We had a Monthly Scout Chat live video in May 2021 to answer some of the most common questions we received when the current system went into effect. Find that video here or you can see just the presentation
Annual Program Registration/Renewal
See below for Q&A on General Questions, Financial Assistance, Fundraising and Friends of Scouting
YEARLY PROGRAM REGISTRATION/RENEWAL GENERAL QUESTIONS
Q: What is the yearly program registration/renewal process?
A: Northern Star is working to support our families and our units in having a single point in time for new and returning youth and adults to register and/or renew their membership and have the process in sync with the Scouting year. Volunteers and parents, for years, have been asking that the annual program registration/renewal process should follow the school year and program year. No longer will units need to recharter their youth and adults at the end of the calendar year.
Q: How will families and individuals complete their program registration and/or renewal?
A: Everyone will complete their yearly program registration/renewal and pay through an online registration system. Registration and renewal links can be found on the Get Started tab, or through www.adventureiscalling.org.
Q: What is the yearly program registration/renewal amount?
A: The amount for the 2021-2022 Scouting year will be $180 per youth. The registration amount for new youth will be pro-rated based on when they join throughout the Scouting year. The amount for adults will be $45 for the Scouting year. The registration amount for new adults will be pro-rated based on when they join throughout the Scouting year. The registration/renewal system will be opened on July 1, 2021 for the 2021-2022 Scouting year.
Q: Why did the program registration/renewal amount increase in 2020?
A: Northern Star Scouting wants to ensure that Scouting is sustainable now and into the future for local scouts. Scholarships are available for families in need. Our goal is to hold these amounts stable through the program year ending in 2023 and shield families from the national registration fee increases that are already planned for each of the next few years.
Q: What does the program registration/renewal fee pay for?
A: The program registration fee supports keeping the Scouting program strong for local youth and adults. Included in the fee is $20 to be transferred to the unit account for each youth who is paid in full by October 31, National BSA registration fees, and insurance coverage. The net revenues from the new program fee will be equal to the historic levels of funding that came from Family Friends of Scouting contributions.
Q: Do all youth members pay the same fee?
A: Yes. All youth members - Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA and Venturing - will have the same fee. New youth joining during the program year will pay a pro-rated fee based on when they join.
Q: Who can register and pay online?
A: Everyone! All youth and all adults, new and returning, can register or renew their registration online.
Q: New adult leaders can pay and register online?
A: Absolutely! This is a value-added benefit of the current process that we are now able to offer.
Q: Can a family register multiple family members at one time?
A: Yes, all family members can pay online with the same registration as long as they are in the same unit. If family members are registered in different units, such as a Pack and a Troop, they will need to register with each of their units separately; this can all be done online.
Q: Is there a pro-rated fee for individuals that register during the Scouting year?
A: Yes. All new youth and adults who join during the Scouting year will pay a pro-rated registration fee.
Q: Can Scout Life be paid for online?
A: Yes, when completing the participant information, you will be asked if you would like Scout Life. Scout Life has always been available to members and will continue to be available as an option.
Q: Can I choose to donate additional funds to support a Scout in need?
A: Yes. When completing the participant information, there is a question at the end of the registration process with an opportunity to give additional dollars for a Scout in need. Any amount can be given, and this donation is tax deductible.
Q: Do all fees need to be paid at once?
A: No, there is an option to register and pay in installments. You can pay half when completing the registration and pay the second half a month later, and your unit account will still be credited with $20, as long as you are paid in full by October 31.
Q: What if I can’t pay all of my yearly program registration/renewal fee?
A: Financial assistance is available at the individual level for those families in need. When completing the participant information there is a question that you can answer if needed, to request a scholarship.
Q: As a Committee Chair/Cubmaster/ Scoutmaster/ Crew Advisor of a unit, how will I know which families have completed their yearly program registration/renewal?
A: Every Friday you will receive a report that tells you who has completed the registration process. This report will include a list of returning adults and youth as well as new adults and youth who are joining your unit.
Q: Can unit leaders go into the site for a NEW youth or adult to complete the registration and make a payment?
A: No. Registrations for new youth and adults are at the family level and only they can access their registration. Units have the option to pay for current youth and adults when making their unit renewal payment.
Q: If a youth is planning to cross over from a Pack to a Troop, which unit do they register with in the fall?
A: They should register with the unit they are currently participating in, the Pack. They will create a transfer registration to move to the Troop when they cross over.
Q: Do youth or leaders transferring from one unit to another need to go online and complete the program registration process?
A: Yes. To move from one unit to another, you should register as a New Youth/Adult Transfer with the unit you are moving to.
Q: If a youth or adult is planning to switch units for the upcoming program year, which unit do they register with in the fall?
A: When moving from one unit to another, the transfer will take effect immediately after being approved by the unit. All transfers are processed either before or after unit renewal. If you are moving into a new unit prior to making your 2021-2022 payment, you will pay in the new unit (once you have moved you will be considered a Current Youth/Adult in that unit). If you are moving after you have made your 2021-2022 payment, we will move the existing payment to your new unit.
