Commissioner Service

Roundtable Thursday (CORRECTED)

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Just a quick reminder that we will hold the first Roundtable of the year on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

The Scout Roundtable will focus on different advancement softwares including, TroopWebHost, and TroopMaster (PackMaster). These three will have specific presentations and opportunities to see the software live. Others will be discussed. If your unit uses a different software that you like, please contact Jeff Heck to provide more information for presentation purposes. This open to all packs, troops, and crews. Please suggest that your unit chair and advancement chair attend.

The Cub Scout Roundtable, led by Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter, will focus on Blue and Gold Banquet planning and preparation for use in the next 30-90 days. Come learn how to make this memorable and valuable to your Cubs and Webelos!Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Patch

Correction h/t on date to Mark Pishon.


JTE Report from District

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It’s that time of year 🎼 🎶 . . . no, no, no, not that. The JTE report time of year.

As we are wrapping up Rechartering, we have a better idea of what the year’s end 2017 Journey to Excellence report will look like.

First a refresher on definitions. Gold level means that a unit, district, or council has scored in the 80th percentile or better. For those of you who are not currently in my son’s statistics class, that means the unit, district, or council has scored as well as or better than 80% of the units, districts, or councils, respectively, out there. Silver is the 51st to 79th percentile. Bronze is 20th to 49th percentile.

So with those definitions in mind, the drum roll, please! 🥁🥁

As of the report this morning, North Star District has 33 of 40 units scoring Gold:

  1. Packs 18, 35, 105, 171, 174, 175, 358 (all five tribes), 514, 625, and 830 (total packs: 14);
  2. Troops 18, 35, 56, 69, 72, 73, 174, 180, 269, 343, 358, 512, 514, and 804 (total troops: 14); and
  3. Crew 358 and 408.

North Star has 2 units scoring Silver, Pack 180 and Crew 56 (chartered in December 2016).

The District has one unit scoring Bronze, Pack 64.

Three units reported but did not qualify for any JTE award. One unit has tendered no report yet. Pack 73 is too new to have any historical data yet on which to generate a report. Consequently, this looks like the final results.

So what does this mean for the District? With the November End of Month report (preliminary data, subject to revision), North Star has 2250 points, qualifying for District Gold again for the third year straight. Unfortunately, Del-Mi has slipped into a 25 point lead with 2275. This would break a streak of North Star wins.

Right now, we do not have all the results of Unit JTE Reports entered. Based on the information above, the categories that we can still improve on before year’s end are as follows:

  1. Cub Scout Camping: Worth an additional 50 points for us. This will come out the JTE reports, so we expect this to increase. We are 25 Cub Scouts short of necessary, but some of the JTE reports have not been processed yet. If you think that you have additional reports that could help (like October or November family camps that were not included), email Jessica Hofman to clarify where your pack stands.
  2. Boy Scout Camping. Worth 25-75 more points, depending on the reports made. For the mechanics, it is nearly identical to the Cub Scout Camping described above. If your unit did summer camp out-of-council or did high adventure but not on high national council base, we need your numbers. We need 73 boy scouts reported camping from outside local council or national council camps or high adventures or specialty camps (like STEM). Email Jessica if you think your boys were not reported as having done long-term camping.
  3. Additional Service Man-Hours: We need 3,274 more man-hours reported. That works out to about 80 man-hours per unit. Please make sure to login to with your Internet Advancement login and password to make sure your unit’s records are up to date through December 2017.
  4. Unit JTE Gold: We have met this criteria, but it is not scoring yet. That will be worth an additional 150 points.

Your outgoing Key 3 is working on a few tasks to boosts these numbers a bit more yet from the administrative. Let’s keeping working to put Del-Mi behind us.

Even so this is all very good news. You should be proud of the efforts that you are making on behalf of your youth!

New District Leadership for 2018

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District Chair John Wiebke and District Commissioner Jeff Heck are pleased to announce that the nominees for District Chair and Commissioner for 2018 have accepted the nominations.

