Advancement

REMINDER: District meetings

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Thursday, October 5, 2017 at Second Presbyterian Church, 4th Floor:

  1. Commissioners: 6:00 pm, Room 401
  2. District Committee: 7:00 pm, Room 405

Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm (except where different below), Luke’s Lodge, outbuilding on Campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th St.

1. Youth Protection Training (Y01) (6:30 pm)

2. Boy Scout Roundtable: TBA. Possible topic: path to Eagle.

3. Cub Scout Roundtable: planning your next camp out. Presented by Scouts from Troop 56 and RTC Bill Buchalter. (Great for Pack Programming Chair, Pack Chair, Cubmaster and Den Leaders, especially Webelos Den Leaders). Tents and gear explained.

4. Rechartering breakout for Unit Rechartering Coordinators. How to rechartering. Changes to system.

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Perception and Adaptation

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In some of my reading on other subjects, I ran across some scientific research from the mid-1800’s that I think is fascinating in its potential application to scouting. I am going to go down some complicated paths in this series of articles, so allow me to set the context first.

The View from the Eagle Board

For those of you who have sat on an Eagle Board of Review more than once, you likely can confirm that the following scenario is common.

A 17-year old in full dress scout uniform walks in the door. He is often clean shaven (although beards are increasingly common). He walks erect even if slightly nervous about what he is walking into. He firmly shakes hands with each member of the Board of Review. He answers questions about his Eagle project in great detail. He has pride in his accomplishments. He looks the part of an Eagle Scout already.

As he sits through the Board, the Board members ask the Eagle candidate to reflect on his beginnings in scouting and his growth. The candidate describes his first campout in the rain. He reflects on his anguish and discomfort. He laughs about how those deprivations are nothing compared to the later discomforts of camping in the snow of winter amidst the howling winds. He reflects on what he learned about overcoming obstacles, adapting, and accepting his circumstances.

He has learned that slight discomforts at home are nothing compared to facing the elements and the discomforts Mother Nature offers.

In my role as District Commissioner, the BSA charges me with the primary mission of encouraging Best Practices in our units. In other words, I am responsible for being able to explain to leaders why BSA policies are in the best interest of the unit, its leaders, and its scouts. That does not mean that I agree with each and every policy, but it does mean that I should be able to articulate the rationale in the light most favorable to the BSA’s intent.

For example, I should be able to articulate why units that camp the most are the more successful; why units that allow the boys to experiment with the patrol method with guidance and boundaries from the scoutmaster corps are more successful than units where adult leaders run the program; or why units with Senior Patrol Leaders who work the Patrol Leader Council are more successful than units where Senior Patrol Leaders acts as the patrol-leader-of-all. Read the rest of this entry »

Service Hours Reporting Update

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Last year (2016), North Star District reported 13,343 service hours. To date in 2017, North Star has reported only 3,567 service hours.

Thank you to those units that have exceeded 2016 service hours reports:

  1. Crew 408 (Zionsville American Legion)
  2. Pack 358 (Zionsville Christian)
  3. Troop 69 (Trader’s Point Christian Church)
  4. Troop 269 (St Andrew’s Presbyterian)
  5. Troop 358 (St Alphonsius RCC)

These troops serve as wonderful examples to our district and council.

Honorable mentions for reporting service hours at least once this year (but have not yet exceeded last year’s numbers and are rarely close), go to the following units:

  1. Pack 105 (Zionsville American Legion)
  2. Troop 56 (St Luke’s UMC)
  3. Troop 174 (Immaculate Heart of Mary RCC)
  4. Troop 180 (St Richard’s School)
  5. Troop 343 (Pike Twp Fire Dept, meeting at Bethel UMC)
  6. Troop 512 (First Meridian Heights Presbyterian)
  7. Troop 514 (St Monica’s RCC)
  8. Troop 804 (Zionsville American Legion).

All other units need to be reviewing their service hour reports because council has no information on file for 2017.

For more information on reporting service hours, see this 2015 article.

September 2017 Eagle Report

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Congratulations to our September 2017 Eagles, who completed their Eagle Boards of Review on Wednesday, September 13, 2017:

REMINDER: Roundtable Thursday

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For Roundtable we will have two excellent programs.districtCommissioner

We will kick things off at 6:30 pm with a short Youth Protection Training (Y01), open to all scouters. This is all you need for Cub Scouts and Boy Sccouts. It does not qualify for Venturing Youth Protection.

At 7:00 pm, we will open with our normal General Session. We will try to keep this brief (under 15 minutes).

150px-cubscoutdenleaderpatchAfter General Session, the Cub Scout Roundtable will focus on Den Leader Training. This is designed to qualify the Cub Scout Den Leader as fully trained for Lion through Bear years. (Webelos Den Leaders should also take Outdoor Webelos Leadership Skills (“OWLS”).) Den Leaders should have received emailed invitations from Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter. Pack Chairs should call their Den Leaders to encourage attendance. Remember this training is mandatory for rechartering for all currently enrolled Den Leaders. The class will be taught by Bill and District Chair John Wiebke.

After General Session, the Boy Scout Roundtable will have a guest presentation on the STEM in Scouting Logonew-ish Nova Program from Troop 56 Committee Chair and Wood Badge Candidate (Eagle Patrol) Sandy McNutt and his fellow Eagle, Hou-Koda Committee Member and Troop 307 Committee Member Kelli Brooks. This presentation is relevant to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing. So if Cub Leaders don’t need training, this might be the session for them.

