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By Lisa Carolin

A new nonprofit group has been created in Chelsea to help fund local Boy and Girl Scouts. It’s called FOCAS-Friends of the Chelsea Area Scouts.

The group kicked off its fundraising efforts with a Tupperware Fundraiser Feb. 19. Anita Mosier, a troop mom and area manager for Chelsea Area Girl Scouts, and Shasta Grifka, a troop mom, used their own money to start FOCAS, which will receive 40 percent of the profits from the Feb. 19 fundraiser.

“Contrary to what many in the public believe, scout troops do not receive any operating aid or start-up funds from local or national chapters,” said Mosier. “Leaders are all volunteers. Each troop is self-funded and relies on parents to pay troop dues ($25-$30 a year) on top of the Girl Scouts of the USA’s registration and uniform costs.”

She says there are also costs for supplies, snacks, books and field trips, but that Scout troops are not allowed to apply for grant money or do raffles or silent auctions.

“The goals of FOCAS are to make donations to scout troops that need help covering the cost of trips, area activities, and extra costs not covered by scholarships,” said Mosier, who adds that some troops have had to fold due to financial strain.

FOCAS will not stop other Scout-related fundraising efforts such as food drives and popcorn sales. Scouts will still have to raise funds for their service projects.

According to the FOCAS brochure, the nonprofit was started because, “We believe in what the Scouts stand for and have seen too many troops dissolve due to the financial constraints they have to meet. We want the Scouts to be able to continue to make a great impact on our community.”

Mosier says, “FOCAS will give us a way to do the bigger fundraisers that we need to do to make our Scout troops strong, to take some of the financial pressure off leaders and families. This is not intended to replace the normal fundraisers because those are important and required to be a Girl Scout.

The brochure also states that, “Girl Scouts of the United States will not allow local Girl Scout areas to use the 501c3 status and tax id number, which puts limits on the types of fundraising they are able to do. Many businesses require that number for tax purposes.”

For more information or to make a donation, email FOCAScouts@gmail.com or call 517-812-0150.

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