Month: November 2016

Roundtable Reminder

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A quick reminder that Roundtable will return to a normal agenda next Thursday, December 8th at 6:30 pm (not 7:00 pm).

More details about topics to be posted here later.


Merit Badge Counselor Rechartering

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Remember as part of District’s Recharter (yes, District recharters annually, too), we need to confirm your troop’s and crew’s merit badge counselor list. (They are technically district staff and not unit staff.)

Please confirm with District Merit Badge Counselor Registrar Mike Yates that all of your MBC’s are

  1. Trained as an MBC
  2. Current on their Youth Protection certification through, and
  3. Still active with the troop.

Units that fail to certify this information to Mike Yates are subject to having their MBC’s dropped in the rechartering process. That means all blue cards they sign are void. Please do not let that happen to your scouts.

Three more District Training Sessions left

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We will have another Scoutmaster Specific Training tonight (Wednesday) and another on December 7th. This is required for all Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters.

We will have an Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (IOLS) on Saturday. This is required for all Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters.

Webelos Den Leaders and Cubmasters who participate in the IOLS training will also get credit for Outdoor Webelos Leaders Skills (OWLS). They will get two certifications for the price of one.

Den leader training is available tonight.

Troop and pack committee Training will be offered on December 7th, too.

To sign up or get more information, click here.

These certifications never expire.

District Committee and Commissioners Meetings on Thursday

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Just a quick reminder that Unit Commissioners will be meeting with the District Commissioner Thursday at 6:00 pm at Second Presbyterian Church in Room 401.

Immediately afterward District Committee will meet at 7:00 pm in Room 405. The Camporee Committee will report on Winter and Spring Camporee planning and Fall Camporee Scheduling.

This meeting is intended for Committee Members and Chartered Organization Representatives from all units.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Rechartering Updates as of 11/30/16

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At this time, North Star has done very well in getting the initial paperwork turned in for its units. We have a vastly higher percentage of units submitting paperwork to Council that other similarly situated districts.

We have a number of units that have not had their submissions finalized because of missing paperwork or training.

The units that have completely submitted all paperwork, payment, and evidence of training AND have been approved by the registrar are (7 units)

  • Packs 35 and 514,
  • Troops 35, 56, 73, 269, and 514.

The units that have completed the above-listed paperwork but approval by the registrar is still pending are (6 units)

  • Packs 105, 358 (Delaware Tribe), 358-3 (Munsee Tribe),  and 586, and
  • Troops 191 and 804.

The units that have completed all paperwork and payments but still have training requirements to complete (which many can complete with in-person training or online training this week and next week) are

  • Packs 18, 64, 171, 174, 175, 179, 358-2 (Miami Tribe), 358-4 (Shawnee Tribe), and
  • Troops 18, 358, and 586.

As a side note, thank you to the scoutmaster corps from Troop 586 for attending last night’s Scoutmaster Specific Training at St Luke’s UMC to keep their training moving forward! (Another one tonight!)

Thank you, too, to the other leaders that have done their training online or with other members of their unit.

The remaining units have paperwork outstanding. Troop 343 and Crew 358 have scheduled the delivery of their paperwork this week.

Rechartering Report: Deadline +1 Day

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Our District deadline for Rechartering passed yesterday November 20, 2016. Here is a report of how we are doing.

The following units have been approved by the registrar for 2017 rechartering with (1) 100% training, (2) all paperwork, and (3) all dues paid (total 6 units):

  • Pack 35, and
  • Troops 35, 56,73, 269, 514.

The following units have the same 3 criteria met but are awaiting the registrar’s ratification. The registrar handles these first-come, first-serve from across the council, so when ratification will come is unknowable. (Total 5 units.)

  • Packs 105, 514, 586, and
  • Troop 191, and 804.

The following units have completed all paperwork and paid all dues, they have training requirements yet to fulfill. When training is complete, these will be submitted to the registrar. (Total 12 units.)

  • Packs 18, 64, 171, 174, 175, 179, 358 (almost all veteran tribes)
  • Troop 18, 358, 586.

