Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Cost of Scouting

Julianne has decided she wants to be a girl scout. I'm okay with that. I always wanted to be a girl scout when I was in elementary school. My best friend was a girl scout and wore her uniform to school every Wednesday. It was "da bomb." My sister Terry and I went to a girl scout meeting once. I got to look through the book at all the cool badges I could earn. I wanted them all. Back then you had to have the whole uniform and I guess it was more than my parents could afford at the time so it was our one and only girl scout meeting.
I went to the parents meeting for our girl scout troop last night. It's a brand new troop based from our elementary school except we can't meet at our school until the paperwork goes through. Our school has approved us but the paperwork is stuck in district. Apparently it takes months for them to approve it. The other factor in being a brand new troop is we have no "start up" money so they have asked for 6 months of dues up front which is $20. per child and then there is the $10 fee that the council charges per child. They also charge $10 per parent to have a background check done. Now this is completely voluntary but if you want to attend a meeting or stand at a table where they are selling cookies, etc. you must be approved. Okay, so that's another $20. They no longer require a uniform. It's khaki pants or shorts and a white shirt but they do require the girls either wear a vest or a sash. Our troop has decided on a sash which I believe costs $6.50. Then there are all the pins, badges, troop number, american flag etc which actually brings the cost of the sash up to $20. Oh and they also wanted $5.00 for the official t shirt for the girls to wear to march in the parade coming up next month. If you are keeping count, that's $65.00 I handed over last night. Not really terrible BUT not everyone can do that these days. We had one mom there last night who had 2 girls that wanted to join and she was a single mom. It would have cost her $120. and she just couldn't do it. I felt really bad for her and to the troop leaders credit she really tried to help. She told her that really all she HAD TO have last night was the $20. for the girl scout council which is something she had no control over. She told the mom she could pay the fees on a meeting by meeting basis and would have also have been happy to front her the money for the sashes but I think it was all very overwhelming for her. I felt really bad until I heard her say something about her really having looked forward to "getting rid of the girls for the weekends when they went camping." HUH? We found out that the girls also didn't go to our school, but to another school who already has a troop. Not sure why she didn't join there, or maybe she did and there was a problem there too.
Me, I'm looking forward to doing this with Julianne and I also got to look through the badge book again ~ and again I want them all. I guess some things never change.


Sandra :) said...

The price of organized activities for kids is getting higher every year. And even tho we pay a fee for them to join (and frequently, weekly dues!) the kids are still expected to do fund-raising! It's way out of hand. It's unfortunate that that high prices are keeping some kids OUT of these activities - these are the kinds of things that most kids benefit from, especially kids in "high risk" situations. Another problem I have with these things is that you have to plan for and sign up so far in advance - forget trying to get your kids into something at the last minute! It's a sad state of affairs, for sure.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

The Girl Scouts offer financial aid for those that cannot afford it. You can get the forms from your council. I used it a few times when we were really tight and it was approved with no problems.

Maria said...

Lucky for me, Liv has expressed no interest in joining the scouts. I have had some big problems with the boy scouts and their ban on gay leaders.

Miss Healthypants said...

Like Maria, I hate the Boy Scouts' ban on gay leaders--so stupid!!

However, when I was a kid, I loved Girl Scouts--and like you, I wanted to earn every badge! :)

I still really like their cookies. :)

Judy said...

Great for Julianne! It's a great org for kids to become involved in. Not to mention, it teaches them so much about becoming responsible and taking responsibility for themselves. Learning these things outside the home takes a lot of "nag" pressure off Mom. It will help you too! When Rob was in scouting he had the cleanest room in town while he earned those badges. He was an Eagle by the time he finished up. Sadly, his wife reports he has backslid bigtime! :) He's still quite the outdoorsman, but he's not too keen on cleaning! Tell Julz I'm rooting for her and I hope she keeps her enthusiasm for it.

jillytacy said...

Wow that's a lot of money! I think you're right that not every family can afford to pay that up front. I was a girl scout and enjoyed it. I still have my sash stashed away somewhere. Though I don't think I have that many badges on it.