Crossroads of America Council

Upcoming MBU . . . at a real university

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There is a true Merit Badge University coming up. This term used to refer to opportunities to work on merit badges with university professors and researchers in the field.

Over the years, it has devolved into a generic term of any large gathering of merit badge classes.merit2bbadges

Wabash University is going back to the original concept . . . some of our district’s former scouts, according to rumor, helping organize it.

Here is more information from Jessica Hofman, Sugar Creek’s District Executive via Con Sullivan:

Want to learn about game design from a theater professor and video game reviewer?  Or help with a research study on turtle behavior as you learn the material for the Reptiles and Amphibians merit badge?  Or learn about astronomy from professors who have taught courses on Mayan archeoastronomy?  Or consider how buildings are designed from a Roman Architecture and Archeology expert?

These are just a few of the offerings at the Merit Badge College at Wabash on May 6th!  All of the badges (except First Aid) will be taught by college professors who are experts in the subject.  The cost is $20, and includes a T shirt and lunch.  There will be fun lunchtime activities and sessions for parents to learn about scouting and college opportunities.  You can register at  Registration closes on April 15th, and classes will fill, so register early!

Wabash’s faculty already has a strong relationship with council. One of their economics professors is Sugar Creek’s district commissioner.

This is a great opportunity for older scouts to go visit the beautiful campus in Crawfordsville and work with Wabash’s impressive faculty . . . with no grade pressure!

Here is more information:

Sugar Creek District
2017 Wabash Merit Badge College
Join us for a great learning opportunity and chance to work on your merit badges at an awesome venue!  Join us at Wabash College for the first annual Wabash Merit Badge College.  Reserve your spot now!
  • The college will be at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana on Saturday, May 6th.
  • There will be two sessions (one from 9:30 to Noon and another from 1:30 to 4:00) with lunchtime activities in between.
  • Registration Cost is $20.00 for Scouts which includes courses, lunch, and a event T-shirt
All Day Merit Badges (requires both morning and afternoon sessions):
  • Robotics
  • Space Exploration
  • Reptile and Amphibian Study
  • Game Design
  • Animation
  • First Aid
Half Day Merit Badges (offered in one or both sessions, but does not require both sessions to complete):
  • Nuclear Science (afternoon, might open morning if there is enough demand)
  • Architecture (morning or afternoon)
  • Medicine (morning or afternoon)
  • Astronomy (morning)
  • Citizenship in the World (afternoon)
  • Family Life (morning)
Lunch Break Activities:
  • Chemistry Merit Badge
  • Ultimate Frisbee on the Mall
  • Activities for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Ranks (tree and plant identification, knot tying, flag etiquette, map and compass/GPS navigation course around campus)

Take a look!

Executive Committee Recommends District Re-alignment

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The Executive Committee of Crossroads of America Council has made a recommendation to the full Board of Directors to re-align the districts in our council.

The plan, if approved by the Board in early March, would move the southern border of North Star District southward from 38th Street to 30th Street from Keystone to MLK Blvd. Then down to 16th Street over to Tibbs Avenue.CAC patch

This would result in the Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church (Pack 72 and Troop 72) and St Richards School (Pack 747 and Troop 180) joining our district.

Unrelated to North Star District, the plan would abolish T-Sun-Gani District, i.e., Center Township’s district. The remaining part of that district, not absorbed by North Star, would be split between Pioneer and Hou-Koda Districts. Further Old Trail and Iron Horse would merge. Part of their districts in Eastern Hancock County (15 units) would be absorbed by Pioneer District. No After-School units are affected, since they are administered separately.

This realignment would strengthen all districts and result in larger volunteer pools to support the units.

This re-alignment would also have the Order of the Arrow Chapter Lowaneu Allanque and Firecrafter Ember cover only North Star District once again.

As a result of anticipating this re-alignment, North Star District has invited its future, new units to participate in the Unit Key 3 Conference tonight. So if you see some strange unit numbers, don’t be surprised.

Save the Date: Ideal Year in Scouting

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At Council’s joint Commissioner and Membership Committee meeting, the Council Membership Chair announced some dates for the Ideal Year in Scouting presentation.

For North Star District, it will take place on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at the Scout Center. This will be in lieu of our regular roundtable meeting. We will have a North Star District-specific breakout session at the Scout Center when the general session is done.