Q: How can Northern Star charge a program fee that is more than $72, which is the National Office limit?
A: It is our responsibility to keep local Scouting strong in our units, for our families, and across our Northern Star communities. We have been testing a new business model to accomplish that for the past five years, as announced in our letter to all families in the fall of 2020.
The National Council is doing more and more direct communication with individual Scouters and Families in recent years, including announcing directly to all what the new national registration fees will be. They have stated that local councils are authorized to charge a council program fee in addition to national fees, but the approximately 250 local councils will be implementing widely varying program fees based on local conditions – so there is a great deal of confusion that results from the national announcement. Northern Star Council is a separately incorporated, locally governed entity that manages our membership registration and charter renewals through our own online and paper systems. Our board of Directors has determined, based on our successful testing of this new business model for the past four years, that we should set our fee at a level that (a) protects our families from the announced national fee increases in 2021 and 2022, (b) that does not pose a “barrier to entry” for new members by charging them an extra $25, and (c) that supports our ability to not turn any family away based on their ability to pay, versus capping our council program fee at $72 and then having to turn families away when they cannot afford to pay.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE QUESTIONS
Q: Who can request financial assistance?
A: Any youth with a financial need who is unable to register and/or renew for Scouting without assistance.
Q: How do I request assistance?
A: Financial assistance requests are part of the online program registration/renewal system. Follow the links to sign up and select “Are you applying for Registration Financial Assistance?” when filling out your Scout’s information. Complete the form that pops up and click Submit. Be sure to complete your registration, paying the amount that you specified.
Q: Do I need to wait to hear back before registering?
A: No, you continue with the online program registration/renewal process. Once Northern Star receives the electronic financial assistance request and your program registration/renewal, then they are submitted for approval.
Q: I filled out the Financial Assistance Request form, do I really need to go through the program registration process?
A: Yes! The program registration is needed in order to process your request and get you registered and/or renewed for Scouting.
Q: How much can I request?
A: The typical assistance request can be up to 50% of the total cost, based on your need. This is like the practice we use with support to attend camp (Campership process). It is important to pay what you can, as we will not be conducting Family Friends of Scouting fundraising asks in the future.
Q: Does the financial assistance cover unit dues?
A: No, the financial assistance only covers the Northern Star Scouting yearly program registration fee. We ask all units to communicate their budget and fundraising plans to new families, but to not collect unit fees until later in the fall.
Q: Do I have to pay upfront?
A: The amount of assistance requested is taken off your total before you check out. You only pay the amount you have specified you are able to, up front or in two payments.
Q: What if I can’t pay 50% of the fee?
A: You can still join! Give a brief description of your circumstances in the online financial assistance request form and complete your registration. Someone will contact you if more information is needed.
FUNDRAISING TO SUPPORT COSTS QUESTIONS
Q: Are units allowed to charge or collect unit dues?
A: We do not encourage units charging additional unit dues. We encourage units to set their budget and include fundraising opportunities for youth to earn their way. If a unit chooses to charge unit dues those dues will need to be collected directly at a unit level.
Q: Can popcorn sales or unit fundraisers be used to cover costs for registration and other Scouting costs?
A: It is up to your unit. We encourage all our Scouts to “earn their own way” through selling popcorn. Popcorn sale commissions can be used to pay unit dues, camping fees and anything else Scouting related, and the unit can develop practices for reimbursing families for such costs.
Q: Is the popcorn sale all about money?
A: No! Scouts learn valuable skills such as budgeting, communication, salesmanship, working with others, goal setting and more.
FRIENDS OF SCOUTING QUESTIONS
Q: Will the annual program registration fee be tax deductible?
A: No, the program registration fee is not considered a charitable donation, it is a registration cost.
Q: Will units be expected to conduct a Friends of Scouting unit fundraising presentation?
A: No. Units will no longer be asked to conduct a Family Friends of Scouting unit presentation. Units may choose to continue holding a Friends of Scouting presentation on their own if they would like, but the council will not be asking you to schedule them.
Q: Since my matching gift and volunteer hours are not going toward my unit’s Friends of Scouting goal, can those dollars go to our unit’s bank account?
A: Only 501c3 non-profit organizations like Northern Star Scouting can accept these contributions. Matching gifts will remain an important source of support for families who may need scholarships to participate in Scouting and we ask for your continued support to leverage your employer’s generosity for Northern Star Scouting.
Q: Did Friends of Scouting go away?
A: Scouting is funded by generous individuals, families, corporations and community organizations and we will continue to need this support moving forward to keep local Scouting strong. The Friends of Scouting campaign will focus in different ways, no longer through Family FOS (unit presentations), to raise dollars to support local Scouting programs.
Q: How are scholarships funded?
A: Through generous Friends of Scouting donations from Scout families, community partners, and foundations, as well as the program fee itself, as we absorb National joining fees and fee increases.