Commissioner Service

Rechartering Outline Updated

Posted on

District Commissioner has revised the Rechartering Update page on this website in anticipation of the new Rechartering season.

Dates, times, and locations of rechartering turn-ins have been posted. Please make sure that your unit’s chair and/or the rechartering champion have placed these dates on their calendars. If they cannot make it, they may ask another person to attend in their place.

Please be advised no turn-ins at the Council Registrar window will be accepted. Those will be put in the inter-office mail and sent to the District Executive. This delays processing of your Application to Recharter.

Please be advised that scouters without a current YPT expiration will prevent your Application for Recharter from printing your finalized roster. This is new for October 2017. Work on YPT now so that you can complete recharter turn in on time.


REMINDER: Roundtable Thursday

Posted on Updated on

For Roundtable we will have two excellent programs.districtCommissioner

We will kick things off at 6:30 pm with a short Youth Protection Training (Y01), open to all scouters. This is all you need for Cub Scouts and Boy Sccouts. It does not qualify for Venturing Youth Protection.

At 7:00 pm, we will open with our normal General Session. We will try to keep this brief (under 15 minutes).

150px-cubscoutdenleaderpatchAfter General Session, the Cub Scout Roundtable will focus on Den Leader Training. This is designed to qualify the Cub Scout Den Leader as fully trained for Lion through Bear years. (Webelos Den Leaders should also take Outdoor Webelos Leadership Skills (“OWLS”).) Den Leaders should have received emailed invitations from Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter. Pack Chairs should call their Den Leaders to encourage attendance. Remember this training is mandatory for rechartering for all currently enrolled Den Leaders. The class will be taught by Bill and District Chair John Wiebke.

After General Session, the Boy Scout Roundtable will have a guest presentation on the STEM in Scouting Logonew-ish Nova Program from Troop 56 Committee Chair and Wood Badge Candidate (Eagle Patrol) Sandy McNutt and his fellow Eagle, Hou-Koda Committee Member and Troop 307 Committee Member Kelli Brooks. This presentation is relevant to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing. So if Cub Leaders don’t need training, this might be the session for them.

Please help us have a big turn out for Roundtable.

District Meetings for September

Posted on

(1) District Committee Meeting will be held Thursday, September 7, 2017 at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Room 405, Indianapolis, IN 46260 at 7:00 pm.

(2) District Commissioner and Unit Commissioners will be held the same day at 6:00 pm at Second Presbyterain Church at the north end of the parking lot in the picnic shelter next to Williams Creek, weather permitting. In case of rain, it will be in Room 401.


(3) Roundtable will be held Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the northeast corner of campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 West 86th Street, Indiananpolis, IN 46260. Youth protection training will be offered at 6:30 pm in the same location. After the general session Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter and District Chair John Wiebke will be teaching Den Leader Specific Training in person.

Please encourage your Den Leaders to attend to get your Trained status for all your Den Leaders as quickly as possible. You should have received an email from Bill about this. Please forward it to your Den Leaders to emphasize the point.

(4) There will be a Boy Scout Roundtable, too. Topic information to follow. October will focus on rechartering.

Other Rumored Changes

Posted on

I cannot independently verify these yet, but Bobwhite Blather is a reputable site about scouting. He reports that in addition to the fee increase one change that is moot to the Crossroads of America Council (i.e., YPT before initial registration, a long-standing CAC practice) two other changes are coming in 2018:

  • All adults at summer camp must be registered. In the past, a parent of a Scout could camp with the troop, subject to local requirements such as completing YPT or being cleared by the state’s human services central registry. Beginning in 2018, however, any adult who accompanies a troop to a long-term (over 72 hours) resident camp or other activity (such as high adventure) must be registered with the BSA, even if they are the parent of a Scout on the trip. This is to allow the BSA to conduct the criminal background check and for the chartered organization to explicitly approve of the adult. They can be registered with the unit in any of the positions available, including Assistant Scoutmaster, committee member or Unit Scouter Reserve. The latter is preferred if the adult has no other responsibilities with the troop – but if you have vacancies on your committee, this might be a good way to bolster it.

