Informal Minutes of June 2015 Committee Meeting

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I was not appointed as the Committee’s secretary, so I did not take notes with an eye to that thoroughness. Nor was I a participant in each break-out session. With those warnings, I will highlight some of the discussions from the Committee Meeting.

Steve James, the District Chair, opened the meeting and emphasized that District needs to be focused on membership recruiting for August 27, 2015. He said, “We are in All-Hands-On-Deck mode. We need all Packs, Troops, and Crews to be part of the process.”  Steve introduced our new District Executive Cornellius “Con” Sullivan. Con rapidly covered the points about our Council-wide Back to School Night that Darin Stendl, Con’s supervisor, had covered at the May Roundtable. Jump to the link for a detailed report. The most important part of the presentation for this report is that the marketing campaign’s call to action for the general public is “Sign up at your local elementary school.” This means that we need personnel at all of our District’s elementary schools.

During his presentation, Con emphasized that we have nearly 43 elementary schools to cover at sign-up night, while we only have 35 chartered units and 18 Cub Scout Packs. There is no way that the Packs can man all of the elementary schools. Con also underlined that there is a Recruiting Rally at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis on the evening of July 16, 2015. (Literature about the campaign is available on the Council website, too.)

In Darin’s earlier presentation he had emphasized that the call to action does not emphasize Cub Scouts. It is a general call to join Scouting. This means that Troops and Crews could receive new members, too.

Con reported that North Star District’s Cub Packs are encouraged to participate in a District-wide Pack Overnight Campout on October 17-18, 2015 (I will need to review my notes to double check dates) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Other weekends and campsites are available if Packs have fewer conflicts, but IMS is being pushed for North Star. IMS is close to home and exciting. Race cars and another race themed aspects will be emphasized through the weekend.

After Con’s presentation, there was a general open discussion of some of the logistics. One issue brought up is that customarily Packs collect the initial dues from new families on sign up night. Council then asks for a check from the Pack to Council to cover the new recruits’ BSA dues. This lead to some surprise and frustration. In addition, there was confusion about how much BSA dues the Pack should collect the first night to be considered a completely “registered scout.” Con did not have the answer at that time. These topics would be addressed in more depth later. For the duration of the meeting, the Committee agreed to take the issue under advisement and focus on the immediate mission of recruiting. At the meeting Con promised to clarify a few of these issues as quickly as possible.

This morning, he emailed me some clarifications.

  1. Packs may have individual families write a separate check to Council to cover BSA dues and a second check to the Pack to cover the Pack’s dues. Council strongly discourages this method, because of likely frustration from the recruited families and the increased risk of problems in transmitting multiple checks through multiple hands.

  2. Packs are encouraged to have the families write one check to cover all dues requested. Then the Packs would write one check for all dues collected to the Council.

  3. Packs are strongly encouraged to cash their checks on August 28, 2015 to allow the funds to clear and identify any checks that might be returned for Non-Sufficient Funds (“NSF”).

    1. While this is a regular problem for some packs, it is a manageable issue with some planning. Packs should have a reserve amount on deposit to cover the average historic number of NSF checks and their fees assessed.
    2. If this is problem, please contact your Unit Commissioner.
  4. Council will not cash any of its checks received before Monday, August 31, 2015. Council does reserve the right to cash to checks on that day, but does not guarantee that it will.

  5. Credit card payments will be accepted. Information on this process will be provided later at RoundTable.

  6. The minimum BSA dues to be a registered Scout as of August 27, 2015 will be $10.00 for the prorated portion of calendar year 2015. The prorated subscription fee for Boy’s Life is $5.00 for the same time period. This $15.00 is what will be required to be paid for each newly enrolled scout on Back to School Night on August 27, 2015 to be eligible to receive a rocket for each new scout.

  7. Packs are strongly encouraged to collect BSA dues to cover both calendar years 2015 as prorated above and 2016. This totals $51.00 (all BSA dues of $34.00 and Boys’ Life of $17.00, both covering up to December 31, 2016). The Pack would pay only the $15.00 for 2015. The Pack would retain the 2016 balance for Rechartering. The philosophy is to avoid nickel-and-diming the family. Feel free to write an itemized account of what money covers which item. Then, if a family approaches you about the lack of funds, you can make an individual arrangement for payment.  You will have more families pay in full. You will minimize the accounting headaches and confusion of two large scale dues collections within 60 days of each other.

At the meeting, Con passed around a list that attempted to describe the elementary schools with which Packs had historically or customarily recruited. He asked those present to correct the list as best as they could. (If your unit did not have a representative present, please contact Con at the Council office to make sure we have your information.) Con plans to use this information to coordinate school coverage plans for August 27, 2015.

Con emphasized that we will need many people to help give “Boy Talks” in most of the month of August at the public and private schools that will allow us to do so. Please contact Con at the Council office if you can give a “Boy Talk” in August. We will have a list of suggested speaking topics for the 5-minute-or-less speech. (Currently we know that we do not have access to Washington Township Schools, but we would love to hear ideas about how to fix this problem. We are working at having flyers circulated there. We are not yet clear about what Pike Township will do.)

Steve James reinforced the need for “Boy Talk” presenters. He said it is open to anyone. If only one date is available on your calendar, we are more than happy to have you serve on that day.

Jeff Heck provided a Nominating Committee report, as the Committee’s chair, and a District Commissioner’s Report, in that capacity. He orally summarized some highlights and provided written reports for both. Due to the nature of some of the information, these reports will not be posted online. If someone wishes a copy, please contact Jeff Heck directly.

In addition, Jeff included a questionnaire for each unit to allow the District to be able to better serve the units.  A copy of this questionnaire is available here. If you did not have a representative present, please complete and return to Jeff Heck.

At this point, the committee-as-a-whole broke into break out sessions. Steve James introduced Jane Stautz as the Vice-Chair for Programming. Jane held a discussion with her committee and subcommittee members present about the status of tasks to be completed and communications to be shared. Since I was not party to the discussion, I cannot report any further details. For further information, please contact Jane Stautz. (If you need her contact information, let Steve James or me know.)

Jeff Heck spoke to the break out session of persons attending who did not have a committee assignment. Jeff reviewed the basics of the committee’s organization and its relationship to units. He emphasized the need for Chartered Organization Representatives to serve their units by being present at District Committee Meetings. He further emphasized that District’s request for volunteers continues, but District does not prefer to have Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, or Unit Chairs as the representatives to District if at all possible. These people already have an important duty to the youth and should remain focused on those duties. Jeff did point out that right now we are more interested in having volunteers to complete tasks than to have volunteers to put a new position patch on their uniform for the year.  If a volunteer can be present for a few hours on one day only but cannot make any further commitments. We will take the hours we can get. This is particularly true for “Boy Talks,” Back to School Night on August 27, 2015, and the Rocket Launch on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m., but many stayed late for side conversations which were very informative.