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Cash Up Front Exploring the trouble that money can buy.

FEW ISSUES RAISE more ethical and moral questions than money. While money might not be the root of all evil, it’s certainly the source of plenty of mischief. The federal government loses billions of dollars a year to tax cheating and evasion, and that doesn’t even account for money lost to the creative, but legal, accounting practices that often make the news around tax time. Most Scouts and Venturers

don’t earn enough money to have to pay income tax, but money can still raise ethical and moral questions for youth. The fictional dilemma described here lets you and your Scouts or Venturers

explore some of those ques- tions through a simple scenario. You could also adapt it to use with Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts.

The Dilemma Crew 610 is on the road again, heading out of state for a big backpacking weekend. Near the state line, the crew stops at a truck stop for a bathroom break and snacks. As the adults fuel the van, the Venturers head inside with one of the younger Venturers, Eli Turner, in the lead. Crew President Makayla Marbury is close behind Eli and sees him pick up what looks like a $20 bill. As Makayla watches, Eli glances around furtively and

sticks the bill in his pocket. Makayla isn’t sure what

to do, so she does nothing. Fifteen minutes later, however, as the Venturers are climbing back into the van, she sees Eli emerge from the store with a huge bag of snacks. Knowing that Eli usually carries little money, she deduces that he has spent the money he found. As Mrs. Sullivan, the crew Advisor, is putting the van into gear, Makayla says, “Stop. We have a problem.” Makayla asks Eli and Mrs.

Sullivan to step out of the van. Once they’re outside, she tells Mrs. Sullivan what she saw. When the Advisor asks Eli for an explanation, he simply says, “Finders keepers.” Is he right?

For Discussion Begin the discussion by exploring these ques- tions with your Scouts or Venturers: fIf you found a $20 bill on the ground, would it be OK to keep it? What if you found $1? What if you found $50? If the amount makes a difference in your answer, why?

fIf you found a wallet with a $20 bill and a driver’s license in it, would it be OK to keep it? Why would the presence of the driver’s license make a difference (assuming it does)?


fWould your answer be different if there were wit- nesses? Why or why not?

fWould your answer be different if you were on a Venturing trip or on the way to a religious service? Why or why not?

fWould your answer be different if you really needed the money? Why or why not?

fHave you ever been in a similar situation? Describe it and tell what you did.

Brainstorm other actions

Eli could have taken and list them on paper or a white- board. To keep the discussion focused, talk about each option separately. These ques- tions can help you explore options the Venturers are likely to suggest:

LEAVING THE MONEY WHERE IT WAS fIs Eli abdicating his responsibility by doing nothing? Can doing nothing be more ethical than doing something? In what circumstances?

fDoes leaving the money alone increase the chance that the money’s owner will find it? Does that matter?

FIND MORE ETHICS discussions at scouting


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