  • Internet Rechartering is improved. I haven’t seen too many specifics, but the new rechartering process is more in line with the tools available at Most of us have suffered with the previous Internet rechartering system, including its reliance on a specific browser to complete some of the steps. If the new system is like the other current tools, it’ll work with a variety of modern browsers including Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It’ll also include many convenience improvements such as allowing electronic authorization and online payment.

Any time the BSA says that they are “improving technology,” I start having heart palpatations. If past experience is any indication of future performance (since this is not an SEC compliant website), we could be in for a bumpy rechartering year.

Commentary on Dues Increase

Posted on

This article is a bit more personal commentary than a normal article.

As I posted over the weekend, and Council Commissioner Ron Penczek confirmed on Tuesday, the BSA membership national dues are going up to $33.00 per person (scout and scouter). Each new application or recharter also includes a $1.00 per person insurance premium for local council. Consequently, the cost of membership in Crossroads of America Council is $34.00 annually, effective December 1, 2017.

I have received or been copied by several scouters in North Star District expressing frustration at the amount and timing of this announcement. Their complaints range from frustration with the tardiness of the notice for the 2018 rechartering cycle to the lack of complying with the expectations for annual planning and budgeting that National Council sets for units.

Each of these critiques is valid and worthy of rebuke to National Council.

If a scouter reads over the FAQ, the reasoning for the sudden change is less than edifying or clarifying. Essentially, their argument is that they attempted to be thrifty and have reached the end of what they cut, so with escalating costs, they now must pass the costs along.

Neither of these points answer the critiques that I have seen.

Regardless what got us to this point, I am recommending that all units begin budgeting for dues increases of approximately $1.50 every year. If this year is $33.00, 2019 would be $34.50, 2020 would be $36.00. If each unit had a 36-month budget plan with this type of escalation built in, these sudden changes will be less shocking. This process would also take into account National Council knows that dues increases are not well-loved, so they are avoided even when likely necessary. Unfortunately, that creates the effect of making increases far larger when they do occur. It has been 40+ months since the last dues increase. This jump is $9.00. If we round the number of months to 45, that is a dollar for nearly every five months. Even my escalation factor of $1.50 every falls short of that. For true accuracy, a unit should build in nearly $2.25 increase every year.

All of the BSA budgeting templates are based on 12 month projections based on known data. Unfortunately, no stable and long-lived business works this way. Budgeting has to be done on a longer time horizon than 12 months.

Consider that a troop that wants to do a high adventure trip through Sea Base must enter a raffle nearly 18 months in advance and build the budget accordingly. Consider that annual events may have increasing costs. A unit that budgets to break even at the end of 12 months will almost certain be “in the red,” that is overspend against its budget.

In business, the budgeting rule is “budget for more than what you expect to spend, then double it.” Luckily, most activities in scouts do not have as much costs due to wages and salaries, lodging for unforeseeable periods of time, or multiple month projects with related expenses. All of these run budgets through the roof.

Still, the sense of building a margin of error into the budget is one we should consider. Rather than doubling, we might be well served if we budget for most line-items at 115% to 125% of projected cost.

What’s the worst thing that happens by meeting this goal? Your unit has excess funds on hand. If excess funds become a regular pattern, your unit will be able to plan further into the future for more creative activities. Notice I did not say more expensive. If your troop wants to do a canoe trip down the White River, the troop will be financially situated to invest in capital equipment for canoeing like Duluth bags, dry bags, or aluminum cookware. This makes future trips cheaper because new equipment purchases will be less necessary. Even trips to the Boundary Waters become cheaper, because less equipment needs to be rented on site.

So I suggest that we take a lesson from the Personal Management Merit Badge and plan for the future and the unforeseeable.

