Talk about 'sticker shock', I got the surprise of my life the other day. My grandson Raymond Andrew recently joined Cub Scout Pack 3025 sponsored by South Wayne Elementary School or at least that's where they meet. I had promised Andrew that I would buy his first uniform shirt. I'll get to the sticker shock in a moment.
When our own two boys, Patrick and Michael, joined the Cub Scouts, you could find good used shirts at Salvation Army, Goodwill, or in garage sales. You can never find them when you need them. I decided to look in the official 2002 Boy Scout catalog. I turned to Cub Scout shirts and this is when sticker shock struck. I know the cost to fully dress my sons was high, even with used uniforms, but the cost to buy one new uniform is more than what I paid for my own. How can families afford to outfit their children in official BSA uniforms? No wonder they're having a hard time recruiting boys. Families just can't afford to put them in uniforms. They (the BSA) are pricing themselves right out of business. I have seen pants that look almost like BSA Official uniform pants that cost around $10 at K-mart. Why do they cost three times that in the BSA catalog?
I may lose my good standing with The Boy Scouts of America but I can't help it. The uniform prices are just too high in my opinion. Let's compare what a Cub Scout uniform cost in a 1979-80 Boy Scout catalog with the cost of that same uniform in the new 2002 catalog. This is only a 24-25 year span.(See Table)
Webelos Cub Scouts can wear the same blue shirt and blue pants but must have a different hat, neckerchief, belt buckle, and neckerchief slide. However the Packs now have a choice for their Webelos to wear either blue or the new tan uniforms which can also be used for Boy Scouts by just changing the neckerchief, slide, shirt loops, belt buckle, and hat to that of the Boy Scout uniform.
Webelos Tan Uniform shirt $21.80
Webelos Tan Uniform pants $36.30
Webelos Tan Uniform belt w/buckle $ 6.15
Webelos Tan Hat $11.50
Now that your boy is dressed out in the barest essentials of a brand new Wolf Cub Scout uniform, (minus the cost of a pair of pants, shorts, and socks) you now have to buy the necessary patches for his shirt. Let's see he'll need Council strip ($3 maybe), 4 pack numbers (4 numbers x 80¢ each), Den number (1-24 x $1.20 each), and a World Crest ($1.20). All and all you'll be spending somewhere around $50. Get ready to take out a loan if you have two or maybe three boys in the Cub Scout program and let's hope they don't want anything else from the catalog. Oh, and did I mention that each year your Cub Scout will have to get a different hat, neckerchief, neckerchief slide, book, and insignia?
Now, don't take my word for it; go out to the Scout shop and see for yourself or get a catalog and do your own pricing. These prices are based on the assumption that your child is of a small to average height and weight. If he is tall or on the heavy side then expect to pay even more for a larger uniform.
If you have a used Boy Scout or Cub Scout uniform that's just hanging in your closet, please donate it to a boy that can't afford a new uniform. Call me and I'll see that it goes to a boy that needs it. I'll have him personally write a letter thanking you.
If I'm "just not with it", "out of line", "don't know what I'm talking about", or "just haven't kept up with the times or the price of clothing, then I'll apologize to everyone. What do you think?
Write me a letter.
Table: Price Comparison (1979-80) (2002)
Cub Scout short sleeve shirt $ 7.69 $21.80
" " " long pants $12.95 $30.00
" " " belt/buckle $ 1.90 $ 6.15
" " hat $ 3.45 (none)
Bear Cub Scout hat (none) $11.50
Wolf Cub Scout hat (none) $11.50
Bear Cub Scout neckerchief (none) $ 4.40
Wolf Cub Scout neckerchief (none) $ 4.40
Bear Cub Scout neckerchief slide (none) $ 2.20
Webelos Scout hat (blue) $ 3.45 (none)
Webelos neckerchief $ 2.05 $ 5.65
Webelos neckerchief slide $ .70 $ 2.20
Bear Cub Scout book $ 1.50 $ 4.95
Wolf Cub Scout book $ 1.50 $ 4.95
Webelos Cub Scout book $ 1.50 $ 5.50