Department of Florida

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Scouting: Chair

From the Chairman

Chris Ragusa

Chris Ragusa, Scouting Chair

September 2020

American Legion Scouters

Outstanding Post Scouting Program Winners
My hardiest congratulations to the 2019-20 Americanism Award Outstanding Post Scouting Program winners:

Post 273 – Madeira Beach
Post 138 – Port Tampa City
Post 79 – New Port Richey

As you may be aware, a change was made to this recognition, and three programs are now recognized for excellence each year. Quite an honor considering that the American Legion Department of Florida posts charter almost 100 Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, and Venturing crews, and sponsors (provides financial support to) almost that many again. According to the CPR tracking, well over 2,000 Scouts benefit from the American Legion’s support to the Boy Scouts of America in Florida!

Operations
With little change regarding our ability to resume “normal” Scouting operations at the unit, district, and council levels, we are challenged to be creative in providing this important aspect of our Americanism pillar. There are many resources available to help our posts’ Scouting programs continue to provide the finest values-based outdoor adventure and youth leadership development program. Most councils have invested time and energy into program ideas that conform to their regions’ risk mitigation guidelines. Additionally….

Point your posts and units to Bryan on Scouting, which is typically a wealth of information. For example:
https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2020/04/07/check-out-this-scout-shop-gear-to-help-work-on-merit-badges/

Pinterest never ceases to amaze me. Search any topic, and you’ll rarely come up empty handed: https://www.pinterest.com/leaderconnectingleaders/virtual-scout-meeting-ideas/

ScoutShare is also a good source for ideas on how to maintain the Scouting spirit while maintaining good social distancing practices: http://scoutshare.org/Resources/Articles

2020-21 Fee Increase
The executive board of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America approved a membership fee increase for all Scouting programs effective August 1, 2020. For the new membership fees are as follows:

  • Beginning August 1, 2020:
    • New members for all traditional programs (Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouts) will pay $66.00/year for registration (the previous fee was $60.00/year).
    • All new members for Exploring programs will pay $42.00/year for registration (the previous fee was $36.00/year).
    • All new volunteer adults for all programs, unit or non-unit, will pay $42.00/year for registration (the previous fee was $36.00/year).
    • New Member Fee – There is now a one-time new member fee of $25.00 for all new youth of traditional programs (Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouts). This fee will be assessed regardless of when a youth member joins. The new member fee is for youth only.
    • No joining fee for Exploring participants.
    • No joining fee any youth previously registered in any BSA program.
    • No joining fee for transfers from one program to another.
    • No joining fee for adult volunteers.
    • All new units and units renewing their charter will pay a $75.00/year charter fee (the previous fee was $60.00/year).
  • Beginning October 1, 2020 (or when the BSA council recharters, which varies by council):
    • All youth members renewing with respective traditional programs will pay $66.00/year for registration.
    • All youth members renewing with their Exploring Post will pay $42.00/year for registration.
    • All adults will pay $42.00/year for registration with their unit or district positions. (multiple registrations will continue to pay one fee).

BLUF: This creates an additional challenge, as this second increase in as many years now includes the one-time $25 joining fee for new Scouts. There are also reports that the (recommended) on-line registration process automatically charges the 2021 National recharter fee up front. This can be a daunting financial ask for new Scout families that have not experienced the value of the program when asked for a combination of the prorated 2020 National Fee, joining fee, and the 2021 National registration fee when signing up for the first time.

This is above and beyond any dues associated with their individual unit. None of those fees remain at the local level to support operations. Although I haven’t heard back from all of the seven Boy Scouts of America council that operate in the state of Florida (Suwannee River Area, North Florida, Central Florida, Greater Tampa Bay Area, Southwest Florida, Gulf Stream, and South Florida), I know that council-level programs exist that can help Scout families that are resource-constrained with these fees. I have begun an outreach program to the Directors of Field Service in these councils to get better fidelity on that topic.

As always, reach out to me with any questions, requests for clarification, or thoughts on best practices regarding the information above. Yours in Scouting……Chris Ragusa

Chris Ragusa
Scouting
scouting@legionmail.org