Camp Card Sales Begin March 1st

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The second fundraiser of the year sponsored by the Council is Camp Card sales.

Many details are available at the Council website.

Returning for another year as our District Camp Card Sales Chair is Andrew Himebaugh of Troop 343, chartered by Pike Township Fire Department.

In order to begin selling promptly on March 1st, you need to make sure that you place your order with Andrew on or before February 12th.


REMINDER: Roundtable Thursday

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Thursday after general session, Andrew Linden will speak about promoting your unit using Social Media.

Please join us for general session at 6:30 pm with district-wide announcements and discussions followed by Andrew’s presentation.

Roundtable is held at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the Northeast corner of campus at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.


Service Hours Reporting Problems

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At the last District Committee meeting on February 4, 2016, District Executive Con Sullivan reported that there is a bit of confusion about service hours reporting. Even this writer has been guilty of the confusion.

Apparently there are two separate service hour reporting websites. They do not share data!

The national website, accessible through, reports directly to National Council and is used for your unit’s national statistics such as contribution to the World Movement of Scouting’s billion service-hour challenge, but not Journey to Excellence scoring.

We know this is a problem because many of our largest and most successful troops have reported zero service hours on one or both of these websites. At the same time, these units have had Eagle Scouts reporting hundreds if not thousands of service hours. The scouts are getting proper credit, but it is not passing on to the units.

Journey to Excellence has a separate scoring for service hours which can receive a separate gold-level recognition.

Make sure your unit secretary or registrar is reporting service hours to both National on and the same data to the local website at which is linked on the front page of

To prevent this being a problem in the future, District will be reviewing these statistics quarterly. For troops, we will be looking at Eagle project reports against unit reports. Discrepancies will be pointed out to units.

For Cub Scout Packs, we will be looking at zer0-hour reports as needing updating.

Remember, we are part of a world-wide effort to demonstrate the value of scouting to our communities. Your reports help that marketing effort.

Planning for JTE 2016

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Based on District’s 2015’s success with JTE, we need to begin planning for 2016’s success.

Journey to Excellence is designed to do more than congratulate successful units.

Journey to Excellence is designed to help units plan the program year, evaluate the unit’s strengths and weaknesses, and provide clarity about what characteristics make a succesful unit.

In order to obtain the full benefits of JTE, a unit should look at the 2016 JTE Scorecard now and begin planning for this year’s success.

The unit should also plan for the Unit Key 3 to meet with their Unit Commissioner in the next 60 days. To do so, review for your Unit Commissioner or contact District Commissioner Jeff Heck for more information.

Let’s try for 100% unit gold in 2016!

Gold Everywhere in 2015

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img_2535 The Journey to Excellence program is designed to encourage best practices from all units, districts, and local councils. BSA summarizes the scoring system in its brochure:

The philosophy from the start of JTE has been to set up a system where 10 percent of the councils will achieve gold status, the next 40 percent will achieve silver status, and the next 30 percent will achieve bronze status. Therefore:

• Gold status = top 10 percent
• Silver status = 50th percentile to the 89th percentile
• Bronze status = 20th percentile to the 49th percentile

With this background in mind, we are thrilled to report that our units’ success with JTE this year has made a significant impact on local scouting.

North Star District had 22 units reach gold, 7 reach silver, 2 reach bronze, and 3 tender no report. Of the 3 that did not report, most would have been gold or silver.

As a result of your efforts to report the unit JTE status, we have had a significant impact!

North Star District made District Gold for the first time in years!

Not only that, North Star District making District Gold pushed Crossroads of America Council the last couple of criteria across the Council Gold threshold! (It was touch-and-go down to the last calculations.)

This means that the simple act of your units reporting their annual efforts and successes results in all of Central Indiana’s scouting being nationally recognized as one of the 10% of local council’s nationwide.

Do not underestimate the value of your unit’s contribution to the larger story of scouting!

Congratulations North Star District and Crossroads of America Council.


REMINDER: District Committee Meeting

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Our February District Committee Meeting will be Thursday 7:00 pm at Second Presbyterian Church, 7100 N Meridian St, 4th Floor, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

We hope to see you there!

Social Media for your Unit

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By Andrew Linden, Unit Commissioner

Are you tired of continuously explaining to parents, relatives, neighbors, and strangers, the kinds of things your child does–and you, as a volunteer, do–in the scouts? Maybe you don’t mind giving the same spiel over and over again, but, are you any good at it? That is, are you truly able to convey the breadth of the BSA program in just a two-minute sales pitch?

Well, one great way to alleviate any of these potential issues is to create and maintain a unit page on a social media outlet and let the published material do the talking for you. If your unit doesn’t have a presence on social media, Facebook is a good place to start. Nowadays, the terms, ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, and ‘Instagram’, are such common words in daily conversation, chances are, you probably know very few people who do not have a personal account on social media. As social beings, we gravitate towards social cyberspace to see what our social circles are up to, and what interesting things companies and organizations post. My point is, social media is the perfect forum to market your unit and paint the picture that verbal speech cannot express.

There are many other advantages for units to have a social media account other than for marketing purposes. Such reasons may be: a secondary method of dispersing information (besides email and phone calls/texts), and keeping in touch with alumni, for example. A social media platform such as Facebook is a great way to publish reminders on important dates, and upcoming events and/or trips. Throughout time, as individuals age out of the scouting program, a social media unit account can be a good way for those individuals to stay connected with the unit. Conversely, it may also be a great way for the unit to stay connected to their former scouts, and later highlight those who have gone on to do productive things in their lives–showing younger generations of parents that getting their child involved in scouting can have a positive impact on their child’s life.

The take-away here is: your unit has a story to tell. So tell it! Take advantage of what social media has to offer, and use it to your unit’s advantage!

This is a preview of what Andrew will share with us at the next Roundtable on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm (Andrew will talk closer to 7 pm after general session and news) at St Luke’s UMC’s outbuilding Luke’s Lodge, first floor, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

Winners of the Inaugural Polaris Award for Patrol Competition 

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To recognize and memorialize the best patrol in competitions, the District is inaugurating a new award:the Polaris Award. The new plaque will travel with each new patrol listed and photographed.

The winner of the inaugural Polaris Award is Troop 56’s Elemental Patrol.

Members of Elemental are Sam R., Luke E., Will S., and Matthew H.

The phantom is the newest ASM and patrol advisor Cullen B.