Month: February 2016

REMINDER: Monthly District Committee and Commissioners’ Meeting Thursday

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Just a quick reminder that Thursday, March 3, 2016 is the night for the District Committee Meeting at 7:00 pm and District Commissioner’s Staff Meeting at 6:00 pm.

Both will take place at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Fourth Floor, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

Mark your schedules.


Selling Scouting: Teaching Resilence

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If you are like me, you are constantly reading random articles on the internet. Most are pop-psychology hogwash: “5 Ways to Become the CEO Tomorrow!” (Never forget the exclamation mark!)

Every once in a while, you find a good article. Generally, the quality of the article is best when it is a summary of monograph a/k/a a book on a single subject. One article I saw fits that description.

It is written for the stressed out helicopter mom that wants her child to be perfect and will stress the child out until perfection is attained.

The article is from Fast Company. It focuses on “teaching your child resilience.” (Which begs the question, how do you “teach” adaptation to stress.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Lions Program goes Beta

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In an earlier article, I had described the Lion Cub program in Northern Star Council. Now National has taken the program into national beta.

  No word yet whether our council will pick up and run with it. Given the number of betas we run, you make the bet.

Update on Training in District

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In July 2015, I posted an article regarding the poor status of training in North Star District. At the time, we had about 46% of our scouters having completed the required training for their positions. Rechartering for 2016 is complete. Now is a good time to take a look at how we have progressed.

Some of the problems in the July 2015 report were failures of record keeping. The Council’s centralized method of reporting and maintaining training records often caused lags or omissions in updating individual’s records. As a result, many scouters had completed training but it did not appear on their records. This meant that the statistics were inaccurate.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 9.36.52 AMWith the advent of’s allowing Unit Key 3 (Chartered Organization Representative, Unit Committee Chair, and Unit Leaders) and Unit Training Committee Chairs being able to update individuals’ records, we have been able to update old records very aggressively. This has solved many of the omitted-records problems.

Another problem we had is that units had no training program in place while district and council offered few training alternatives outside of University of Scouting or summer camp at Ransburg to cover these gaps in training. With district offering training at camporees and at unit meetings, this began to cut into this problem.

Now we can see the results, from 46% trained we are now at 88.6% trained.

Thank you to the many scouters who have helped achieve this astounding improvement in our numbers!

2016 Retention Campaign

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At Tuesday’s joint Council Commissioner Staff and Membership Committee Meeting, Council Membership Committee Chair Tony unveiled the outline of a campaign to improve membership retention within the Council.

Tony reported that 2015 saw Council cut its membership drop rate in half. The goal for 2016 is to have a net increase in membership.

Year-over-year council has had consistent recruitment night attendance.

Sticking with a basic premise of marketing that retaining a customer is cheaper and easier than finding a new customer, Council is focusing its membership committee efforts at making the first 6 months of a new scout’s and his parents’  experience better. That way the new scouts stays long enough to become a veteran scout.

The outline of this plan focuses on giving the district electronic communications to allow better information flow to the new parents and new den leaders. Since so much of the current training focuses on national’s online training, we have lost some of the local component that training had historically provided. As a result, the new leaders feel more stranded.

The goal of this plan is to give districts and in turn units tools for the new parents and new den leaders to feel part of something larger and more local.

There will be more details about this plan at the April 19, 2016 semi-annual operations meeting for the council to teach the districts.

Tentatively, North Star District is planning to offer a Unit Key 3 Conference at Spring Camporee at Camp Kikthawenund on the morning of April 23, 2016. We will be able to share more details with Cub Packs at that time.

Similarly the Ideal Year in Scouting presentation at the May roundtable at the Scout Center will provide even more ideas on how these elements fit together.

Committee Meetings: Useful?

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The great Bobwhite Blather has some hints on making sure that Unit Committee meetings are held and effective.

Here are a few key comments:

So how do you slog through the routine of a monthly committee meeting without causing your committee members to “check out” and put you on mute?

With people saying they’d prefer almost anything to sitting through a boring meeting – eight percent reportedly would rather have a root canal than endure a litany of boring status updates – it’s vitally important to engage your participants so they can share the essence of their knowledge. And being a volunteer organization, we can’t compel them to attend, like your employer can, so we need to make them want to attend.

  • Most of your meeting should involve tasks in which participants are dependent on each other to advance the outcome. If only one or two people are involved, the rest of the attendees will either be sitting there silently watching the clock or contributing in ways that may not be helpful.
  • If your meeting has no purpose or agenda, you’re doomed to waste your participants’ time. They don’t know what to expect…and you don’t know where you are going next – or even why you’re there.
  • Expect a solution to arise out of the discussion. Don’t make a habit of putting off topics until the next meeting. Make it a priority to resolve issues and make assignments. The old adage applies: Nothing gets done in meetings – the action takes place when everyone leaves the table.
  • Everyone attending should have a stake. Anyone who leaves without something to do probably shouldn’t have attended in the first place.

Frank goes on to explain when emails would be more effective. It is worth a quick read.

Jamboree 2017 Rally

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On Sunday, March 13, 2016, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm, Council is holding a National Jamboree Rally. It is essentially an informational meeting about National Jamboree.

Jamboree will be from July 19 to 28, 2017 at the Summit Bechtel Scout Reserve in West Virginia.

Sign up is already open.

To be eligible a scout must be 12 years old (or 11 years old and graduated from sixth grade) and a First Class Scout.

This means that current Arrow of Light Webelos are eligible to participate in 2017.

Make sure that all Scout Troops and Arrow of Light Webelos Dens are made aware of the call out meeting.stadium-aerial

Social Media Roundtable

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At last week’s Roundtable, I had scheduled outgoing Unit Commissioner Andrew Linden to speak about using Social Media in Units. I was also scheduled to leave town at the same time. Due to a miscommunication, Andrew went to the wrong church. My apologies to Andrew for not confirming the locations. Thank you to Andrew for preparing his notes and forwarding them to me so that you can still receive the benefit of his efforts.

Here for download is what Andrew sent me.

Thanks again to Andrew for his effort. After the presentation, Andrew is leaving his position as a Unit Commissioner to help start a new veteran-support chapter in the local area, while he and his wife are expecting a baby. Good luck to Andrew and his new family. We hope to see him back in North Star soon!

February 2016 Eagles

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Congratulations to February’s Eagle Scouts:

Alec Damer 514
Austin Damer 514
John Diedrich 174
Samuel Ristow 56


Order of the Arrow Election Reminder

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Remember that February is the month for Order of the Arrow elections in your boy scout troop and venturing crew.

If you have any questions, contact the Chapter Advisor John Ruggles.