Boy Scouts of America Introduces Yearly Membership Plan: What You Need to Know
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has long been an institution that shapes young lives, instilling values of leadership, service, and community involvement. On August 1st, a significant change took place with the introduction of the Yearly Membership plan, signaling a shift towards more streamlined and user-friendly membership management. This transformation marks a pivotal moment for the organization and its members, bringing in a new era of efficiency and transparency.
1. Transition to a Yearly Membership Plan
One of the key highlights of this change is the transition from a prorated fee structure to a renewable annual membership. Effective immediately, all new members and current members renewing their membership will enjoy a 12-month membership, with their renewal month aligned with their anniversary date of joining or renewing.
2. National Fee Structure and Tokenization
To facilitate the Yearly Membership plan, the BSA has implemented a new National Fee Structure. The updated fee includes an $80 charge for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouting participants, representing a modest $5 increase from previous rates. Adult volunteers will now pay $60, with a $15 increase, which is used to provide general liability insurance and enhanced background checks.
Furthermore, to streamline the renewal process, the BSA has introduced tokenization of the member’s credit card for auto-renewal. This change aims to simplify payment procedures and ensure a smooth membership experience for all participants.
3. Fee Changes for Merit Badge, Nova, and Supernova Counselors
In line with the new membership structure, the BSA has introduced a $25.00 fee for Merit Badge, Nova, and Supernova Counselors. This fee will be applicable to new counselors registering after the implementation date and will not affect those already registered as leaders.
4. Council Program Fee and Future Fee Collection
The Council Program Fee settings for online registration and Internet Rechartering will now reflect an annual amount, no longer prorated. Additionally, the Future Fee collection in online registration will cease to be collected, further streamlining the membership process.
5. Pre-Paid Membership for New Members
The change to the Yearly Membership plan means that all new members will be reflected on their unit as a Yearly Membership. For unit renewals, these members will be treated as pre-paid, as their term is not being renewed, similar to how future year-paid members were calculated in the past.
6. Transition Period for Units and Recharters
Between August 1st and March 2024, all new units and recharters will be issued for a fixed 12-month term. During this transition period, long-term and short-term charters will no longer be issued. This step aims to streamline processes and ensure consistency across all units.
With the implementation of the Yearly Membership plan, the Boy Scouts of America is taking a significant step forward in enhancing the membership experience for both youth participants and adult volunteers. The streamlined fee structure, tokenized payment system, and annual terms will create a more straightforward and transparent process for all involved. This change sets the stage for a promising future, enabling the BSA to continue its vital mission of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes, instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law, and helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow.
As we move into this new chapter, let us celebrate the rich history and the transformative impact the BSA has had on countless lives and look forward to the continued growth and success of this exceptional organization.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is driving the youth and adult membership fee increase?
- General Liability Insurance costs to protect volunteer leaders, staff, charter organizations, units, and youth.
- BSA restructuring costs.
- Enhanced Criminal Background check processes and investments in Youth protection and safety programs.
What steps has the National Service Center taken to manage costs?
- Completed a new staff structure and streamlined both the professional workforce and the volunteer structure, while maintaining essential services.
- Reduced the National staff workforce to support essential services.
- Reduced expenses throughout the National organization.
What is the new membership fee for youth and adults? Will the fees go up again?
- The new adult membership fee is $60, and the youth membership fee is $80 annually.
- The BSA will continue to evaluate the membership fees and keep our councils and unit leaders informed of any further changes to the fee structure.
What benefits and services are provided to the local council with the new fee?
- Expanded GLIP protections for Chartered Organizations and volunteers.
- Enhanced Criminal Background checks.
- Investments in BSA safety resources and training.
- The employment of a new Youth Protection Executive and support staff.
- The National Council provides the following essential services to councils:
- The use of BSA Intellectual Property – Youth Safety, Cub Scouts, Scouts, BSA, Venturing, Camp Standards, Training and Program development etc.
- Human Resources
- Information Technology – Rechartering, Scout Book
- Accounting Resources
- Council Services Support
- Membership & Marketing Support
- Crisis Communications and support
- Safety & Membership Standards Support
- A variety of training support for youth and adult leaders
- Health Insurance & Benefits
What benefits and services are provided to the unit with the registration fee?
- Expanded General Liability Insurance protections for the chartered organization and unit leaders in the event of an incident.
- Program research and development including, Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Exploring.
- Access to Youth Protection Training, Incident Reporting and Scouts First Helpline: 1-844-Scouts1.
- Access to leadership specific training for adult leaders.
- Investments in program literature and resource development.
- Ability to purchase Uniforms, Insignia and Recognition for youth and Adults.
- Provides access to Membership, Marketing, and Brand Center resources.
- Provides important technology support including Scout Book, on-line registration, on-line advancement, and rechartering, My.Scouting, BeAScout, and BSA Brand Center for digital assets.
- Access to the four BSA High Adventure Properties including Philmont Scout Ranch, Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier High Adventure Base, and the Summit Bechtel Reserve.