Emergency Mobilization

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Thanks to Frank Otte, Scoutmaster of Troop 358, for bringing this to my attention.

Here is a terrific opporutunity for scouts who need to work on their Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge.Date of E-Prep

Come join us; learn and have fun! The Marion County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is teaming up with Eskenazi Health, IU Health – Methodist, Riley and University, the VA Medical Center, IUPUI, Indianapolis EMS (IEMS), Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD), MESH and other agencies for a full scale Hazardous Materials Exercise.

We are requesting volunteers from each of the hospitals and service groups to volunteer to participate. Not only are we seeking adults, but also children, ideally ages 8-18.

This is a great experience for Scout and faith- based groups that are looking for an activity geared toward badge work; Emergency Preparedness or community volunteer hours. We do ask that we have an adult per 5 or 6 children as a chaperone.

Please let us know if you have younger children that would like to participate. There are opportunities for the children (and adults if you want to) to wear their swimsuit and get “showered”/de-conned by the Indianpolis

Fire Department and/or at the hospitals.

Flyer for download

Girls in BSA Troops and Packs?

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At the Council’s mid-year meeting for District Key 3 (District Chair, Commissioner, and Executives), a topic that is getting mixed amount of attention was brought up. The issue was “should girls be admitted to packs and troops?”

I did a quick search online in the hopes of determining how much social media there is on the topic. I found these articles as a sampling:

  1. Bryan on Scouting (2015 to present) has a long-standing forum on the topic.
  2. NPR, “Girl who Wants to be a Boy Scout” (April 29, 2017).
  3. (date unclear). (Girl wants to be an Eagle Scout. Seems to be source of NPR story). 75% to 10,000 signer goal.
  4. Patheos  and NBC News (May, 2017) (describing National Council scheduled debate on topic).
  5. Outside Online
  6. Detroit Free Press (February 2017) (good background on current status of debate).

There are many more, but I would not call it a crushingly large amount of recent publications. Now I may have found more if I would have varied my search terms, but all other things being equal, it is not a PR onslaught.

That has some advantages to have having a conversation on the topic. There is less heat, so tempers may not run as hot.

Patrick Sterrett in mentioning this treated as if this is a beginning to a longer conversation for the National Council. He solicited our feedback and invited interested persons to talk to him directly. Patrick is a very open person, so he would enjoy a face-to-face conversation with any interested persons.

Our District Chair John Wiebke is in a unique position. He grew up going to Camp Kikthaweneund, getting his Eagle along the way. He served on staff at Philmont and the International Scout Centre in Konderstag, Switzerland (the Philmont of the Worldwide Scouting Movement). He also served as a scout leader in the Swedish Scout Federation for 13 years. After those experiences, he returned to Indiana and served as the Scoutmaster for Troop 358 for three years. In those different capacities, he has been witness to all types of scouts, single-sex units, and co-ed units.

Part of the impetus to this conversation is that Scouting worldwide is now co-ed, except in the USA and some Muslim countries. The UK went co-ed several decades ago. Scouts Canada did more recently.

After the discussion that Patrick led, I asked John some questions about his experiences and shared some of my concerns. I don’t know that either led me to a clear answer.

Most feedback I have heard from parents of daughters is that the Girl Scouts USA has a program that does not offer the same challenges for girls that Venturing does. Having no daughter nor personal involvement with Girl Scouts USA, I can only listen to these comments.

I would recommend that all units have this issue put to their unit committees and their Chartered Organization in the next several months. You can then share the feedback that you hear with your Unit Commissioner or District Committee Member.

The one goal for me is that this issue of membership is handled more patiently and more respectfully that the last several rounds have. Scouting should always be looking to serve its current members better while looking to serve the community-at-large better, too.

A debate and conversation worthy of the Scout Law is definitely serving all parties well.

NOTES ON COMMENTS: Anyone in North Star or the Crossroads of America Council, especially girl members of a Venturing Crew or Explorer Post, are encouraged to send their thoughts to me. If the comments comply with the Scout Law, we can post them. Even better, comment below. If a commentator is from outside Crossroads of America Council, we reserve the right to refrain from posting the comments. This is a website for scouting in the Council, especially North Star Distict, and not a newspaper.

Day Trip to National Jamboree

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Dear North Star Volunteer,

The 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Scouts and Scouters from the Boy Scouts of America and from other Scouting organizations across the world.  The Summit Bechtel Scout Reserve serves as the National Jamboree’s permanent home and is a little over 6 hours away from Indianapolis.  The Jamboree is open to day visitors with access to the Summit Center – the hub of Jamboree activity and is home to the stadium shows, the military exhibits, conservation trail, Disabilities Awareness Area, Sustainability Treehouse, merit badges, and a wide variety of other exhibits and displays.  Observers and participants can see all the above listed items and visit the main retail store, purchase retail food items, and experience Brownsea Island.stadium-aerial

I am reaching out to you today to see if you would be interested in attending a Day Visit to the National Jamboree on Sunday, July 23rd.  We will coordinate a bus trip from Camp Belzer for $125 which includes breakfast and dinner on the bus and your day pass to the Jamboree.

