Camping & Outdoor Programming

Order of the Arrow Unit Award of Excellence

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Do you ever tire of recognition for your adults or streamers for your troop flag? If not, I have some additional opportunities for you.

In an effort to promote the Order of the Arrow, the National Boy Scout Honorary Society, the National Council has created the OA Unit Award of Excellence. Related to the unit award are separate recognitions for the youth OA Troop Representative (or Crew Representative), the scoutmaster, and the Assistant Scoutmaster tasked woa_seal_fullcolorith OA liaison responsibilities. (Both the troop rep and ASM have special position of responsibility patches.)

To learn more about these awards, take a look at the record sheet on the OA website.

Roundtable: Dream Big, Good Programming

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At April’s Roundtable we focused on the importance of Big Dreams to Good Programming. Boys join scouts for the programming: camping, games, and fun. They don’t join for to sit in meetings or to sit in classes.

We discussed how to make programs that excite the boys.

Take a look at the video for a quick review of the discussion. We went longer than the video, but you can see the overall vision that we proposed.

Share this video with your unit so that you can all be on the same page.

We also referenced thre every good links on the BSA website which were:


I also recommend using the PowerPoints on these pages to lead off your planning. It shares many of the same points, but with a briefer format.

OA Lodge Chief Interview UPDATED

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Due to the confusion over the Order of the Arrow Ordeals in 2017, I spoke with Jaccos Towne Lodge Chief James Colter. We wanted to make sure that some of the confusion could be laid to rest in advance of this weekend’s Tap-Out Ceremony at the Spring Camporee at Camp Ransburg.

First things first: there will be a Fall Lodge Ordeal in 2017. More on that in a minute.

James Colter
2017 Lodge Chief James Colter

James is the current chief of Jaccos Towne Lodge, that covers all of the Crossroads of America Council. James comes from Troop 335 in North East District.  He is currently a student at Ball State University. As such, he also serves a troop in Golden Eagle District while at school.

Each Council has one and only one Lodge. A lodge can then be divided into chapters. North Star District has its own chapter.

James also shared with me that he was elected secretary of Section C6A for Order of the Arrow. This is Area 6 of the Central Region of the BSA, of which A is a subdivision.

James explained to me that the Ldoge is trying to redesign its programs so that stronger chapters can help support struggling chapters. Part of this plan is to have chapters carry out more of their efforts together. While Council’s overall restructing into three section, Lodge is following a completely different alignment of chapters based on the characteristics of the chapters, not their georgraphy.

From May 19 to 21, 2017, the Lowaneu Allanque (LOA) Chapter of North Star will be joining with the Kickapoo (KPO) of Wabash Valley District (Terre Haute area), the Tatankaskah (TAK) Chapter of Sugar Creek District (Crawfordsville area), and the Wundchenneu (WUN) Chapter of Hou Koda District (Plainfield area). This will be held at Camp Krietenstein a/k/a Camp K West.

Read the rest of this entry »

OA Ordeal participation UPDATED

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UPDATE 4/19/17: For newer information see article posted April 18, 2017. with an interview of the Jaccos Towne Lodge Chief James Colter.

As the Order of the Arrow tap-out ceremony is coming up at Spring Camporee, Scoutmasters are looking ahead to when and where the Ordeal ceremonies will be.

This year the Council’s Lodge has chosen to have all districts’ OA chapters hold their Ordeals on the same weekend: May 19-21, 2017. (Our LOA chapter is with Central Section at Camp Krietenstein.) For families with scheduling conflicts, this presents a problem.

Remember ordeal candidates must complete their Ordeal within 12 months of being tapped-out for candidacy. Otherwise the offer of membership expires. The scout then has to be re-elected to candidacy.

There is traditionally a Lodge Ordeal in the fall. On the current calendar it shows at September 15-17, 2017. UPDATE: 4/16/2017: Chapter Advisor Mark Pishon is being told from the Lodge that no Lodge Ordeal will be held, despite the calendar. Both Jaccos Towne Lodge Chief James Colter and Council Director of Programs Lee Murdoch confirm that there will be a Fall Lodge Ordeal as posted on theLodge website. More details in my upcoming interview with James this week.

Regardless whether there is a Lodge Ordeal, some families will still have scheduling conflicts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Swim Test Monday

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Don’t forget that Monday, April 17 is the swim test at Pike High School’s Aquatics Center.

See this article for more details2abd5ead-9881-4e1b-b55a-c3b04b41b660 and Update on North Star Swim Test.

Ember Meeting Postponed due to Spring Break

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From Ember Advisor Greg Hoyes:

Do to many people being on Spring Break, April’s Ember meeting will be on April 9th, instead of April 2nd. We know that still not miss everyone on Spring Break, but hopefully some people will still be able to attend on the new meeting date.
Hope to you everyone a week from Sunday.
Yours in the Fire

Greg Hoyes XXX

North Star Ember Adviser

Update on North Star Swim Test

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From Swim Test Coordinator Brian Crow:

Please find see linksbelow regarding the upcoming Swim Test at the Pike Aquatic Center on Monday, April 17, 2017.
To date, I have only heard from four Troops (56,69, 73, 343) and one Venture Crew (1121).
And a great big “Thank You” shout out to Jerry Ritchie from Troop 343 for coordinating all of this with the Pike Aquatic Center!!

Swim Tests Outside of District

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If your unit is looking for swim tests outside of the April 17th North Star District Swim Test, fear not, we have you covered.

  1. Noblesville High School April 23, 2017 18111 Cumberland Road Noblesville, IN; 1:00pm—5:00pm
  2. Southport High School April 29th, 2017 971 E. Banta Indianapolis, IN
    8:00am – 11:30am
  3. Carmel High School May 21, 2017 520 E. Main Carmel, IN;

For more information, click here.

Spring Camporee Update

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From Mark Pishon, Spring Camporee Chair:

Dear Troop Key 3 and Camporee Adult Volunteers:

There is a Camporee Meeting this Sunday, April 2, 2017 most likely at St. Luke’s Lodge from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.  [Confirmation from church on room reservation still pending.] Please have a troop representative there.

Registration is open at this link.

Remember the troop registration deadline is Midnight April 3, 2017 for shooters.

The updated Committee Work Plan is attached.

The updated Flyer and Patch is attached to use in you communications.

The Spring Camporee Committee needs 3 things from each troop by April 4, 2017 (Email: mpishon@gmail ).

  1. Top 3 Campsite Preference
  2. Name of an Adult Volunteer that will support North Star on Saturday (one minimum per troop).
  3. Select at least one of these troop assignments:
  • Saturday Morning Flag
  • Saturday Flag Lowering
  • Scouts Own Service
  • Troop to feed range and orienteering volunteers (16)
  • Friday Campfire
  • Saturday Campfire

Yours in Scouting,
Mark Pishon
Spring Camporee Chair
North Star District
Cell 317.374.2262

Shoot the Moon Overview PowerPoint

Spring Camporee Planning Summary 3_21_2017 Update

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