Is this jump just reflective of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index? No. $24.00 in 2012 is about the same as $25.59 in 2017 dollars (“real dollar value”). This is a large increase. This leaves me with a question that I cannot answer: what is the financial condition of National Council that this increase is trying to correct by an increase of nearly $7.40 in real dollar value?

BSA Dues Increase for 2018

Posted on Updated on

From National Council Commissioner Facebook feed:

Just announced at Top Hands at the end of August, BSA will increase registration fees by $9 (to $33 per year) effective 1 December. Please get this information to your units ASAP as it most likely affects many units as they enter their prime membership recruiting season when annual dues/fees are often collected.

This fee increase comes 47 months after the last fee increase, but I personally wish to apologize for what some may find to be a very short fused notification. While it may not make the ‘pill’ any easier to swallow, I do want to let you know that after considerable personal communications on this topic I have been assured that this fee increase and the timing was unavoidable.

From the FAQs included in Thursday’s Scout Executive Council Packet Special Edition communication this fee change will affect Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, Sea Scout ships, and Exploring posts/clubs. However, it will NOT apply to LDS-sponsored units, nor to those units with council-paid memberships.

If you have additional questions, please contact your Scout Executive.

If this is confirmed by Crossroads of America Council that will make the cost 2018 membership $33.00 dues and $1.00 local insurance = $34.00.

UPDATED 9/6/17: Crossroads of America Council’s Council Commissioner Ron Penczek has confirmed the dues increase with the following email:

Commissioner Team:

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

I understand that over the weekend, there have been some Social Media discussions on BSA membership fee increases.  I wanted to take a moment to provide the official guidance that was received over the weekend allowing you to work with your units as questions and concerns arise.

As I know you are aware, the mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. To do this — while delivering the nation’s foremost youth development program — the BSA must remain vigilant in controlling costs.  Although we have been successful in reducing our expenditures in many areas, it has become necessary to evaluate our annual membership fees.

Based on feedback from both volunteers and employees, the BSA membership fee will increase to $33 for all registered youth and adult leaders, effective December 1, 2017.

Services funded by our membership fee include; primary liability coverage for all volunteer leaders and chartered organizations, ongoing advances in technology, fundraising support, new program development, membership recruiting strategies, and support materials.

In 2016, the BSA served approximately 2.3 million youth members through approximately 270 councils. With the help of all our volunteers we will continue toaccomplish the mission of Scouting for young people and the communities we serve.

Attached is a Membership Fee typical question and answer sheet to reference when talking with volunteers.  You are welcome to start communicating the fee increase with your district and unit leadership.   I will be meeting with our Section Commissioners to ensure any additional tools needed are available for Section meetings in September.  Once again thank you for all your leadership and support.

Yours in Scouting,
Ronald W. Penczek
Council Commissioner

[As sent on his behalf by:]

Karrie Schlegel |  Executive Assistant supporting;
Scout Executive: Patrick Sterrett
Director of Field Services: Nathan Young
Marketing & Public Relations

Ron makes reference to an FAQ on the subject. It is available here.

YPT renewals: Reasons and Methods

Posted on

As part of council’s effort to keep people current on their Youth Protection Training status, they send out emails reminding persons needing training that expiration is approaching. A quick how-to for online YPT is available here.Youth Protection Logo

This past week, District has sent out its own emails emphasizing the need for YPT renewal, too. This message is slightly different. The council only seeks renewal of YPT near deadlines. The District request emphasizes the importance of completion before October 1, 2017 for persons expiring before March 1, 2018.

Why the inconsistent message? Well, we have posted previous articles about rechartering. The problem is that National Council has allowed different local councils around the country to use different rechartering cycles. We are on the calendar year basis, so our units’ charters expire on December 31st each year. Some council expire on February 28th/29th each year. Having a universal rule on YPT is hard to explain with different local councils having differing charter expiration dates.

