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Thread: Hardship policy

  1. #16
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    And what's wrong with that ? Is Scouts for one child more important than a TV for the whole family, or the ability to travel to work, or a very much needed holiday for the whole family. I've heard that argument so many times - It's absolutely not up to us to judge how a family spends it's spare cash but how much of it there is relatively, that's what makes it so hard for a hardship policy to be fair. And looking at our most expensive group, sending 2 children through the whole 10 years would cost around 4000, and that's just subs, add 5 summer camps to each child, uniform and a few weekends land we're up at well over 6500, rather more than a new TV.
    That's a choice, not a hardship. And other parents shouldn't subsidise their choices.
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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    That's a choice, not a hardship. And other parents shouldn't subsidise their choices.
    You mean like
    "Sorry, we are not going to subsidise your child, we think you should drink less gin, and if that means they can't go on camp, tough!"
    ?
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  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    You mean like
    "Sorry, we are not going to subsidise your child, we think you should drink less gin, and if that means they can't go on camp, tough!"
    ?
    It's worth considering "were" not subsiding their child other members and/ or their families are. Every penny not paid by someone has to be loaded in a small quantity onto everyone else in some way be that higher subs to leave a budget spare for hardship, camp fees to cover the losses or fundraising which generally involves a high percentage of a group getting involved somehow.

    Personally I have be pretty convinced and trusting of the applicant looking for support to do that.
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    4000 Is huge, our subs for the same period would be 1800. I don't disagree with your point but that must be one expensive scout group.

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Pepper View Post
    4000 Is huge, our subs for the same period would be 1800. I don't disagree with your point but that must be one expensive scout group.
    my last group was 55/term so if you include explorers 3,960

    my new group is 50 a term so 3,600

    both charge enough to cover costs

  8. #21
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    You mean like
    "Sorry, we are not going to subsidise your child, we think you should drink less gin, and if that means they can't go on camp, tough!"
    ?
    WE are not subsidising them. the OTHER PARENTS are. Many of whom are likely to make their own sacrifices in order to send their child(ren) on camps and so on - and the scenario offered was a new TV, a new car, and an expensive holiday. *I* would struggle to afford all of those, and I'm on a comfortable wage with no dependents!

    Are you really going to say to another struggling parent "sorry we have to raise your subs, we're subsidising other kids because their parents waste their money on booze and cigarettes"?
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  9. #22
    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Pepper View Post
    4000 Is huge, our subs for the same period would be 1800. I don't disagree with your point but that must be one expensive scout group.
    No, as bigchris has illustrated, it really isn't.

    And, imo, it isn't realistic just to compare the subs charged in one "expensive" group with another "inexpensive" one without having full insight into both group's financial affairs. The "inexpensive" group, for example, may do a great deal of fundraising and keep the subs down that way, or may, as another example, have the use of subsidised premises for their meetings.

    you really need to have all the data, before making such comparisons and calling one group "expensive" over another!
    Peter

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    And what's wrong with that ? Is Scouts for one child more important than a TV for the whole family, or the ability to travel to work, or a very much needed holiday for the whole family. I've heard that argument so many times - It's absolutely not up to us to judge how a family spends it's spare cash but how much of it there is relatively, that's what makes it so hard for a hardship policy to be fair. And looking at our most expensive group, sending 2 children through the whole 10 years would cost around 4000, and that's just subs, add 5 summer camps to each child, uniform and a few weekends land we're up at well over 6500, rather more than a new TV.
    Not convinced that the argument is quite so simple. We are asking others, who make the choice to go without, perhaps, to subsidise those who chose not to go without. There is an inequality in that. Whilst trying to be fair, the policy is being inherrently unfair to the majority.

    Sadly, there needs to be a judgement call made, sometimes.


    Much discussed on 1st FB, where the normal and sensible (IMO) conclusion, is that school trips are more important to parents and YP. Regardless of VFM they offer a social experience with a wide friendship group which can't be equalled in Scouts. It would be a massive issue for a child to put up with their peers retelling stories of the "Swanage youth hostel" trips for months or years afterward whilst they counter with a Scout trip which is meaningless to the majority of their friends. So if you can only afford one then for me it would be school every time...
    I am pleased to report that several times kids have chosen our trips over school trips. Knowing what I know, as a parent, I would offer one of our trips instead of a school trip - this due to incidents of how school trips have been run, and how my sons saw schools behave with their kids at Outdoor Activity Centres. But, I am ever so slightly biased.
    Ewan Scott

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  13. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    WE are not subsidising them. the OTHER PARENTS are. Many of whom are likely to make their own sacrifices in order to send their child(ren) on camps and so on - and the scenario offered was a new TV, a new car, and an expensive holiday. *I* would struggle to afford all of those, and I'm on a comfortable wage with no dependents!