The presentation will begin at 7:00 pm. A light dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.

If your unit cannot send a representative that night, the same general session presentation will be held again on THursday, May 19, 2016 at Camp Kikthawenund, near Anderson, Indiana also at 7:00 pm.

This presentation will touch on annual planning, including programming, fund-raising, unit administration, camp preparations. There will also be information tables about NYLT, Wood Badge, Voyageur.

Recruit your unit members to attend now. Early scheduling is the key to good attendance. We would like 100% attendance from the District’s units.

This is for all scouting programs (i.e., Cub, Scouts, and Venturing).

Eagle awards

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At the district meeting, we discussed council awards for new Eagles. The link is here

Notes for chartered organization representatives

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For our chartered organization representatives, we are entering the busiest season of the year, where your services are most uniquely needed for Boy Scouts.

First, the district elections for 2016 officers will take place at our regular December committee meeting on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 7 PM in Brandt’s Lounge on the first floor of Luke’s Lodge at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th street, Indianapolis, IN 46260. The Lodge is the outbuilding on the northeast corner of the church’s campus.

Second, the council elections will take place at the annual meeting for Crossroads of America Council at the Belzer Activity Center on Camp Belzer’s campus, 6102 Boy Scout Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46226. The meeting begins at 5:15 PM.

The chartered organization representative is the only person who is entitled to vote on behalf of your chartered organization and the scouting units that your organization has. (Other eligible voters for the 2016 District Committee Elections include the 2015 District Members-at-Large, that is anyone duly registered to serve on the District Committee, and 2015 Council Members-at-Large, residing in the North Star District.)

It is exceedingly important that your chartered organization representative be in attendance at both of these elections.

At the December meeting, you will be voting for the officers of our district for the coming calendar year. The District Chair, elected at the District Election, has the duty to represent our district to council for quarterly executive board meetings in 2016 and will be our official vote there. In addition, we elect the chair’s cabinet for 2016. If anybody has nominations for any of these positions, they need to be directed to our nominating committee chaired by Scott Claybaugh. The nominating committee is on track to announce the slate of District Chair and Vice-Chairs shortly before Thanksgiving. The nominating committee expects additional positions to be slated in early December.

At the January meeting, you will be voting on the council’s officers for the coming year. In addition, any resolutions for bylaw amendments or policies to be addressed pursuant to the bylaws will be voted on, too. Eligible voters should have received a letter inviting them to attend via US Mail this past week. See that written correspondence for further details and deadlines for nominations and resolutions to place on the ballot.

It is too early to provide any guidance regarding what else is going to be on the agenda for either meeting. Monitor this website for information as it becomes available.

In the meantime, cubmasters, scoutmasters, and committee chairs should be contacting their chartered organization representatives to confirm that the chartered organization representatives have these dates on their personal calendars.

2016 Silver Beavers Announced

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From Sandi Hobbs at Council’s office this morning:

Silver Beaver Pendant and Patch

I am pleased to announce that the Selection Committee has done an excellent job selecting our 2016 Silver Beavers. We had many to choose from and they did a hard job well.

Please join me in congratulating the following recipients and please let your volunteers know.

Frank G. Blum
Jay A. Copra
Harold “JR” Davis
Donald E. Dickerson
Kevin G. Fife
Timothy D. George
Markus Jones
Bruce D. Metzger
Clark M. Millman
Jerry W. Phillips
David B. Radtke
Michael L. Rhees
Paul E. Rusk
David W. Wagner
Joseph P. Wehrheim

News from Council Operations Meeting

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Last night, Tuesday, October 20th, Council held their semi-annual Operations Meeting. North Star was represented by Mark Pishon as District Advancement Chair, Brian Crow as District Camping Chair, District Commissioner Jeff Heck, and District Executive Con Sullivan. We were not able to cover the break out sessions for Programming, Family Friends of Scouting, Activities, or Communications due to lack of representation.

Vice President for District Operations Stroh Brann opened the meeting. As a past Wood Badge Course Director, he recognized our most recent past Wood Badge Director Jason Creighton of currently of Del-Mi District, formerly of our own Pack 358.

Carolyn Small recognized one of our recent White Stag Course Directors (whose name I did not catch).

