April Camporee Planning

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Remember as the weeks tick by we approach Camporee.

We need to set a theme in the next week or two. If your troop would like to contribute their idea, time is running out. We need to order patches and inform troops how to prepare.

April Camporee is also where the Order of the Arrow tap-out and invitations occur. Remember to encourage your OA candidates to attend the Camporee.

Your prospective troop leaders can also benefit by attending the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops and Crews. This is a prerequisite for National Youth Leadership Training also known locally as White Stag.

Adult leaders who are Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, Committee Chairs, and Chartered Organization Representatives should plan on attending the Unit Key 3 Conference from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on Saturday, April 23rd at Camp Kikthawenuend for Camporee, too. We will review and summarize district plans for recruitment, programming, events, administration, rechartering, and unit support. Mark your calendars now.

2016 Retention Campaign

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At Tuesday’s joint Council Commissioner Staff and Membership Committee Meeting, Council Membership Committee Chair Tony unveiled the outline of a campaign to improve membership retention within the Council.

Tony reported that 2015 saw Council cut its membership drop rate in half. The goal for 2016 is to have a net increase in membership.

Year-over-year council has had consistent recruitment night attendance.

Sticking with a basic premise of marketing that retaining a customer is cheaper and easier than finding a new customer, Council is focusing its membership committee efforts at making the first 6 months of a new scout’s and his parents’  experience better. That way the new scouts stays long enough to become a veteran scout.

The outline of this plan focuses on giving the district electronic communications to allow better information flow to the new parents and new den leaders. Since so much of the current training focuses on national’s online training, we have lost some of the local component that training had historically provided. As a result, the new leaders feel more stranded.

The goal of this plan is to give districts and in turn units tools for the new parents and new den leaders to feel part of something larger and more local.

There will be more details about this plan at the April 19, 2016 semi-annual operations meeting for the council to teach the districts.

Tentatively, North Star District is planning to offer a Unit Key 3 Conference at Spring Camporee at Camp Kikthawenund on the morning of April 23, 2016. We will be able to share more details with Cub Packs at that time.

Similarly the Ideal Year in Scouting presentation at the May roundtable at the Scout Center will provide even more ideas on how these elements fit together.

January 2016 Eagles

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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

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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

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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

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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.