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jca's avatar

When you hear what the CEO's of national organizations like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts make, does it make you not want to participate in their organizations?

Asked by jca (28462 points ) September 30th, 2013

My daughter had been a Girl Scout. The organization always looks to parents (in the guise of having girls do it) sell products, magazine subscriptions, etc. They set goals for each girl and I often see Girl Scouts in front of supermarkets and area stores, with tables, selling their cookies and products. I know the Boy Scouts do the same. In addition, uniforms, etc. all are premium costs, in other words, you purchase them from a central location and there are no sale prices.

In discussing this with a friend of mine, because my daughter recently told me she no longer wants to be a Girl Scout, my friend told me her daughter used to sell for their troop, and my friend felt bad for the girls outside in the cold all day, with their table of stuff to make money for the troop. Then, my friend told me she googled the CEO of Girl Scouts and found out she makes big bucks.

Being a cynic, I googled it myself and found that currently, the CEO of GS makes about $442,000. I got this info from Charity Navigator. I am sure the Boy Scouts President makes something similar, if not more. That means that all of the high ranking administration makes large compensations, and probably bonuses, too. The head of the regional chapter of GS makes about $125,000, which, around here, is good but nothing outrageous. Still, you have to sell a lot of cookies and magazine subscriptions to pay those salaries.

Yes, GS and BS are fun for many kids. However, the troops all work hard, pressuring parents to purchase, pressuring kids to set and make goals, and the money goes up the pyramid to the top. Does it affect your opinions of the organizations when you hear what the big shots make?

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31 Answers

glacial's avatar

Wow. I actually gasped aloud when I read that figure. It might affect the decision, but it wouldn’t be as influential as their official stances on things like homosexuality and equality across the two organizations (By which I mean… I wouldn’t send a son to learn how to make a fire while a daughter learns how to bake cookies. That’s a gross exaggeration, but you get the idea.).

Seek's avatar

I’m with @glacial here.

Besides, my son isn’t welcome in boy scouts, since I’m an atheist.

I’m opposed to loyalty oaths anyway, and I can teach him how to build a fire, pitch a tent, and shoot a bow.

DWW25921's avatar

Well, look at the YMCA… It’s a multibillion dollar, multinational corporation and you know that CEO does well. I mean, it’s not a charity. They are in business.

Is making money off of children really all that new? You have to ask yourself, does the organization do more good than harm? I see no problem here.

JLeslie's avatar

The salary isn’t that crazy high for the CEO considering the size of the organization. I would feel better if was more like $150k-$250k, depending partly where the HQ is. The regional makes more than I would have assumed for sure. How big is a region? I have not been around oressure to purchase cookies in many years. I know a lot of people who like the cookies. Usually they set up outside a supermarket or parents announce somehow the cookies are for sale on facebook or in an email to family and friends. I don’t like at all if the kids are pressured. I would much rather they sold the cookies through another route. Sell them at regular grocery stores, internet, or by catalog. Let the children volunteer their time for some other good deed that helps those in need.

But, I am not part of the whole raising funds for charity and organizations world. I have done work with Komen, because the company I worked for did, and I give where I want my money to go. Usually I don’t like having to buy something that is overpriced so part of the money goes to the charity. I usually prefer to give directly.

Those salaries would not dissuade me from having my child participate, even if they seem a little high, as long as I knew that all children who want to participate get a chance. That poor girls and boys can get very inexpensive uniforms, get some fees waived, and their parents are not pressured to participate that sort of thing. I assume there are fees?

I don’t like what I have heard about their antigay stance, and I would have to think about whether my child can participate based on that. I assume each local chapter varies on how they really deal with it.

Generally, I am not a joiner of organized groups, and it would surprise me if one of my kids had that sort of personality, but it would not upset me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I try not to support those things, even though I was a Brownie (GS division), it seems very stilted to me, kids are taught to be conformists, and for me, as a poor child, it was difficult to participate in anything much.

If you don’t want them stopping by, put a No Soliciting sign up, it works!

@Seek_Kolinahr Why don’t you think they welcome atheists? I don’t recall religion being an issue, but I was fairly young.

marinelife's avatar

More troubling to me is that the leader of the Boy Scouts makes more than three times that amount or over $1 million a year. (This compares to the President of the US whose salary is $400,000!

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL, they begin each meeting with a loyalty oath to god and country, with no option to opt out.

DWW25921's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr It’s just a tradition. I find things like that add character.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@DWW25921 Seek has pointed out a few things that I never thought about before like that. It’s kind of brainwashing children who don’t know what it even means.

Seek's avatar

@dww25921 if it were an oath to Ishtar, you probably wouldn’t think it so quaint.

DWW25921's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Goddess of love and war… Interesting choice. I was in the scouts when I was younger. There was a few kids that didn’t want to do the “pledge thing” and I don’t think anyone cared. I mean, it’s only a big deal if people make it out to be something it’s not. It’s an old organization with a lot of traditions.

Seek's avatar

My first thought was to say Quetzalcoatl, but that might have been considered ‘baiting’, since it was relating the Abrahamic god to a violent, demanding sky deity.

Neodarwinian's avatar

” When you hear what the CEO’s of national organizations like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts make, does it make you not want to participate in their organizations? ”

At the CEO level, yes!

