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User Fees Hurt Scouts

Your Opinion
Donald Boucher
The Scarborough Mirror, May 31 2000

It is my understanding that today (May 31) the Toronto District School Board will vote to charge user fees to community groups for use of school buildings. Included among those groups is Scouts Canada.

    Some of the details are:
  1. User fees set at $11.40 per hour.
  2. Fees to be paid up front for the year's permit.
  3. Since many schools close at 8:30 p.m., the Scouts Canada program should be curtailed so that cleanup and child pickup would be done before 8:30p.m.

I was in the 101st Toronto Group for 15 years as a youth and have been involved with a local Scouts Canada group since 1978.

We have a small group of boys in the three sections: Beavers (five to eight years of age), Wolf Cubs (eight to 11), and Scouts (11 to 16). Three, two to three-hour meetings are held weekly in the evenings during the school year and last until 9:30p.m. for the eldest group. With 52 boys in total, the group represents about one per cent of the total number of youth registered in Scouts Canada in the Toronto District.

To pay user fees for the three meetings each week will be a great hardship. Since the group cannot finance the proposed fees, the individual registration fee, although modest, will need to be increased by 100 per cent.

This increase in registration fees will have a negative effect on future registrations. I strongly urge you to consider the consequences of the vote on user fees for Scouts Canada groups.

Here are three items that must be considered:

  1. Living by the Scout law
  2. Community Service Volunteers
  3. The Toronto District School Board's values

To live by the Scout law is an indication of how we try to develop character in youth.

Scouts Canada is adapting to the changes in our communities and now enrols both boys and girls to benefit from the programs. When one considers the increasing violence shown in TV, computer games and movie fiction, plus the daily reports of crimes in our city, the support of the goals and objectives of Scouts Canada needs more support from concerned citizens.

Community Service Volunteers:

In my local group there are 12 leaders of the weekly meetings plus four others on the group commlttee who volunteer countless hours. One year, as a leader, I kept track of my personal time in the meeting times, preparation and planning, camps and extra activities, and the total was about 300 hours.

A conservative estimate of the community servive for these 16 persons, in total, is in excess of 3,OOO hours per year. Please help their efforts in creating a greater demand for scouting programs, for our future citizens, and support Scouts Canada.

Can we count on your support of Scouts Canada and all that it stands for? We urge that you seriously consider the real cost to the community in the raising of user fees.

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are the opinions of the individuals who posted them
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