Roll Out of Family Cub Scouts

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Our immediate past Council Scout Executive, Patrick Sterrett is back. He is part of a new announcement in his new role as the National Assistant Chief Scout Executive for Programming. (I know “national” and “chief” are redundant, but I have a large and diverse audience.)

They are providing a 15 minute introductory video for councils that wish to be part of the “soft launch” of Cub Scouts in the middle of January 2018. We have not received word yet whether the Crossroads of America Council wishes to participate in that. Since we are normally a beta tester for many programs, it would not surprise me if we do.


North Star Grew in 2017!

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District Executive Jessica Hofman reported this morning that North Star has had a net gain in membership for 2017! It is only a handful of scouts, but given that we have been down for many years running, this is a very good sign.

Within those numbers, our Cub Scout membership is down modestly, largely due to a less successful recruitment year. However, our retention rates have been very strong so that we are keeping more boys longer.

This attests to the quality of the programs that you offer our youth. Congratulations!

Jessica is very interested in membership issues, so she is working hard to help us in that department.

In addition, we are just a few months away from girls be welcomed into our packs. While we have no reliable forecasts as to what to expect, we can only hope that this change will accomplish its stated goal of increasing membership.

Good luck in 2018! Keep up the good work.

Service Hours Reported to Date for 2017

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I hope that all Packs, Troops, and Crews report more than 100 man-hours per year.

In light of that expectation, here is our best understanding of the units that have met that expectation of reporting more than 100 man-hours for 2017. This personal expectation is strongest for scout troops.

Packs 18, 72, and 358;

Troops 18, 56, 69, 72, 174, 180, 269, 343, 358, 512, 514, and 804.

The top five units for reported hours in 2017 to date are:

  1. Troop 174 with 2,861 hours reported
  2. Troop 358 with 1,301 hours
  3. Troop 514 with 486 hours
  4. Troop 804 with 422 hours
  5. Troop 18 with 404 hours.

An honorable mention to Pack 18 for the highest number of hours reported for a Cub Scout Pack with 118 hours.

If your unit is not showing the hours you expect, login to the Service Hours Reporting website with your unit’s Internet Advancement login and password. You can look at what is there.

For scout troops, please verify that the your Eagle Scouts’ project hours are fully reported.

Invitation to Recognition Dinner for 2017 Service

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The Boy Scout Crossroads of America Council North Star District 
cordially invites you to the 
Adult Volunteer Recognition Dinner 
A celebration of North Star District’s volunteer 
achievements and in appreciation of your 
contributions to Boy Scouting in 2017. 
January 27, 2018 
At 7:00 pm 
The Palomino Ballroom
481 South 1200 E. 
Zionsville, IN 46077

Spouses Welcome  :  Business Casual  :  Cash Bar


Download a copy of the invitation to distribute to your leaders is available here.

Nomination forms specific to North Star are available here.

The Crossroads of America Council, under BSA rules, also offers a District Award of Merit as the highest award that districts can offer. This is the district equivalent of the Silver Beaver Award for the Council. We are eligible to grant two of these awards. The nomination forms for the District Award of Merit are separate and available here.

Unit Key 3 are encouraged to be aggressive in inviting their unit volunteers to attend. All hard-working volunteers should be considered for the Spark Plug and Hooked on Scouting. Special consideration for standout Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, and Committee Chairs. (We do not have a tradition of offering Venturing Advisor Awards, but that does not mean that worthy advisors should not be nominated to receive an inaugural award. Similarly for Chartered Organization Representatives.)

If you think that someone deserves other recognitions that we have not listed, don’t forget to review the national website for awards that may be appropriate for your scouters and scouts. (This is an adults-only event, but youth will be mentioned as receiving awards, such as the annual reading of the roll of new Eagle Scouts.)

Nominations are due by January 14, 2018 to Mark Pishon at

Winter Camporee Report

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Last Sunday, the Winter Camporee committee met. Our former District Executive Con Sullivan is co-chairing the event and presided over the meeting.

The theme will be the Winter Olympics with Willie’s Chills and Thrills! The event will be at Camp Krichtenstein from Friday, January 19, 2018 to Sunday, January 21, 2018.

Con emailed the following afterward:

Thank you to those who attended our Camporee Meeting last night. I have attached the most recent version of the Leader’s Guide for the ’18 Winter Camporee.