    Are you really going to say to another struggling parent "sorry we have to raise your subs, we're subsidising other kids because their parents waste their money on booze and cigarettes"?
    Of course I'm not going to do that. Do you?

    Are you saying if someone came to you and said "sorry, we can't afford summer camp at all, no, not even if we spread payments out over 6 months" you turn around and say "no" to them?

    I'm on a good wage. My taxes are subsidising those that aren't.

    [shrugs] Life's not "fair".

    Hardship policy is not "fair".

    "fair" is just another word for "how I want expect the world to be".

    The parents that came to me and asked for a subsidy for camp got one. I didn't go round their house and measure their TV. I took them at their word. Of course, that's not fair on the parents that just went "nope, you can't go, can't afford it", or what about those that tell their kid to go and get a paid job to pay for summer camp.

    You do a fundraiser, and the explorer getting subsidy can't come and help because both parents work, and they need to stay home to babysit siblings. Life is complicated.

    There's no way of squaring the circle. The money has to come from somewhere, obviously, and money going one way means it isn't going on something else. I don't put the price up for summer camp to take into account those that may or may not need subsidy, as I don't know that at the time I set the price, it just comes out of "funds", of course, that means I've not spent that money on something else. [shrugs]

    There's no black and white in this, it's all shades of grey, and we just try and do our best.

    What I do know is that those that have received a subsidy
    a) the parents were massively grateful, which is neither here nor there, but I was fairly sure I wasn't being taken for a ride.
    b) the kids got a massive amount out of attending camp. I'm too public to go into any specific details, you'll just have to trust me.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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  15. #25
    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    I prefer to deal with cases on an individual basis - why isn't x coming on camp - but due to an incident a couple of years ago we were forced to develop a hardship policy (PM if you want a copy). As already pointed out we often find our offers are turned down because of pride or just that they want to teach their children about the value of money and that children can't have everything they want - I have sympathies with both but I do try and persuade parents to send their children on at least one summer camp and the group will subsidise that becuase of the (hopefully) lifelong benefit to the child.

    Also, we shouldn't judge parents on their financial priorites, the flash car could easily be leased or a company vehicle so not always the most reliable indicator of wealth despite being the most obvious from a leader's perspective.
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    We ran a camp bank for all our camps. 10 deposit and then pay whatever you can afford up to about a month before the camp, we would do a 4 month lead into a weekend camp costing about 40 and summer camp would be announced in January for a July?August camp. Most parents paid in full at the first letter but a fair few would pay around 5 a week into the camp bank. We were in the leafy shires, full of accountants and airline pilots, but there are still single mums, cleaners, van drivers and dinner ladies out there. Making payments flexible and small opens it all up fairly to everyone. For some summer camps we would do raffles or a cake stall at the village fete to offset the cost, by 15 -20 ahead, and always strived to keep the costs low by not overloading on paid activities on some camps, one weekend we took them away on a 'survival camp' ran all the activities our selves and the cost was 15 each, and they enjoyed just as much as they would have done, kayaking and abseiling. We also did several sleepovers at the cub hut each year, for 3 for a chip shop supper and that was really popular. It goes to show you dont need to huge expensive activity filled camps for the kids to enjoy it. Cater for all budgets in your program, and everyone gets a good experience even if they cant afford to do it all.

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    Interesting thread and interesting to follow. We don't have a hardship fund and it's never really been discussed. We don't come from an affluent area but no one has ever asked us for help (to my knowledge). Our subs are 35 a term, weekend camps are normally about 15-20 and our summer camp come in at about 165. We do fundraising throughout the year through bag packs and let the scouts have half of the money raised based on how many hours they do which can be used against camps. Last year two of them earned over 80 each which took their camp down to below 100 each. So far this year a couple of scouts have between 50 and 60 to use with at least one more before the summer.

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  19. #28
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Of course I'm not going to do that. Do you?

    Are you saying if someone came to you and said "sorry, we can't afford summer camp at all, no, not even if we spread payments out over 6 months" you turn around and say "no" to them?

    I'm on a good wage. My taxes are subsidising those that aren't.

    [shrugs] Life's not "fair".

    Hardship policy is not "fair".

    "fair" is just another word for "how I want expect the world to be".

