BREAKING NEWS: We have a district executive!

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This afternoon, Friday, May 22nd, Council Director of Field Services Rob Hemmelgarn announced the appointment of Cornellius “Con” Sullivan as the new North Star District Executive. Con will begin work with the Council and District immediately after Memorial Day.

Con met with District Chair Steve James and District Commissioner Jeff Heck this morning. Both gave Con glowing recommendations.

Con is an Eagle Scout from Pathfinder’s Troop 107. He served for four years as one of their youth leaders, including at least one term as SPL.

He is a graduate of Ball State and has a master’s degree in public administration.

He was the president of his college fraternity and instrumental as chapter president in helping the colony obtain its permanent charter with BSU. He has served as a political campaign chairman for a congressional candidate.

Con has done a lot in his few years on this earth.

Please let him know how excited we are to have him!

Guiding scouts via questions

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For many younger parents today, the 1970’s hit detective drama Columbo is ancient history. Every episode had a scene something like this:

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Article about Importance of Roundtable Attendance

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There are a handful of very valuable websites for adult scouters outside of the official BSA websites. One that should be a special focus for Unit Committee Members is Bobwhite Blather. This is recent written by a long-time Troop Committee Chair.

In a recent article, Bobwhite Blather talks about the important of Roundtable attendance and its effect on the unit.

I would recommend sharing the article with all of your adult leaders in your Pack, Troop, or Crew.

Why is scouting unique in its continual success in raising reliable men?

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Good men don’t automatically raise themselves. Think of the Lord of the Flies or other dystopian stories. You will see stories straying far from the Scout Law.

The internet tells us that Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” (As a historian, I have searched electronically all the Douglass primary sources I can to find that quote in context and to cite its true source. No luck. I fear this quote is as accurate as Ben Franklin’s old adage, “Everything on the Internet is true.”) From personal observation, many would agree with Douglass.

The famous researcher Abraham Maslow demonstrated that successful people meet their physical needs before meeting their psychological needs. Once physical and psychological needs are met, academic curiosities can be pursued. Once an intellectual self-assurance is reached, it is easier for a man to face deprivations of food, shelter, and water.   Read the rest of this entry »

Schedule Cub Leaders for Training

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This summer is going to be busy in preparation for our unified Back to School Night for Scouting on August 27, 2015. That means that the District will be stretched thin in August and September trying to serve all of our Cub Packs.

In preparation for an expected large influx of new Cub Scouts, District is emphasizing the need to train our Cub Leaders as early as possible to avoid the September rush of new leaders (which will also be required for Fall Rechartering).Cub Scout logo

Council is offering Cub Leader position specific training at the Golden Burke Scout Service Center on August 4th, August 12th, September 1st, September 8th, September 22nd, October 6th, and October 13th.

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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 my.scouting.org 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     .