M.E. said that her pack loses event registration money it pays in advance when members cancel or don’t show up. Readers suggested a basic solution: “refundable deposits.”
The problem has an obvious answer: Collect the money before the fees need to be paid. This solves the financial problem and teaches the boy about planning and responsible decision-making.
In our troop, we hand out a “camping bulletin” at two meetings before money is due. It includes a description of the event, dates and times of departure and return, what to wear and bring, meal plans, emergency phone numbers, and other relevant information. At the bottom is a permission slip with a place for the Scout’s name, his parent’s signature, and the phone number where the parent can be reached during the event.
If Scouts don’t turn in the money and permission slip by the deadline, they don’t go on the trip. It’s that simple. If you expect boys and parents to be responsible, and if you set and enforce rules, they quickly learn responsibility.
Chartered Organization Representative J.M.W.
The Scouts in our troop have “boy-fund accounts” that contain money they have earned on money-earning projects. We usually take fees for outings out of their accounts unless they choose to pay another way.
Boys who don’t have boy-fund accounts are asked to pay up front. After a time or two of missing an event because they forgot to tell their parents they needed money, most boys will be less forgetful.
We list any fees needed for coming events in our monthly newsletter.
Troop Committee Chairman J.R.
I’ve found that the best solution is to get a check from each family, even if the troop intends to pay for the event. Those who show up get their uncashed check back. Those who don’t, have their checks deposited in a troop account to reimburse the troop for their share of the event’s expense.
If someone has a real good excuse for not showing up and tried to contact us to say they weren’t going to make it, we give them their money back—but it had better be a good excuse, such as illness or accident, not just that a “better party” came up.
The most successful way we have of dealing with troop-funded no-shows is to require a deposit up front before we sign up the Scout for an event. When he shows up at the event, he receives his deposit back for spending money. This is a win-win situation for both boy and troop. The Scout either attends or the troop keeps the money to pay for its costs.
Troop Committee Member E.B.
The parents should pay a deposit when they register their sons for an activity—either by check or cash. If there is a nonrefundable part of the fee, the deposit should cover it.
If the pack simply wants to ensure attendance, the deposit can be refunded when the boy shows up. Otherwise, it is deducted from what the parents owe for the event.