Mark Maucere has accepted the Nominating Committee’s proposed nomination as the District Committee Chair for 2018. Mark has served as the Chartered Organization Representative at St Alphonsius Catholic Church, serving Troop 358 and Crew 358.

Stephen Heath has accepted the Nominating Committee’s proposed nomination as the District Commissioner for 2018. Stephen has served as the Troop and Crew Chair for the same units at St Alphonsius. In his time as Chair, Troop 358 grew from being a large troop of under 100 scouts to now serving nearly 150 scouts. Stephen’s sons both are Silver Palm Eagles.

These nominees will be presented at the District Elections on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 7:00 pm.  Upon ratification by the Chartered Organization Representatives, District Committee Members-at-Large and the Council Committee Members-at-Large resident in North Star, their recommended election will be forwarded to the Council Committee for inclusion on the Council Elections at the next Annual Meeting of the Council in early February. They will begin service January 1, 2018 under a temporary appointment, pending final Council ratification.

John Wiebke and Jeff Heck have agreed to remain involved in the District after stepping down from their respective positions. John’s final assignment is yet to be determined. Council Commissioner Ron Penczek has asked Jeff to also serve as the Assistant Council Commissioner for Communications 2018, which Jeff has accepted.

We look forward to seeing the team that Mark and Stephen build to support their efforts in North Star.

REMINDER: December District Meetings

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Normally, we would have district elections in December. We are a bit delayed in slating the candidates, so that will be postponed to the first District Committee Meeting of January 4, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Second Presbyterian.

Instead we will hold the last District Committee Meeting of the year at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Rm 401, Indianapois, IN 46260., Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm.

The Commissioner Meeting will be held on the same day at 6:00 pm in Room 405.

This Sunday, December 10, 2017, the Winter Camporee Planning meeting will meet at 6:00 pm at St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Room C115, Indianapolis, IN 46260. It will be chaired by co-chairs Con Sullivan and Thomas Jacoby of Troop 174. The location is to be determined. Please send a scoutmaster or proxy to participate in the planning process. The camporee will be January 19-21, 2018.

The following week on Thursday, December 14, 2017, we hold the last Roundtable of the year.

Our district elections will be Thursday, January 4, 2018. More information to follow. Please have your Chartered Organization Representatives and District Members-at-Large (that is district committee members) and Council Members-at-Large who live in North Star District attend. They are all eligible to vote.

Recharter Update: 9 Days Left

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As of today, we have only 9 days left to complete rechartering electronically. That means that any unit that has not started the rechartering process electronically, submitted an electronic roster, and sent in supporting paperwork by December 15, 2017 can have major problems.

What are “major problems”? Your rechartering application process may have to start all over again, but this time be on paper and all members submit new applications for membership.

This is a major change in time schedule for previous years.

At this time, we have 25 units whose paperwork has been approved by the District Executive and District Commissioner and has been submitted to the Council Registrar. We have seen little progress on these packages moving through the Registrar’s stack, because there 700 packages to be processed. This is the slowest part of the process.

Of the 15 remaining units, 12 units have submitted most of their paperwork. We are waiting on various problems to be resolved from these 13 units. These units are

  • Packs 18, 72, 84, 174, 179, 180, and 747;
  • Troops 35, 69, 179, and 180; and
  • Crew 69.

If you believe that your unit is incorrectly on this list, please do not hesitate to contact District Executive Jessica Hofman, Assistant District Commissioner for Rechartering Mat Gerdenich, your Unit Commissioner, or District Executive Jeff Heck. We want to help you expedite matters.

What are the typical problems?

Some units are missing entire applications for new youth or new adults. Some units are missing necessary initials or signatures on adult applications (the biggest problem is the failure to sign the Criminal Background Check release on the page facing the Adult Applcation). If these applications are not required to recharter, you can choose to drop these applicants from the recharter roster, then add them after rechartering. NOTE: For youth pursuing advancement, this is not a good option.

