January 2016 Eagles

Posted on Updated on

Congratulations to the following new Eagle Scouts. There official status is “prospective” Eagle pinbecause their rank has not yet been confirmed by National Council. When the rank is confirmed their official date of rank will January 13, 2016.

  1. Matthias Benko, Troop 174
  2. Rhodes Lacy, Troop 18
  3. Lars Olson, Troop 343
  4. Mitchell Thompson, Troop 358.

Congratulations again!

NOTE: As a part of District's new efforts to confirm the scouts' service hours, Eagle Board Coordinator Jerry Simon will be reporting the man-hours reported by the Eagle reports to District Executive Con Sullivan. This will be used as a means to make sure that each troop is adequately reporting their service hours to national council and local council. This may result in emails to the Troops where underreporting appears to have occur in any given quarter.


White Stag Spring Course

Posted on Updated on

Did you know that National Youth Leadership Training, locally known as “White Stag,” is available three times in 2016?NYLT_4k

Here is the information from Council’s website:

NYLT (White Stag)

NYLT is a six-day course patterned after a month in the life of a unit. Content is delivered in a group and team outdoor setting with an emphasis on immediate application of learning in a fun environment.

The NYLT course integrates the best of modern leadership theory with the traditional strengths of the Scouting experience. Through activities, presentations, challenges, discussions, and audio visual support, NYLT participants will be engaged in a unified approach to leadership that will give them the skills and confidence to lead well. Through a wide range of activities, events, games, and adventures, NYLT participants will work and play together as they put into action the best that Scouting has to offer.

If you have any scouts who would be interested in the spring session, make sure they are signed up soon!

White Stag Prereq at Spring Camporee

Posted on Updated on

Some of the most successful troops in our district require that their SPLs and ASPLs attend White Stag, the National Youth Leadership Training, each spring or summer.NYLT_4k

Some troops are not aware that attendance at White Stag requires a prerequisite class: Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (or for Crews).

BSA states on this webpage:

ILST is the first course in the series of leadership training offered to Boy Scouts and is a replacement for Troop Leadership Training. Completion of ILST is a prerequisite for Boy Scouts to participate in the more advanced leadership courses National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE). It is also required to participate in a Kodiak Challenge Trek.

Once a youth attends ILST and has taken the first phase of train-the-trainer, “Fundamentals of Training,” the youth is eligible to offer this same training at his home unit.

North Star District will be offering ILST at the Spring Camporee. The lead instructor will Aryaman Gupta a recent Eagle Scout and SPL, who has just joined the scoutmaster corps at Troop 56. We are seeking another former or current SPL to assist Aryaman in his efforts. Please contact Jeff Heck with any volunteers.

Plan now to recruit your best candidates to attend White Stag so that they can get their prerequisites done.

Participants can (a) pay $5.00 to have their materials provided for them or (b) pay nothing and print out their own materials from the website as posted at a latter.

Reservations can be made at this link.


Camp Card Sales Begin March 1st

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on

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.