If there’s one thing standing between your troop and that canoeing trip up in the Tetons or that check you wanted to give to the bishop for the building fund, that one thing is probably money.
Money—that worldly little item that isn’t really very important, except when you need it and don’t have it.
So you hit the fund-raising trail. You wash cars, sell cupcakes and candy and fried chicken and light globes, hold banquets and auctions, collect paper and aluminum cans, and rake lawns; and then, after some hassle, some inconvenience, and maybe even some sweat, you reach your goal. Then you have your canoeing trip or make your contribution, but perhaps more important, you enjoy the satisfaction of having earned it yourself.
And hopefully, along the way you’ve had a lot of fun.
You start by believing that money is out there, somewhere. Sometimes the old ways will get it for you, and sometimes you’ve got to find ways not quite so old. Sometimes you’ve got to take a deep breath and try something downright new.
And that’s the most fun of all.
Here are some ways in which young people have bridged the gap between what they had and what they needed. If some of them are new to you, you may wish to try them. Better yet, make up something new of your own.
Students of the Butler Junior High Seminary in Salt Lake City sold snowballs to their fellow students for ten cents a ball. Included in the price was the right to throw the purchases at volunteer student leaders. When some courageous teachers became the targets, the price jumped to twenty cents, and business boomed. The students funded a Christmas project with their earnings.
Scouts of Troop 193 of the Holladay Third Ward in Salt Lake City collected some cash for equipment by selling “spook insurance” to neighborhood homeowners the week before Halloween. Policy holders were guaranteed a thorough cleanup in case of any holiday casualties such as soaped windows or other messy pranks.
The Spurs unit at the University of Utah cashed in with a singing valentine service. For fifty cents clients could select one of seven valentine songs, ranging from amorous to smart-aleck, which the Spurs girls would then sing on the telephone to whatever lucky person the client named. Collecting the money was only half the fun.
Scout Troop 30 of the Overton Ward, Overton, Nevada, washed dishes for the cast and crew of a western movie being filmed in nearby Valley of Fire State Park. The troop not only wore out all its scoutmaster’s dishtowels improving their flipping skills, but earned a good paycheck to finance future troop activities.
A group of M Men and Gleaners in Bountiful, Utah, provided Bountiful children with an authentic, old-fashioned hayride—horses and all—for a modest fee, and loved it.
The Explorer class of the Butler 20th Ward in Sandy, Utah, made enough for a canoe trip on the Bear River by ushering at University of Utah football games.
With permission from the Bureau of Land Management, Troop 190 of the Bonneville Ward, Salt Lake City, sawed dead piñon pine trees into fireplace lengths and sold the wood for a handsome profit. They made an overnight trip into the western Uintah Basin to gather the wood and combined work with pleasure.
Students at the Butler Junior High Seminary in Salt Lake City collected trading stamps from neighbors who didn’t want them. The students collected enough to pay for 1,600 copies of the Book of Mormon for the missionary program.
The youth committee of the Bountiful 26th Ward, Bountiful, Utah, made penny banks out of evaporated milk cans. They distributed these to ward members with instructions to put in all pennies or other loose change that was getting in the way and making a nuisance of itself. With the proceeds they financed a Christmas party for the ward.
Explorers of the Cottonwood Second Ward in Salt Lake City helped fund a superactivity by distributing ads for a local radio station.
Explorer Post 90 of Provo, Utah, sold balloons, snowcones, and soda pop along the Fourth of July parade route, with permission from the local Lions Club, which was in charge of the parade. Post 90 also raised a vegetable garden and sold the vegetables.
Seminary students at Highland High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, raised funds to assist a crippled children’s hospital in Vietnam by an imaginative application of the popular “talents system.” Like the servants in the parable, each of the students was given a sum of money, in this case fifty cents, and was told to increase it. One girl turned her fifty cents into seventy-six dollars by making Christmas wreaths from IBM cards. One boy made and sold plaster of paris molds of a ram, the school symbol.
Members of the MIA of the Cannon Seventh Ward in Salt Lake City dressed up in Santa Claus and elf costumes and, for a fee, visited the homes of neighbors who wanted their children to have a visit from Saint Nick.
The youth committee of the Bountiful 36th Ward, Bountiful, Utah, did it with dessert. The young men visited ward members with menus listing all kinds of desserts, from cream pies to brownies, and the respective prices. Then the female members of the committee fired up their ovens and created the delicacies that had been ordered, and the men delivered them on two consecutive evenings around supper time.
The Scouts of the Bountiful 36th Ward delivered letters from the bishopric to ward members and were paid what the postage would have cost.
Some enterprising young people in the Salt Lake area cashed in on the after-Christmas blues by cleaning up show windows on which businessmen had painted Christmas scenes. They charged according to the size of the window.
Draper Second Ward Scouts of Draper, Utah, sold ticket books for a local theater. They received half the price of the books.
Seminary students at West High School in Salt Lake City held a faculty-student basketball game. They charged fifty cents admission and fifty cents to try out for the team.
Another West High Seminary project involved tracing patterns for local hobby shops. The shops paid up to $1.40 for a well-traced pattern.
Young men of the Fourth Ward of the St. George East Stake, St. George, Utah, turned barnyard manure into clean cash. They took orders for the fertilizer, which was donated by a local farmer, and spread it for the purchasers. The young ladies of the ward took window washing lessons from a professional and hired themselves out as window washers.
The Grant Third Ward youth committee terrified its way to a lot of money with a Halloween spook house. The location was Brigham Young’s Carriage House. The production featured such treats as a man having his legs sawed off, a girl’s severed head speaking from the oven of a kitchen range, a zoo of starving children, coffins full and empty, electric shocks, horrifying sounds, and other thrills. The funds will be used to sponsor a youth conference.
A Scout troop in Piedmont, California, discovered they could make money by painting house numbers on curbs.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, the MIA girls of the First Ward of the Las Vegas East Stake used chivalry to their advantage. They made corsages, which they sold to the men in the ward. Who would dare be the only man not to give his wife one?
The University of Utah Student Association made money for a low income scholarship fund and helped clean up their community at the same time. They phoned local businessmen and asked them to sponsor a student in cleaning up city trash at the same rate of pay they gave their employees. Businessmen and students both cooperated, and the scholarship fund got a healthy shot of cash.
There are a lot of good, traditional money-raising techniques that haven’t been mentioned here, and sometimes the old ways are the best. Banquets of all kinds, ward directories, birthday calendars, bake sales, door-to-door sales of a thousand items—all work if you do, but there are some new ways, too, just waiting to be discovered.
When you discover them, please pass them on.