Chair announces Committee agenda

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Steve and I are working on allowing him to post directly to this blog. However, WordPress is not acting as we would expect.

Steve has posted the agenda for Thursday’s meeting here.District Chairman

We hope to figure out this technical problem soon.

To make matters worse, in trying to fix the problem, I have broken the calendar and event links.  For the committee meeting to RSVP, you will hopefully temporarily have to click here.


Regional Training Chair hints at new Cub Training System

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From time to time our District subcommittee chairs receive emails providing updates on program changes within that subcommittee chair’s area of expertise. Here is an email sent out from Regional Training regarding changes to the Cub online training program:Cub Scout logo

Online Training for the New Cub Scouting Program

The online training for den leaders, Cubmasters, committee chairs and members, and chartered organization representatives [is being] updated with the help of volunteers from around the country. The new training will be divided into shorter, more targeted modules so leaders can get the training they need, in the order they want, any time they need it.

The new training is organized into time-based sections:

  1. the learning needed prior to the first meeting
  2. within the first 30 days, and
  3. training needed to be considered position-specific “trained.”

The new training will be implemented in conjunction with the BSA’s new learning management system. The anticipated timing for launching this new tool is June 30, 2015. Keep an eye on for more information.

Philmont Training Sessions for Cub Scouting Program

Cub Scout leaders have a chance to visit Scouting paradise and learn more about “Leading the New Cub Scout Adventure.” Four sessions are offered by the volunteers who designed the program and wrote the new youth handbooks and leader training materials. Visit the Philmont Training Center site to learn more.

More information about the new Cub program is available at Scouting magazine. Remember the new advancement rules are effective June 1, 2015 for all but the newly classified Arrow of Light Year Webelos. They have some options of new versus old requirements.

New Guide to Safe Scouting (2015) Announced

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BSA has announced the latest revision to the Guide to Safe Scouting (2015). This important document should be included with your scouts’ medical forms on every outing. It is available in PDF format for easy upload to mobile device (particularly when out of cellular range) or on the web, where it is updated quarterly.

Guide-to-Safe-ScoutingThis Guide is more than just the policies and procedures of the BSA. All scouters pay a small fee to BSA every year to contribute to the BSA insurance program. As I understand it, BSA is “self-insured.” This means that the BSA keeps its own pool of funds to pay on insurance claims made by Scouters and Scouts over the course of a year. The Guide to Safe Scouting not only serves to educate Scouters on how to run a safe program, but provides an outline of practices that the insurance will cover. In other words, by outlining “best practices” for scouting activities, the Guide reduces the risk that harm will come to our youth, but if harm does come while using best practices, the insurance covers the claim.

Each year, BSA studies incident reports from units, scout camps, and other sources. BSA identifies activities that have unusually high rates of incidents. The types of incidents are then considered for a re-write in the Guide.

Consequently, scouters who are familiar with each year’s revisions to the Guide to Safe Scouting are more likely to avoid problems areas. Often the issues revised in the Guide do not filter down to revised training as quickly as we would like. The Guide’s revisions then help scouters be current even before they have sat through a class.

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How do I Register as a District Scouter?

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With the influx of new Adult Applications for District, many people have questions about what a checklist of task are to be properly enrolled for District.  Here is as complete a checklist as I can determine, based on my experience in the past 45 days.

  • Adult application with all questions answered (according to recently cherry-picked Council Director of Field Services Rob Hemmelgarn, this is a Spring 2015 new point of emphasis for BSA) and both Applicant signature lines executed (i.e., (1) criminal background check authorization and (2) promise to abide by BSA policies and procedures).Adult Application graphic
    • District Position Description. In the blanks on the form, all district positions will need to be written out in longhand. No unit codes apply, so you can ignore the key in the instructions.
      • For District Committee positions, the title used should be “District Member-at-Large.” The actual district position is assigned by the District Chairman and not through this application.
      • For District Commissioner Service positions, the title should be “District Unit Commissioner” or the specific title accepted. Later adjustments will be handled in a different manner by the District Commissioner.
    • Signature of supervising District Officer.
      • In the case of applicants for all District Committee positions, the application must be signed by John Wiebke, as 2016 chairman of the District Committee.  John will be at the District Committee Meetings on first Thursday of each month and will be signing applications at that time. At other times, you contact John directly to arrange Committee applications processing.
      • In the case of all applicants for the District Commissioner Service, Jeff Heck must countersign the application. All Commissioner Service applications should be sent to Jeff directly for him to process.

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Commissioner training May 18th

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UPDATED (5/18/15 at 11:55 am): promoted to top of page.

Have you ever wondered what a commissioner is? Have you ever wanted to be trained as a commissioner?

