As we set our budget for 2021, we were experiencing our worst year in history. Vaccines were just starting to be approved, there was great fear of meeting in larger groups, units were struggling to meet, and we had lost nearly 40% of our Cub Scout units. We had managed to offer some camping opportunities in the previous year, but safety uncertainty kept most away. Recruiting was very difficult with families trying their best to manage life in a new “virtual” world. We were inundated with abuse lawsuit ads and the potential existed for Scouting to cease to exist. It sounds melodramatic, but that was our world as we contemplated our 2021 budget. With that as the background, and the bright news that vaccines would soon be available, we developed a budget based on regaining some stability and an aggressive approach to rebuilding our membership. That included full staffing and full programming, with a focus on restoring the quality of our camp programs.
Even with that optimism, we expected to lose money in 2021. Although the books are not yet closed, we expect to finish 2021 $100k-$150k to the good! The focus and tremendous work of our staff and volunteers, coupled with the response from our Scouting families and supporters, has been remarkable. One of the largest factors in our financial success was qualifying for a couple of large government grants, but even after factoring that out, we far exceeded expectations. Virtually every result area we track came in better than budget and everyone who had a hand in that success deserves our heartfelt THANKS! While it is fitting to celebrate, we must maintain our focus on the “M&Ms”.
Assuming limited government help, our budget for 2022 again shows a loss as we continue to claw our way back from 2020. We can alleviate that loss by continuing to focus on growing traditional membership and venturing into new youth markets, providing camps and program opportunities that draw families, and cultivating new supporters. We do this by showing the benefits of Scouting to our families and our communities. If you’re reading this, you know the value of Scouting. We need others to know it, as well. We need your friends, your co-workers, your associates, your doctors, your mechanics, your barbers, and everyone else to know it, as well. It is only through growth that we will be able to continue to support our camps and our programs. By being ambassadors for Scouting, you will be impacting the lives of our children and the success of our communities for years to come. We’ll continue to provide updates on how we are doing as we work together to grow. It’s a pleasure to work beside you!
Bay-Lakes Council President