Latest Event Updates

Dates Added to Calendar

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I have been working this morning to add dates for 2018 to the blog calendar.

Remember that this is not the official calendar of the district. That is still maintained at the website. The distinction is that they can take reservations for paid events and this website cannot.

The problem is that the calendar on this website is often more responsive and complete as to a unit’s needs, so it can create confusion. We will work on improving that in the coming year.


New Foundation Fitting the Scouting Mission

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A new foundation that fits the scouting mission. Lenore Skenazy is an Eagle Scout mom from New York City. Her 2012 interview on is fascinating. The website Free Range Kids is very interesting. Her book is interesting, too.

Council Announces New Scout Executive

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From the Crossroads of America website:

Crossroads of America Council is exited to welcome JOE WILTROUT as our new Scout Executive. Wiltrout photo

Joe will be coming to us from Three Fires Council in St. Charles, IL where he currently serves as Scout Executive.

He will begin this new role in early January.  Please help us give Joe, his wife Sara, their 3 children a warm Hoosier Welcome!

Here is an excerpt from the Three Fires Council’s biography on Mr. Wiltrout:

On Nov. 3, 2014, Joseph (Joe) Wiltrout became the third Scout Executive for Three Fires Council, Boy Scouts of America. Located in St. Charles, IL, the Council serves 14,000 youth in Chicago’s western suburbs.

Joe came to Three Fires Council as an experienced, professional Scouter. Most recently, he spent three years as Deputy Scout Executive / Chief Operating Officer in the 43,000 Scout-strong Northern Star Council in Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN.

Before that, Joe spent three years as Director of Development / Chief Financial Officer at Daniel Webster Council in Manchester, NH. There, he managed a $5.2 million budget and provided leadership to several innovative special events.

Joe spent 10 years as Senior Finance Director, Field Director, and District Executive at the Atlanta Area Council, GA. He also served as Camp Director for Woodruff Scout Reservation in Blairsville, GA.

An Eagle Scout with a Bronze Palm, Joe completed Wood Badge training. He is a Vigil Order of the Arrow member. As a youth, Joe was an International Scout.

Educated at the University of Florida, Joe has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture. Married to his wife, Sara, for 23 years, they have three school-age children.

In his spare time, Joe enjoys hunting, college and professional sports, and coaching youth football.

Welcome to the Crossroads of America Council, Joe!

Governor’s Luncheon December 18th

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The 22nd Annual Governor’s Luncheon is Monday, December 18, 2017 from noon to 1:30 pm at the downtown JW Marriott Hotel.

The Governor’s Luncheon serves as the kickoff for our 2018 Friends of Scouting Campaign. Governor's Luncheon 2016

For many of our units, fundraising to support scouting is not an easy task. The leaders do not do sales for a living or uncomfortable asking for money.

The Governor’s Luncheon is an easy way for each unit to participate in fundraising. Think of all the people who support or send well-wishes to your unit. Send them an invitation to attend the Governor’s Luncheon with you.

Historically, the luncheon has been an extremely impressive event.

If you are sure that someone has already been invited and you don’t want to trouble them, submit their name at this website. They will get you a response as to whether that prospect has already been invited. If they have not, you can ask guilt-free.

When the donations are made, people you invite from your unit can designate that your unit be credited for that donation. That way you won’t ask the same person twice at the next Court of Honor or Blue & Gold Banquet.

For more answers, contact District Executive Jessica Hofman.

Help us make 2018 the best year for Friends of Scouting ever!

Final Push to Finish Recharter

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As District Commissioner, my deadline set by council to hand in all unit’s Applications to Recharter is Thursday, December 30, 2017. This includes all clean up items that have not been wrapped up.

I have been told that Council is going to be announcing that all Applications to Renew Charter and supporting paperwork must be turned in by December 15, 2017. Failure to do so will results in the entire rechartering process begin again but this time all be on paper. All adults and youth will have to complete new paper applications to re-enroll for 2018.

The reason for this rumored change is that it brings the Crossroads of America Council into strict compliance with National Council’s requirements. National Council requires that local council’s submit their own Applications to Renew Charter by December 31, 2017 to Area 6. Area 6 has been frustrated with us for years because we were regularly late.

This is the first year that our Director of Field Service Nathan Young has managed the rechartering process from beginning to end. When he joined us in 2016, he had a steep learning curve on our processes. After observing this, he has implemented several changes that have resulted in a smoother and more prompt rechartering administration.

The new deadline is not new. It is just finally be acknowledged by our Council.

