Thursday Roundtable

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This Thursday we will hold a Boy Scout  and Cub Scout roundtable. We will meet on the fourth floor of second Presbyterian church as always. The general session and district news will begin at 6:30 PM with breakout sessions beginning at 7 PM.

Merit Badge Counselor Registration Open Forum

The Boy Scout round table will focus on merit badge counseling registration, education, troop counselor list maintenance, and related troubleshooting. The district merit badge counselor registrar Mike Yates will lead the conversation. We will focus on identifying problems, solutions, and procedures for maintaining a reliable District Roster of Merit Badge Counselors and their Badges going forward.

Cub Scout New Program Review

The Cub Scout roundtable will focus on “the New Advancement Program: How’s It Going So Far?” The discussion will focus on how to improve and clarify understandings.

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Merit Badge Counselor Renewal

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Remember that Merit Badge Counselors have to be rechartered to the district like any other members of the BSA.

That means that District is still looking for updated Merit Badge Counselor lists.

Just hours remaining before the deadline on November 3, 2015, Mike Yates, our District Merit Badge Counselor Registrar, has heard from only the following troops:

  • Troop 18
  • Troop 73
  • Troop 514
  • Troop/Crew 358
  • Troop 804/Crew 408

Thank you to those troops for keeping us on schedule. Mike Yates still needs to hear from the remaining Troops and Crews. See the links above for information about what you are being asked to do.

Your Troop and Crew Key 3 were emailed further instructions on October 21st and again on November 2nd about this process.

If your MBC needs to drop or add merit badges, please read this article.

January 1, 2016: New Duty to God Requirements

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Brian on Scouting has a timely post on the new Duty-to-God requirements effective January 1, 2016. He does a good job describing the intent of the requirement and method of implementation.

Take a look. Make sure to share this article with each of your Assistant Scoutmasters, Troop/Crew Advancement Coordinator, and your regular Board of Review members.

Planning: Winter Camporee

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Since we just completed Fall Camporee, it seems odd to be writing about Winter Camporee. Unfortunately, we have only a handful of weeks until the holiday and year-end crush begin. When all are back from Christmas Break we will only have another couple of weeks.

Camporee Theme: Solicitation of Ideas

At last check, Stu was still seeking themes for the Camporee. Please let us know your thoughts.

Classes at Camporee

The District Commissioner in association with the District Training Committee will be offering several training courses again.

  1. Scoutmaster Specific Training (we will not offer Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills, which is also required for Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters, because it will be offered at the University of Scouting the week preceding camporee).
  2. For future patrol leaders and senior patrol leaders, we will be offering Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops. This is a prerequisite for White Stag/National Youth Leadership Training and is the first part of the youth leadership training continuum.
  3. Other classes requested by Troops. (Remember Den Chief training is typically offered at the University of Scouting, too.)

Events by Firecrafter and/or Order of the Arrow

Since the Firecrafter event at the Fall Camporee was very well received, both honoraries are looking at expanding their offerings. Members of our Ember and OA Chapter should be in touch with the chapters’ leadership with ideas and their availability to serve in these projects. We would like to have at least one Spark (a troop’s youth representative to the Ember) and one OA Representative from each troop to participate in planning. Ideally these are two separate scouts for position of responsibility purposes.

Planning for representation now will build on recent successes.

Cooking Competitions

Historically, camporees included a Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster Cooking Competition. We are looking for sponsorship for this event to be renewed. (Hint to Willie Gillies: the North Star Wood Badge Alumni Association.)

District Commissioner Awards

At the past Camporee, the District Commissioner announced awards for patrol system use. When the inspections were done, it was clear that the criteria were confusing and hard to implement. As a result, no announcements of the results were made, since a Scout is Cheerful.

The idea was commended for its ideals by several scouters but never on its implementation. As a result, this award will be offered again but with some revisions.

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.

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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.