They then had a short introduction of the STEM Scout program which is currently rolling out in beta testing in the Crossroads IMG_1852of America Council. One of its District Executives Zach White announced that the Council took delivery of the new Vortex truck the previous day. I had an opportunity to walk through it. The tools’ delivery is expected in the near future. IMG_1851The STEM DE told us a little bit more about the program. The unit in STEM Scouts is a called a “Lab.” The first “Lab Manager” position specific training is November 2nd from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Scout Center. This a great opportunity to learn the program from the inside.

Break-out Session Reports

Membership. The Council Commissioner and the Membership Committee held a joint break out to discuss recruitment and retention. Field Services Director Rob Hemmelgarn provided data on recent trends in the Council for the past 5 years. In that period of time, the retention rate has improved from 66.6% year-over-year in 2010 to 69.2% in 2014. Current projections for 2015 are 70.9%. We are doing an increasingly better job of retaining scouts once we recruit them.

The bad news is that our recruiting and market penetration is down markedly in that same period of time. In 2010, we had 903 traditional scout units. In 2014, we had 757: a loss of 146 units across the council. In 2015, we are projected to loss another 50. This unit loss has had a direct impact on scout recruitment. In 2010, we recruited 9,307 new scouts. In 2014, we recruited 6,779. In 2015, we hope to stay level, but we have only recruited 5,104 as of September 30, 2015.

Many ideas were thrown around about the cause of problems, but the numbers seem to indicate that poor Tiger Cub and other Cub recruiting is hurting all programs. Since 95% of Boy Scouts come from Cub Scouts, this Cub Scout recruiting problem is having a cascading effect on all scouting programs as the years pass.

Rob reported that nearly all youth programs from scouts to athletics are reporting similar declines. Questions were raised about financial explanations. Rob reports that the professional literature is pushing the notion that it is attributable to video games. This writer wonders whether the video game explanation is just a symptom of financial issues. Video games have a larger up-front fixed cost and smaller costs to continually upgrade or add games. It requires no additional time away from home. It allows parents who are busy at work to make sure their kids are occupied with a significant investment of time from the parent. This works well in financially struggling households to allow more work time without additional child care costs or investments in time and effort.

The question in recruitment has a marketing component, a sales component, a training component, and a first-60 days retention component. These components were all alluded to but not answered.

Upcoming Council Events

The next Council meeting is the Cub Scout Promotional Team Kickoff on October 29th at Camp Belzer. November 2, 2015 is the first day of Cub Scout Camp registration for summer 2016.

Council has meetings on November 15th and December 15th for the Activities and Training Committees and the Commissioners at the Scout Center. Start time is 7:00 pm.

The Governor’s Luncheon is December 14th at the JW Marriott hotel.

Reminder to District Chairs: Semi-annual Operations Meeting in October

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Council Operations Meeting October 2015

Tuesday October 20, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Event Details
The purpose of this meeting is to gather key volunteers from all district in the council to recognize success stories, review the state of the council and learn about council initiatives that impact your role in the district and Scouting in general.  The Council Operations meeting will consist of a general session followed by breakout sessions for

  1. Membership,
  2. Public Relations/Marketing,
  3. Program,
  4. Training,
  5. Activities/Civic Service,
  6. Camping,
  7. Advancement, and
  8. Commissioners.

A light meal will be served beginning at 6:30 pm, with the program to begin at 7:00 pm.  We look forward to seeing you on October 20th!

Request for Silver Beaver Nominations

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Silver Beaver award and knot.

In 1931, the BSA introduced the Silver Beaver award as the council-level distinguished service award. Recipients are registered scouters who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council.

The Council has opened nominations for this award for council-wide recognition at the University of Scouting in January 2016. All nominations are due to council by September 30, 2015.

Presentation can be scheduled for different times and events.

If you have a scouter in your unit who you believe is worthy of this high recognition, you can download the nomination form from the Council’s website. For a flyer that you can print out and circulate to your unit committee, click here.

Photos from Mike Stalcup’s Funeral

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Monday the Crossroads of America Council came together to grieve the loss of one of its mainstays Mike Stalcup.

For those that could not make the funeral, here are some pictures of the history of scouting in our council that Mike participated in. If you know names of people in the pictures, please put them in the comment section.