Program Costs

How Much Does Scouting Cost?

Joining Scouts has its expenditures, just like any other extra-curricular activity. What may not be apparent until you are in the program is that it’s your investment in making a lifestyle change. The Scout Law is a wonderful guideline for helping children and young adults grow into contributing members of society. Many of our programs’ aims are to help children to become well-rounded in both general interests and education. Our Advancement program helps show our Scouts the true meaning of accomplishment when they meet their requirements and receive their merit badges. Becoming an Eagle Scout helps build goal setting skills and coordination skills not taught in your typical classroom. We are building community leaders at the cost of time and investment in your Scouts. 

2024 Scouting America emblem depicting clip-art of a blue eagle with a patriotic shield across it's chest. The eagle overlays a red fleur de lis on a white background

There are Three Types of Scouting Fees

  1. Scouting America National Registration Fee (“National Fee”)
  2. Rainbow Council Fee (“Council Fee”)
  3. Unit Program Fee (“Unit Fee”)

What’s Included in the Fees?

National and Council fees cover yearly membership in the program, background checks for leaders, insurance for all scouting participants, and help to maintain local Council facilities and camps.

Unit fees can vary in cost and coverage. Families should confirm all unit fee details with their units.

When are Fees Due?

When registering, all scouts and leaders will be charged the National and Council Fees. They will need to pay the Unit Fee directly to the unit.

Each registration will need to be renewed and paid annually on the membership anniversary date.

2024 National and Council Registration Fees

Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Venturing Scouts:

National Fee: $85

Council Fee: $80

Explorer Scouts:

National Fee: $50

Council Fee: $50

Adult Leaders:

National Fee: $65

Council Fee: $6

Merit Badge Counselors:

National Fee: $25

Council Fee: $0

What are Some Fundraising Options?

Many units offer fundraising options to help scouts and their families cover some (or even all) of their yearly renewal fees. Some options for families include selling popcorn, wreaths, spaghetti dinners and pancake breakfasts. Families should consult their units on the availability of these options.

There are outside program costs not shown, such as camping equipment, uniforms, class Bs, and a few more unit specific costs. While this might seem intimidating, not every expense is upfront. Your Unit and Unit Leader will have advice on how to offset the cost, with helpful tips including buying while on sale, buying second hand, or borrowing equipment from other members. Your Unit should also have fundraising methods throughout the scouting year to help with costs. See our Unit Fundraising page for more information.

Rainbow Council helps offset the costs of Scouting by partnering with Trails End to run our Annual Popcorn Fundraiser. You can find more information when popcorn season begins from the Popcorn Kernel, on the website, social media or directly from the Trails End website.

Infographic presenting a fee breakdown of national costs versus council fees starting April 1st, 2024.Categories and annual fees include: National lists $85, Council lists $80 for participants in kindergarten through age 20. National lists $50, Council lists $50 for all Exploring youth and adults. National lists $65, Council lists $6 for all registered adult volunteers. National lists $25, Council lists no cost for Merit Badge Counselors who are not already registered volunteers. Under the fees, the image states additional fees may be charged by local councils and units. There is also text reading "Unit Charter Fee for all new and rechartering units at $100/year, and a Scout Life Magazine fee listed at $15/year", with images of the magazine covers for Scout Life and an illustration of an eagle mascot.