Centennial Celebration for Troop 18

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Save the date: Troop 18 will be celebrating its 100 Years of Eagles on August 27 & 28, 2016.

They have been researching their troop’s history and Eagles. We will post more about their history in the coming weeks.

For right now, Scoutmaster Steve Bye shares just a few tidbits.

In 1916, Troop 18 had the first three Eagle Scouts of the Indianapolis Council (later merged into the Crossroads of America Council).

  1. Hall Marmon 
  2. Noble Butler
  3. G. Vance Smith.

Jaccos Towne Lodge History, page 10.

Also in 1916, Edson T. Wood Jr. earns bronze honor medal for saving a lady from drowning (Boys Life, 1916).

2nd Pres troop writeup Feb 2016

The mystery of the neckerchief – resolved

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In last week’s post, we opened the mystery of who introduced the neckerchief to scouting. The neckerchief and campaign hat or iconic emblems of Lord Baden Powell. Yet he did not invent the neckerchief.

We also discovered last week that BP came to use the neckerchief because of his friend Fred.

So who was Fred?

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Whose idea was the neckerchief?

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We all know that Baden-Powell gave us the neckerchief. It is such an emblematically British accoutrement, right?

Or is it?

Baden-Powell had taken to wearing a neckerchief before the famous Siege of Maefking, where the journalist Win

Baden Powell

ston Churchill helped make the general famous.

In fact, Baden-Powell made the neckerchief and his famous campaign hat part of the South African Constabulary (law enforcement department) when he was re-assigned to South Africa later. The newly formed Canadian Mounted Police visited Baden-Powell in South Africa and adopted the campaign hat as part of their new uniform.

But where did BP come up with the neckerchief and campaign hat?

BP had become friends years earlier with a chap he had met while BP was serving in southern Africa. This chap was named Fred. BP was taken with Fred because Fred was an extraordinary army scout. Fred was able to bring back robust and detailed reports on the movement of the enemy, the lay of the land, and other useful intelligence.

While BP had already written a book on military scouting, BP still learned many skills about scouting from Fred. In fact, as a result of many of these lessons, BP went back and revised his previous army manual to issue the new Aids to Scouting. This book is what later attracted so many young boys to BP when BP returned to England from Maefking.

BP had been impressed with Fred’s technique, but he was also impressed with Fred’s ubiquitous campaign hat and neckerchief. Fred would explain that the hat and neckerchief were very useful for a scout. The neckerchief kept the sun off the back of his neck and allowed him to stay cool. The hat kept the sun out of his eyes and off of his head.

So who was this Fred to whom we owe the iconic hat and neckerchief?

More on this mystery next week . . . .

Anniversary of a Scary Meeting

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This past week North Star District marked the anniversary of a scary meeting. It is worth taking a moment to consider what has happened since that meeting.

For the sake of clarity, allow me to begin with a definition. In scouting, we use the phrase “Key 3” often without defining it as a term. Since 2008, every level of scouting has identified three people who are important for assuring that scouting functions as designed. At the unit level, the Key 3 consists of the Chartered Organization Representative, the unit committee chair, and the unit leader (e.g., the Cubmaster, the Scoutmaster, the Venturing Advisor, the Varsity Team Coach).*

On March 1, 2015, the North Star District’s unit Key 3’s and regular volunteers at the district level received an email from Crossroads of America Council Vice President for District Operations Stroh Brann. He said, in part,

You are receiving this [email] because you are a key scouter in North Star District. You are probably aware that for the past months the district has been without anyone in a number of important district committee positions, including District Chair and District Commissioner.

The role of a district in scouting includes primarily three areas. District committee members serve as the voice of the district’s units (the scouts and scouters we serve) in helping formulate the Council policies. Districts deliver the scouting program to the units in the district. And third, the districts provide ongoing support to the scouts, scouters and their units. Without the key leadership, a solid committee and a strong Commissioner staff, none of these goals can be accomplished.
The role of Council’s District Operations is to support the districts, to assist them in finding the resources needed, and to help them achieve the goal of delivering on the promise. The current state of the North Star district organization has me concerned. Over the past few weeks I have been talking with a few North Star scouters to gain a better understanding of where you are as a district. Their feedback has been helpful and encouraging. This concern has also been a topic of conversation in my regular meetings with Rob Hemmelgarn, Director of Field Service and Staff Advisor to District Operations. Rob shares my concern regarding the future direction of North Star and has been very supportive in the efforts to help the district find the best solution to the leadership issue.
We have arranged for a meeting of key North Star scouters to be held on March 11, 2015 . . . .

The purpose for this meeting is to layout the process required to fill the leadership void in the district; to solicit your input and your support for this process; and to take the first steps toward solving the problem.

At that meeting, Stroh introduced several council representatives. These representatives were the Council Commissioner Rick Tardy (whose role many attendees, including myself, wondered about), Director of Field Service Rob Hemmelgarn, and others (whom I apologize for forgetting a year later). spoke plainly about the problems in the North Star District, its loss of membership, and its flat disfunction. We had about 20 registered district volunteers (excluding Merit Badge Counselors) of whom most were inactive. We had no functioning Commissioner’s Service.

