CORRECTION: Nomination due date

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In a previous post, we gave the wrong date for the Nomination for awards for the District Recognition Dinner.

The correct date for those nominations is Sunday, January 14, 2018.

Sorry for the confusion.


Planning for Cub Summer Camp

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As the snow blows, it is time for warm thoughts of swimming, sweating, shooting, and laughing with a few mosquitos mixed in.

All Cubs and Webelos Dens should be planning to go to summer camp. There are day camp options and overnight options.

Day camps emphasize a week-long (M-F) of activities with a Friday night sleep over. These activities are designed to deliver key parts of the excitement that we promise during recruitment.

Overnight camps involve less days but more hours of camp life. This is a great option for parents who want their Cubs to experience summer camp, but can’t afford an entire week off of work.

The requirements for adult participation are set forth in the Guide to Safe Scouting, (along with all the safety rules for all activities), specifically shown in this link is the information on overnight camping practices, which are more stringent than walking around the camp during the day.

For families with difficulties in paying for the tuition, they can seek financial assistance with this form. District Executive Jessica Hofman can answer questions on this.

All scouts, parents, and tag-alongs need to have a completed health form to able to attend. See the Cub Scout Camp page for more information.

One of the biggest concerns in scouting is whether we “have sufficient adults to meet the requirements of the Guide to Safe Scouting.” This implies that the Guide has a set ratio. You will even hear scout leaders speak as if there were written instructions about the ratio. The answer to this is a bit more complicated. We are required to have 2-deep leadership on all outdoor outings and overnights. That leaves an implication that 2 adults could take 60 Cubs. This is clearly unwise. For certain types of activities there are set ratios, such as Boy Scout and Venturing rappeling is 10:1 and different aquatic activities have different ratios. In Cub Scout Camping, one parent (or adult family member) must camp with each Cub (some exceptions for solo Cubs with designated proxies for parent, but only one Cub per adult under this exception).

Outside of these activity-specific ratios, the exact numer of adults necessary is just listed in the Guide to Safe Scouting as “sufficient leadership.” This is at the discretion of the Chartered Organization to decide. Many Chartered Organizations feel that 5 Cubs to 1 Adult works well. For more mature Cubs, this ratio can be fudged in favor of more Cubs. (See this old conversation from 2012 on a non-BSA website on the topic.)

Your Camp Director at each location can give you better guidance as to what ratio makes sense for their specific activities.

Remember a Cub’s attendance at Summer Camp is the best indication whether the Cub will return for the next year of scouting. Parents are the biggest roadblock. Camp costs money and takes effort. Gently remind parents why they signed their Cubs up for scouting and why the Cub wanted to join. The Cub wanted to have fun with his friends. The parents want the Aims and Methods of Scouting to benefit their son.

Some families find that the day camp experience is not the challenge that their more mature Cubs require. Camp Kiktheweund’s Adventure Camp is now available to more Cubs. This is a great option for Cub who want the challenge of overnight camping. Find the challenge that is right for your Cub.

Firecrafter Communications and Database Upgrade

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From Firecrafter Ember Advisor Greg Hoyes:


Firecrafter has joined the 21st Century!  We now have an online membership database and email system.  No more managing a personal contact list and sending emails through my GMaill account!

Firecrafter Logo
So, we need everyone to login and farmilarize themselves with the new system.  To start, go to and click “access the database” from the main page, or here is the direct link  As directed, link the Forgot Password link and then enter the email address that you think is associated with the account, along with the bot preventing code.  Then you should get an email with a temporary password and the ability to finish your account login setup.
If it does not work, your email may have changed, be under a parent’s email (youth), or some other database issue.  To gain access, please email with your name, Firecrafter year, and updated email address.
Firecrafter adults (21+), the new system also tracks dues and will “suspend” you from the Ember emails if your dues are not current.  This would be a great time to get your dues current, or pay the lifetime membership, so we can keep you involved in the North Star Ember.  Dues payments are handled as the Firecrafter Council level and the Council Secretary will be able to assist you with payment and getting you reinstated in the system.
I did send a test email from the new system at 9:00 on 1-8-2018, so if you did not get that, your email address may be wrong in the database or your dues are not current for adult members.
I will continue to send emails using both the database system and this distribution list until February 15, then all emails after that will only be through the new system.  Please try to make sure you have access to the system before that deadline, so you can stay informed on what is happening in the North Star Ember.
If you have any questions, I can provide very basic help, but cannot do anything to help with the system login, so contact for more assistance.
Yours in the Fire
Greg Hoyes XXX
North Star Ember Advisor

Winter Camporee: 9 days and counting

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Is your Troop ready for the Winter Camporee? It starts in just 9 days! (January 19, 2018 at Camp Krietenstein.)

Make sure that you have your reservations in.

Here is communication from Camporee Co-Chair and former North Star District Executive Con Sullivan:

Hello from the beautiful Florida Keys!

I have attached the Willie Scoring Sheet for the Winter Camporee. If you have not yet, please complete the requirements listed on the [previously sent] message (Register online, send a summary of your event, send estimated # of patrols) ASAP. Please send these to Thomas Jacoby at

Thank you!

Thank You on Services Hours Reporting

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Thank you to our units that responded to our request for more service hours reporting at the National website. As of the October district JTE report, we were down nearly 0.45 hours per scout year over year to 2016. Now in the November report, we are up by nearly an identical amount!

That has made us Gold in that category based on meeting a minimum plus slight improvement. The national goal is 10 hours per scout average. We are showing an average of 6.14 hours per scout right now. It may be too late to boost that average much more, but please help us try.

Please login to the National website (using your Internet Advancement login and password) and make sure that your unit’s information is up-to-date.


Voyageur training

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Here is part of an email from Don Bievenour, Assistant Scoutmaster at Troop 56 and long-time Voyageur Staffer.

[Voyageur is a unique program to the Crossroads of America Council. It is offered to adults, once in the spring and once in the fall. T]he Fall course is usually warmer but there are no guarantees. *8-| rolling eyes

For those of you that have taken the basic course and want to qualify for your instructor arc, the additional requirement is one more day, a Saturday, so that your skills can be used to teach new students. Sundays are not an option because there is very little training.

Attainment of the instructor’s arc allows that Scouter to rent council Voyageur canoes, trailers, and equipment. This rate is typically cheaper that the on water canoe liveries.

I am teaching two courses at the U of Scouting: Essentials of a A Canoe Outing P180 and Canoeing in the Council P184 . The Voyageur program will have a booth on the midway.

Let me know if you have any questions.




Quarterly vs Annual Planning

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For regular followers of Clarke Green’s podcast and blog, you know Clarke has been beta testing a quarterly planning model with his home troop. He has hinted at several elements before.

Now he has rolled out an article on the details and overview of the plan. Take a look!

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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CORRECTION: The literature below contains the wrong deadline for the nominations. The correct date is Sunday, January 14, 2018. Sorry for the mistake.

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.