Council’s Latino Outreach Announced

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At Council’s Semi-Annual Operations Meeting on Tuesday, Director of Field Services for Council’s Eastern Section Marilyn Lopez announced a Latino Outreach Initiative.

Marilyn is bilingual. Part of the reason Council hired her is with a view to her being instrumental in building a successful Latino outreach. That program is now under way.

North Star District has been named as one of the three (3) traditional districts to receive the focus of this effort. We were chosen because we already have a significant Latino population within our borders. A parallel effort will be pursued in the after-school units.

The outreach will begin with a specialized committee. The committee will consistent primarily of persons with existing connections to the Indianapolis Latino community. In addition, Council will work with local colleges and universities to staff interns with bilingual skills to serve as a support network. Some of these internship positions will be paid; others will be unpaid.

The goal of the program is to build three new units in each district that are majority Spanish-language families with a total of 100 new scouts. These units will market to the Latino families for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a family affair, and not just an activity for a boy.

Along with the new units, the initiative will seek to serve existing units with Spanish language support. These bilingual scouters will be an invaluable resource in the success of the initiative.

If you know family or friends who are bilingual or are currently studying Spanish, this is a great opportunity to build your language skills. One way to prepare for this effort is to buy the Spanish lanugage material. Then read the English and Spanish language material together. For example, read one chapter of the English Cub Scout Leader guide, then read the same chapter in Spanish. Compare the vocabulary and syntax. You will quickly learn the Scout-specific language in both languages.

This initiative is intended to have a major impact in the fall.

Please let Con, Marilyn, or me know about any Spanish outreach resources so that we can Be Prepared come fall.

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.


Catapults and New Recruitment Program

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The new membership recruitment program for Fall 2017 is already starting to roll out from Council’s office.

Simply put the theme is going to be “Catapult into Scouting.” Each new recruit will receive a miniature catapult, pre-cut by the Indiana Woodworkers Association.

The IWA through its representative and Pathfinder District’s new District Commissioner Stan Jewula will provide the Council with 10,000 catapults. These will be hand cut in Central Indiana.

Each boy will receive a bag with all the necessary parts. The new Cub Scout will then assemble his own catapult. He may decorate it as he sees fit.

Then there will be an activity for each pack or district to have an event using the catapults.

The Council is also rolling out plans to try to have scouting units re-introduced to public school districts. Much more information about these plans will be rolled out at the semi-annual operations meeting in April 2017.


Thoughts on Uniforms for Recruiting

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As I have noted earlier, our recruitment numbers for Tiger Cubs are down for Washington and Pike Townships.

Thinking about ways to increase our free-marketing opportunities, I realized how few times in the modern era that scouts are seen in uniform outside of scout meetings.

In my review of the history of scouting in Central Indiana to track the history of my home troop (which was founded in 1915), I learned a lot about scouting practices in the early 20th century.

What caught my attention is how often the scouts were out at public events in uniform. Some at neighborhood events. Some at scouting events open to the public. Some of these are antiquated ideas, but I find old things a great means of sparking the imagination and brain storming.

In the pre-WWI era, a common neighborhood practice was the “Yard Party.” A family or group would hold a party in the yard of a member’s home or the local church. They would publish an announcement in the local paper and invite the neighborhood. It seems the only idea was to entertain and socialize. No fundraising. No other complications.

For scout troops, this was a way to be seen as actively participating in the local neighborhood. Houses were in walking distance of each other in the city, and neighbors would see the neighborhood boys working together for the good of the community.

Now we look at the activities we do. How many times are your scouts in public without their “Class A uniforms” on? Would non-scouts know that you are doing scouting from a distance? How many times do you do activities away from your usual secret-hideaway meeting location?

These are all opportunities lost to market ourselves at no cost.

We need to be finding ways to put on our uniforms and be seen near our neighborhoods – near our meeting locations. That will start conversations and introduce us again to our neighbors.

More Tiger Cub Recruitment Chances

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This year’s Tiger Cub class is way down in Pike and Washington Townships. (We are steady so far in Zionsville.)

Our new Field Services Director Nate Young has been encouraging the professional staff to recommend “Water Pod Parties.”

This idea consists of having enrolled Tiger Cubs inviting their best friends, who have not joined Cub Scouts yet, to a water rocket launch. The launch would be held as part of a Gathering Time event at the next Tiger Cub Den meeting. The friends would be asked to come for the rocket launch, then stay for the Tiger Cub Den meeting as guests.

The idea is to get the boys engaged in Cub Scouting before making the formal “Ask” to join. Kick the tires before buying.

If you are interested, please contact Con Sullivan, our District Executive, for more information.

NOTE: This can work for other dens, too, such as Lions, but our primary focus is on Tigers right now.

Online Applications and Invites

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With the new BSA online recruiting system, newly interested families have a way to apply online to join not just Scouts but your specific unit.

We have a problem right now. Several units have had a bunch of people express interest in joining units. The problem is that no adult in some units have taken ownership of the online responsibilities.

We have families that have applied to scouts and not received timely response back.

Please make sure that your pack, troop, or crew has discussed the online application system at your unit committee meeting and clearly delegated the  person responsible for managing the process. Ideally it is a member of the unit Key 3 (i.e., Chartered Organization Representative, chair, or Cubmaster/Scoutmaster/Advisor).

Every day BSA sends reports about languishing applications are sent to the District Commissioner and his staff, the District Executive, and several others. We are hoping to have no North Star units on those emails.

Recruitment volunteers needed

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Thank you very much to everyone who has volunteered to take a school for the August 25th night or a Boy Talk next week. We really appreciate the help.We still have 2 boy talks that are in need of an adult next week

1. Tuesday, August 23 – 11am – 

           Snacks Crossing Elementary School, 5455 W 56th St, Indianapolis, IN 46254

2. Wednesday, August 24 – 11am – 

          Eastbrook Elementary School, 7625 New Augusta Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46268

We have 1 school on August 25th that needs coverage next week

1. August 25 – 6:15pm – 

          Deer Run Elementary School, 5401 N High School Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46254, USA

These schools do not have a pack which is why they are not covered. If you are available for any of those times (the boy talks are the most important) please let me know! Also, share with other adults in your unit you know that might be able to help.

Thank you!! 

District Rocket Launch Announced

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As part of this fall’s recruitment campaign, the new Cubs are offered an opportunity to launch their very own rocket.Cub Scout logo

Thanks to the hospitality of Pack 358, our district rocket launch will be Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Zionsville United Methodist Church, 9644 Whitestown Rd, Zionsville, IN 46077.

RSVPs can be made here.

A flyer is available for download here.

Why be a Scout Leader?

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I have written many times about the value of scouting to the youth.

Bobwhite Blather has a great article about the value of scouting to the adult leaders. It is worth your attention.

REMINDER: Roundtable tomorrow night

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm, we will hold one of the most important roundtables of the year. It is our District Kick-off Roundtable.

We will have rockets to distribute for Cub Scout Pack recruitment. We will have an overview of Back to School Night and Boy Talk efforts. We will discuss the web resources to be used in support of your recruitment effort. We will talk about the new Online Registration and how it works with the website and why those are critically important to recruitment.

We will also have a session for boy scouts and scouters on upcoming activities in Order of the Arrow, Firecrafter, Voyageur training, Marlinspike and many other events to put on your calendar.

We will have a very busy night, so prepare to listen fast! Come with you own announcements and flyers.