Upcoming MBU . . . at a real university

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There is a true Merit Badge University coming up. This term used to refer to opportunities to work on merit badges with university professors and researchers in the field.

Over the years, it has devolved into a generic term of any large gathering of merit badge classes.merit2bbadges

Wabash University is going back to the original concept . . . some of our district’s former scouts, according to rumor, helping organize it.

Here is more information from Jessica Hofman, Sugar Creek’s District Executive via Con Sullivan:

Want to learn about game design from a theater professor and video game reviewer?  Or help with a research study on turtle behavior as you learn the material for the Reptiles and Amphibians merit badge?  Or learn about astronomy from professors who have taught courses on Mayan archeoastronomy?  Or consider how buildings are designed from a Roman Architecture and Archeology expert?

These are just a few of the offerings at the Merit Badge College at Wabash on May 6th!  All of the badges (except First Aid) will be taught by college professors who are experts in the subject.  The cost is $20, and includes a T shirt and lunch.  There will be fun lunchtime activities and sessions for parents to learn about scouting and college opportunities.  You can register at  Registration closes on April 15th, and classes will fill, so register early!

Wabash’s faculty already has a strong relationship with council. One of their economics professors is Sugar Creek’s district commissioner.

This is a great opportunity for older scouts to go visit the beautiful campus in Crawfordsville and work with Wabash’s impressive faculty . . . with no grade pressure!

Here is more information:

Sugar Creek District
2017 Wabash Merit Badge College
Join us for a great learning opportunity and chance to work on your merit badges at an awesome venue!  Join us at Wabash College for the first annual Wabash Merit Badge College.  Reserve your spot now!
  • The college will be at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana on Saturday, May 6th.
  • There will be two sessions (one from 9:30 to Noon and another from 1:30 to 4:00) with lunchtime activities in between.
  • Registration Cost is $20.00 for Scouts which includes courses, lunch, and a event T-shirt
All Day Merit Badges (requires both morning and afternoon sessions):
  • Robotics
  • Space Exploration
  • Reptile and Amphibian Study
  • Game Design
  • Animation
  • First Aid
Half Day Merit Badges (offered in one or both sessions, but does not require both sessions to complete):
  • Nuclear Science (afternoon, might open morning if there is enough demand)
  • Architecture (morning or afternoon)
  • Medicine (morning or afternoon)
  • Astronomy (morning)
  • Citizenship in the World (afternoon)
  • Family Life (morning)
Lunch Break Activities:
  • Chemistry Merit Badge
  • Ultimate Frisbee on the Mall
  • Activities for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Ranks (tree and plant identification, knot tying, flag etiquette, map and compass/GPS navigation course around campus)

Take a look!

March Eagle Report

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Congratulations to our newest Eagle Scouts on March 8, 2017

First Last Troop
Stephen Barda 174
Robert Isakson 514
Scott Decker 56
Dane Standhardt 18

These scouts will have their date of rank as March 8, 2017, once National Council ratifies their Board. Eagle pin

Awards Banquet 2017

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On Thursday, March 9, 2017, North Star District honored its award winners from the 2016 Scouting Year. Thank you to Banquet Chair Mark Pishon for a wonderful evening, enjoyed by the over 100 attendees.

Thank you to former Pacer Eddie Gill for serving as our Keynote Speaker. He gave a very emotional and powerful personal story of the impact on youth service organizations on his life. He spoke very highly of scouting as a partner in the youth service organization movement.

Eddie Gill (left) with our DE Con Sulivan
District Award of Merit recipient Michael Rodriguez (SM, T514)
District Award of Merit recipient Tom Sugar, right (T358, P180, Unit Commissioner)
Cake for 98 year old district


Congratulations to 2016 honorees:

