Month: October 2015

Baden Powell on the Purpose of the Patrol/Den

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The Patrol [or the Den] is the character school for the individual. To the Patrol Leader it gives practice in Responsibility and in the qualities of Leadership. To the Scouts it gives subordination of self to the interests of the whole, the elements of self-denial and self-control involved in the team spirit of co-operation and good comradeship.

Lord Baden-Powell, October 1936.

Hat tip to Clarke Green.

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Eagle Report for North Star

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District Eagle Board Coordinator Jerry Simon submits the following report:
North Star averages about 30 new Eagles per year.
Starting in January of this year through October, 35 scouts have received their Eagle Rank. We will be doing six more in November and at least five in December.
It looks like 2015 will be a banner year for us.
Considering all the issues North Star has had trying to be a functioning district, we have great troops with great volunteers that are making Scouting happen.

A Cub Scout is Helpful

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HPack 105 trail maintenance 3ere is an article submitted by John Salewicz, Ass’t Cubmaster and Bear Den Leader of Pack 105, Den 2 (Thank you!)

During Zionsville Pack 105 Fall Camporee at Spring Mill State Park, our Cub Scouts completed a service project.   We worked with the Park’s Property Manager to determine their needs.We decided on a trail rehab project. Pack 105 Trail maintenance in action 2

They had been very short-handed this year and have not had the time nor the manpower to do the work.  During the spring and early summer months they experienced very heavy rains that washed out part of a trail they call “The Stagecoach Trail”.

This trail is a historically significant part of the area.   During the settlement era, it was the life-line to the mill.  The trail was was the only way in or out of the village.  It was used to move goods from the village. The village supplied a growing nation with corn meal and lumber. After the park opened, this trail served as the main entrance to the park until the 1960’s.

This project required us to move a tri-axle of gravel down the trail — bucket brigade style — to fill in the numerous washed out areas. This was quite the accomplishment for these Cub Scouts and Webelos.  The trail has a very steep grade
and took a lot of effort!   We were able to complete this project  in an 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Hikers will benefit from this hard work for years to come.
WAHOO SERVICE!!!

This is a great example for future story ideas. Keep them coming.

Hard at work!
Hard at work!

Pack 105 celebrating their successful service project.
Pack 105 celebrating their successful service project.

How much responsibility to the patrol leader?

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Many of our Boy Scout troops I have elaborate systems for keeping track of records and attendance. But even bigger question is who will be attending a weekend outing.

Many trooms rely on electronic means of collecting the information. In a recent article Frank Meynard of Bobwhite Blather suggested we may need to look at this a little bit differently. Take a look at his article for a different point of view.

Training our Chartered Org Reps

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As noted in a recent blog post, North Star District is making a big push as a part of Rechartering season to get our leaders trained for their position or reclassified to avoid the need for new training.Chartered Organization Representative patch

At this point, our Chartered Organization Representatives still are nearly 2/3rds untrained.

This is easy to fix through Council’s online training. Just follow the link, read the PowerPoint slides and report the training through the link in the training. That is it.

It will take Council nearly two weeks to update records, so print out evidence of training for Rechartering.

Who should serve on Boards of Review?

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Boards of Review can become points of contention. That is not their purpose. The best means to avoid conflict is to know the rules from the Guide to Advancement (2015) well.

Since Troops, Varsity Teams, Venturing Crews, and Explorer Posts can hold them (troops exclusively up to First Class, see sec. 4.3.1.4), these are the general rules through Life rank.

Here is the key part that you need from the Guide to Advancement (2015) (underlining added for emphasis in text):

8.0.2.0 Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks (or Palms)

The preceding applies to boards of review for all Boy Scouting ranks, but there are a few differences for the ranks other than Eagle, and for Eagle Palms:

  1. The board is made up of three to six unit committee members—no more and no less. In units with fewer than three registered committee members available to serve, it is permissible to use knowledgeable parents (not those of the candidate) or other adults (registered or not) who are at least 21 years of age and who understand Boy Scouting’s aims. Using unregistered adults for boards of review must be the exception, not the rule. Registered committee members familiar with the unit program, who have had a background check, and who are Youth Protection trained are preferred. Scheduling boards of review when and where committee members can attend usually alleviates the problem of not having enough committee members for a board.
  2. For a Varsity Scout team, the committee member responsible for advancement, the advancement program manager (youth), and the Coach serve on the board. Composition for Boy Scout rank or Palm boards of review held in Venturing crews or Sea Scout ships is the same as that for Boy Scout troops.
  3. One member serves as chair. The unit committee decides how he or she is chosen. The chair conducts review meetings according to BSA procedures and reports results to the unit advancement coordinator.
  4. The location should be comfortable, such as the unit meeting place, a camp, or a leader’s home.
  5. The review should take approximately 15 minutes, but not longer than 30 minutes.
  6. Ranks and Palms shall not be presented until the signed advancement report is submitted to the local council.
  7. If a Scout is to be reviewed for more than one rank (Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class), each rank should have a separate board of review. While these boards may be conducted on the same date, it is preferred—if feasible—that different members be involved on the boards to give the young man an enhanced experience and an opportunity to interact with a variety of adults.

Just run to the books where you have questions.

Ideas for Summer Camp

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As October drifts away and November arrives, it seems to early to think about summer activities. Yet, November is often the last push for the year to do much big in scouting until January. Once January hits, more units focus on summer camp and activities.

