National Council

Progress toward Long Term Goals

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Subtitle: Or the Roar of the Crowd versus the Eagle Court of Honor.

I offered my thoughts on the differences between sports’ lessons on team work and personal development versus scouting in those same domains.

I was watching Professor Jordan Peterson, whom I have introduced before. In his fifth lecture on Maps and Meaning, he has an interesting side discussion on the dopamine effects on the brain for positive reinforcement. Yes, he is lecturing on Pinochio, and very funny in the process.

In the segment I am highlighting, the professor suggests that striving toward a vision or major goal in life is crucial for finding meaning in life (23:30). In one part of his analysis, he analyzes why athletes can have an injured thumb or sprained ankle and continue to play. Yet, the athlete is in excruciating pain once the competition is over. He attributes this mind over matter to the focus of a goal-oriented mind. In this case, the goal is winning the game, whether regular season, post-season, or championship game is not discussed. Implicit in the point, based on his later analysis, is the notion that the athlete is probably seeking a longer-term goal, as he defines it. (Championship trophy, college recruitment, all-time record, etc.)

The professor suggests that long-term goals are crucial for finding meaning in life (as opposed to the grander “meaning of life”) and personal satisfaction.*  The professor hypothesizes that a person feels a dopamine (i.e., good feeling) response from the brain when a significant step toward a self-identifed, valued, larger goal is accomplished. Each step that moves the progress toward the long-term goal foward compounds the dopamine response. Then brain starts to associate accomplishing the long-term goal as a source of good feelings. Absent the longer-range goal, the person has a random spike in dopamine that does little to incentivize future behavior. It is important that the person have dopamine spikes often enough and systematically enough to engage this personal satisfaction.

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IYOS website rebuild

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What is “IYOS”? It is the “Ideal Year in Scouting.” It is the way for the Crossroads of America Council to tell you what the Best Practices for units will be in the next 12-18 months. What camping opportunities and activities are coming up. When deadlines for summer camp are. When rechartering will take place. When popcorn sales will begin and end. How unit budgets should be developed. How big summer events can be paid for.

Council is in the process of rebuilding the website dedicated to IYOS. Make sure to stop in regularly and monitor the progress. Hopefully you will learn something every time you stop in. We expect the 2018-2019 district calendars to be added in the next couple of weeks.

National Commissioner to Speak at Commissioner College

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Crossroads of America Council Dean of the Commissioner’s College (November 2-3, 2018) announced that National Commissioner Charles Dahlquist will be the keynote speaker at a reception at the Friday, November 2, 2018 opening ceremonies. The reception is open to all scouters across the council.

Accompanying Mr. Dahlquist will be Fred Wallace, Central Region Director, and a return visit from Kandra Dickenson, the Central Region Commissioner.

The college will begin the next morning.

For more information see the flyer.

2018 College of Commissioner Science Event -PDF


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Setting the Stage for Continued Growth2018 Recognition Dinner

[INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, February 8]  District Leaders, mentors, family and friends assembled at the 2017 North Star District Awards ceremony to offer well-deserved congratulations to the Leadership team and to recognize members of the District for their commitment to service.  Included in these honors was the highlight of the Journey to Excellence Gold Award status earned by North Star with the overall highest score in the Council and an announcement that North Star’s contribution led to the Crossroads of America Council being the highest scoring council nationally, too.  A highlighted list of honored outgoing leadership and 2017 Award Winners can be found below.

2018 District Objectives

As 2018 North Star District Committee Chair Mark Maucere outlined in his keynote address, there are four pillars on which the upcoming leadership team will be focused in order to build on the success of this past year, which are:

Membership Growth.  This includes development of strategies to communicate with Charters and Schools as well as in assisting our Units with Leadership Outreach and Program Awareness.  This work will help keep up the interest with new/prospective Cub Scouts and their parents in the competition for time and attention with other extracurricular activities.  Our new Membership Chair is soon to be named.

Increased Unit Commissioner Involvement.  Stephen Heath is the 2018 District Commissioner, and he is looking forward to building the Unit Commissioner team and for these Unit Commissioners to create stronger and more cohesive working relationships with each of our District Units as “one team.”

Program Offering.  Mark Pishon as 2018 District Program Chair will bring a passion and energy to this critical pillar to enhance our current program offering as well as expand in areas that will further encourage greater recruitment, participation and retention.

Communication.  Cheryl Bilsland will be serving as 2018 Communication Chair and brings corporate digital marketing and Toastmasters communications mentorship experiences to the role.  We look forward to building upon and expanding our communication and outreach presence in a way that best meets the needs of the District.

