The third in a series designed to help Scout families, Scouts and those new to Scouting better understand what Scouting is, how it works, and how to get the most out of the experience. For past articles, see back issues of The Guide. Written by Paul Shrode, Bay-Lakes Council Family Friends of Scouting Chair, Member of the Board of Directors and Gathering Waters District Chair. Contact Paul at

What is the Friends of Scouting Campaign About and Why Should I Care?

Families new to Scouting are often confused and even put off by their first experience with the Friends of Scouting. After all, why are we asked to donate when we have already paid our membership fees? Where did that money go?

The Friends of Scouting fundraising campaign supports the Bay Lakes Council’s annual fund so we can continue to develop the leaders of tomorrow, provide opportunities for character development, citizenship training, outdoor adventure, physical and mental growth, friendship and fun. Most important, the campaign seeks to ensure that no youth is denied the opportunity <continued> to become a Scout or participate in our programs and activities due to financial reasons. Like public radio, the United Way, public institutions, museums and other non-profit organizations, Scouting asks for the support of those who know us best, our families and friends, Scouting alumni, and the business community throughout our service area. Each gift is powerful and makes a difference, no matter the size.

The Bay-Lakes Council provides Scouting opportunities in a large region that stretches from an area north of Milwaukee through the eastern part of Wisconsin and all of Upper Michigan. The annual membership fees paid at the time of joining or charter renewal are sent to the National BSA. Unlike many Councils in the United States, our Council has resisted adding in membership fees at charter renewal time. Instead, we rely upon the support of our communities and the families we serve for support. It costs around $400 per scout per year to provide all of the programs and services made available through the Bay Lakes Council.

Why should I care about the Friends of Scouting campaign you might ask? Several reasons come to mind.
  • Programs and Services: Funds are immediately put to use providing programs and services to our youth and adult volunteers through District and Council events and activities, summer and year-round camping, support materials, supplies, and training.
  • Camps and Facilities: Our Council is blessed with camping facilities, a Service Center, and equipment made available to units (Packs, Troops, Crews and Ships) to use at nominal cost.
  • It Helps My Unit: Reaching unit goals provides free rank advancement patches to the unit and reaching stretch goals also provides belt loops, merit badges and support for summer camp attendance.
  • It Helps the Council Raise Support from Others: It helps the Council to raise funds from corporations and foundations to support Scouting when those who know us best, our members and their families support the Scouting program. Our endorsement resounds with those we approach for support.
So how can you help? Please consider a generous gift when your unit presents you with an opportunity to participate in the Friends of Scouting. Perhaps your employer matches charitable giving, extending the power of your gift. If your unit has not scheduled a presentation yet, encourage them to do so as soon as possible so that they can take full advantage of the unit incentives. You can pledge a sum over time, make a donation by check, donate online with a credit card, set up monthly giving – there are so many ways to fit your gift into your budget and lifestyle. For more information, check out 2021 Friends of Scouting under the Support tab on the Council website, where you can search for your unit’s pledge form under your District.
Thank you for your consideration and for helping Scouting to make our mission possible!