REMINDER: Committee and Commissioner Meetings Thurs 5/5

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Just a quick reminder that the District Commissioners meet at 6:00 pm Thursday, May 5th at Second Presbyterian Church, Room 407.

Immediately afterward, the District Committee meets in the same building at 7:00 pm, Room 401.

See you there!North Star Willie patch (small)

Congratulations to District Award Winners

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On Thursday, April 28, 2016, the District held its Annual Appreciation Dinner at St Alphonsius Church in Zionsville.

Thank you to Tucker Herbold for chairing the event and Con Sullivan for the detailed logistics work.

In addition to our regular District participants, we were honored by the presence of Scout Executive Patrick Sterrett and Assistant Director of Field Services for the Western Section Marilyn Lopez.

Our award winners were as follows:



John Ruggles

Arrowman of the Year

Stephen Heath Boy Scout Committee Chair of the Year
Beth Montano Commissioner of the Year
Jennifer Davis Cub Scout Committee Chair of the Year
Sharla Merrick Cubmaster of the Year
Jeffrey Heck District Award of Merit
Mark Pishon District Award of Merit
Greg Hoyes Firecrafter of the Year
Andrea Klemm Hooked on Scouting
Carolyn Goebel Hooked on Scouting
Emily Blue Hooked on Scouting
Kelly Kappes Hooked on Scouting
Lisa J. Bostock Hooked on Scouting
Sam Dennemann Sr. Hooked on Scouting
Scott Kuntz Hooked on Scouting
Timothy Kappes Hooked on Scouting
Greg R. Hoyes Scoutmaster of the Year
Amy Kiefer Spark Plug Award
Andrea Klemm Spark Plug Award
Carolyn Goebel Spark Plug Award
Christopher Bottorff Spark Plug Award
Chuck Bricker Spark Plug Award
Cynthia Carr Spark Plug Award
Daniel Bradley Spark Plug Award
David Agarwal Spark Plug Award
David DeMars Spark Plug Award
David Gusman Spark Plug Award
Emily Blue Spark Plug Award
Greg R. Hoyes Spark Plug Award
Jacob Massie Spark Plug Award
Jaime Shields Spark Plug Award
James Shields Spark Plug Award
Kelly Kappes Spark Plug Award
Mark Maucere Spark Plug Award
Mark Pishon Spark Plug Award
Michael “Mick” Witte Spark Plug Award
Ronald Penczek Spark Plug Award
Sam Dennemann Sr. Spark Plug Award
Thomas Petersen Spark Plug Award
Timothy Kappes Spark Plug Award
Warner “Turk” White Spark Plug Award
David Bruce Venture Advisor of the Year

The Spark Plug Award goes to a person who has shown an energetic dedication to scouting that he or she spreads to other members of their unit or committee.

The Hooked on Scouting Award goes to a person who has been involved with a unit for less than a year (in this case extended back to 2014 because of skipping awards for two years) and has immediately become an invaluable scouter in their unit.

The District Award of Merit is the highest National Council authorized award that a district can give to a scouter.

Scouters of the Year Award (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Advisor, Committee Chair, Commissioner, Firecrafter, and Arrowman) represent scouters who have represented the best ideals of their registered position within the district.

Congratulations to all of our award winners!

