Camping & Outdoor Programming

Reminder: OA Election Results / Vigil Nomination Forms due March 15, 2018

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As mentioned last week:

Order of the Arrow Election results and Vigil nomination Forms are due on or before March 15, 2018.  Please email election results as well as the forms: OA Vigil Petition Form 2018 (linked here) to Mark Pishon, email

If you are having difficulty opening the Petition form using the link above, try this:



District Spring Camporee: April 20 – 22, 2018

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Our location has been confirmed!

The Spring Camporee [April 20-22, 2018] will be held at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired7725 N. College Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46240.

Unit leaders will receive the Spring Camporee Leaders Guide by COM Wednesday, March 14, 2018 via email.

The theme of the Spring Camporee is Willey’s Sirens and the focus will be on Emergency Preparedness.  Scouts will be able to earn the merit badge or pin for Emergency Preparedness.

Looking forward to a fantastic Spring Camporee!

Reminder: Please contact Troop 343 to participate in April 2 Swim Test!

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As mentioned here last week:

Any North Star units interested in sharing the April 2, 2018 Swim Test opportunity with Troop 343 should contact Brian Crow (for confirmation or even just questions!) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at

The Swim Test is being held that evening at:

MSD of Pike Township Aquatics Center

5401 West 71st Street, Indianapolis, IN 46268

Time: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.



Order of the Arrow Updates

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Updates as provided by Lowaneu Allanque Chapter of OA Advisor Mark Pishon:

Time to Pay 2018 Dues – The Link is

Jaccos Towne Lodge Update – The Lodge has asked chapters develop Brotherhood programs and ceremonies for District Camporees.  This will make it very convenient for those going for Brotherhood

OA Unit Elections – All units will be conducting OA Elections before March 15th.  Please email election results to Mark Pishon at The candidate cost to attend an OA Ordeal should not be a reason anymore for not joint Order of the Arrow.  Our lodge has established a scholarship committee for candidates to confidentially petition for financial help.  Please ask your unit Scoutmaster if there are concerns with candidates that might need assistance.

The lodge has designed a brand new lodge website so check it out at:


Please welcome new Arrowmen.  New brothers check this link out:


Jaccos Towne Lodge Spring Fellowship – March 16 to 18, 2018.
Our annual Lodge Spring Fellowship will take place March 16 to 18 at Camp Krietenstein.  This is a really fun weekend for all units to attend.  You do NOT need to be in OA and your unit will receive service hours.   The theme is TV Game Shows. Bring your best “A Game” and card skills.  Here is the link for registration:

Summer Camp Sign Up Season

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Summer camp starts in just about 90 days. Is your unit signed up? Do you have a scout who wants to go but can’t go the same week as your pack or troop?

There are promotional materials that you can use with your unit. You can use a YouTube Video (Cub Day Camp or Adventure Camp). You can request a presentation team to come in and help promote summer camp. You can print out Commitment Cards to hand out at a meeting with deposit information included.

You will need a current health form (same form for all levels of scouting), so get those appointments scheduled now before the doctors’ offices get swamped.

Campership financial aid is available for all eligible scouts. Inability to pay is no reason for a scout to miss summer camp. Speak with your unit chair to assist with this process.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

Cub Scouts

Camp Belzer Day Camp. Camp Belzer is here in Indianapolis, hidden behind Lawrence Central High School and across Fall Creek and its namesake boulevard from the Scout Center. This makes Camp Belzer a great place for a day camp. For some families it is a hop, skip, and jump away from Washington Township. For others it takes more thought, but is do-able.

It is available from June 11, 2018 to July 21, 2018. You can register your pack here. (Please make sure that you have one parent in charge of this process to avoid confusion or duplication of effort.) You can get more information on the Camp’s website.

This year is Camp Belzer’s Centennial, so you don’t want to miss the celebration! They will kickoffwith a Firecrafter Kick Off with Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb. They will have a Beler Staff Reunion on June 30, 2018 at 1:00 pm. They will have a July 4th celebration open to the public.

This is highly recommended for Tiger through Bear Cub Scouts (based on the badge they will pursue in September 2018). A Webelos option is available, too.

Camp Kikthawenund’s Adventure Camp. Adventure Camp is an overnight camp held at Camp Kikthawenund in Frankton, Indiana (north of Noblesville by 15 minutes). Adventure Camp supports and utilizes the aims and methods of Scouting as an integral part of the camp program. Adventure Camp will provide an opportunity for Wolf, Bear Webelos, and Arrow of Light Scouts to go camping at the region’s premier Cub Scout Camp. No Tag-a-long program. The eleven different sessions begin on June 10, 2018 and end on July 21, 2018. This is a 3-night/4-day program with overnight camping expected. This is highly recommended for Webelos and Arrow of Light Scouts.