So, we simplify it by telling you how the myriad different rules on YPT and rechartering all fit together. As the above-linked article indicates, the optimal time for Crossroads of America Council members to renew YPT is between March 1st and October 1st each year. If you came from another council, you might have experienced a different optimal cycle due to rechartering differences.

Unit Committee Chairs, please make sure that you have a YPT Champion. You or a more tech-saavy member of the Key 3 can authorize a unit member to see the Training Manager records. A Unit Key 3 member can go on to the Organizational Security Manager. Under “Functional Positions,” you can select “YPT Champion.” Use the green plus sign to designate a person to do this job. Please remember that this designation must be renewed every year, otherwise your YPT Champion will be locked out.

Your YPT Champion should be familiar with problems of training records not showing up on if there is a conflict between BSA Member IDs on the unit roster versus on the For more information on how to reconcile this problem, see this flyer from National Council or our previous article.

To help units get YPT done easier, we are offering YPT at the next two (Sept and Oct) Roundtables beginning at 6:30 pm. We will use the video and mark all participants as having their YPT up to date. You can then stay for Roundtable.

Units can also use the YPT videos from YouTube (you will have to pause at critical times for conversations) and Facilitator’s Handbook to run their own in-person YPT. This is a great way to get new parents trained on YPT. It generally gets great reviews for first-timers to better understand how we protect their kids.  You can see the National Council Website for overview information. Please make sure that the Unit Key 3 update the participants’ training records in the Training Manager immediately. (The YPT Champion should be able to do this, too, if I am not mistaken.)

REMINDER: Roundtable Thursday

Posted on Updated on

Just a quick reminder that Roundtable will be Thursday, August 10, 2017 at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the northeast corner of campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 6th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

Cub Scouts: Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter will be leading the Cub Scout breakout. He will be giving a prototype Den Meeting. This is designed for Den Leaders to see a Den Meeting being run. This is especially valuable for new Den Leaders; Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 11.01.01 AMconfused, veteran Den Leaders; and prospective, future Den Leaders (aka “parents you would like eto recruit as Den Leaders”). We will have a short discussion of how Lion Den Meetings (i.e., kindergartners) are different than Tiger (1st grade) through Webelos (4-5th grade), too. We will look at existing resources and strategizing how to use these resources and parent assistance.

Side note: To get your Den Leaders to the meeting, the most important step is to invite them to come with you. One of the biggest reasons Den Leaders do not attend is they don’t know about Roundtable. The second biggest reason is that they think Roundtable is meant for Cubmasters and Pack Committee Chairs. To put it gently, this is wrong. Roundtables are most valuable for Den Leaders. They have the most face-to-face contact with Cub Scouts of any scouter. An invitation helps resolve these problems. Cubmasters, pick up the phone and call each Den Leader. Ask them to come. Then follow up with a blast email.

The third biggest reason your Den Leaders don’t attend is child care. Think about joining forces to take care of childcare.

Boy Scouts: Jeff Heck will be leading the Boy Scout Roundtable. (We are still looking for a Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner.) The Boy Scout Roundtable will be focused on Fall Recruitment Planning. Please invite your Troop Membership Chairs to attend. This topic will apply equally well to our Venturing Crews, too.

REMINDER: August District Meetings

Posted on Updated on

We are back to work in August.

District Committee will meet Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm on the fourth floor of Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

District Commissioner and Unit Commissioners meet on Thursday, too, at 6:00 pm.

District Roundtable will be a Luke’s Lodge on the northeast corner of campus of St Luke’s UMC, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.  PLEASE BRING A DEN LEADER who has never come before. We are focusing on serving our dens this eyar. More information on topics to follow in the next several days. Watch this page for details.

July District Meeting Schedule

Posted on Updated on

In July we will NOT be holding our regularly scheduled meetings for District Committee or District Commissioner’s Staff.

We will be inviting all to attend the District Membership Kickoff on Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Luke’s Lodge on the campus of St Luke’s UMC, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

Please plan accordingly.

Eventbrite - North Star District Membership Kickoff