Philmont Contingent June 2016 Vacancies

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While it is late in the Spring Semester to make big summer plans, I wanted to let you know about a big opportunity.
Del-Mi’s Troop 120 has a troop contingent going to Philmont and following Trek #16,  departing Indianapolis on June 12th and returning June 26th. The contingent will travel primarily by AmTrak train to New Mexico. Philmont “tuition” is $870. Train fare is separate and based on the cost on the date of booking, which would be at least $269 as of today (more added-cost options are available). Total estimated cost is $1140.Philmont logo
Camp scholarships for Philmont “tuition” are available in principle (some roadblocks to camperships are likely due to the late phase of planning this trek is insee pg. 9, but we can find a way in most situations). In all circumstances, a scout must cover transportation cost out of pocket.
In other words, a scout could have the trip of a lifetime for $270. (Some logistical planning would be necessary to make the campership work.)
According to the Philmont website, the minimal requirements for participation are:
  • Philmont trek and cavalcade participants must be 14 years of age OR completed 8th Grade and be at least 13 years of age prior to participation.
  • Participants must have a valid BSA Health Record with all parts, A, B, and C. Especially important is the Body Mass Index compliance.
Three members of North Star District’s Troop 56 have expressed interest in participating in the contingent. This would leave two (2) remaining vacancies in the contingent. We will compile a wait list, so put your name in if there is any interest! Please email Jeff Heck immediately if any scout, scouter, or scout/parent combo would be interested in participating.
Troop 120 already has several adults committed. While additional adults are welcome, as I understand it, adults are not necessary to make the required safety-ratios.
North Star scouts who have aged out are welcome. We will just have to make sure we find a BSA registration status for them (many to choose from, so not a major problem).
I hope we can send some more North Star scouts to Philmont this summer!

Memorial Day Honoring Late Servicemembers

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North Star District through historic relationships between its Zionsville units and the Zionsville American Legion Post and between some of its Washington Township units and Post #3 of the American Legion (where OA and Firecrafter monthly meetings are held) have honored deceased service members for years.Scout at gravesite

This year, the District and Troop 56 are working on adding American Legion Post #153 (54th St and Keystone area) to the Posts that we serve.

If your unit is not currently helping to place flags on deceased service members graves in the month of May, in preparation for Memorial Day, please contact Jeff Heck to work with one of these posts.

This is a very important service. As Jerry Gould, a Korean War veteran, explained on Monday night, each post is especially responsible for placing flags on the graves of their deceased members. Unfortunately their membership is aging and can no longer provide the service adequately by themselves. They need the scouts and scouting families to provide the manpower.

Please help with this important Duty to Country task.

The posts have different methods for handling this. Some work on a scheduled basis. Other posts schedule around the scout units’ schedules. We can help direct you to the post that best fits your unit’s needs.


Recruitment: Task #1 – Community Event Calendar

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Last year in recruitment, we were late in starting to plan due to the administrative state of the district. Now we are starting planning for the August 2016 recruitment campaign. We need your help quickly.

District Vice-Chair for Membership Sharla Merrick and District Executive Con Sullivan are working hard right now to develop a detailed district recruitment plan to support your units‘ recruitment plans.

Part of this planning requires gathering data. Since we are a large group of talented and dedicated scouters with different perspectives, we are hoping to pool information about recruitment opportunities. We think you have the data. Let me illustrate what we are trying to do.

For example, last year, Con Sullivan reached out to his one of his counterparts in Girl Scouts of Central Indiana Tashianna Avery to discuss her recruitment efforts. (Tashianna has worked with Con and me on several projects and has become a valued colleague.) Tashianna shared with Con several of the community events that she was participating in and invited North Star District to come alongside. One of these was the St Luke’s United Methodist Church Backpack Attack. As a result of networking with Tashianna, we gathered a list of over 50 prospective members of North Star District.

While we did not do a good job of converting these prospects last year, we know that we can develop prospect lists easily at community events. In fact the BSA literature on recruitment emphasizes the importance of these types of events for exposure to the community, relationship building, and identifying prospects. It can serve as more than one of the necessary “7 Contacts” to recruit a new scout.

Sharla and Con want to build on this lesson learned. We would like to find as many events in the communities surrounding our units as possible. Then we will prioritize the events with the greatest likelihood of helping us develop prospect lists and community relationships.

Some of these events will naturally staffed by the home unit. For example, Pack 35 and Troop 35 at St Joan of Arc Catholic will naturally want to staff their parish’s French Market in September, if there is a booth there. Even so, we would like to have it on the district list to help develop a district-wide view of recruiting. The hope is we will minimize the number of good opportunities to make scouting connections.