Other District Day Camps. Some of our neighboring districts offer day camps. The one that might have the most potential is Sugar Creek District at Camp Cullom in Frankfort, IN the week of June 25th. If you talk real sweetly to our District Executive Jessica Hofman, she might be able to persuade her former district to allow you to participate. If there is interest in holding our own District Day Camp in the future, contact Jessica about your thoughts.

Boy Scouts

A quick overview is available on the Council website.

Camp Belzer Day Camp. Yes, Belzer has programming for Boy Scouts, too. There is a Baden Powell program that focuses on merit badge classes and Dan Beard program that focuses on completing First Class Rank. This is a great way for individual boy scouts to complete some of their required merit badges for First Class and Eagle done so that they can truly dive into the elective merit badges with their troop at Camp Ransburg or wherever else the troop goes.

Camp Ransburg. Troops can sign up and have the parents pay the camp directly and schedule the merit badge classes online. This is a week-long resident camp with the troop on Lake Monroe. If an individual scout cannot go with his troop or wants to do additional weeks, we can work with that scout to have him participate with another troop. North Star troops have been very cooperative with this “contingent scout” method of camping.

Camp Krietenstein. In Center Point, IN, near Terre Haute, Krietenstein offers a more intimate summer camp setting for scouts. It is similar to Ransburg in allowing troop options and contingent scout options.

National Youth Leadership Training (“NYLT”). Formerly known in our council as “White Stag,” NYLT is a program for youth in a troop to prepare for senior leadership in their home troop. It is “Wood Badge for Youth.” The participants spend a week in the summer (or weekends during the school year’s Spring and Fall Sessions) participating in a temporary troop. They experience each role in the life of a troop. At least two troops in the District require this training to an Senior Patrol Leader or Assistant Senior Patrol Leader: Troop 358 and Troop 56 (beginning this year). Talk to their scoutmasters about the impact of this training on their experience in managing the troop. The brochure is available here.

Camp Staff

For older scouts, you can even work at summer camp. You won’t get rich, but you will have an enriching experience. Apply now!

High Adventure

If your troop is not participating in High Adventure or you cannot make your schedule coincide, an individual scout or small sub-group of scouts can participate in High Adventure through individual programs, Order of the Arrow Programs, or as a “contingent crew member” joining another under-sized contingent from somewhere else in the country. Learn more at the individual high adventure base websites about all the options available. It’s not too late! Yes, camperships are available here, too, although travel costs are usually excluded. (Talk to us to learn how scouts overcome these problems!)

North Star District Swim Test Sponsored by Troop 343, April 2, 2018

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From Troop 343’s Brian Crow:2abd5ead-9881-4e1b-b55a-c3b04b41b660

MSD of Pike Township Aquatics Center
5401 West 71st Street, Indianapolis, IN 46268
Time: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

All North Star units interested in sharing this opportunity with Troop 343 should contact Brian Crow AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at

Each unit is responsible for administering their own swim test. There will be two Red Cross certified lifeguards provided by the Aquatic Center to sign your forms once the tests are completed.

Directions: Find your way to the main high school entrance. The Aquatic Center is just to the left of the main entrance. Enter the Aquatic Center through door 11B. After entering, adults and Scouts should enter the pool deck to the left and find their unit’s designated adult organizer. Anyone not taking the test should go through the doors to the right and up the stairs to the spectator stands.

Each unit’s designated adult organizer should arrive no later than 7:15 p.m. and check in with Brian Crow. Adults and Scouts taking the swim test should arrive ready to test with their swimsuits already on. Locker rooms will not be available for our use.

The cost per unit for the use of the Aquatic Center is $30.00. Please bring CASH to cover your unit’s portion of the cost. Brian Crow will collect the monies the night of the test.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Crow at

Council Program Director Lee Murdoch also reports that Del-Mi will be offering swim tests at Noblesville and Carmel High Schools:

Sunday April 15, 2018
Noblesville High School
18111 Cumberland Road
Noblesville, IN 46060
Entrance door # 7
Contact Adair Vaught at (317) 610-9724

Sunday May 20, 2018
Carmel High School
520 E. Main
Carmel, IN 46032
Entrance door # 21
Contact Reem Okar at or (317) 813-7094

Be advised that the rules of operation for Del-Mi are like the rules Brian Crow described for North Star’s Swim Test.

