Notes from Rechartering Roundtable

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If you are attending the Rechartering Roundtable, you can watch the presentation live on your iOS device, Mac, or the web by clicking here. This will allow you to see the same slides as they advance. Please note that this is not the same as downloading the file. That will be posted on this page as a later update, after the Roundtable is over.

For copies of the Journey to Excellence forms that are required to complete recharter, you can download them from

Take a look at the Unit Assessment form to know more about what you can do to improve your JTE score. Talk to a commissioner the results. Review the Unit Performance Guide, especially chapter 4 for ideas.

Remember Recharter Agreements are required. Sometimes those are handled in advance. Rechartering cannot proceed, if our DE does not have that agreement in way or another.


YPT Update

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Thank you to all the scouters who have been updating their Youth Protection Training. Your efforts are paying off. In 2018 we are running ahead of 2017.

We still have a bunch more to go, the trends are excellent.

YoY 2016-2017 YPT

Applications Awaiting Approval

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The district currently has 13 new leads for scouts and scouters that are stalled in the Invitation Manager and 2 applications for scouts and scouters.

Please make sure that your COR, Unit Chair, and Unit Leader (i.e., Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, or Venturing Advisor) log into to these regularly.

If you cannot clear the application or invitation due to technical difficulties, please email the applicant and me to inform them of the problem.

I have been told that this system will be closed for 60 days during Rechartering, but I have seen no evidences of this yet.

REMINDER: District meetings

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Thursday, October 5, 2017 at Second Presbyterian Church, 4th Floor:

  1. Commissioners: 6:00 pm, Room 401
  2. District Committee: 7:00 pm, Room 405

Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm (except where different below), Luke’s Lodge, outbuilding on Campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th St.

1. Youth Protection Training (Y01) (6:30 pm)

2. Boy Scout Roundtable: TBA. Possible topic: path to Eagle.

3. Cub Scout Roundtable: planning your next camp out. Presented by Scouts from Troop 56 and RTC Bill Buchalter. (Great for Pack Programming Chair, Pack Chair, Cubmaster and Den Leaders, especially Webelos Den Leaders). Tents and gear explained.

4. Rechartering breakout for Unit Rechartering Coordinators. How to rechartering. Changes to system.

Internet Rechartering Emails

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District Executive Con Sullivan has emailed me that all units should have received their emails inviting their unit chair, unit leader, and Chartered Org Rep to the rechartering system. If the unit chair has informed Con about who will be the rechartering specialist, that person received an email, too.

Officially, the internet recharter system goes live on October 1, 2017.

Right now, the unit chair should be reviewing his internal records to have a clean list of scouts and scouters in his unit. This will be a very useful tool when the system goes live. The scouters on that list should have their YPT expiring after March 1, 2018, otherwise the recharter system will prevent the entire unit from rechartering. No open YPT issues are allowed by National Council this year. YPT must be finalized before the roster can be finalized.

The introductory email includes your access code and recharter turn-in date and time.

Remember no login names or passwords from last year work. You must log in as a first time user again.

I recommend setting a password that is NOT personal to you. That way if you have to share it with other leaders, it creates no problems.

Watch Rechartering Updates 2017 for updates as they are available.

Contact your unit commissioner with any questions.

Rechartering Outline Updated

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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

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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.

Other Rumored Changes

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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

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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

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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.

UPDATE 9/29: Interesting price comparison of youth activities.