow to support ongoing "loans" to delinquent families.

Troop dues are set by the committee each year, but are usually pretty stable from year to year.    At the time of this writing, dues are $110 for a six-month period, plus a $30 BSA registration fee assessed in September.