Typically Pathfinder District runs a swim test at Southport High School but Lee does not have those dates and times yet.

New Guidelines for Cub Scout Aquatics: Freedom!

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From the Council Training Committee meeting this week comes this news:


Contrary to past BSA program design, all Cub Scouts — not just Webelos — may participate in paddle sports as a pack or den; previously, they could only do so at district or council events. And, of course, Cub Scouts may continue to participate in swimming as a pack or den activity.

The Cub Scouting team worked with the Aquatics and Health and Safety committees to relax the council- or district-only requirements for paddle sports. But as adult leaders, you still must make sure that the points of Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat are incorporated, including training and staying within the BSA’s aquatics framework.

The new Cub Scout program includes one aquatics-related adventure for each rank, but you’ll notice they’re all elective, not required. That means Cub Scouts who aren’t interested in water activities are fine to stay on dry land.

Safe Swim Defense: Any time you take Scouts swimming, even if you’re going to a council event or local pool where lifeguards are present, you still need leaders trained in Safe Swim Defense.

  • You can take Safe Swim Defense online at (Click My Dashboard, then Training.)
  • You always need at least one leader trained in Safe Swim Defense — even if you’re somewhere that provides lifeguards.
  • When lifeguards are notpresent, you need additional rescue personnel trained in Safe Swim Defense.
  • Swim tests are not optional. A key part of BSA aquatics is knowing one’s limits.
  • Safe Swim Defense training is good for two years.

Safety Afloat: You are permitted to take Cub Scouts boating as a pack or den. (Previously you could only go boating with your Cub Scouts at district or council events.) But any time you take Cub Scouts boating, you need at least one leader with Safety Afloat training taken within the previous two years. At least one adult leader must be trained in first aid and CPR as well.

  • You can take Safety Afloat training online at (Click My Dashboard, then Training.)
  • For Cub Scout boating activities, the ratio of trained adults, staff members or guides to participants must be at least one to five. (For Boy Scouts, it’s one to 10.)
  • Cub Scouts must know how to swim to try paddle sports.
  • All participants must wear properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
  • Any swimming done in conjunction with the activity afloat should operate using Safe Swim Defense.

(Scuba: Cub Scouts aren’t permitted to do scuba.)

PLEAS NOTE: Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may complete requirements in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. Tiger Cubs must work with their parents or adult partners. Parents and partners do not earn loops or pins.

For more information, always look to the Guide to Safe Scouting. The online aquatics section is here.

Order of the Arrow Troop Elections

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From OA Chapter Advisor Mark Pishon:oa_seal_fullcolor

Dear North Star Unit Key 3:

The Jaccos Towne Lodge expects units to hold OA Elections prior to March 15, 2018.  Remember to have elections for youth and adults; they have different forms (see links at bottom).  We would like you to use the new forms which now include email addresses are fillable PDF documents.  My past experience tells me that a fair number of the Candidate Letters never get delivered because we can’t read your handwriting.  Please fill in the form using a computer so it is legible.

I have also attached the National Order of the Arrow Guide to Unit Elections for your ready reference.

The results should be emailed to both your LOA Chapter Adviser ( and the lodge (  All election results must be turned in by March 15, 2018.

1458We would appreciate it if you get them turned in early so we can see where we are.

Please let the OA Adviser Mark Pishon know when they are on the calendar.  LOA would like to send a representative if you do not have an OA Representative who is participating in OA Monthly meetings.

The Spring Camporee has not been fully scheduled out as of today but the dates are April 20-22, 2018.  I suspect it will be at Camp Kikthawendund..  I will let you know once we know for the Candidate Call Outs.

As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:

  • Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
  • Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
  • Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
  • Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

Through Unit Elections, worthy Scouts are recognized and elected as Ordeal candidates. Arrowmen are needed to serve on Unit Election teams in their Chapter. Contact your Chapter Chief and volunteer! Most units do their elections in the first months of the year, so contact your Chapter Chief as soon as possible. Forms are available on the Lodge’s website under Resources. Please make sure copies of Unit Elections and Adult Nominations are turned into the Lodge.

It is an Arrowman’s responsibility to help promote camping through his unit, district, and council. This may be done through camp promotions to Cub Scout and Boy Scout units. Information and resources are available from the Council to help you make presentations on camping opportunities in the Crossroads of America Council. Doing a unit election and camp promotion at the same time for Boy Scout units is an efficient way of offering cheerful service and helping both the BSA and the OA!

