The BSA membership fee will increase to $33 for all registered youth and adult leaders, effective December 1, 2017.

Membership fees support the services that are necessary to provide Scouting to youth from 7 to 21 years of age. From education to high-adventure experiences you can’t get anyplace else, the BSA provides unique growth opportunities at a great value.

The membership fee change for all registered youth and adult leaders will go into effect December 1, 2017. This change will affect Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, Sea Scout ships, and Exploring posts/clubs. However, it will NOT apply to LDS-sponsored units, nor to those units with council-paid memberships. Note: All November and December 2017 recharters will have to renew at this new rate (since November recharter renewal actually spans from December 1, 2017, to November 30, 2018).

This question always gets asked when membership fees increase, which they will be doing again this January. So we thought we would try to answer this as best we can. 

Each local council, (there are about 270 of those in the BSA), is a “franchise” of the National Council. BSA’s National Council supplies program materials and support for those local councils as follows:

  • Services include primary liability coverage for all volunteer leaders and chartered organizations

  • New program development and membership recruiting strategies, and support materials. 

  • Online training from Scouting U for unit positions in the BSA and offers training support for face-to-face training in local Scouting districts
  • Training to local council staff and professional development training for commissioned, full-time pro-Scouters
  • Produces literature such as handbooks, merit badge pamphlets, brochures, and supplemental training materials
  • Makes available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies
  • Maintains and develops new relationships with chartered organizations that use the Scouting program (religious institutions, civic organizations, labor unions, professional organizations, business, and industry)
  • Plays a leadership role in protecting our youth by providing youth protection resources, training, and criminal background checks for all registered volunteers and staff
  • Provide local councils with program tools and training for year-round camp operations.

When you compare the BSA to other youth-serving organizations, we provide unique growth opportunities at a great value. The following are costs associated with other youth activities:

Tackle football, $142: In Plano, Texas, second- through sixth-graders who play tackle football pay $140 for a three-month season. That fee doesn’t include equipment.

Youth orchestra, $1,000: Members of the prestigious Los Angeles Youth Orchestra pay $100 to audition, $1,000 annually (if accepted), and must buy their own instruments.

Select soccer, $400: In Cleveland, select youth soccer players ages 15 to 18 pay $400 a season, plus $180 for uniforms.

Youth basketball, $525: In Queens, N.Y., boys ages 8 to 13 pay $525 a year, not including uniforms.

  • Assists with office planning and evaluation, extensive financial counseling, planned giving and fundraising information, and professional personnel support
  • Coordinates a communications network through magazines, including providing Scouting magazine to all registered leaders
  • Set and maintain program standards (e.g., advancement, health and safety, etc.) to ensure consistency of the brand throughout councils across the country
  • Maintain a national training center at Philmont Scout Ranch
  • Develop and maintain four year-round national high-adventure bases and execute national events (jamborees, National Eagle Scout Association and Order of the Arrow conferences, and National Council meetings)
  • Serve in a leadership role with Scouting associations in other countries as a member of the World Scout Conference

The National Council is funded through membership and service fees, investments, Boys’ Life magazine subscriptions, sales of uniforms and equipment, fees from national high-adventure bases, and contributions from individuals.

Even with the new membership fees Scouting services from the National Council remain a bargain, even at $33 per year. 

Darryl Alder
Darryl is a retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. These days he is a Scouting Ambassador and serves on the Council Membership and Marketing Committee. However, his pride in Scouting is his volunteer service as an Associate Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and Commissioner.


  1. Avatar
    Calvin Gray says:

    Of course, this doesn’t mention the law suits awaiting settlement due the the way in which the BSA handled child abuse cases a few decades ago. Basically, the abusers were removed from the BSA but, in many cases, the abusers weren’t reported to the legal authorities. Approximately 1,200 “secret” files outlining the abuses were made public due to a court case several years ago and many of the adults that were abused as children have sued the BSA. So, to help pay for the court judgments (or to settle out-of-court), the BSA has raised the individual membership fee by 120% ($15 to $33) during the past four years.

  2. Madison Austin
    Madison Austin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thanks for the transparent and informative article on exactly where membership fees go. I think it is important to see where this money is going, and how beneficial it is to the Scouting program we know and love.

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