Branch Membership Fee Relief Clarification and Other Matters

“To all Contacts (parents, supporters, leaders),

I hope you and your families are all well and observing the current restrictions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Our number one priority in Scouting is for the safety and welfare of all our members and families.

Membership Fee Relief – Clarification.

Yesterday you received an email and a copy of the Leader Bulletin advising of the Scouts NSW Board decision to reduce membership fees to $25.00 per member for the Quarter 1 period (April to June) in recognition of the pain families are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I understand that some recipients have some confusion as to the announcement, so I will explain;

  1. The announcement identifies that an “offer a 50% reduction in the Quarter 1 new membership fee to families who have not used the Active Kids rebate vouchers (that is from $50 to $25)”,  
  2. The reference to “new membership fee” refers specifically to the new increased membership fee from $42 to $50 as from Quarter 1. This was advised in December, 2019 and does not mean new members.
  3. Quarter 1 refers to the period 1st April, 2020 to 30th June, 2020.
  4. As has always been, Membership Fees are paid in advance not in arrears. The payment of this fee is for membership up to 30th June, 2020.

I hope these points of clarification are of assistance.

Resigning Group Membership.

On another note, some Groups appear to be moving to resigning all members while the Group is not meeting face to face, primarily to reduce costs, particularly membership fees or perceived difficulty in delivering a virtual program, just to name two possible reasons.

In arriving at this decision, I would ask the formation the following questions;

  • Have the youth members and families been involved in the decision to resign? After all we are a Youth Led, Adult Supported Organisaton.
  • Did your decision take into account that the organisation, like Groups, has fixed costs (insurance as an example) and obligations which must be met? In other words, no organisation, no Scouting.

I would remind our membership that with such decisions comes consequences such as;

  1. Resigned members do not have access to resources such as the virtual programming tools being rolled out this week and freely available from Scouting.
  2. Resigned members are not covered by insurances, if they participate in Scouting activities, whether online or otherwise.
  3. Reinstated members within six (6) months will be back-billed for Quarter 1 membership fees, as per currently done.
  4. If reinstated beyond six (6 ) months, a joining fee is also charged.

Effect upon Youth Members.

For our youth members during such times of isolation from peers and friends, it is extremely important to understand the potential mental health issues that may arise in our young people, they are worried and concerned as much, if not more than adults and do not necessarily seek help (just like adults) in addressing those concerns.

It is so important that we (as adults) provide every opportunity to young people to engage, maintain contact with friends and have alternatives to turn to during such times.

This is where Scouting helps by providing a link to friends, providing activity and challenges, setting goals, working together and enjoying others of similar age and thought. Scouting has interacting networks right across the world and it so easy to take advantage of what we are offering. Consider the World Movement as our family, link to UK, NZ, Canada, Indonesia and USA websites as examples.

Our young people not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before, just like adults. I would ask that we all keep this in mind, particularly since in a large part of our region, Scouting families have experienced drought, bushfires of unprecedented magnitude, flooding rains and now a pandemic. I know from personal experience just how young people are effected by such events. Please keep this in mind.

We’re in this together and all need to work together in coming out the other side more resilient and intact.

Thank you and please stay well.


Phil Crutchley

Region Commissioner