Done: The following units should have no issues based on my review of their paperwork:

  • Packs 35, 64, 171, 174, 358 (Delaware Tribe), 358-2 (Miami Tribe), 358-5 (Kickapoo Tribe), 514, and 830;
  • Troops 18, 56, 72, 269, 343, 358, 512, 514,  and 804; and
  • Crews 56 and 408.

This is a total of 20 of our 39 units. Only 4 of these units have been finalized by the registrar. We are awaiting word on the rest. See previous posts for those units.

Missing Items: The following units have some missing items or miscommunications that need to be resolved before being finalized:

  • Packs 18, 72, 84, 105, 175, 179, 180, 358-3 (Munsee Tribe), 358-4 (Shawnee Tribe), and 747;
  • Troops 73, 174, and
  • Crew 358.

This is a total of 13. Jessica and I will communicating these units on remaining issues. If training is the issue, please contact us, so that we can send trainers to your next meeting or schedule a district-wide event to handle those issues. All training except scoutmasters’ Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills are online at

Rechartering Begun but No Paperwork Received: The following units have begun the computer work for rechartering but have submitted no documentation:

  • Troop 35, 69, and 180; and
  • Crew 69.

This is a total of 4 units. Troops 69 and 180 and Crew 69 have made arrangements to drop off paperwork in the next 24 hours.

These units can help expedite the process by emailing Jeff Heck or Jessica Hofman their paperwork as it exists to date, even if signatures are missing. This allows us to get a head of the process by previewing potential problems. Then you can have some reassurance that it is done properly, when it is finally delivered.

If your unit is not listed, no computer rechartering has begun. Those leaders have been in direct contact with Jessica or me, but they have not started the computer work. These units need to get the computer work done this week. We can follow up on all further supporting paperwork between today and December 15th when all items must be complete.

Thank you to those who have born the brunt of rechartering and its bureaucracy. It is a thankless but necessary job.

Reported Camping down for 2017

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One of the most important events for a scout is outdoor programming, specifically camping. The more nights of camping that a scout does the higher the probability of renewing scouting membership for the next year.

Think about it: what promise do you as a scout leader give to each new recruit? We camp.

In order to better diagnose which units are fulfilling the recruitment promise, we try to track how well units are doing in camping.

This year council-wide Cub Scout camping is down 14.29% and Boy Scout camping is down 4.72%. In North Star District, Cub Scout camping is down a mere 1.13%, but Boy Scout camping is down a whopping 10.02%.

Camping that is done through Crossroads of America Council facilities like Ransburg Scout Reservation or Camp Belzer, regardless whether summer camp or weekend camps, are automatically reported. However, any camping done outside our Council like at an out-of-state council’s facility or in a state park is not automatically reported.

If your pack, troop, or crew has camped out-of-council or on a non-BSA property, please email information about those campouts to our District Executive Jessica Hofman. If you are not sure, have your advancement coordinator send an inquiry to Jessica. She will be more than happy to research the information on file for you.

Good camping numbers suggest good programming. Good programming suggest good retention. Good retention means more lessons learned in scouting.


Unit Service Reporting

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As we are reaching year’s end, your district leadership was reviewing our reported service hours for 2017. As we have mentioned in the past, service hours reported help contribute to a worldwide goal of reporting one billion hours of scouting service hours by 2020.

Please make sure that your unit chair or your advancement coordinator (or whoever else your chair has designated to report service hours) has entered their information through’s legacy tools.

Remember these reported hours boost your Journey to Excellence score.

You will need your unit’s advancement code to login.

If you don’t have the code or just want to email your report, send an email to DE Jessica Hofman.

Just 1 scout more per unit!

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North Star District is on the verge of having district growth in youth membership for the first time in years!

We need your help to make this goal.

With just one more youth or Venturing participant per unit (over what is already reported on your rechartering additions already entered) we can make this goal.

As you are planning your year end events, make sure to ask your scouts to invite a friend to a meeting, a holiday service project, or participate in an outing (yes, this is true for Cub Scouts, too). Those one-on-one invites are the most effective way to grow scouting.

If you need help, contact District Executive Jessica Hofman. She can help you with a mailer or other literature to support a mini-membership blitz. Target a handful of families for mailings and follow ups.

We are almost there.

Incident Reporting Video

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The National Council has issued a YouTube video to help teach how a volunteer can report an incident or a near miss.

The video is only about 8 minutes, so it is worth a brief review from committee members and unit leaders (e.g., Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, and Venturing Advisors).