If you want to do something different, the November PLC is a great time to take a poll of your scouts or November Pack meeting a chance to poll your Cubs about where they would like to go to summer camp.

My home unit used to have a practice of going to some place out of council at least once every four years. One of our District’s bigger troops goes to Canada every other year. Both are great ideas for keeping scouting interesting for all your scouts.

Last year, Scouting Magazine ran a great article about wonderful Scout Reservations around the country. (Ransburg made this list!)

The Summit at Bechtel Scout Reservation is now running both high adventure and older scout summer camp opportunities.

In addition, your future troop youth leadership can attend White Stag, our local version of the National Youth Leadership Training. (Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops/Crews is a prerequisite, which we may offer at Winter Camporee, if NYLT_4ksufficient interest exists.) This one-week, Wood-Badge for youth course is well worth for future or past SPLs, patrol leaders, Troop Guides, etc. (Crossroads BSA website has not been updated for 2016 yet.)

Start the discussion in November, so information gathering can be planned and implemented. Then less pressure is on in January 2016 when real planning needs to begin.

Tufts University’s Study on Whether Scouting Works

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Dr Richard Lerner has been doing a 2.5 year longitudinal study near his school of randomly selected 1800 scouts and 400 non-scouts. He started by studying the boys as the entered scouts. He was setting a benchmark as to whether scouting changes boys character. Dr. Lerner’s final report is out. The summary is available at Scouting Magazine’s website.

The results are stunning. It shows in “a compelling way,” according to Dr Lerner, that the BSA has a significant ways in a least six characteristics:

  1. Trustworthiness;Graphs on comparison of results
  2. Helpfulness;
  3. Kindness;
  4. Obedience;
  5. Cheerfulness;
  6. Hopefulness.

So what about being solely focused on sports? Unfortunately, the sports-focused kids took a hit in how well the kids prioritize values, particularly in their priorities in caring for other people. They are not as interested in other people’s well-being, as were scouts. This effect becomes more pronounced as the boys stayed in scouting.

Read the rest of this entry »

News from Council Operations Meeting

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Last night, Tuesday, October 20th, Council held their semi-annual Operations Meeting. North Star was represented by Mark Pishon as District Advancement Chair, Brian Crow as District Camping Chair, District Commissioner Jeff Heck, and District Executive Con Sullivan. We were not able to cover the break out sessions for Programming, Family Friends of Scouting, Activities, or Communications due to lack of representation.

Vice President for District Operations Stroh Brann opened the meeting. As a past Wood Badge Course Director, he recognized our most recent past Wood Badge Director Jason Creighton of currently of Del-Mi District, formerly of our own Pack 358.

Carolyn Small recognized one of our recent White Stag Course Directors (whose name I did not catch).

They then had a short introduction of the STEM Scout program which is currently rolling out in beta testing in the Crossroads IMG_1852of America Council. One of its District Executives Zach White announced that the Council took delivery of the new Vortex truck the previous day. I had an opportunity to walk through it. The tools’ delivery is expected in the near future. IMG_1851The STEM DE told us a little bit more about the program. The unit in STEM Scouts is a called a “Lab.” The first “Lab Manager” position specific training is November 2nd from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Scout Center. This a great opportunity to learn the program from the inside.

Break-out Session Reports

Membership. The Council Commissioner and the Membership Committee held a joint break out to discuss recruitment and retention. Field Services Director Rob Hemmelgarn provided data on recent trends in the Council for the past 5 years. In that period of time, the retention rate has improved from 66.6% year-over-year in 2010 to 69.2% in 2014. Current projections for 2015 are 70.9%. We are doing an increasingly better job of retaining scouts once we recruit them.

The bad news is that our recruiting and market penetration is down markedly in that same period of time. In 2010, we had 903 traditional scout units. In 2014, we had 757: a loss of 146 units across the council. In 2015, we are projected to loss another 50. This unit loss has had a direct impact on scout recruitment. In 2010, we recruited 9,307 new scouts. In 2014, we recruited 6,779. In 2015, we hope to stay level, but we have only recruited 5,104 as of September 30, 2015.

Many ideas were thrown around about the cause of problems, but the numbers seem to indicate that poor Tiger Cub and other Cub recruiting is hurting all programs. Since 95% of Boy Scouts come from Cub Scouts, this Cub Scout recruiting problem is having a cascading effect on all scouting programs as the years pass.

Rob reported that nearly all youth programs from scouts to athletics are reporting similar declines. Questions were raised about financial explanations. Rob reports that the professional literature is pushing the notion that it is attributable to video games. This writer wonders whether the video game explanation is just a symptom of financial issues. Video games have a larger up-front fixed cost and smaller costs to continually upgrade or add games. It requires no additional time away from home. It allows parents who are busy at work to make sure their kids are occupied with a significant investment of time from the parent. This works well in financially struggling households to allow more work time without additional child care costs or investments in time and effort.

The question in recruitment has a marketing component, a sales component, a training component, and a first-60 days retention component. These components were all alluded to but not answered.

Upcoming Council Events

The next Council meeting is the Cub Scout Promotional Team Kickoff on October 29th at Camp Belzer. November 2, 2015 is the first day of Cub Scout Camp registration for summer 2016.

Council has meetings on November 15th and December 15th for the Activities and Training Committees and the Commissioners at the Scout Center. Start time is 7:00 pm.

The Governor’s Luncheon is December 14th at the JW Marriott hotel.