Times Change!


Some of you may have seen something on this elsewhere, but this is an article about salaries of professional scouters… and it’s amazing to me!


According to this, the minimum starting salary for a DE is $36+… and the chief makes over 1mil a year!!


Way back when, my starting salary as a DE was $7500… and it was rumored that the chief only made $50k…


Even considering inflation and devaluation of the dollar– that’s a Big difference!





It does seem like a lot of money, but you have to pay to attract top talent; otherwise the good people will leave for the non-Scouting corporate world. I imagine it’s a tough profession, starting so low and having to work your way up. It’s not like anybody hires a talented outside business executive to step in as a council Scout Executive.

By ISCA87L on September 18th, 2008 at 4:47 am

I was a D.E. in the 70’s for 7 years. Worked my way up to $12,000 a year. For the hours envolved taht was slave labor. If it wasn’t for the love of the program I would have left for more money earlier. In todays world $36,000 is low for someone with a college education. If they do their job right the D.E. Earns every penny they make. Just my .02.

By acubin54 on September 18th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

It definitely was slave labor!! But it was also a labor of love… as it had been for the pros in the old days… it was not a job you took for the money…

And although it was not a princely sum, I was able to provide for myself on the low salary I had… especially since it included a company car and an expense account, plus life, accident, and medical insurance.

I had friends in the profession who raised families and sent their children to college on their low salaries– although I did have one field director who was considering offering the youngest of his four daughters a certain sum if she would elope instead of having a large wedding like her three sisters did before her!! 🙂

And gee.. look at all the free meals you’d rack up in a year after you consider a week at Woodbadge, a week at JLT, a week at the Explorer conference, a few days a summer camp, and a week or so of professional training– not to mention all those free week-ends attending staff conferences, the OA regional meeting, and your district camporee. Think of all those yummy luncheons with the Rotary Club, Optimists, and the Lions’! And who can forget 30-50 Blue and Gold banquets? And the district banquet with the same chicken and green beans menu? Of course if you were really lucky, you might also have thrown into the deal a trip to Philmont and the occasional national or world jamboree…. just think of all those “free” meals!

Although you still had other “after hours” events that did not feed you– the district committee meetings, the courts of honor, the pinewood derbies, and you can’t forget all those organizational meetings…

But I guess that’s part of my point… is BSA going more ‘for the Gold’, trying to lure talent without the dedication, or does the dedication still have to come first??

The two guys responding above are both right– it’s slave labor, and a DE in the field earns every penney he is paid. And more!

But the professional service has always been the ‘backbone’, if you will, of the spirit and traditions of scouting– one of it’s finiest attributes. Not to put down any of the fine volunteers who put in years of service– but the continuity of those traditions are often furnished by the pros, with their years in place. The job could not be done without the work and success of the volunteers– but it’s part of the pros’ job to inspire and nudge those volunteers into the right direction.

While i don’t suggest that low salaries should still be in place as a ‘test’ of dedication, i think BSA should be careful that it still recruits executives who have a feeling for scouting’s traditions and a dedication to the program.

While I agree with ISCA87L when he said it’s not like councils were hiring outside executives to come into the Scout Executive’s position, what happens if you bring in college grads who take the job for the money, and not the dedication? Since BSA still promotes from within, then those people will eventually be the ones in charge.

And some of the executive titles and positions make me wonder if it’s the Boy Scouts or Wall Street.

I guess i’m just an old guy who gets frustrated at times– i joke that i’ve still not forgiven BSA for the program changes in the 70’s that cost almost half the membership… wondering *what* were they thinking?!?

But then i see little chinks in the armor– things like the Eagle badge now being pot metal instead of sterling… how crass is that!! I’m afraid to ask if they’re being made in china now!! But it’s the high point of a boy’s scouting career.. and maybe even the high point of his life, and we can’t afford the extra $5-$10 to give him a medal made of real silver??

well.. i’m going to wrap this up.. i seem to just be rambling on….

By hiker on September 18th, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Most of the career professional Scouters I’ve seen have had experience in the program either as Scouts or parents. I’ve also seen a lot of young college grads hired in asst. district exec. positions who didn’t have a Scouting background but were very effective in the role. All of them have gone to work in other non-profits, typically as executive directors. Their time in the BSA was a good experience to train them for their future challenges.

By ISCA87L on September 19th, 2008 at 2:54 am

well.. i’d just hate to see BSA hire strictly ‘bean counters’…. they’ve had problems enough with that in the past…

although on the other hand, i’d not go so far as to say they must all have an extensive Scouting background either– the example you listed of a ‘parent’ could still give them the dedication to Scouting as a result of their son having a good experience….

i’ve seen some good execs who dropped out as first class, star or whatever who realized what they’d missed, how how valuable the program could be, and thus approached it with dedication as well…

also without that dedication, the profession becomes more of a revolving door, passing execs to other businesses and organizations instead of gaining from their continuity with the program.

By hiker on September 19th, 2008 at 9:04 pm

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