The latest 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.

An Investment Paying Dividends Over a Lifetime

I’ve spent the better part of my life as a college administrator – you might say I never got out of college! A good friend and former college president used to welcome new students and their families each year by reminding them that a college education is an investment, not simply a commodity, and like any good investment, one that pays dividends over a lifetime. Scouting is a lot like that. Our program is designed to build character, instill values and develop integrity, help a youth to discover talents and interests, build skills, and grow into the sort of leader and citizen our nation, our communities so desperately need. Of course, it is fun and it should be fun. Our Scouts make new friends and experience new things that only Scouting can make possible. But the experiences, lessons, self-confidence and self-awareness gained through Scouting are not transitory – they last a lifetime.

We all know that the cost of college can seem high, and thankfully financial aid, scholarships and grants make it accessible to most anyone who really wants a college education. We also know that tuition really doesn’t begin to cover the cost of the buildings, resources, equipment, or programs of the institution. Without the support of generations of donors, alumni and others, the college program would not be possible. Again, Scouting is a lot like that. Camp fees and program fees do not begin to cover the cost of developing our camp properties, buildings and equipment. Unlike college, we don’t collect membership fees in the Bay Lakes Council. All of the fees paid by new members and those continuing at charter renewal time go to the National Council of the BSA to cover administrative costs, insurance, program development and other expenses. Our Council relies upon camp fees, product sales like our annual popcorn sale, and most especially upon the Friends of Scouting campaign. Those of you who have given to the FOS campaign are like those donors and alumni who help build and sustain our colleges and universities. Those funds provide support to families who may not be able to afford Scouting, thus making the program accessible to all. They help us to maintain and improve our buildings, purchase equipment and develop programs and activities, provide training and support to our volunteer Scout leaders, and reduce the cost of Scouting to all of our families.

Perhaps you missed a Friends of Scouting presentation at your Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship. We all know that not everyone makes it to every meeting! Perhaps you were unaware of the campaign, or that it costs about $400 per Scout per year to provide the Scouting program in the Bay Lakes Council. While many of us have been able to participate in the campaign so far, all of us have an opportunity to join in the effort to build Scouting and share in the success of our Council. We are growing, reaching out to underserved communities, rebuilding those units we lost during the early months of the pandemic, offering new and exciting programs at our camp properties and throughout our Council.

We simply need your help! You can make a tax deductible contribution today by going to It is easy and you can ask to be billed or pay securely online. You can even ask your employer to match your contribution!

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. I am hopeful that 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
Vice President of Membership
Bay-Lakes Council