Camping & Outdoor Programming

Fall Camporee 2017 Report

Posted on Updated on

On Sunday, August 13, 2017, the Camporee Committee met to discuss the upcoming camporee at the Lafayette, Indiana Subaru Plant. This camporee will include a plant tour Friday evening. The tours will leave at three different times throughout the evening. The last tour will end close to midnight.

SAI Facility
Overview picture of entire Subaru Automotive of Indiana campus
Subaru plant overview
Zoom in on recreational area where camporee will focus

The plant will be shutting down at midnight for a two-week line maintenance cycle. Consequently, the timing for when we can tour is extremely tight.

This means that troop arrivals will be pressed against the need to go on the tour.

Each troop’s Key 3 (COR, chair and scoutmaster) should have received emails with more details on planned events (like plan tours) and possible events (like merit badge topics addressed). Here is the information shared before the meeting. Updates are forthcoming.

The meeting had a lively debate about the balance between patrol competitions, advancement, and participating in unique scouting events. These all reflect adult opinions or second-hand information from scouts transmitted through adults.

All scoutmasters encouraged to talk to their Patrol Leader Council about what their members like to see in camporee.

Subaru offers a lot of opportunity for merit badge work on Automotive Maintenance and Traffic Safety with a dolop of Truck Transportation. While these are all possible, some troops’ adults expressed concern that advancement would push aside patrol competition. The committee took those concerns to heart and is looking at how competitions could be used to complete some of the merit badge work simultaneously. Essentially making learning fun.

There were a lot more details shared at the meeting, so expect more information in the coming weeks. This is just a quick report and summary.

If you have feedback, please share it with the camporee committee and make sure that you have a representative at the next camporee committee meeting (scheduling forthcoming).

Cubs can canoe!

Posted on Updated on

New aquatics rules now in effect – Bobwhite Blather:

In April of this year, however, the rules for Cub Scout aquatics changed to allow a range of activities permitted at the unit level. And while most water activities – the more rigorous and risky ones – are still restricted to Boy Scouts and older, Cub Scouts of all ages can now go canoeing, rowboating and paddle boating – the very things they’ve been doing with their families all along. (And yes, I know some of you have been boating as a purportedly unaffiliated “family” activity to get around the BSA’s safety rules.)

There’s always a catch, though, but it’s not a big deal and isn’t anything you wouldn’t expect. While we no longer have tour permits or tour plans, the requirements for adult leaders to be appropriately trained are still in force. There are two primary unit volunteer training courses for aquatics, and they’re both available online: Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat.

At least two adults are required to supervise any swimming activity – at backyard, public and hotel pools, beaches, lakes, rivers and oceans, whether or not a lifeguard is present. Safe Swim Defense training, completed within the last two years, is required of at least one adult supervising swimming activities, or even non-swimming activities where the water is over knee-deep or there is a risk of submersion. Common sense, though, dictates that as many adults as possible should complete Safe Swim Defense training – and it should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that they complete Youth Protection Training as well. All boating activities likewise must be supervised by at least two adults, one (and preferably all) with current Safety Afloat training.

Now that you’re trained, what can Cub Scouts actually do on the water? Here’s a summary of allowable activities for Cub Scout packs:

Learn to Swim programs for all ages.
Recreational swimming for all ages, divided by ability groups, with only those who are able to swim (who have passed the BSA 100-yard swim test) allowed in deep water.
Snorkeling in confined areas for all ages, divided by ability groups. Only swimmers are allowed in deep water.
Riding in large boats including commercial marine transport such as excursion boats and ferries, as well as larger (capacity of four or more passengers) privately-owned craft on calm waters where all operation is done by adults.
Stable, fixed-seat rowboats and paddle boats on calm, flat water. If a non-swimmer or beginning swimmer is on board, he must be buddied with a swimmer in the same boat.
Canoes on calm, flat water. A non-swimmer or beginning swimmer must be buddied with an adult swimmer in the same boat.
Single-person kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on calm, flat water for swimmers only (non-swimmers or beginning swimmers are not allowed to kayak or SUP).
Tubing on gently-flowing water for Swimmers only.
Don’t forget about the rule requiring that Coast Guard-approved life jackets are to be worn by persons when engaged in boating activities (rowing, canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding) and in some cases aboard larger vessels as well.

Cub Scout Roundtable Thursday

Posted on

School is ending and the summer is here!

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner PatchAnd we know what that means: Summer Camp!

Whether you’re taking your boys to Belzer or Camp K… whether it’s your first year or you’re a seasoned pro… join us this Thursday evening, 7:00 PM, at Luke’s Lodge (outbuilding on the campus ofSt. Luke’s Methodist Church, 100 West 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260) for the North Star District Cub Scout Roundtable.

We’ll be discussing both Summer Camps, and what you as a leader should know and expect.

If you are new, come learn some of the ins and outs.

If you are a veteran, come and share the tips and tricks that you’ve learned over the years with other leaders.Canoeing at Belzer

We hope to see many of you there!

Wrap up of Spring Camporee 2017

Posted on

Our Winter Camporee 2017 in t-shirts and shorts was followed by our Spring Camporee 2017 in hats and gloves. Oh, the joys of Indiana seasons!

Here are some thoughts from camporee staff afterward.

(MORE TO COME. WATCH THIS SPACE FOR UPDATES AS THEY COME.)

Clarifications from Lodge Chief on Out-of-Council Ordeals

Posted on Updated on

Lodge Chief James Colter emailed today to emphasize that going out of council is only an option if specific, “extenuating circumstances” cause the need to go out-of-council — to another lodge’s ordeal. He uses the example of a religious obligation. While we have tried to emphasize this point, we never used the phrase “extenuating circumstances.” If you do seek to go out of council, know that your letter requesting to go out-of-council must describe the nature of this extenuating circumstance. Inadequate explanation of the extenuating circumstance or an inadequate basis are both good cause for the request to be denied. Reading between the lines,

I sense that a conflicting extracurricular activity may not meet the extenuating circumstances test. In that case, you can write the letter and try to get it approved, but start with a pessimistic expectation. A religious prohibition or conflicting date is likely to be accepted with no questions asked. For example, my son had his confirmation Sunday on the day of his first opportunity to attend chapter ordeal, although he made Lodge Ordeal. Remember, just because the scout cannot make chapter ordeal, he will still have September’s Lodge Ordeal. Letters describing extenuating circumstances should deal with scheduling conflicts for both offered ordeals in order to be complete.

In our previous post, we told leaders to gather information about the scheduling conflict. This information just clarifies that this same information about extenuating circumstances needs to be in the letter requesting an out-of-council ordeal in order for permission to be granted by either lodge.

Order of the Arrow Unit Award of Excellence

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on

UPDATE 4/26/17: Lodge Chief James Colter emailed today to emphasize that going out of council is only an option if specific, extenuating circumstances cause the need to go out-of-council. While we have tried to emphasize this point, we never used the phrase “extenuating circumstances.” If you do seek to go out of council, know that your letter requesting to go out-of-council must describe the nature of this extenuating circumstance. Inadequate explanation of the extenuating circumstance or an inadequate basis are both good cause for the request to be denied.


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

Posted on Updated on

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

UPDATED 4/26/17: Lodge Chief James Colter emailed today to emphasize that going out of council is only an option if specific, extenuating circumstances cause the need to go out-of-council. While we have tried to emphasize this point, we never used the phrase “extenuating circumstances.” If you do seek to go out of council, know that your letter requesting to go out-of-council must describe the nature of this extenuating circumstance. Inadequate explanation of the extenuating circumstance or an inadequate basis are both good cause for the request to be denied.


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 »