Three units have turned in paperwork but have defects in their submission and likely need training. (3 units)

  • Packs 84 and 358-2.
  • Crew 408.

The following units have submitted their rosters online but have submitted no paperwork. All have had extensive communications with the DE or the commissioners. Many are waiting for the Chartered Organization execute documents. Many of these have promised to do that by Tuesday, November 22, 2016. (5 units)

  • Troops 69, 174, and 343 and
  • Crews 69 and 358.

The remaining units have nothing turned in either on paper or online. That leaves us with 4 units to get paperwork wrapped up and finalized. All have had extensive communications. Many have extenuating circumstances involving family emergencies among the Key 3. Families in those units could be very helpful in offering to lift some of the burden off the current leaders to get their rechartering done.

Merit Badge Counselors: District Rechartering

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Remember, North Star District has to re-charter each year just like our units. This means all volunteers listed as “District Staff” must be dropped, added, or retained at the district level as part of the rechartering process.

For Cub Scout Packs, this is not an issue. Ever.

For Scout Troops and Venturing Crews, this is important. Many scouters in troops and crews serve as Merit Badge Counselors (“MBCs”). MBCs are District Staff. They do not recharter as part of the unit. They recharter as part of the district.

That means we need every troop’s and crew’s immediate assistance. Each troop or crew needs to verify by email that the MBC list of their volunteers is accurate by November 30, 2016.

All it takes is a quick email to District Merit Badge Registrar Mike Yates at, saying, “We wish to recharter all of our existing MBCs for 2017.” If those MBCs have their MBC training and YPT expiring after 3/1/17, they will be good to go.

If you have new MBCs or some veterans don’t meet the above criteria, they can do the MBC training online or find live seminars at They will need to update their YPT training. New MBCs will also need to fill out an Adult Application on paper or online at (a dedicated website for District applications).

If a unit fails to report in to Mike Yates, all MBCs currently registered will expire on December 31, 2016 and be required to re-register. Any blue cards a deregistered MBC signs after January 1, 2017 will be invalid.

Please help us avoid that unpleasantness. All committee chairs for troops and crews (or their MBC designate) should check in with Mike Yates at their earliest convenience so that District can be rechartered on time.

Thank you for your assistance.


NOTE: for more about why these rules exist, see past posts on merit badge counselors.

November Eagle Board of Review Report

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Congratulations to the following new Eagle Scouts in November 2017 by date of Board of Review and Troop number.


Eagle pin

Farewell Message from Troop 191 Scoutmaster

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It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Troop 191 will officially close at the end of 2016. Long time Scoutmaster Lawrence Smiley has written me the following letter. I found the letter to be heart-felt and impassioned, so it was worth sharing with you. Mr. Smiley’s list of activities was very creative and worth considering in your troop or crew.

It has been an honor and a privileged to serve Crossroads of America Council for over a quarter of a century as Troop 191’s founder and scoutmaster.  So many great memories of Christ-protected and guided high adventures:
  1. Riding the narrow gauge train from Durango, CO to gain access to The Chicago Basis [twice]
  2. Climbing Mt. Harvard [twice] and Columbia [once]
  3. Canoeing a 50 mile loop in the Boundary Waters [once]
  4. Sailing a homemade tri-hull in the Florida Keys under the command of Captain DeTurk [once]
  5. White water rafting the Missouri River near Buena Vista, CO [twice] and the New and Upper Gulley Rivers in West Virginia [twice]
  6. Shotgun Shooting at private farms in Indiana [most every year]
  7. Rappelling in Red River Forest east of Lexington, KY [most every year]
  8. Snow skiing at Swiss Valley in S. Michigan [most every year]
  9. Hiking sand dunes and swimming at Michigan Dunes State Park
  10. Canoeing the Blue, the Tippecanoe, The Wabash rivers in Indiana [most every year]
  11. Caving Small-Dull Cave near Bloomington or Marengo Cave [most every year]
  12. Water skiing at Lake Lemon [once]
  13. Paint balling on private property [most every year]
  14. Ransburg Summer Camp [every year!]
  15. Hiking the Lincoln Trail from New Salem to Springfield, IL [once]
  16. Biking to Mounds State Park from Hamilton SE High School [once]
  17. Touring the Air Force Museum in Dayton [once]
  18. North Star District Camporees [a few]
  19. And many more adventures that have faded from the corners of my mind!
  20. Weekly Thursday night meetings, way too many too count, where life skills, servant-leadership and character were taught along with earning rank and merit badges and having a ton of fun.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I close down Troop 191 with both the pride of accomplishment of mentoring tons of boys along their trail to manhood and the sadness of closing out a huge chapter in my life as a part of the Boy Scouts of America – from the age of 7 as a Cub Scout to the age of pushing 70 (June 23[]).