YARNLADY's avatar

If you mean do scouts really learn about greed and corruption instead of kindness and fairness, I don’t think the organization has such an influence. There are scouts at every level in society, and they are not all like little robots.

Scouting is great for children at a certain level of development and does not cause people to go bad.

glacial's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Using the word “god” is baiting, didn’t you know? That or copyright violation, can’t remember which.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

To All:. Just to clarify some information here…

The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America are separate organizations and always have been.

GSA addressed the “god” in the pledge challenge ~10 years ago. The new stance is that the members can substitute “god” for whatever word supports their belief or say nothing during that two-word part of the pledge.

GSA does not have a policy on sexual preference.

I can’t address the sales bit, as it’s been years since I was involved in GSA (for 11 years). Back then, the only item we were tasked to sell was Girl Scout cookies. That was a once-a-year event. Part of the money collected went to covering the cost of manufacturing, part to the troop, and part to the national organization. While there were sales goals set by each troop, there was no pressure from our leaders on the girls. Maybe this varies by troop.

GSA HQ (based in NYC) has employees who handle fund-raising. This includes venues outside of troops. Thus, the HQ salaries are not solely reliant on funds from the troops to cover costs, including salaries.

As for the salary of the current CEO, apparently @jca is not the first to raise eyebrows upon hearing the figure. Here is a recent article about it.. Interesting.

Gabby101's avatar

I don’t agree with everything that the scouts stand for, but if you are from a smaller town or more conservative part of the country, there are not a lot of options for your kids. I think there is a lot of good that these organizations do and if my kids were interested, I would prefer that they go and I educate them on the areas of the organization that I disagree with rather than just say “no” altogether. They are making progress on being more open and if more people inside the organization demanded it, then it would come a lot faster. It would be a good lesson for the children involved as well. Not everyone or everything is going to be 100% what you want it to be – better to learn how to accept the good and try to change the bad rather than just walking away.

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: No, I am not referring to teaching kids to be greedy. I wasn’t thinking that at all. In my details, you will see that I was referring to pressuring kids and parents to sell products (like candles, magazine subscriptions, cookies) to make money “for the troop” plus fees, uniform costs, dues, when the CEO makes half a million dollars a year (447k plus I’m sure she gets a bonus which is probably out to be more than half a million a year total of both salary and bonus).

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I didn’t realize they also sell other things. I most recently lived where @Pied_Pfeffer lives and our experience seems to agree. Maybe it varies a lot by region?

glacial's avatar

@Gabby101 Good point.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: I’m not sure. Maybe parents of GS in other regions may know (maybe Jonsblond?).

jca's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer: Great article, and very timely!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yeah, now I’m wondering about GSs selling other items. Several former co-workers had daughters in scouts, and the only items they sold were cookies. That’s also the only item I’ve witnessed being sold outside of the grocery stores.

jonsblond's avatar

The Girl Scouts sell nuts, chocolates, magazine subscriptions and magazine vouchers for the Adopt-a-Soldier program during the month of October.

Judi's avatar

I looked up Camp Fire USA on Charity Navigator. They have cuter uniforms. Their CEO only makes $213,000 which still seems like an awful lot.
They were also the first youth organization to embrace the LGBT community.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr ”...I can teach him how to build a fire, pitch a tent, and shoot a bow.”

Yeah but can you teach him how to help little old ladies cross the road while lifting her wallet?

Seek's avatar

I’m sure there’s a ’...for Dummies’ book to cover that.

Judi's avatar

The beauty of these organizations is the friendships that develop in shared service. I will never forget the pride of working with like minded Camp Fire Girls on Jimmy Carter’s campaign or working as a counselor to younger girls. It helped me to feel like I was contributing something to my community and there is nothing like the bond of friendship that is formed in shared service.
This question caused me to take a stroll down Memory Lane. I looked up old camp songs and realized how much Camp Fire helped shape my values. In 1975 they started accepting boys and when the boy scouts made a big deal about banning gays Camp Fire raised their hand and said, “You’re welcome here!” And it was a time in history where it cost them dearly. I am so proud to have been a part of that noble organization for 10 years.

rojo's avatar

I had a good time in Boy Scouts but I detested all the efforts at conning money out of folks. That was, and is the worst. The camping was the main thing that I enjoyed, just getting outdoors.

I can tell you that you can go on about the shared service, the pride and such but the main thing that I learned in Boy Scouts was how to hide your beer and pot from the scoutmaster and the adult supervision on camping trips.

Cynical, yeah, but also true.

But it did not stop me from letting my son get into scouts. But, whereas I was able to go camping and that was something my folks did not do, We did a lot of camping so the BS did not hold the same place in my sons life. He quit after two years. I went on until I got tired of them constantly pushing me to try to achieve a higher rank and take on more resposibility. I was happy at “Star”. I reluctantly went on to :“Life” but called it quits when they insisted that I could not stay there but needed to become an Eagle Scout.

jca's avatar

I could do crafts with my daughter and take trips and eat snacks with her but it’s not the same as doing it with a bunch of girls her age.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Some parents may have the time and talent to teach all of the skills that these associations offer. Many don’t nowadays.

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