If you have community events, please contact Sharla Merrick or Con Sullivan through your Membership Coordinator or Committee Chair.

Also don’t forget the Cook Out on the Circle on June 16th as a way to contribute to a Council-wide marketing effort. Many of your best prospective volunteers or families work downtown. Your unit’s presence can generate surprising results.

OA Ordeal Weekend May 13-15

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From OA Advisor John Ruggles:


Whether you are a Brotherhood candidate or a general member, we would love to see you at Ordeal weekend in two weeks (May 13 – 15 at Camp Kikthawenund).
Attached are the registration forms and letters.  If you plan to come, please follow the instructions in the letters.
Hope to see you there.
John Ruggles
Chapter Advisor

Save the Date: Ideal Year in Scouting

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At Council’s joint Commissioner and Membership Committee meeting, the Council Membership Chair announced some dates for the Ideal Year in Scouting presentation.

For North Star District, it will take place on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at the Scout Center. This will be in lieu of our regular roundtable meeting. We will have a North Star District-specific breakout session at the Scout Center when the general session is done.

The presentation will begin at 7:00 pm. A light dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.

If your unit cannot send a representative that night, the same general session presentation will be held again on THursday, May 19, 2016 at Camp Kikthawenund, near Anderson, Indiana also at 7:00 pm.

This presentation will touch on annual planning, including programming, fund-raising, unit administration, camp preparations. There will also be information tables about NYLT, Wood Badge, Voyageur.

Recruit your unit members to attend now. Early scheduling is the key to good attendance. We would like 100% attendance from the District’s units.

This is for all scouting programs (i.e., Cub, Scouts, and Venturing).

Scout Executive as American Ninja Warrior?

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You may have heard that this small event called “American Ninja Warrior” wrapped up filming recently in downtown Indianapolis on the Circle.

In past years, a Eagle scout turned adult competed as the “Boy Scout Ninja Warrior.”

Now we have news that a Utah professional scouter is throwing his hat in the . . . uh . . . hang his hat on the door knob challenge.

When the show airs this summer, look for ideas for camporees and personal challenges to offer your scouts in a COPE spirit.


Presidential Service Award

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While becoming an Eagle Scout is one of the highest honors a boy can obtain, there are others out there.

Recently a mother in our troop introduced me to the Presidential Service Award. I was not familiar with it. The award requires a non-profit sponsor the youth. I passed the question to Con, and he was able to confirm that the Crossroads of America Council is a sponsor of the award.Presidential service award

If you, as a Scoutmaster, have a scout who is interested in pursuing this award, please contact our District Executive Con Sullivan or your Unit Commissioner (if no unit commissioner is assigned to you, please contact District Commissioner Jeff Heck). They will each have the code that you need.

Journey to Excellence Patches

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Since our District did so well on Journey to Excellence for 2015, we now get to celebrate our success.

Please make sure to order your JTE patches from the Scout Shop to give to your scouts and scouters. They can put it on their left sleeve (Cub, Scouts).

This is very important for the long-term success of your unit. As I often repeat, we wear patches of recognition for personal recognition but also — and I think more importantly — as an invitation to tell a story.JTE

If you see a scout wearing a Philmont patch, you are more likely to ask about his adventure. If you have been to Philmont, too, you will share your story. This creates a personal bond between strangers.

If a new parent visiting your unit looks at your JTE patch on your sleeve, they may ask what that means. “Gold” or “silver” sounds impressive. It is an invitation for you to brag about the strength of your unit.

If you are at summer camp, other scouters may ask you questions about what your unit does. They may never acknowledge the patch, but they find your unit’s experience more powerful. This is a quiet way for us to support other units.

So, please, make sure that your unit has and wears their JTE patches.

Last note: if you also have 100% Boy’s Life subscriptions, that is a slightly different JTE patch.