Name 2016 Award Unit
Ron Wells Arrowman of the Year T343
Sandra Mitchell-Holder Boy Scout Committee Chair Person of the Year T512
Jeff Heck Commissioner of the Year
Tom Rude Cub Scout Committee Chair Person of the Year P358
Jeremy Morin Cubmaster of the Year P105
Tom Sugar District Award of Merit T358
Michael Rodriguez District Award of Merit T514
John Ruggles Firecrafter of the Year T343
Derrick Daily Hooked on Scouting P105
Geordie Hester Hooked on Scouting P105
Seth Fleming Hooked on Scouting P105
Joe Seufert Hooked on Scouting P171
Brandi Jittjumnongk Hooked on Scouting P358
Elizabeth Selm Hooked on Scouting P358
Martin Price Hooked on Scouting P830
Brendan Cavanaugh Hooked on Scouting T358
Nancy Sugar Hooked on Scouting T358
Dr. Jay Bhatt Hooked on Scouting T69
Jennifer Buddenbaum Hooked on Scouting T69
Brent Seiler Hooked on Scouting T804
John “Rusty” Hitch Hooked on Scouting T804
James Beck Scoutmaster of the Year T358
Jeremy Morin Spark Plug Award P105
Matt Rekeweg Spark Plug Award P105
Theresa Arens Spark Plug Award P105
Courtnay Henthorn Spark Plug Award P171
Jenny Beyer Spark Plug Award P358
Matt Selm Spark Plug Award P358
Terry May Spark Plug Award P358
Tammie Buchanon Spark Plug Award P830
Jane Sullivan Spark Plug Award T358
Kevin Russell Spark Plug Award T358
Luther Rice Spark Plug Award T358
Michael Luciani Spark Plug Award T358
Toby Hlade Spark Plug Award T358
Ed Parada Spark Plug Award T56
Mike Faulk Spark Plug Award T56
Mike Yates Spark Plug Award T56
Jay Leinart Spark Plug Award T69
Scott Stukenborg Spark Plug Award T69
Beth Price Spark Plug Award T804
James Corridan Spark Plug Award T804
Jane Burgess Spark Plug Award T804
Martin Rice Spark Plug Award T804
David Bruce Venture Advisor of the Year C358

Director of Field Services Nathan Young was on hand, too, to award North Star District the Journey to Excellence Gold Award. This reflects not just on the District but on all of the units that earned their gold, allowing the District to bask in their glories.

Thank you to Nancy Sugar, Troop 358 and supporter of Pack 180’s rebuild, for taking these wonderful photographs of the evening.


Duty to God and Religious Emblems

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The BSA is making a concerted effort to re-inforce “A Scout is . . . reverent” (Scout Law.) and “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God . . . .” (Scout Oath.) “A Scout is revent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.” Boy Scout Handbook, 13th ed., pg. 16 (BSA 2016).

Religious knot with pinsPart of this commitment is to make Duty to God a more prominent part of rank advancement. For example, boy scouts have new Duty to God requirements from the January 1, 2016 revisions (required for all scouts’ advancement in 2017 since the 12-month grandfathering has expired). Each scout will have to explain how he has lived his Duty to God. For example, Tenderfoot Requirement No. 9 says, “Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived four different points of the Scout Law in your everyday life.” (Emphasis added.)

One of the biggest problems is defining the Duty to God. We are an ecumencial program. In my home troop, we have members of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Hindu houses of worship. We have had others in the past, too. Doing your Duty to God means something different for each faith.

Luckily, there is a sraightforward solution to this problem: the religious emblem program, sponsored by P.R.A.Y. This organization works with the BSA, Girl Scouts, 4-H, Camp Fire, and other youth community service organizations and non-affiliated youth to provide published, age-appropriate, denomination specific curricula. All faiths (other than the Church of Steve formerly known as the Church of the Holy George) participate. Each faith has a committee that has drafted and approved several curricula for youth to learn about their family’s faith. Each curriculum is focused on the level of detail appropriate to the child’s age.

Many of the protestant and independent churches have coordinated their curricula to have one set for all denominations.

This can be followed on an individual or a small group basis. PRAY has put together an introductory flyer that can be sent to parents introducing the program. The unit can offer a parent orientation, using their PowerPoint presentation, so that you have a live presentation. It includes a script. There are summary and detailed handouts. There are FAQ’s. And so much more.

Troop 56 and the new Crew 56 is beginning their new religious emblem program in the next few weeks. If your unit is interested in joining us, please contact Jeff Heck. We would delight in the opportunities to work together within faiths and inter-faith opportunities, too.

We are considering visiting different houses of worship as an optional supplement to the curriculum. It is hard to “respect the beliefs of others,” as suggested in the Scout Handbook, if you don’t understand those beliefs.

