\ All Things Girl Scouts

April 12, 2018

But what about dues?

Girl Scout 
verb

Being a Girl Scout is something you DO, and it is an EXPERIENCE that no girl should miss!





Dues.  This is a hot topic for every troop leader.  Between annual national dues, any local dues that may be imposed on top of national, and the potential troop imposed dues, it is something leaders must seriously consider before making the choice to charge them or not.

First - I'd like to add that girl scouts is a girl led activity, and regardless of age, the girls should be involved in the decision of whether to charge dues or not.

There are a lot of pros and cons to charging dues, and the mechanics of making a troop work can be more difficult without dues.  Some leaders view dues as integral.  Some view them as an unnessecary cost.  Personally, I see the value in charging dues, but I also see a LOT of value in refraining from charging them.  In my troop, we charged $25 per girl the FIRST year we were a troop.  If parent's could not pay, I didn't pursue it.  I lived in a pretty low income area, and we really just were trying to get through fall and get to cookie season.  That council did not give any funds for new troops, so we were really starting at ground zero.

This worked well for my troop.  We had a few that didn't or couldn't pay, and many who did pay promptly.  It was enough to get us through, and we haven't charged dues since.  My troop has always been fairly successful with cookie sales.  We generally run between 7 and 10 girls and my girls generally net $1500+.  Since they are small yet, this is plenty for them to do fun stuff, pay their registration, and purchase their uniforms and badges, etc.

In the following paragraphs, we will go over the pros and the cons of charging dues. Ready?

Pro's


  • The troop has funds - this is important.  Without funds, they cannot do any activities that cost money, purchase badges, or buy supplies
  • Dues give a girl ownership over her troop, and meeting.  
  • Dues teach girls many lessons - life isnt free, money comes from somewhere, etc. 
  • You, as a leader, are not spending a lot of money out of pocket.
  • Often the troop can do more things, or more expensive things.
Con's

  • Dues can cause conflict between troop members family's and the troop.  Sometimes parent's can't or just wont pay.  If they can't, some element of embarassment or shame is generally hand in hand with that.  If they won't pay, they might just not care. 
    • Dues are NOT required, thus you cannot penalize a girl if her parent's dont pay them.  Troop money is still troop money and must be used equally.  This national standard can cause some frustration for leaders and scouts, as well.
  • It is hard to guess the correct amount.  Leaders I know have charged anywhere from $.25 a meeting to $150 a year.  
  • Enforcing dues handed in at meetings may unitentionally single out a girl who's family cannot afford to pay.
  • If your troop does charity work, parents may have some issues or question why they need to pay dues, if the troop is well off enough to donate to more needy groups. 
  • It may not cover all expenses, and it becomes a lot to ask for someone to pay national dues, possible local dues, troop dues, then drop another $75 for a uniform, and pay a portion of events.
In the end, you really have to sit down and talk with your parents, girls, and coleaders.  Some troop charge dues, some don't.  It really comes down to what works for your specific troop.  I urge you to sit down and really see how far you can get without them.  I would not advocate using your own out of pocket money on scouts, and don't run yourself ragged trying to saving money.  Just be frugal and cognizant of everything that can be done at low or no cost, and keep costs low all around.  Everyone will appreciate it!

Look for a post coming soon on low cost and no cost activity ideas, and as always, please share any questions or comments you have!