Monday, May 18th will be your opportunity to come learned about being a commissioner. It is in opportunity to serve units. It’s an opportunity to learn more about how Scouting is supposed to work. It gives you the opportunity to see other units in action so that you can take some of these ideas back to your home unit.Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.59.45 AM

Join us at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th St., Indianapolis. We will be entering on the north side of the building at entrance six or seven. Classes for unit commissioner basic training and assistant district commissioner start at 7 PM. If you’re interested in attending, send an RSVP through the event calendar     Unit Commissioner Patch     .

Quiet tradition in North Star units

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Several units in the North Star District have quietly honored our late military servicemen.

Two separate American Legion Posts have teamed up with local scouting units to gather and give respect for military members who have died. Each gathering is a little bit different.

In Zionsville, the American Legion Post #79 hosts the scout units on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Scout at gravesitePost #79 serves as the chartered organization for Pack 105, Troop 804, and Crew 408. These units will gather together. The units will then break into teams to place flags on military graves in and around Zionsville.

In Broad Ripple, the American Legion Post #3 hosts a slightly different event on Saturday, May 23, 2015. This event is open to all scout troops, regardless of chartering organization. For the past 10-15 years Troop 18 has participated. In recent years, Pack 35 and Troop 35 have participated, too. Post #3 serves breakfast beginning at 7:00 AM at the Post, located at 6379 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46220. This Post places flags at Union Chapel Cemetery and Crown Hill Cemetery. To participate in the breakfast, the Post asks for RSVPs by Wednesday via email to Rees Morgan or by phone to (317)924-2154.

If units decide to participate in the Post #3 event, please provide statistical information at this link.  This does NOT replace the need to contact Mr. Morgan, but it does help the District Programming Committee track participation in community events.

Ordeal is less than a day away!

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Are the boys in your scout troop or venturing crew planning on attending tomorrow’s opening of our chapter’s Order of the Arrow ordeal weekend? If they received their written invitation to be a candidate for the ordeal or for brotherhood, they should plan on attending.

Existing brotherhood members of the Order should plan on attending to enjoy some time of fellowship. Please make sure to visit our chapter website to turn in your reservation.

What is Order of the Arrow? It is the official honorary society of the Boy Scouts of America. It is a unique honorary society. Candidates are elected by all the boys in their troop to become candidates for the Order.

Remember that adult scouters and youth members who have moved to our district should transfer their membership in the Order of Arrow to our chapter. Membership is based on the member’s district where his active unit is located not where the member was originally inducted.

Ordeal candidates, ordeal members, brotherhood members, and vigil honor members, join us at Camp Redwing!

District committee structure

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As we have been working to rebuild the district committee, I have learned how the Boy Scouts of America structures their committee system. It is a little bit unusual, so it is worth sharing more broadly.

Each committee in the BSA system is interlinked with more than one committee outside of itself. What does this mean?

Let’s look at one example. Since Cub Scout recruitment is going to be a major issue in the next 90 days, let’s look at the membership position on a pack committee.

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New National Council Chief Scout Executive announced

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The National Council announced the new Chief Scout Executive is Michael Surbaugh. 

Congratulations to Crossroads of America Council Chief Scout Executive Patrick Sterrett for being among the final three. We are proud of his work for us and happy it is worthy of national recognition.

May 2015 Roundtable Thank You

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On May 7, 2015, Darin Steindl our Council Assistant Director of Field Services talked to our attendees about the next six months in scouting. With Back to School Night, the new recruiting marketing campaign, popcorn sales, and council programming activities, Darin had a full offering. We had a wonderful turn out to take the message back to their units.

I would like to thank the following people for taking time out of their personal schedule and away from their units to continue their education about what council and district is scheduled to do to help improve their units.  Thank you to

Name Unit
Greg Hoyes Troop 804
Thomas Petersen Troop 804
Kurt Thomas Troop 73
Vince Hernly Troop 73
Mike Yates Troop 56
Don Bievenour Troop 56
Mike Rodriguez Troop 514
Tom Sugar Troop 358
Ron Wells Troop 343
Brian Crow Troop 343
John Ruggles Troop 343
Andrew Himebaugh Troop 343
Dan Ramsey Troop 18
Edward Spahr Troop 174
Patrick Sweeney Pack 514
Mario Clarizia Pack 358
Jason des Bordes Pack 18
Eric Hernandez Pack 175/ Troop 174
Justin Scott Ass’t District Comm’r for training

I believe a few people arrived late and we did not get them the sign-in sheet. If you know anyone whom I may have inadvertently omitted, please put it in the comments below so that they get the credit they deserve.

Thank you to Darin for having a lively and thorough discussion of the topics. Darin told us that he will make himself available to units who want to hear the same presentation.  Please contact him at the council office for additional information.

Thank you to Rob Hemmelgarn, Darin’s boss and the district’s key advisor during our reorganization, for taking the time in a hectic evening schedule for making time for North Star.

Additional information that Darin provided on popcorn sales and cub scout recruiting have been added to the previous blog posts. New blog posts about the effects on scouts with the new cub marketing, advancement programs, rocket launches, pack/family overnight campout opportunities, and new Journey to Excellence rules will be in later blog posts.