Why does our Troop need a Spark?

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Any scout can look at his Scout Handbook in the Eagle Requirements and see that an Order of the Arrow Representative is a position of responsibility that can help the scout fulfill a requirement.

Since Firecrafter is only a local organization, it does not appear as an option for Eagle’s position of responsibility requirement. So what is a scoutmaster to do? Does Firecrafter have representatives?

Firecrafter Logo
Firecrafter Logo

A Firecrafter representative from the troop to our district’s Ember is called a “Spark.” A Spark has similar duties to an OA Representative.

As part of the Eagle requirements, a scout can undertake a project defined by his scoutmaster as an alternative to a formal position of responsibility.

A creative scoutmaster can define the role of Spark to be such a project.

When the Ember needs help in planning for Camporee events and campfires, the Spark is the voice of the troop. When the Ember has a monthly meeting or a council event to attend, the Spark should recruit eligible Campers, Woodsmen, and Firecrafter from the troop to participate and attend.

Each troop should report to the Ember who their Spark is on a regular basis in order to facilitate communication and enrich the Ember’s efforts.

Help us build a successful Ember for our District by having the Senior Patrol appoint a Spark and having the Scoutmaster define it as scoutmaster-approved project.


Packs: Cross-over Ceremonies

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Since Order of the Arrow, the scout honorary society, provides ceremonial teams as part of its cheerful service to Cub Scout Packs, our District’s chapter needs the Packs’ assistance.

The Chapter is looking for information from the Cub Scout Packs about when their Blue and Gold Banquets or Cross-over Ceremonies will be. The Chapter needs to put these dates on their calendar as soon as possible.

The purpose of providing ceremonial teams is to provide the young Webelos with their first taste of how Boy Scouts differs from Cub Scouts. The Boy Scouts provide the ceremony, not the parents. The Boy Scouts welcome the Webelos into Boy Scouts, not the Scoutmaster. The Webelos are welcomed into the boy-led fraternity of Boy Scouts.

Since many of the ceremonial team performers are in high school, their schedules are already heavily booked. The Chapter needs scheduling information to be able to put together a team to serve your pack. The Chapter also needs to know how many performers it needs to recruit to successfully serve all interested packs.

Using an Order of the Arrow ceremonial team is not required of Cub Scout Packs, but it is strongly recommended.

Please help your OA Chapter better serve you, by sending your Blue and Gold Banquet and/or Cross-over Ceremony dates, times, and locations to District Commissioner Jeff Heck as soon as possible.

To get a feel for what a cross-over ceremony might look like, here is an example from a different chapter of what they did with the idea.

Order of the Arrow: recruiting ceremony teams

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At yesterday’s meeting, the chapter began planning for the upcoming year.

Since several of our packs are looking for Blue & Gold Banquet/Cross-over ceremonies from OA, the chapter is seeking Ordeal and Brotherhood members who wish to be part of these ceremony teams. This is a great way for a group of boy scouts to help make a more memorable experience for their Cub Scout kin. Remember, “WWW.”

Participants would be expected to attend the Lodge Winter Gathering January 8-10, 2016 at Camp Kikthawenund as part of their training.

More information at the Lodge and Chapter websites.

Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Pack 358 Cub Hayride

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Thank you to Pack 358 to opening their annual hayride to the district. I know one or two packs took advantage of the offer with resoundingly glowing compliments to the hosts.

For those packs that missed out, a good time was had by all.

Thank you to Daniel Corum for the photographs.

Packs 625 and 358 break bread together
Packs 625 and 358 break bread together
Wagons, ho!
Wagons, ho!
Father-son time
Father-son time
Hot dogs for all!
Hot dogs for all!
Cubs at play
Cubs at play
Camaraderie of the bonfire
Camaraderie of the bonfire

Baden Powell on the Purpose of the Patrol/Den

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The Patrol [or the Den] is the character school for the individual. To the Patrol Leader it gives practice in Responsibility and in the qualities of Leadership. To the Scouts it gives subordination of self to the interests of the whole, the elements of self-denial and self-control involved in the team spirit of co-operation and good comradeship.

Lord Baden-Powell, October 1936.

Hat tip to Clarke Green.

Eagle Report for North Star

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District Eagle Board Coordinator Jerry Simon submits the following report:
North Star averages about 30 new Eagles per year.
Starting in January of this year through October, 35 scouts have received their Eagle Rank. We will be doing six more in November and at least five in December.
It looks like 2015 will be a banner year for us.
Considering all the issues North Star has had trying to be a functioning district, we have great troops with great volunteers that are making Scouting happen.