Other units have adults who do not have the required training. The ideal solution is to complete training online. If that is not possible or preferred, there are several options:

  1. we will accept a receipt for University of Scouting.
  2. If the adults are not required to recharter, they can be moved to Unit Scouter Reserve. This classification does not require training other than YPT. To move back to the previous position, before the next recharter season, this person would have to fill out a new Adult Application to change their position.
  3. Another option is to move Assistant Scoutmasters to Committee Members. Assistant Scoutmasters have to take the one in-person class that does not have an equivalent online class: Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills. (IOLS at University of Scouting is an all-day course, so you would not be able to take other classes that day.)
  4. New Assistant Scoutmasters who have made Eagle Scout since the 2003 curriculum changes are automatically qualified as having achieved Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills. Your Unit Key 3 can enter the training in’s Trainng Manager as complete as of the date of their Eagle Board of Review.

Some units are missing dues payments. Those are best handled one by one.

Help us close out rechartering as quickly as possible!

Final Push to Finish Recharter

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As District Commissioner, my deadline set by council to hand in all unit’s Applications to Recharter is Thursday, December 30, 2017. This includes all clean up items that have not been wrapped up.

I have been told that Council is going to be announcing that all Applications to Renew Charter and supporting paperwork must be turned in by December 15, 2017. Failure to do so will results in the entire rechartering process begin again but this time all be on paper. All adults and youth will have to complete new paper applications to re-enroll for 2018.

The reason for this rumored change is that it brings the Crossroads of America Council into strict compliance with National Council’s requirements. National Council requires that local council’s submit their own Applications to Renew Charter by December 31, 2017 to Area 6. Area 6 has been frustrated with us for years because we were regularly late.

This is the first year that our Director of Field Service Nathan Young has managed the rechartering process from beginning to end. When he joined us in 2016, he had a steep learning curve on our processes. After observing this, he has implemented several changes that have resulted in a smoother and more prompt rechartering administration.

The new deadline is not new. It is just finally be acknowledged by our Council.

Done: The following units should have no issues based on my review of their paperwork:

  • Packs 35, 64, 171, 174, 358 (Delaware Tribe), 358-2 (Miami Tribe), 358-5 (Kickapoo Tribe), 514, and 830;
  • Troops 18, 56, 72, 269, 343, 358, 512, 514,  and 804; and
  • Crews 56 and 408.

This is a total of 20 of our 39 units. Only 4 of these units have been finalized by the registrar. We are awaiting word on the rest. See previous posts for those units.

Missing Items: The following units have some missing items or miscommunications that need to be resolved before being finalized:

  • Packs 18, 72, 84, 105, 175, 179, 180, 358-3 (Munsee Tribe), 358-4 (Shawnee Tribe), and 747;
  • Troops 73, 174, and
  • Crew 358.

This is a total of 13. Jessica and I will communicating these units on remaining issues. If training is the issue, please contact us, so that we can send trainers to your next meeting or schedule a district-wide event to handle those issues. All training except scoutmasters’ Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills are online at

Rechartering Begun but No Paperwork Received: The following units have begun the computer work for rechartering but have submitted no documentation:

  • Troop 35, 69, and 180; and
  • Crew 69.

This is a total of 4 units. Troops 69 and 180 and Crew 69 have made arrangements to drop off paperwork in the next 24 hours.

These units can help expedite the process by emailing Jeff Heck or Jessica Hofman their paperwork as it exists to date, even if signatures are missing. This allows us to get a head of the process by previewing potential problems. Then you can have some reassurance that it is done properly, when it is finally delivered.

If your unit is not listed, no computer rechartering has begun. Those leaders have been in direct contact with Jessica or me, but they have not started the computer work. These units need to get the computer work done this week. We can follow up on all further supporting paperwork between today and December 15th when all items must be complete.

Thank you to those who have born the brunt of rechartering and its bureaucracy. It is a thankless but necessary job.

Recharter Update

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As of Tuesday noon, we have 25 units as JTE Gold, 2 JTE Silver, 2 JTE Bronze, and one did not qualify. That leaves 9 unreported.

