FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING THE INSURANCE AND PROGRAM FEE (NNJC)
Why is the council adding a new annual program fee?
Scouting remains the premier year-round youth development organization in the USA and the Northern New Jersey Council has been recognized as one of the most successful councils in the country. In order to continue delivering the highest quality Scouting program and to meet the rising costs of doing business as a non-profit organization, NNJC made the difficult decision to implement a new program fee of $24 for adult leaders and Explorers, and $48 per Scout in all other programs. This amounts to $2 to $4 per month to support council programs, camps, etc.
We believe that the tremendous value our Scout families receive for the overall cost to be a part of Scouting is still a bargain and compares favorably with the cost of youth sports and other extracurricular activities. This program fee will provide a predictable revenue source for the council as it continues to partner with units, districts, chartering partners, and volunteers to provide more youth in all our communities with the benefits of Scouting.
NNJC’s annual Friends of Scouting unit campaign no longer provides the funds needed to sustain or grow Scouting in our council, so it will be eliminated and replaced with the introduction of this new program fee.
Several councils in our area have had an annual program fee of up to $100 for many years and most councils in the USA will be adding this type of program fee shortly.
Don’t I already pay an annual registration fee?
Yes. However, that current registration fee goes directly to the BSA National Service Center to support Scout program development at that level, as well as liability insurance for members participating in approved Scouting activities, background checks for adults, and other necessary administrative tasks such as Eagle Scout approvals. None of that money goes directly to the Northern New Jersey Council.
Why is the council insurance fee going up $1?
The annual council insurance fee will increase by $1 to a total of $12 per year. The annual insurance fee goes to the council to pay for supplementary accident and sickness insurance. The increase is solely driven by the increase our insurance company is charging us for our policy. The council periodically investigates the possibility of lower insurance costs while maintaining necessary coverage and believes we are paying a competitive rate. As you know, all insurance costs have generally been increasing for many years. In the past, the council subsidized the cost of insurance by not charging participants but our budget no longer permits that expense.
What does the council insurance and program fee cover? How is this different from when I pay to attend camp or another Scouting event?
NNJC provides supplementary insurance that covers accident and sickness for youth and adult participating in approved Scouting activities. As with all operating costs, the insurance premiums go up annually, and recently non-profit insurance costs have been increasing sharply. As a result, our cost insurance fee will increase $1 a year for a total of $12 per person in 2021.
The cost to maintain camps, hire staff, purchase materials and insure the properties goes far above the cost to rent a site or attend summer camp. Providing direct support to Scout units and parents entails processing charters, applications, and advancement, providing field staff to work directly with leaders in recruiting, training and program planning.
Unfortunately, our traditional sources of council revenue to support Scouting in our council no longer provide enough funding and we can no longer afford to subsidize insurance, event, properties and other costs. We need to ask participants to contribute more directly. Despite the new program fee, we strongly believe that Scouting remains a relative bargain.
I thought Friends of Scouting funded the council?
Years ago, the annual Family Friends of Scouting (FOS) campaign was designed to cover the expenses outlined above. Unfortunately, the annual campaign has fallen significantly short of its goals due to declining giving. Costs were going up and FOS donations were going down. This was not sustainable over time. This lack of predictable and adequate funding impeded the council’s ability to deliver the quality of program and support desired by our Scouting community.
The new insurance and program fee will take the place of the annual Family Friends of Scouting campaign beginning in 2021.
Resources, volunteers, and staff that were directed to running the annual Family Friends of Scouting campaign will be redirected to supporting to units and running program. We believe that ultimately program delivery and unit support is the most important responsibility of the professional council staff.