Please help us have a big turn out for Roundtable.

Adults Wearing Eagle Pins

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Since a refrain at an Eagle Court of Honor is “once an Eagle, alway an Eagle,” can adult Eagles wear their Eagle Scout Pin?

We all know that the Eagle Scout patch should be retired from a scout uniform, when the scout turns 18 and becomes an Assistant Scoutmaster. He then can wear the Eagle knot for the rest of his life.

But can the adult wear his Eagle Pin to an Eagle Court of Honor.

Bryan on Scouting tried to address this in 2014. Unfortunately, his article was slightly incorrect. I met Bryan at National Jamboree this past summer. Having read his material for years, I can vouch that he does his research thoroughly, and his personality in person is very humble and self-effacing. Consequently, I believe his error is less a lack of diligence than a lack of clarity in the scouting literature.

Simply put, the Boy Scout Insignia Guide allows an adult to wear the pin for “formal Eagle occasions.”

Eagle Pin Insignia rule
Excerpt from Insignia Guide

So if we are trying to make sure that a new Eagle Scout feels part of a larger circle of scouts and scouters, we can encourage all Eagles to wear their pins to the Eagle Court of Honor.

This accomplishes two key goals, among many others. First, it allows the new Eagle Scout, the non-scouting visitors, and the newer scouts to see the people who are Eagles more clearly. The men whom they respect wear the pin. Second, it allows more people to identify the Eagle knot. This means that some of the mystery of an adult’s uniform is removed. With greater real recognition, more adults may seek the company of existing Eagles as mentors in scouting, and more youth will seek to join their company as fellow Eagle Scouts.

Eagle Knot
Eagle Knot (without either palms or border indicating lifetime NESA membership)

August 2017 Eagle Scouts

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Congratulations to our newest Eagle Scouts who passed their Boards of Review on August Eagle pin9, 2017:

August 2017 Eagles

District Information for Venturers

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Since Venturers are expected to handle many of the logistical issues that adults handle in Boy Scout Troops, the question arises about district information for Venturers.

Should Venturers keep themselves aprised of district newsletter and blog updates?venturing_logo

Not every Venturer may be interested or have a need to keep current on District affairs. It may be highly worthwhile to have Crew Presidents and Vice-Presidents subscribe to the newsletter.

They will get one email per week about news in the district. They can find Cub Scout and Boy Scout events that the Crew may wish to volunteer to staff. This can help the Venturers progress on advancement from Venturing Award to Discovery Award to Pathfinder Award to the Summit Award (Venturing’s highest award). Each award has substantial service hour requirements.

Service hours are not strictly defined on who can benefit. This is from an FAQ on Venturing (2015):

Q: What is the scope and definition of service hours? Does service to the crew count as service hours, or does the service have to be outside the crew, or outside of scouting and does the crew member have to have advisor approval (for personal service)?

A: The Handbook for Venturers offers this definition of service:

A service is a valuable action, deed, or effort carried out to meet a need of an individual, a group of people, or an organization. An act must be both valuable and address a need of the recipient to qualify as an act of service. The variety of service project ideas is boundless. And, with your capabilities as a young adult it becomes your responsibility to choose those opportunities which best fit with your personal and crew values and to to bring about significant positive change for the individual or organization that you serve. Service is a great place to stretch your leadership muscles.

In counting service hours, service provided as a member of the crew and as an individual are both expected. There is no expectation of Advisor approval for service provided on an individual basis. The “how and why” of the service provided by the individual is a great topic for discussion during an Advisor conference.

Service to the crew (such as for Pathfinder Award Requirement 5) is a separate service requirement for the benefit of the crew and its members and does not “count” toward accumulating service project hours as described in the handbook extract above.

Within this definition, a crew can choose to serve a Cub Scout Pack or Boy Scout Troop or District Activity. The only requirement for crew service is that the crew has to decide to define and plan its participation in advance.

Many scoutmasters express concern in having a Venturing Crew associated with the Troop. The fear is that older boys will leave the troop in favor of the crew. By offering service back to the troop as part of the crew program, not only is this fear not realized, but additional troop staff is suddenly available.

Having crew officers aware of what is going on in the district, neighboring packs and troops allows the crew to choose service hour opportunities back to those units. So does Pack 358 want Venturers to help with the hayride or other offerings? Posting the request through the district website can help.

Let your venturing officers know that they can subscribe here.

Congratulations on Awards

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From Council newsletter:

On June 13, Crossroads of America Council hosted the 33rd Annual Scouting Awards Dinner in downtown Indianapolis. Seven individuals were honored for their commitment to the community.

Merle H. Miller Eagle Scout Project of the Year Award
Alec J. Damer, [North Star] Troop 514, St Monica’s RCC

Judge John Price Outstanding Eagle Scout of the Year Award
Austin D. Damer, [North Star] Troop 514, St Monica’s RCC

Thomas W. Moses Good Scout Award
Daniel J. Elsener
Joseph W. Cardinal Tobin (immediate past boss for past North Star District Chair and Commissioner Steve James)

Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award
Dennis E. Bland
Robert L. Bowen

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
Dr. Robert M. Einterz (Parishoner at St Monica’s RCC, North Star Chartered Organziation)

Congratulations to the North Star and Troop 514 Damer boys and Dr. Bob Einterz, graduate of North Central High School.

Next year, make sure to nominate your Eagle Scouts and adult leaders for this pretigious award!