Mark emphasized his “open door policy” and is humbly looking forward to meeting and working with each of you, thanking you for your service, insight, talent, energy and involvement in order to grow our District in 2018.

2017 North Star District
Leadership and Award Winners

We want to thank our 2017 District Key 3 team for their dedicated servant leadership:

John Wiebke                                       District Chair

Con Sullivan                                        District Executive

Jeffrey Heck                                            District Commissioner

Hearty congratulations and gratitude for your service, goes to the following 2017 District Award Winners:

Alec Damer T514 Merle H. Miller Eagle Scout Project of the Year Award
Austin Damer T514 Judge John Price Outstanding Eagle Scout of the Year Award
Agrayan Gupta T56 Dr. Bernard Harris SUPERNOVA Award (the first awarded in North Star District, based on our information)
John Wiebke T358 District Award of Merit
Mike Yates T56 District Award of Merit
David Sperry T514 Unit Leader Award of Merit
Michael Faulk T56 Arrowman of the Year
Bill Buchalter P83 Cubmaster of the Year
Ron Wells T343 Scoutmaster of the Year
Denise Purdie-Andrews T69 Firecrafter of the Year
Katherine Ritchie T343 Boy Scout Committee Chair Person of the Year
Todd Sanger P514 Cub Scout Committee Chair Person of the Year
Nick Griffith T56 Hooked on Scouting
Jason Chamness T358 Hooked on Scouting
Laura Gunderman T358 Hooked on Scouting
James Stiles T358 Hooked on Scouting
Amanda Walsh T358 Hooked on Scouting
Jill Williams T358 Hooked on Scouting
Mary Fenchak T514 Hooked on Scouting
Jill Carson T343 Spark Plug Award
Mark Carson T343 Spark Plug Award
Brendan Cavanaugh T358 Spark Plug Award
Joe Forler T358 Spark Plug Award
Brad Gibson T358 Spark Plug Award
Kathryn Gibson T358 Spark Plug Award
Bob Jalaie T358 Spark Plug Award
Dawn Pasquale T358 Spark Plug Award
Chris Pishon T358 Spark Plug Award
Chris Strachan T358 Spark Plug Award
Jane Sullivan T358 Spark Plug Award
Valerie Swack T358 Spark Plug Award
Matthew Glaze T514 Spark Plug Award
Marilyn Mathioudakis T514 Spark Plug Award
Ken Savin T514 Spark Plug Award
Lisa Savin T514 Spark Plug Award


If you would like more information about this topic, please call Cheryl Bilsland, 2018 North Star Communications Chair, at 317-225-6102, or email

New Adult Applications

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From Council’s Registrar Sharon Cone:

Hello all!  We just received new applications from National, and I wanted to make you aware of the changes in the adult application.  Some of it looks similar, some of it looks completely different.  Here’s what to look for:

  • Only 2 sets of initials required by signature line (was 4);
  • Approval signature needed from Chartered Org Rep or Institutional Head only (no Committee Chair approval needed);
  • Criminal Background Check Authorization page is very last page of the application (page 9).

I’ve attached a PDF of the new adult application, as well as the updated youth application previously released.  The adult application is a scanned copy that I made, because the Scouting Forms page on does not have an updated version of the adult application, nor does it have updated versions in Spanish.  I ordered Spanish apps but did not receive any.

You can find these versions in Field Service/District Executive Resources/Forms, etc.  We will put the new versions out on the shelf and lose the old ones.

Any questions, let me know.  Thanks.

Sharon Cone  |  Registrar
Crossroads of America Council #160

Application – Adult (English) 524-501 (rev’d 2/2018) (no word if older versions are still acceptable or not).

Application – Youth (English) 524-406-1

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.

Incident Reporting Video

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The National Council has issued a YouTube video to help teach how a volunteer can report an incident or a near miss.

The video is only about 8 minutes, so it is worth a brief review from committee members and unit leaders (e.g., Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, and Venturing Advisors).

Farewell to Patrick Sterrett

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This is the last week for Patrick as our Council Scout Executive before he becomes the Assistant Chief Scout Executive for Operations.

Check out the Facebook feed on this page for more about Patrick in the news.

We wish Patrick many years of joyful scouting in Dallas.

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.


Chief Scout Executive on co-ed choice

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Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Patrick Sterrett’s new boss, made these remarks the day after the vote to go co-ed. Surbaugh is a good speaker and worth a listen.

It is too bad these types of posts did not precede the vote.