Scouts may be thrifty, but some leaders are well paid

Many professional Scouters earn 6-figure salaries across the U.S.

Published: Sunday, Nov. 11 2007 12:00 a.m. MST

The Ogden-based council spent 78.5 percent of its money on services (ranking 246 out of the 294 evaluated). The Orem-based council spent 81 percent (ranking 205th). And the Great Salt Lake Council matched the national average at 83 percent (ranking 160th).

Also nationally, about 8 percent of spending by local councils goes for fund raising. But again, two of three councils in Utah spent much more than that.

The Ogden-based Trapper Trails Council spent 15 percent on fund raising (12th highest in the nation), and the Great Salt Lake Council spends 11.4 percent (35th highest in the nation). The Orem-based Utah National Parks Council spends 5.3 percent, or less than average.

All three Utah councils said they made errors in 2005 reporting that made it appear they spent more on fund raising and less on services than they actually did. They said later studies on how employees divide their time showed they should have attributed less of their salaries to fund raising and management and more to services.

But all three also say they are conducting major fund-raising efforts, in part to help buy or develop new camps — which explains some of the higher fund-raising costs.

"We're able to serve less than 30 percent of our membership at summer camp," Moore said of the Great Salt Lake Council, meaning most of its units must go to camps run by other councils or strike out on their own. "We need to get our hands on properties that will allow us to serve more kids."

Baird at the Orem-based council said he figures camps it owns can serve between 25 percent and 40 percent of its Scouts. "It's woefully inadequate."

He said even when property has been donated, his council has had trouble raising enough just to develop it. "We had a substantial donation for a camp of 600 acres several years ago," he said. "We still don't have it opened to regular camp use ... because we lack the development capital to finish that camp."

Barnes at the Trapper Trails Council says it actually has enough developed camps to be able to serve about half the Scouts there. He says it actually owns enough undeveloped land around them to build enough camps to meet all likely needs for years to come. "We don't have to buy more land, just improve and develop what we have."

A final word

Scout leaders worry that examination of their salaries could hurt efforts to raise funds needed for the well-known good purposes of Scouting — or make them look greedy.

"I'm very concerned about this information from the standpoint that it comes across to people like I am here out of greed ... that people who have felt that I was acting out of a desire to help them and their kids succeed may look at this through different eyes," Moore said, brushing away some tears that came to his eyes.

"I have made sure that they have received great value," he said. "I'm not asking for or trying to be at the level that I could be at some other venues. I wanted to come here. I was not looking for more money."

He added that Scouting "is a treasured part of this community, and I would hate to think that my compensation damages in any way our ability to make a difference in kids' lives. But I realize this is part of what goes with the territory."

E-mail: lee@desnews.com

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