By now, most Scouting families in the Bay-Lakes Council have heard of the Friends of Scouting annual campaign, and hopefully you have had an opportunity to ask questions and participate in this important season of giving.

It is our goal to wrap up the campaign by June, yet as Robert Frost noted, “We have miles to go before we sleep.” There are so many important reasons to help in our annual effort to bring together the resources needed to make Scouting possible. Here are just a few:

  1. Funds raised through the Friends of Scouting (FOS) campaign play a vital role in funding the work of our Council. We do not collect any membership fees from Scouts or their families. New member fees and charter renewal fees all go to the National Council BSA to provide for program development, operations and materials, record keeping, administration and insurance. Our council’s only sources of revenue are camping fees, product sales (popcorn and nuts), and donations, most importantly from families of Scouts through the Friends of Scouting.
  2. All Scouts benefit from the use of these funds. Our field staff supports the work of individual units every day. Our camp properties are maintained and enhanced to provide the best possible facilities and resources to all units. Programs developed on the District and Council levels provide exciting and fun activities available to Scouts and their families and enhance the programming of each Pack, Troop and Crew.
  3. FOS funds play a vital role in helping to make Scouting affordable to all families. Funds help those with financial need to pay membership fees and other fees associated with joining. Camperships are made available to Scouts who could not otherwise afford to attend summer camp. It has always been our goal in the Bay-Lakes Council to make the benefits of Scouting available to anyone interested.

Each year, every Pack, Troop and Crew is asked to help with the promotion of the Friends of Scouting campaign, to host a presentation and make pledge cards and online giving available and accessible to their families. Goals are set for each unit and there are substantial incentives built into the program that would directly benefit the unit. For a unit to qualify for their incentives, giving must meet or exceed the base goal, and for the stretch goal which provides even greater incentives, giving must meet or exceed the stretch goal and at least 60% of the families in the unit must participate with some sort of gift.

It is not too late! You can help your unit reach its goals by making a gift today. You can donate online by going to our secure site at, where you will find a link to your District, and then a listing of links to the donation page specific to your Pack, Troop, or Crew. You can give using a credit card, ask to be billed for your pledged gift in the month of your choosing, and even indicate whether your employer matches your charitable giving. Any amount helps and no amount is too small! Gifts made by the end of May will be credited toward your unit goals and help them to receive their incentives.

We all give to support Scouting in one or more ways, lending our time and talent, volunteering to help lead an event, Den or unit, providing support and encouragement to our Scouts and their friends. Hopefully you can find it in your heart and within your budget to support the Friends of Scouting campaign as well. For all you do to help make Scouting a reality in the lives of so many youth, thank you.

Paul Shrode