Stroh then dropped the hammer. He told us in no uncertain terms that we had to either get our act together or else Council was going to dissolve North Star District. That got some energetic responses.

Stroh then told us that the path to avoiding dissolution required that we hold a Nominating Committee meeting as soon as possible and fill the vacancies for District Chair and District Commissioner immediately. Rob told us that we were without a district executive and none would be hired for us until we demonstrated that we were serious about reorganizing. We had until late June 2015 when Council would start making final decisions about the District’s fate.

As we look back on that fateful day with the advantage of a year’s experience, we now have a District Commissioner’s Staff at 45% of capacity, a District Committee that is nearly 60% staffed, and a veteran District Executive. All of our units rechartered last year. We had one of the most efficient rechartering systems in the Council. We had nearly 90% of our units earn Journey to Excellence recognition with the District receiving JTE Gold. Our membership losses were cut in half based on year-over-year comparisons. We had a wonderful fall recruitment campaign with many Boy Scout Troops contributing staffing for Cub Scout Packs.

We have had a great year!

Thank you to the volunteers in North Star District for demonstrating what a wonderful district we have.

* At the district level, the Key 3 consists of the District Chair, the District Commissioner, and the District Executive (or Professional). At the local council level, the Key 3 is the Council President, the Council Commissioner, and the Council Scout Executive. At the national level, the Key 3 is the National Council President, the National Commissioner, and the Chief Scout Executive.

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.








Another Obituary: Don Orth

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Melinda Rivelli, Chartered Organization Representative St Joan of Arc Catholic for Pack and Troop 35, delivered the additional sad news of the passing of another long-time scouter Don Orth. Melinda writes to say:

hDon Orth passed away last Saturday.  He was 88.  At one point, I think he was in charge of Scouting for the state.  
Visitation will be held on Thursday, August 6, from 4 – 8 p.m. at Indiana Funeral Care and Crematory, Harry W. Moore Chapel, 8151 Allisonville Rd., Indianapolis
A rosary service will be held at 7 p.m.
The funeral service will be at St. Joan of Arc Church on Friday, August 7th at 10:00 AM.
Our Scoutmaster Carter Keith is asking any Scouters who attend the funeral Mass to dress in uniform as he hopes to have a color guard at the door as people exit the Church to leave for the burial site.
 Scoutmaster Carter Keith adds the following report:
Don helped found Troop 35 at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. He was a devoted scouter and liked to work with the boys on various elements of Scoutcraft-especially building a campfire. Although in his 70’s and early 80’s he participated in many troop functions of all types including a trip to the Halliburton Scout Reservation in Ontario, Canada. Don successfully completed Wood Badge and earned his beads. He was an expert canoeist and loved to go on hikes.
His dedication and sense of humor will be missed.
Carter C. Keith, Scoutmaster
Troop 35
P.S. I believe he as a Scout DE in Michigan many years ago.
Sandi Hobbs at the Council office provided the following information:

Mr. Orth was registered with Troop 35 as a member of the committee.

He completed Wood Badge in 2002 and received his beads in 2004

He received District Award of Merit 2006.

Mr. Orth served as a District Executive in several councils in Indiana and Illinois in the 1960’s. We was trained at the old scout training center established by William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt in Schiff, New Jersey, before such functions were shifted to Philmont. He left scouting’s professional service to raise a family. He returned to scouting actively in his 70’s when he realized his church’s neighborhood had no Cub Scout Packs. He took the 21st Century Wood Badge course to update his skills at the age of 75. He assisted in rebuilding Troop 35 after his successful participation in the pack rebuilding process. He was a regular camper with the troop, available on short notice.
Please keep Mr. Orth’s family in your thoughts and prayers. His online obituary and “Guest Book” are available here. Another obituary at Here.

Foundation of “My Duty to . . . my Country”: 800 Years

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Today, June 15, 2015 is the 800th anniversary of England’s Magna Carta or “Great Charter.” On this day, King John (of Robin Hood infamy) signed a promise in perpetuity to allow many rights. Many of these rights are enshrined in the American Bill of Rights.

Happy Flag Day

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Today is to honor the birth of our flag, as the birthday of its adoption on June 14, 1777.  Betsy Ross gets a lot of credit, which may be undeserved. Declaration signer Francis Hopkins should receive more credit. Even so, the more important is that we consider what the flag represents and what military personnel have sacrificed to keep the flag moving forward.

Today we consider flags merely a symbol of the country.640px-Flag_of_the_United_States_at_the_Flint_Hills_Discovery_Center_in_Manhattan,_KS

Until the 20th century, they were so much more.

On battlefields for millennia, flags and standards were forms of communication. A general would communicate his location with his personal flag. This allowed runners to know where to find the general to deliver reports and obtain orders.

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