Registration is available for this opportunity by clicking here.  Please note: if we aren’t able to fill the bus we will refund all fees paid and try to coordinate other travel arrangements for those interested.

If you have any questions please contact me or Program Assistant, Sherry Webb 317- 813-7117.


July District Meeting Schedule

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In July we will NOT be holding our regularly scheduled meetings for District Committee or District Commissioner’s Staff.

We will be inviting all to attend the District Membership Kickoff on Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Luke’s Lodge on the campus of St Luke’s UMC, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

Please plan accordingly.

Eventbrite - North Star District Membership Kickoff

Cub Scout Fun Day Schedule

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For Cub Scout leaders, one of the hardest parts about the Fall is that you are hit with popcorn sales, recruiting, and programming in a sixty day period. All of that ignores that school starts, fall sports start, and Labor Day holidays are in the middle of it.

One of the ways to make both recruiting and programming easier is to take advantage of Council’s offerings. You have just-add-water programming.Cub SCout Fun Day Flyer excerpt

One of those opportunities is Cub Scout Fun Days. Multiple dates and locations are offered so that you can make the schedule work for your Pack or Den.

For more information, download the flyer. To assess interest, send it to your Pack parents.

Firecrafter Ritual schedule

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Is your scout completing his fire crafter candidacy? If so, be prepared to send him to ritual. Here are the schedules.

Largest Units in North Star

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As leaders of our own packs, troops, and crew, we often get tunnel vision about what is going on in neighboring units. To help break that, let’s take a quick peak at the size of District’s units, based on registered youth.

This article has several purposes. As congratulations and recognition, it commends succesful units. As a primer for new leaders and former T’Sun Gani District units, it gives an orientation of the major units. As an aide for unit development, it offers the listed units as resources and mentors to other units which are not as large. North Star Willie patch (small)

This listing includes all units with more than 45 youth members. Some very successful units do not have 45 members, they have been omitted for the sake of brevity and not commentary on their effectiveness.

Cub Scouts

This is a bit misleading, since this is the period where Packs are missing a Den after cross-over but before Back to School Recruiting. Pack 358 had nearly 50 Webelos cross over, so their numbers do not reflect this large group. Other packs have similar patterns, so the ratios do not change radically.

  1. Pack 358 (Zionsville Christian Church): 224
    (five “tribes” ranging in size from 39 to 59 Cubs per tribe).
  2. Pack 105 (Zionsville American Legion Post): 86
  3. Pack 171 (St Luke’s Roman Catholic Church): 57
  4. Pack 174 (Immaculate Heart of Mary RCC): 53
  5. Pack 18 (Second Presbyterian Church): 50

Boy Scouts

  1. Troop 358 (St Alphonsius RCC, Zionsville): 140
  2. Troop 174 (Immaculate Heart of Mary RCC): 93
  3. Troop 69 (Trader’s Point Christian Church): 52
  4. Troop 269 (St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church): 52
  5. Troop 804 (Zionsville American Legion Post): 52
  6. Troop 56 (St Luke’s United Methodist Church): 48

So what do these numbers tell us? Baden Powell believed that troops should have no more than four patrols of eight boys, totaling 32 members. In modern practice, units with fewer than 40 youth often have adult volunteer issues.

Smaller units can succeed from the sheer dedication and focus of their adult leaders. I made Eagle because of a troop with only about 12 scouts and 5 adult volunteers, including my father and the late Darryl Clifton, whom some of you knew well.

Smaller units should look at working together on campouts. If they share a campout, they can run the patrol method and patrol competitions that help each troop grow stronger, while sharing the comraderie of scouting.

If you would like more contact information, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Popcorn: put it on your calendar

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The Popcorn Festival is the start to the new fundraising year. Here is a fun infographic of some of the basic information.

Scout Popcorn Festival Aug. 13

For ease of adding this information to your e-calendar, I repeat the key information here. Sunday, August 13, 2017, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, at Camp Belzer, 6102 Boy Scout Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46226. More information at here..

Here is a copy of the graphic as a flyer to print or send

National Jamboree Preparations

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How many of your scouts or venturers are participating in the quadrennial National Jamboree at the Summit, Bechtel Scout Reservation, West Virginia?

One item to add to the scout’s toolkit is the Jamboree App. The Summit is a Wi-Fi friendly zone. Scouts are encouraged to use the system for many purposes.

BSAJamboree_May2015_headerMake sure you download the app before you go, so you can use it at arrival!