A Cub Scout is Helpful

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HPack 105 trail maintenance 3ere is an article submitted by John Salewicz, Ass’t Cubmaster and Bear Den Leader of Pack 105, Den 2 (Thank you!)

During Zionsville Pack 105 Fall Camporee at Spring Mill State Park, our Cub Scouts completed a service project.   We worked with the Park’s Property Manager to determine their needs.We decided on a trail rehab project. Pack 105 Trail maintenance in action 2

They had been very short-handed this year and have not had the time nor the manpower to do the work.  During the spring and early summer months they experienced very heavy rains that washed out part of a trail they call “The Stagecoach Trail”.

This trail is a historically significant part of the area.   During the settlement era, it was the life-line to the mill.  The trail was was the only way in or out of the village.  It was used to move goods from the village. The village supplied a growing nation with corn meal and lumber. After the park opened, this trail served as the main entrance to the park until the 1960’s.

This project required us to move a tri-axle of gravel down the trail — bucket brigade style — to fill in the numerous washed out areas. This was quite the accomplishment for these Cub Scouts and Webelos.  The trail has a very steep grade
and took a lot of effort!   We were able to complete this project  in an 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Hikers will benefit from this hard work for years to come.

This is a great example for future story ideas. Keep them coming.

Hard at work!
Hard at work!

Pack 105 celebrating their successful service project.
Pack 105 celebrating their successful service project.

How much responsibility to the patrol leader?

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Many of our Boy Scout troops I have elaborate systems for keeping track of records and attendance. But even bigger question is who will be attending a weekend outing.

Many trooms rely on electronic means of collecting the information. In a recent article Frank Meynard of Bobwhite Blather suggested we may need to look at this a little bit differently. Take a look at his article for a different point of view.

Training our Chartered Org Reps

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As noted in a recent blog post, North Star District is making a big push as a part of Rechartering season to get our leaders trained for their position or reclassified to avoid the need for new training.Chartered Organization Representative patch

At this point, our Chartered Organization Representatives still are nearly 2/3rds untrained.

This is easy to fix through Council’s online training. Just follow the link, read the PowerPoint slides and report the training through the link in the training. That is it.

It will take Council nearly two weeks to update records, so print out evidence of training for Rechartering.

Who should serve on Boards of Review?

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Boards of Review can become points of contention. That is not their purpose. The best means to avoid conflict is to know the rules from the Guide to Advancement (2015) well.

Since Troops, Varsity Teams, Venturing Crews, and Explorer Posts can hold them (troops exclusively up to First Class, see sec., these are the general rules through Life rank.

Here is the key part that you need from the Guide to Advancement (2015) (underlining added for emphasis in text): Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks (or Palms)

The preceding applies to boards of review for all Boy Scouting ranks, but there are a few differences for the ranks other than Eagle, and for Eagle Palms:

  1. The board is made up of three to six unit committee members—no more and no less. In units with fewer than three registered committee members available to serve, it is permissible to use knowledgeable parents (not those of the candidate) or other adults (registered or not) who are at least 21 years of age and who understand Boy Scouting’s aims. Using unregistered adults for boards of review must be the exception, not the rule. Registered committee members familiar with the unit program, who have had a background check, and who are Youth Protection trained are preferred. Scheduling boards of review when and where committee members can attend usually alleviates the problem of not having enough committee members for a board.
  2. For a Varsity Scout team, the committee member responsible for advancement, the advancement program manager (youth), and the Coach serve on the board. Composition for Boy Scout rank or Palm boards of review held in Venturing crews or Sea Scout ships is the same as that for Boy Scout troops.
  3. One member serves as chair. The unit committee decides how he or she is chosen. The chair conducts review meetings according to BSA procedures and reports results to the unit advancement coordinator.
  4. The location should be comfortable, such as the unit meeting place, a camp, or a leader’s home.
  5. The review should take approximately 15 minutes, but not longer than 30 minutes.
  6. Ranks and Palms shall not be presented until the signed advancement report is submitted to the local council.
  7. If a Scout is to be reviewed for more than one rank (Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class), each rank should have a separate board of review. While these boards may be conducted on the same date, it is preferred—if feasible—that different members be involved on the boards to give the young man an enhanced experience and an opportunity to interact with a variety of adults.

Just run to the books where you have questions.