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A Helping Hand Offering financial assistance to families in need.

Where will the money come from? Since money doesn’t grow on trees, you must identify a funding source. The obvious source is a fundraiser like selling popcorn. You could earmark a certain percentage of income for your scholarship fund. But money can come from a couple

of other sources as well: your chartered organization and pack families. Pack 226’s fund actually began with dona- tions from leaders, Priest says. Rattray says adults in his pack

occasionally make donations as well. In fact, he has noticed that promot- ing the pack’s scholarship fund spurs donations to it.

“I DON’T HAVE ANY income at this time, so I need help if possible.” “Our family’s currently in Section

8 housing and on food stamps.” “I’m a teacher’s aide and a single

mother of two children.” Those are just a few snippets of the

financial assistance forms Pack 3371 in Lafayette, Ind., received last fall. The pack recruited more than 20 boys, and nine needed help to pay for registra- tion fees, uniforms and/or activities. A few parents said they couldn’t enroll their boys without financial assistance. “They’ll help out however they

can. But money they don’t have,” says Cubmaster Jeff Rattray. Fortunately for those families, Pack 3371 is commit- ted to making Scouting available to every interested boy. Pack 226 in Edmond, Okla., has

a similar philosophy, says Cubmaster Joe Priest. “If a boy wants to join


Scouts, we’ll make it happen no matter what the financial situation is,” he says. “When we have our open house night, I make that really clear to all parents.” How can your pack help families

that are struggling? You can start by considering a few simple questions.

How much can you afford? Unless your pack has lots of spare cash (and what pack does?), it’s important to consider how much assistance you can afford to give. You don’t want to overpromise and under deliver. When Pack 226’s leaders set up

their assistance program, they voted to create a rolling balance of $500, which Priest says has been sufficient. Rattray’s pack, on the other hand, doesn’t cap its assistance, although the pack has had to rework its budget after helping so many families last fall.

How will parents apply for help? In Pack 3371, parents are asked to complete the Sagamore Council’s campership form, which asks for such information as how much popcorn their boy sold and, if none, why not. “Instead of being need-based, it’s merit-based,” Rattray says. In Pack 226, parents simply contact Priest if they need help. Whether you use a form or not,

it’s important to have a system that preserves confidentiality. “The only one allowed to make a decision [on scholarships] is myself or our assistant Cubmaster or our committee chair,” Priest says. Pack 3371 also strives to maintain

confidentiality with its applications. Rattray acknowledges, however, “when you’re a den leader, you know who’s got issues and who doesn’t.”

FIND MORE advice for Cub Scout leaders at cubscouts.


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