To do’s from meeting due on/before Jan 10th

If you have any questions, please contact Co-Chair Thomas Jacoby of Troop 174 ( or me.

Thank you!

A leader’s guide is available to download.

JTE Report from District

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It’s that time of year 🎼 🎶 . . . no, no, no, not that. The JTE report time of year.

As we are wrapping up Rechartering, we have a better idea of what the year’s end 2017 Journey to Excellence report will look like.

First a refresher on definitions. Gold level means that a unit, district, or council has scored in the 80th percentile or better. For those of you who are not currently in my son’s statistics class, that means the unit, district, or council has scored as well as or better than 80% of the units, districts, or councils, respectively, out there. Silver is the 51st to 79th percentile. Bronze is 20th to 49th percentile.

So with those definitions in mind, the drum roll, please! 🥁🥁

As of the report this morning, North Star District has 33 of 40 units scoring Gold:

  1. Packs 18, 35, 105, 171, 174, 175, 358 (all five tribes), 514, 625, and 830 (total packs: 14);
  2. Troops 18, 35, 56, 69, 72, 73, 174, 180, 269, 343, 358, 512, 514, and 804 (total troops: 14); and
  3. Crew 358 and 408.

North Star has 2 units scoring Silver, Pack 180 and Crew 56 (chartered in December 2016).

The District has one unit scoring Bronze, Pack 64.

Three units reported but did not qualify for any JTE award. One unit has tendered no report yet. Pack 73 is too new to have any historical data yet on which to generate a report. Consequently, this looks like the final results.

So what does this mean for the District? With the November End of Month report (preliminary data, subject to revision), North Star has 2250 points, qualifying for District Gold again for the third year straight. Unfortunately, Del-Mi has slipped into a 25 point lead with 2275. This would break a streak of North Star wins.

Right now, we do not have all the results of Unit JTE Reports entered. Based on the information above, the categories that we can still improve on before year’s end are as follows:

  1. Cub Scout Camping: Worth an additional 50 points for us. This will come out the JTE reports, so we expect this to increase. We are 25 Cub Scouts short of necessary, but some of the JTE reports have not been processed yet. If you think that you have additional reports that could help (like October or November family camps that were not included), email Jessica Hofman to clarify where your pack stands.
  2. Boy Scout Camping. Worth 25-75 more points, depending on the reports made. For the mechanics, it is nearly identical to the Cub Scout Camping described above. If your unit did summer camp out-of-council or did high adventure but not on high national council base, we need your numbers. We need 73 boy scouts reported camping from outside local council or national council camps or high adventures or specialty camps (like STEM). Email Jessica if you think your boys were not reported as having done long-term camping.
  3. Additional Service Man-Hours: We need 3,274 more man-hours reported. That works out to about 80 man-hours per unit. Please make sure to login to with your Internet Advancement login and password to make sure your unit’s records are up to date through December 2017.
  4. Unit JTE Gold: We have met this criteria, but it is not scoring yet. That will be worth an additional 150 points.

Your outgoing Key 3 is working on a few tasks to boosts these numbers a bit more yet from the administrative. Let’s keeping working to put Del-Mi behind us.

Even so this is all very good news. You should be proud of the efforts that you are making on behalf of your youth!

New District Leadership for 2018

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District Chair John Wiebke and District Commissioner Jeff Heck are pleased to announce that the nominees for District Chair and Commissioner for 2018 have accepted the nominations.

Mark Maucere has accepted the Nominating Committee’s proposed nomination as the District Committee Chair for 2018. Mark has served as the Chartered Organization Representative at St Alphonsius Catholic Church, serving Troop 358 and Crew 358.

Stephen Heath has accepted the Nominating Committee’s proposed nomination as the District Commissioner for 2018. Stephen has served as the Troop and Crew Chair for the same units at St Alphonsius. In his time as Chair, Troop 358 grew from being a large troop of under 100 scouts to now serving nearly 150 scouts. Stephen’s sons both are Silver Palm Eagles.

These nominees will be presented at the District Elections on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 7:00 pm.  Upon ratification by the Chartered Organization Representatives, District Committee Members-at-Large and the Council Committee Members-at-Large resident in North Star, their recommended election will be forwarded to the Council Committee for inclusion on the Council Elections at the next Annual Meeting of the Council in early February. They will begin service January 1, 2018 under a temporary appointment, pending final Council ratification.