* * *
It has been a great ride and fantastic life adventure; and I depart with no regrets and many, many great memories!
Thank you Jeff [Heck] (and Jerry [Simon]), for your service to the Boy Scouts.  I wish you, The North Star District and the Crossroads of America Godspeed, as you continue serving the youth of Indianapolis.
Thank you to Lawrence Smiley and his dedicated staff for their efforts for the boys from Troop 191 at Church at the Crossing.

Rechartering Report for week of November 17, 2016

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Significant updates on 11/18/16 at 1:54 pm below.

At the Council Commissioner Staff meeting Tuesday night, North Star District was once again recognized for its successful efforts in moving the rechartering process forward.

Thank you to all of the Unit Commissioners and Assistant District Commissioners for those efforts. You deserve the recognition.

Even so, the work is not yet done.

At this time, three units have successfully posted as completed to the BSA rechartering system with all paperwork, dues, and training completed: Pack 35, Troop 56, and Troop 514.

Due to a technology glitch, three other units that should also have been posted to the national system have been stalled due to no fault of the units: Pack 586, Troop 35, and Troop 269. Those units have done all the requirements to recharter, but the BSA system has not allowed the Council Registrar to process their paperwork. The units have each been advised of the problem. We hope that no other units will have this problem in the future with the technology maintenance due Friday night.

We have seven units that have completed all paperwork and dues payments but are awaiting training completion. (See post on problems with Training Manager.) Of those seven units, five of them only have one or two persons in need of training. Those units are Pack 105, Pack 175, Pack 514, Troop 18, and Troop 804. Most of those trainings are available online (except for Scoutmasters or Assistant Scoutmasters) or in-person in the next several weeks.

Eleven units have submitted partial paperwork. Of those, one of them is only a dues payment issue. The rest have training issues, too.

Six units have submitted their rosters online but have submitted no paperwork.

Four units have started the online process but for various reasons are stuck. Most of those are due to staffing issues that need to be resolved, and not for lack of effort to recharter.

Remember that the deadline for completing rechartering is November 20th. All units needs to be working toward meeting that deadline. That being said, all units have had open lines of communications with the Commissioners and the DE, so we are aware of most problems in rechartering. We are ready, willing and able to make ourselves available for one-on-one meetings with units to help bridge remaining gaps. Please let the Commissioners know if you wish to exercise this opportunity.

UPDATED 11/18/16 at 1:54 pm: Thanks to the diligent effort of many units, we have had many improvements since the earlier report.

The following units have completed all three parts of rechartering: paperwork, dues payment, and training. Those units are:

  • Pack 35, Pack 105, Pack 514, Pack 586 (4 packs); and
  • Troop 35, Troop 56, Troop 73, Troop 191, Troop 269, Troop 514, and Troop 804 (7 troops).

The following units have completed all paperwork and dues payments. They only need to complete training:

  • Pack 64, Pack 171, Pack 175, Pack 179, Pack 358-0  (Delaware Tribe), Pack 358-2 (Miami Tribe), Pack 358-3 (Munsee Tribe), and Pack 358-4 (Shawnee Tribe) (8 packs/tribes);
  • Troop 18, and Troop 358 (2 troops); and
  • Crew 408.

That leaves 4 packs, 3 troops, and 3 crews needing to turn in paperwork, dues and training certificates.

Don’t forget to sign up for training in-person to get credit as trained.