Similarly for rechartering, we have the original 4 units that were ready to post, meaning that the registrar had approved their Applications to Renew Charter. Since that time, the registrar has been inundated with new packages and the approval count for our district has stalled completely.

That means that we have 9 units that have submitted paperwork and been approved by the District Executive and Commissioner, but have not yet been processed by the regisrar. These are Packs 35, 514, and 830; Troops 18, 56, 72, and 514; and Crews 56 and 408.

We have 16 units that have defects that have been communicated to the units. Most of these are missing minor items like dues payment or a missing signature. Of these most have scheduled times to get these completed so that we can close rechartering by the end of the month. If your unit has not scheduled a date of completion, please let us know.

We have 3 units have completed their online rosters but submitted no paperwork. Another 3 units have started the online rechartering but not submitted the final roster. Yet another 3 units that have not started the process.

Thank you to all of those unit leaders that have worked so hard to get us to this point. It is a thankless job.

Recharters now overdue

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Applications to renew Charters and supporting paperwork were due last Thursday, November 9, 2017.

If your chair or Rechartering specialist have not received notice that you are done, you probably are not done.

Please remember that volunteers like you do most of the work on Rechartering. If they have to chase you down, it is less time that those volunteers are spending with family, scouts, fun, or work.

Please make sure the commissioner you are working with knows your plans. Ask them if we have notes entered in our tracking system about your plans.

We really need all paperwork in this Friday. We have a lot of work to do once you turn in paperwork.

Thank you for your cooperation in wrapping up this tedious and necessary process.

REMINDER: Roundtable tomorrow

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Tomorrow’s roundtable (Thursday, November 8, 2017) will be at 7:00 pm at Luke’s Lodge on the northeast corner of campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260. We will have Den Leader Training and a presentation on Life-to-Eagle process.

For Life-to-Eagle, this is open to all scout leaders, Eagle Candidates, and family members. Come hear from the district members that are a necessary part of your scout’s success in making Eagle.

JTE Changes for 2018

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As we are wrapping up our 2017 Journey to Excellence scorecards with rechartering. Now is a good time to become familiar with next year’s scorecards.


For the most part, at the unit level, there are few changes. On line 10, the consistent change is from requiring the minimum adult leadership for rechartering plus an assistant unit leader (i.e., assistant Cubmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, or Associate Venturing Advisor). Now the requirement for Bronze on line 10 is simply to have an assistant unit leader. This makes sense, since the others are required to recharter. Even units that do not qualify for bronze need a unit leader and committee members. This is less of a change than a simplification of the scoring method.

I have omitted other wording changes that do not change the underlying scoring mechanism for the criterion.


The significant changes are at the District level. While most unit leaders have little interest in what district qualifies for, it does impact units. The impact is on what commissioners and committee members do to support the units. In their efforts, they need the cooperation of unit leaders to be able to meet BSA JTE requirements.

On line 4, membership growth, the focus is shifting from the district-at-large to Cub Scouts. So lower overall growth is sought but actual growth in Cub Scouts is the minimum level. The logic is that if we grow Cub Scout membership, we will grow overall membership. With co-ed taking effect in 2018 for Cub Scouts, ideally this is an easy requirement to meet.

On line 7, the target percentage of scouts with advancement is reduced between 2-3% on all levels.

On line 9, the target percentage of Cub Scouts camping is increased 2-3 % on all levels.

On line 12, unit retention is increased for bronze but reduced for silver and gold. All now seek 90% retention.

On line 13, unit commissioners are expected to have more detailed and more frequent information about the health of the units in their charge. That means the unit commissioners are expected to ask better questions so that they better understand the units. They are then accountable for summarizing that information in the reportingJTE system.

Line 15 requires one less committee member to qualify for gold.


So for planning purposes, very little is shocking to units. The amount of requests for assistance from district may go up. It seems the goal is to have better overall scouting experiences available to boys and girls without putting more pressure on any one unit to fulfill that goal.

Please look at the scorecards for 2018 and build improving into your monthly unit committee meetingsto insure a great 2018.