John Wiebke and Jeff Heck have agreed to remain involved in the District after stepping down from their respective positions. John’s final assignment is yet to be determined. Council Commissioner Ron Penczek has asked Jeff to also serve as the Assistant Council Commissioner for Communications 2018, which Jeff has accepted.

We look forward to seeing the team that Mark and Stephen build to support their efforts in North Star.

Keep Pushing Membership

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Remember that we are on the verge of growing membership in North Star District for the first time in years. Please make sure to try to recruit another scout to your unit before year’s end to help us reach this momentous goal!

REMINDER: December District Meetings

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Normally, we would have district elections in December. We are a bit delayed in slating the candidates, so that will be postponed to the first District Committee Meeting of January 4, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Second Presbyterian.

Instead we will hold the last District Committee Meeting of the year at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Rm 401, Indianapois, IN 46260., Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm.

The Commissioner Meeting will be held on the same day at 6:00 pm in Room 405.

This Sunday, December 10, 2017, the Winter Camporee Planning meeting will meet at 6:00 pm at St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Room C115, Indianapolis, IN 46260. It will be chaired by co-chairs Con Sullivan and Thomas Jacoby of Troop 174. The location is to be determined. Please send a scoutmaster or proxy to participate in the planning process. The camporee will be January 19-21, 2018.

The following week on Thursday, December 14, 2017, we hold the last Roundtable of the year.

Our district elections will be Thursday, January 4, 2018. More information to follow. Please have your Chartered Organization Representatives and District Members-at-Large (that is district committee members) and Council Members-at-Large who live in North Star District attend. They are all eligible to vote.

Recharter Update: 9 Days Left

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As of today, we have only 9 days left to complete rechartering electronically. That means that any unit that has not started the rechartering process electronically, submitted an electronic roster, and sent in supporting paperwork by December 15, 2017 can have major problems.

What are “major problems”? Your rechartering application process may have to start all over again, but this time be on paper and all members submit new applications for membership.

This is a major change in time schedule for previous years.

At this time, we have 25 units whose paperwork has been approved by the District Executive and District Commissioner and has been submitted to the Council Registrar. We have seen little progress on these packages moving through the Registrar’s stack, because there 700 packages to be processed. This is the slowest part of the process.

Of the 15 remaining units, 12 units have submitted most of their paperwork. We are waiting on various problems to be resolved from these 13 units. These units are

  • Packs 18, 72, 84, 174, 179, 180, and 747;
  • Troops 35, 69, 179, and 180; and
  • Crew 69.

If you believe that your unit is incorrectly on this list, please do not hesitate to contact District Executive Jessica Hofman, Assistant District Commissioner for Rechartering Mat Gerdenich, your Unit Commissioner, or District Executive Jeff Heck. We want to help you expedite matters.

What are the typical problems?

Some units are missing entire applications for new youth or new adults. Some units are missing necessary initials or signatures on adult applications (the biggest problem is the failure to sign the Criminal Background Check release on the page facing the Adult Applcation). If these applications are not required to recharter, you can choose to drop these applicants from the recharter roster, then add them after rechartering. NOTE: For youth pursuing advancement, this is not a good option.

Other units have adults who do not have the required training. The ideal solution is to complete training online. If that is not possible or preferred, there are several options:

  1. we will accept a receipt for University of Scouting.
  2. If the adults are not required to recharter, they can be moved to Unit Scouter Reserve. This classification does not require training other than YPT. To move back to the previous position, before the next recharter season, this person would have to fill out a new Adult Application to change their position.
  3. Another option is to move Assistant Scoutmasters to Committee Members. Assistant Scoutmasters have to take the one in-person class that does not have an equivalent online class: Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills. (IOLS at University of Scouting is an all-day course, so you would not be able to take other classes that day.)
  4. New Assistant Scoutmasters who have made Eagle Scout since the 2003 curriculum changes are automatically qualified as having achieved Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills. Your Unit Key 3 can enter the training in’s Trainng Manager as complete as of the date of their Eagle Board of Review.

Some units are missing dues payments. Those are best handled one by one.

Help us close out rechartering as quickly as possible!