Dear New Birth of Freedom Volunteer Leaders:
Like many other organizations, balancing our Council’s annual operating budget is often a difficult challenge. In fact, in 2017, we had an operating deficit of just over $126,000 – our first deficit year since the Council was formed in 2010.
As you might expect, it wasn’t just one thing that created that shortfall. We have worked hard to address the issues, with steps taken to improve our fundraising and other revenues and to reduce expenses. We’ve eliminated two full-time staff positions and outsourced our registration data entry to the National Office. As a result, our overall financial situation is improved in 2018, but we’re not out of the woods just yet in avoiding another operating loss.
One area that we have been forced to look at is our insurance costs. In 2018, our council’s insurance expenses will total a little more than $95,000, which breaks down to $7.65 per youth and adult member. In the past, we have been able to avoid passing on any of these costs, but we have been the exception in doing so. In fact, we have been the only council in Area 6 (mid-Atlantic states) of the Northeast Region that was not charging units anything to help offset our insurance costs. Our neighboring councils charge an average fee of $3.35 per youth and adult member, with the range of fees being between $1 to $6. Additionally, we have not collected “per day” insurance fees at council or district events, as other councils have done.
As you may have noticed, our Council rarely takes action that increases costs to our youth and volunteer leaders, and when we do so it is only after consideration, input and deliberation. We have been looking at this potential option since last summer and last month, our Council Executive Committee carefully reviewed and discussed this matter and voted unanimously to approve a change for the coming year.
Beginning with the rechartering process for 2019, all Scouts and leaders will be required to pay a $3 insurance fee. This will help defray a significant portion, but not all, of the Council’s cost for general liability, accident and sickness coverages. No insurance fee will be collected for mid-year registrations; the fee will only be collected at recharter time.
“While most people don’t really worry about insurance until it’s needed, these coverages are extremely important to conducting Scouting programs,” said Council President Kevin H. Mosser. “We have been able to absorb the costs of the coverage until now, but current financial realities compel us to address the issue. While we are reluctant to pass any increase on to our members and volunteers, we hope that they will appreciate our efforts to control costs while still helping units to provide a top rate Scouting program.”