Commissioner Service

April Roundtable Focus on Great Program Planning

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Our April Roundtable will focus on having great and memorable annual plans. We will start at 7:00 pm at St Luke’s Luke’s Lodge (the outbuilding on St Luke’s Campus), 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

We will have ideas. We will have discussions about past successes and failures. We will have calendars for all upcoming district functions through 2018 so that you can plan way ahead.

All units should send a representative . . . or three!

Watch this site for more information.

REMINDER: No March Roundtable – Annual Recognition Dinner

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Don’t forget that we will not hold a March Roundtable. Instead we will be attending the Annual District Recognition at Palomino Club in Zionsville.


Magic of 5% Improvement

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At the recent Unit Key 3 Conference, I spoke about the need to work with your Unit Commissioner and your Unit Key 3 (i.e., Chartered Org. Rep., Chair, and Unit Leader) to do a Unit Service Plan.

A Unit Service Plan is a six-month “business plan” for your unit. It examines your annual planning & budgeting, your programming (like camping and meetings), your leadership succession plan, your adult leader training status, and your recruitment and retention status.

If your unit is not examining these departments on a regular basis, it is easy to allow one part or another to slide. The worst case scenario is you ignore the slide until the slide is a death-spiral do you stop and try to fix it.

The goal of doing regular Unit Service Plans is to prevent this scenario from occurring.

If your Unit Key 3 meets with your Unit Commissioner in the next 90 days, we would help you define ways to succeed in a predictable and healthy manner.

One trick is building your unit is to set goals of 5% across the board improvement. Five percent does not sound like much. But it is.

If your unit has 30 boys and it grows 5%, it means that you have replaced boys who have aged out or dropped out, keeping your retention at 100%, then adding an additional 2 boys (it is hard to have 1.5 boys, so I rounded up).

In programming it means moving from 10 monthly events to 11 events (rounding again). If you have 20 events, you move to 21. More opportunities for more scouting leads to more opportunities to find the one event that sparks the passion of one more scout. With the spark ignited, he is easier to retain, even when his parents are offering different extracurricular activities.

A five percent increase in fundraising, for example by adding camp cards to your existing practices, means that you have more money to use in programming that one more event mentioned above.

A five percent increase in trained adults means one more volunteer to staff events.

A five percent increase in advancement means you are less likely to lose scouts because they are progressing and are actively engaged in the program.

Now has your unit improved by 5%? I would argue not. You have add more financing, more capacity for adult leadership, more boys, more events. You are a much healthier unit.

When your next recruitment cycle hits, you will likely gain more than just 2 boys, because you have that much better of a program to pitch.

Schedule to sit down with your Unit Commissioner and see where you can plan a 5% improvement plan. Your Unit Commissioner’s job is to help you find the resources to make your plan work. You will be amazed at how quickly your unit will grow in a short period of time.


Roundtable Reminder: Nova Mentor Program (STEM)

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A quick reminder that tomorrow Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm (yes, new time!) will be our next Roundtable.

After we discuss general announcements and upcoming events, including the Unit Key 3

Nova patch picture
Nova patch

Conference and the Annual Awards Banquet, we will turn our attention to discussing the Nova Program for Cubs, Webelos, Scouts, and Venturers and its contribution to promoting STEM advancement topics.

Earning the Super Nova recognition requires some significant effort and will likely grow into a prestigious attainment along with the Eagle Rank and Hornaday Conservation Award.

To register as a Nova Counselor, the counselor must (1) be trained in a class or (2) (a) use the self-study guide, and (b) review the self-study PowerPoint presentation. Then the applicant must submit an adult application on paper or through the applicant’s home unit. (Have your unit chair use the Invitation Manager in to speed the application process.)


Resources from January 2017 Roundtable

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Tonight we discussed Webelos-to-Scout Transition from the Cub Scout and Boy Scout perspectives.

Some of the resources that we referenced or planned on discussing are as follows:

Year Round Recruiting Guide for Troops

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner PatchJanuary 2016 Cubcast (podcast from BSA focused on Cub Scout topics) and January 2009 Cubcast (an evergreen topic in January)

How to host a Troop Open House

Since it is true that, “History has shown that more Webelos Scouts join Boy Scouting when an entire den joins the troop together,”we need to find ways to make this happen. BSA has material on making stronger patrols. Part of this is den recruitment.

2017 JTE Scorecards

This document is for District and Council planning but is useful for units to learn how they fit in a larger prototypical plan.


Cub Scout Commissioner Recruitment

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Council’s Commissioner Rick Tardy and Director of Field Services Nathan Young has asked the districts’ commissioners to put a special emphasis on recruiting and placing Unit Commissioner with Cub Scout Packs.

District Commissioner Jeff Heck is actively seeking Unit Commissioner recruits to help in this mission.

Perfect candidates to consider are any past Scout whom you would turn to as a reliable source of wisdom about scouting. Scouters with special skills in recruitment, fund raising, programming, teaching camp skills, or similar experiences are all perfect for serving as Unit Commissioners.

We need to place Unit Commissioners with seven (7) Cub Scout Packs to fully complete our  goal of fully staffing Packs.

Some scouters are more comfortable serving Boy Scout Troops or Venturing Crews. That is welcome, too.

Please let Jeff know as soon as possible.

New Roundtable Time

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Please note that our District Roundtables will remain on the second Thursday of each month at St Luke’s UMC’s Luke’s Lodge (outbuilding).

imagesThe key change is that the meeting will start at 7:00 pm.

All Den Leaders, Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Venturing Advisors, and Unit Committee Members are invited to participate.

UPDATE: Tonight’s Roundtable will focus on Webelos-to-Scout Transition and building relationships between Troops and Packs.

Roundtable tomorrow

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Reminder that tomorrow Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm (yes, 6:30 pm) is roundtable.Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Patch

  1. Scout Roundtable will address how to use Junior Assistant Scoutmasters to engage 16- and 17-year-old scouts.
  2. Cub Scout Roundtable will address Preparing for the Pinewood Derby and Blue & Gold Banquets.

Online training tech problems at

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District officers have received a myriad of complaints about’s online training system. Most are reporting that the scouter has taken an online module and not received credit for completing the module. The scouter then tries to complete the module again without an improved result.trained patch

Given that district is working hard to have 100% Trained adult leadership, this presents a major obstacle to that goal.

Some tips for dealing with these problems are

  1. Do not repeat a module. Preferably, take a screenshot of the end of the module. If it does not give you credit for completion, the screenshot will be accepted.
  2. If you cannot take a screenshot, keep a handwritten log of the modules giving you problems. Then move on to the next module. When you are done with training, send Jeff Heck an email of the problem modules. We can manually enter completion for for the entire course but not individual modules, so it is important you complete the training before telling us about problem modules. We are powerless to help you until course completion.
  3. Take in-person training. Most attendees report getting more value from the conversations than from the online modules. Remember you will get credit for training in rechartering for signing up and paying your course fees, if you send an email receipt of the course. This includes tonight’s classes, council training, and University of Scouting on January 14, 2017.

Remember recharter is now overdue, so we would really appreciate closing out these training issues as soon as possible.

If you have other questions, please contact District Commissioner Jeff Heck.

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.