Talk to your unit committee about your religious emblem program. Talk to your chartered organization about how its pastoral staff or laymen can contribute. Watch the miracles occur.

Solicitation of Donations for Recognition

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For Thursday, March 9, 2017’s Recognition Dinner, we are looking for donations of scout paraphenalia for the auction.

If you have a donation, contact Con Sullivan.

Thoughts on Merit Badge Counseling

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The role of the Merit Badge Counselor always needs to be re-examined. It helps us keep the mission of the Counselor top of mind.

To that end, read this short article on Bobwhite Blather.

An important point is

Although not expressly prohibited, large group counseling is generally frowned upon. The Guide to Advancement cautions that in such situations, the counselor must confirm that each and every Scout completes each and every requirement, including the show, demonstrate, do and tell actions. It is not sufficient for a Scout to just sit in a class, write notes on a worksheet and turn it in.

The counselor, therefore, needs to tailor his or her counseling style to the merit badge and to the Scout. This means determining just how much teaching and hand-holding the counselor should do versus how much self-study and learning the Scout is expected to accomplish. Generally speaking, a Scout will learn more if he studies on his own, but he can certainly benefit from the teaching that a counselor can provide. As with other interactions with Scouts, it’s more effective if the counselor leads the Scout to learn and discover the answers on his own, rather than handing them over, as might be done in a classroom setting.

Del-Mi’s Merit Badge University 2017

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From Con Sullivan, our District Executive:

The Del-Mi Merit Badge University is approaching early next month. At this event we have 1,600 slots for Scouts over the course of Friday evening and all-day on Saturday. There are numerous Merit Badges that are offered and might make a good program offering for your units. I have included the information below. Please forward out to your units in your district if you believe this opportunity would fit with what your units might be looking for. We already about 900 of those 1,600 slots filled by Del-Mi Scouts, however there is plenty of room left. Here is info you can copy and paste while sending to your units:

What: Del-Mi District Merit Badge University

Where: Carmel High School, Freshman Center (520 E. Main Street, Carmel, IN) – Entrance 13

When: Friday, March 10th and Saturday, March 11th

Online Registration:

The Merit Badge University is open to any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Team member or Venturer working towards Boy Scout rank advancement.  Tiger, Cub, and Webelos Scouts are not eligible to participate (even if they will be crossing over into a troop later this year after the merit badge university).

  • Pre-requisites are required for many badges.
  • Online registration fee is $6 per Scout per session. Individual courses may have additional equipment or material fees.
  • Three sessions are available. Some merit badge classes span across 2 sessions.

o    Session 1: Friday evening from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

o    Session 2: Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.

o    Session 3: Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Lunch is available from Noon to 1 p.m. at a cost of $6 per person.

There are over 1,600 Merit Badge slots open and available for Scouts. If your first choice is not available, there are plenty of other options.

Questions? Contact: Laura R. (

Ryan Kelleher  |  Del-Mi District Director 
Crossroads of America Council
Golden-Burke Scout Center
7125 Fall Creek Road North
Indianapolis, IN 46256
P: 317.813.7085 
C: 317.445.0658

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North Star District Awards Banquet

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Remember to put in your and your spouse’s reserviation for the District’s Annual Awards Banquet. Thursday, March 9, 2017 at the Palomino Club in Zionsville. This is our chance to recognize our dedicated adult scouters.

This is a non-uniform event.

Roundtable Reminder: Nova Mentor Program (STEM)

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A quick reminder that tomorrow Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm (yes, new time!) will be our next Roundtable.

After we discuss general announcements and upcoming events, including the Unit Key 3

Nova patch picture
Nova patch

Conference and the Annual Awards Banquet, we will turn our attention to discussing the Nova Program for Cubs, Webelos, Scouts, and Venturers and its contribution to promoting STEM advancement topics.

Earning the Super Nova recognition requires some significant effort and will likely grow into a prestigious attainment along with the Eagle Rank and Hornaday Conservation Award.

To register as a Nova Counselor, the counselor must (1) be trained in a class or (2) (a) use the self-study guide, and (b) review the self-study PowerPoint presentation. Then the applicant must submit an adult application on paper or through the applicant’s home unit. (Have your unit chair use the Invitation Manager in to speed the application process.)