Yours in Brotherhood,

Mark Pishon
LOA Chapter Adviser
Cell 317.374.2262

Download his attachments here:

  1. 2018 and 2019 OA and Firecrafter Calendar v2
  2. GuideToUnitElections2017
  3. OA Elections 2018
  4. OA-Inductions-AdultCandidateForm
  5. OA-Inductions-Unit ElectionForm2018-fillable

Stories and the Child’s Developing Mind

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As I have noted before, my latest obsession is Professor Jordan Peterson. His recent book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is a tour de force in offering a way to live a good life. This is not the normal self-help book. This is the work of a deep philosophical thinker, practicing psychologicology research professor, practicing clinical psychologist, and practicing lecturing professor. He thinks about people, studies psychology, uses psychology, and teaches about people and psychology. For example, he understands that knowing what the rules of life and being able to follow them are not the same thing. It takes practice to be an actively moral person.

To that end, his fifth rule is “Do Not Let your Children Do Anything that Makes You Dislike Them.” He opens the chapter this way,

RECENTLY, I WATCHED A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy trail his mother and father slowly through a crowded airport. He was screaming violently at five-second intervals— and, more important, he was doing it voluntarily. He wasn’t at the end of his tether. As a parent, I could tell from the tone. He was irritating his parents and hundreds of other people to gain attention. Maybe he needed something. But that was no way to get it, and his parents should have let him know that. You might object that “perhaps they were worn out, and jet-lagged, after a long trip.” But thirty seconds of carefully directed problem-solving would have brought the shameful episode to a halt. More thoughtful parents would not have let someone they truly cared for become the object of a crowd’s contempt.

Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Kindle Locations 2377-2383). Random House of Canada. Kindle Edition. In the chapter he goes on to explain that making a child welcome in the world-at-large is a big job for parents. If the parents like the child, because the child is well-behaved, when the child visits others’ homes or places of business, adults will greet the child warmly. This warm reception will make the child more likely to be well-behaved. Well-behaved kids tend to have an easier time making friends their own age. They are happier and more connected socially. Since we are social animals, this is important.

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Female Athletes’ Emotional Development in College

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In the Washington Post, from last year that I have been meaning to write about, a fascinating article about emotional isssues that kids in college are facing. The focus of the article that the title suggest the emphasis is on women’s college sports. The content is far broader, even though the persons interviewed are women’s college coaches and affiliate personnel.

One strong passage caught my eye.

Talk to coaches, and they will tell you they believe their players are harder to teach, and to reach, and that disciplining is beginning to feel professionally dangerous. Not even U-Conn.’s virtuoso coach, Geno Auriemma, is immune to this feeling, about which he delivered a soliloquy at the Final Four.

“Recruiting enthusiastic kids is harder than it’s ever been,” he said. “. . . They haven’t even figured out which foot to use as a pivot foot and they’re going to act like they’re really good players. You see it all the time.”

Some of the aspects emphasized apply equally well to scouters working with scouts.

It doesn’t take a social psychologist to perceive that at least some of today’s coach-player strain results from the misunderstanding of what the job of a coach is, and how it’s different from that of a parent. This is a distinction that admittedly can get murky. The coach-player relationship has odd complexities and semi-intimacies, yet a critical distance too. It’s not like any other bond or power structure. Parents may seek to smooth a path, but coaches have to point out the hard road to be traversed, and it’s not their job to find the shortcuts. Coaches can’t afford to feel sorry for players; they are there to stop them from feeling sorry for themselves.

Coaches are not substitute parents; they’re the people parents send their children to for a strange alchemical balance of toughening yet safekeeping, dream facilitating yet discipline and reality check. The vast majority of what a coach teaches is not how to succeed but how to shoulder unwanted responsibility and deal with unfairness and diminished role playing, because without those acceptances success is impossible.

Here is a key conclusion.

The bottom line is that coaches have a truly delicate job ahead of them with iGens. They must find a way to establish themselves as firm allies of players who are more easily wounded than ever before yet demand they earn praise through genuine accomplishment.

From this article we can draw a couple key conclusions:

  1. In our role as scouters, we can help prepare our scouts, boys and girls, for their college experience. We can teach them to deal with “unwanted responsibility” such as cleaning up after dinner or cleaning the latrine and with “unfairness” such as being assigned camp tasks too many times when others have not had their rotation.
  2. We can be the “toughening yet safekeeping, dream facilitating yet discipline and reality check” that is parents to provide for their own kids.
  3. We can be “firm allies” of scouts “who are more easily wounded than ever before yet demand they earn praise through genuine accomplishiment” such as rank advancement, BSA Life Guard training, mile swim patch, or high adventure.