    The parents that came to me and asked for a subsidy for camp got one. I didn't go round their house and measure their TV. I took them at their word. Of course, that's not fair on the parents that just went "nope, you can't go, can't afford it", or what about those that tell their kid to go and get a paid job to pay for summer camp.

    You do a fundraiser, and the explorer getting subsidy can't come and help because both parents work, and they need to stay home to babysit siblings. Life is complicated.

    There's no way of squaring the circle. The money has to come from somewhere, obviously, and money going one way means it isn't going on something else. I don't put the price up for summer camp to take into account those that may or may not need subsidy, as I don't know that at the time I set the price, it just comes out of "funds", of course, that means I've not spent that money on something else. [shrugs]

    There's no black and white in this, it's all shades of grey, and we just try and do our best.

    What I do know is that those that have received a subsidy
    a) the parents were massively grateful, which is neither here nor there, but I was fairly sure I wasn't being taken for a ride.
    b) the kids got a massive amount out of attending camp. I'm too public to go into any specific details, you'll just have to trust me.

    The point is simple, and you are being massively disingenuous about the whole thing right here. If someone is living an ostentatious lifestyle, they should receive any direct subsidy from those who live within their means. That's basic common sense and human decency.

    I'm clearly not against subsidising those who are actual hardship cases. But we have to think it through VERY carefully before giving these out.

    Why are you bringing the tax system into this? That is based on income, not expenditure and is a very different thing.
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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    The point is simple, and you are being massively disingenuous about the whole thing right here. If someone is living an ostentatious lifestyle, they should (not) receive any direct subsidy from those who live within their means. That's basic common sense and human decency.

    I'm clearly not against subsidising those who are actual hardship cases. But we have to think it through VERY carefully before giving these out.

    Why are you bringing the tax system into this? That is based on income, not expenditure and is a very different thing.

    Actually, Chris, tax is based on both income and expenditure. However, the argument is difficult. How do you make the judgement call? Do you make a judgement call? If you don't, what is to stop everyone from asking for free membership?

    Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions. I'm not happy with a policy, which should be written down and visible to all - otherwise we stand to be accused of being selective. I think, and this flies in the face of all the rules, we use discretion and allow subsidy by default to those most in need. If we can't diferentiate between the kid from a both parents unemployed and on Universal Credit and someone who has the money, then we probably don't have the right reationship with our members and their kids.

    Had a kid last night who missed an activity. When I asked what happened he outright declared, "Oh, mum couldn't afford it" - We had words. ( I suspect his mum would have killed him for telling me.)
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  22. #30
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    It's always interesting when this thread pops up. It usually ends up polarized.

    Being 'fair', and being overly concerned that someone might be getting something you don't think think they deserve, is not the same thing at all.

    For what it's worth, I agree with Ian. I certainly won't get all bent out of shape because someone who may or may not have a specific type of telly, car of fridge, ends up getting a kid subsidised for a camp. How much a family has is not measure of how functional that family might be - as has already been intimated by others, it's not that simple.

    I actually have some quite personal experience with this. Back in the late 80's my parents split up. While I don't remember each time they did it, I do remember that sometime around 1987-ish, my Dad moved out and into another house. (Usually they just argued and my mum would take us to the pictures or something.)

    In 1989, I went to Discovery 89 at Scone Palace. My parents didn't pay anything for it, both were working. We lived in a four bedroom house in the village (expensive, even then). Both my parents worked, my dad had a brand new (company) car - might have been a Nissan Bluebird at that point... We had a remote control TV, a front loading VHS VCR (still rare at that point) and as I recall, loads of MFI furniture all on HP. (I think the cost of all of it is what they argued about, that and rather a lot of empty bottles of Famous Grouse. What can I say, I liked a drink... I'M JOKING! It was my dad, bless him...)

    Anyway, the point is, I know the other leaders knew what was going on because my Dad had only recently left the Scout Group after years of involvement in various forms. I have a very specific memory of a leader saying that I shouldn't worry about the cost of the camp - which was a good bit more than a normal summer camp.

    I think when we talk about this sort of thing, we forget the kid's view. From my own experience (and it has happened many times since with other people's kids), I don't actually care how well off a family is, if it's breaking up, I'll make any allowances I can to keep that kid on board as seamlessly as possible - because I know how much that continuity meant to me back in the day. And I'm certainly not going to put that kid's continued membership at risk by sniffing around and making judgements about what telly or car they might have.

    If that means the group ends up taking a hit? Then it takes a hit.

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