Latest Event Updates

Sox Report week 7

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Making My.Scouting.Org Useful

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Over the next several days, BSA is going to continue moving more and more of its access to ScoutNet database for its volunteers from myscouting.scouting.org to my.scouting.org.

One of the most important benefits of the new system is that it delegates more control over data to the volunteer corps.

This means that it is important that each unit be aware that it can update information. Once aware, the unit needs to update the information.

To begin the process, you need to know your username and password. It is the same one that you used on myscouting.scouting.org. (If you do not have an account there, you will need to register there first.) If you have never logged in to my.scouting.org, you will have to complete the registration transfer process first. Once you are logged in, continue with the instructions below. (For a slightly older video showing the process, click here.)

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Volunteering at State Fair Scout Base Camp

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UPDATE 7/21/15: Michelle Carroll has had Del-Mi’s Troop 303 and Pioneer’s Crew 359 take charge of one full day’s calendar. She is begging for similar support from other units. So only August 8th and 9th are covered completely.
The following is a request for volunteers from Council’s Michelle Carroll, the State Fair Scout Base Camp Chair.
For some of you that have worked at Base Camp in previous years, I hope that you will consider volunteering again this year. I like to consider all of you my “seasoned pros.” If you have not worked Base Camp before, it is a great way to interact with the public through hands-on activities that tie into scouting. Sign-up is easy (online), and we are throwing in something new this year for our volunteers. The sign-up times on the link are going to be adjusted, so I will include the new times in this email.
What I am needing from all of you is to please pass along the following information to your troop/crew. It will include what they need to know about the Base Camp, what is required of them, and a few guidelines that must be followed. Feel free to copy/paste the following into a group email, post it to your troop website, or print it as a hand-out for one of your meetings. By sending out this email, you are helping me to reach out to over 340 units, which saves me from having to make phone calls to each and every troop and crew in the Crossroads of America Council.

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REMINDER: Thursday’s Recruiting Rally at Victory Field

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Remember that all Cub Scout Packs should have a representative attend the Recruiting Rally at Victory Field downtown west of the Convention Center on Maryland and Missouri Avenues this Thursday, July 16, 2015. Food is served but that required an RSVP last Monday. Now it is an open house, but no additional food reservations are being accepted.

The Rally starts at 7:00 p.m. Adventure

Your Pack representative will receive the recruitment package that you will need to run the August 27th sign up including paperwork, yard signs, and rockets.

Scout Troops and Venturing Crews are encouraged to send a representative. While the bulk of the recruitment goes to Cub Packs, Troops and Crews can learn how they can help support their sister Packs. We have over thirty elementary schools to staff on August 27th and only 18 Cub Packs. We need Troops and Crews to help cover the balance of the schools that night. We also need volunteers to present “Boy Talks” at the elementary schools. Troops and Crews would be wonderful in this effort.

Remember, Troops, most of your future recruits come from Webelos. If we don’t recruit Cub Scouts aggressively today, your Troop will fewer recruits in the near future. Your help is critical now. For more information on the plan, read this article.

The District Executive Con Sullivan, District Chair Steve James, District Commissioner Jeff Heck, many Unit Commissioners will be in attendance. This is a great opportunity to ask questions.

District Training: Merit Badge Counselors

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Merit Badge Counselors are a unique animal in scouting. They often focus on working with only one troop or crew, yet they are members of District Staff. District Staff is a group that serves all units in the district. So, Merit Badge Counselors are under the auspices of District and not their home units.

The significance of this is that it is District’s job to maintain an adequate roster of trained and qualified Merit Badge Counselors. To do this, we ask each Scout Troop and Venturing Crew to have an adult leader responsible for maintaining the unit’s roster of Merit Badge Counselors. Then that registrar should be in regular contact with the District Merit Badge Counselor Registrar Mike Yates. Mike maintains the official list.

This week I am sending out a request to all merit badge counselors enrolled but who do not have their Merit Badge Counselor Orientation completed. This email will point out the need for training and offer them various dates and times to complete the training. Council offers the orientation the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. We will offer the training at Roundtable in August, too. Unfortunately that means that it will be offered at exactly the same time.

We are currently planning the upcoming District training schedule. Merit Badge Counselors will be one of our primary points of emphasis.

If you would prefer to offer a Merit Badge Counselor training within your own unit’s meeting schedule, we will be happy to assist you in setting that up. This is often the best way to recruit new counselors: have a parent-training session covering YPT and MBC training in one sitting.

There is no online training for this training yet.

Please review your unit’s Merit Badge Counselor training status at my.scouting.org. Encourage your counselors to be trained. If you expected someone to be a Counselor but they are no longer registered, refer to this article for more information.

Encouraging Advancement

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This past spring, my nephew joined a troop in Cincinnati’s Dan Beard Council. Since it was his first troop summer camp, my son and I drove over to surprise him.

It was a very interesting experience. It was my first time visiting Camp Friedlander. In fact, most of my scouting experience has been in the Crossroads of America Council, especially North Star District. This visit allowed me to see some new takes on scouting.

Advancement Board at Camp Friedlander
Advancement Board at Camp Friedlander

One of the surprises was a simple system for encouraging advancement. My nephew’s troop has an advancement board. The entire free time after lunch, scouts were hovering around the board, adding their own white tiles, moving the white tiles to reflect in-camp boards-of-review completed, and otherwise planning their advancement plans for the week.

The scoutmasters had encouraged the new scouts to take a white “tile” (a small piece of wood painted white) and use colored Sharpie pens to customize their tile. Hooks and eyes were set into the tiles to allow them to hang properly.

No adults were prompting advancement conversations, but the campsite was buzzing with plans. The troop had made clear that Scoutmaster Conferences were being held Wednesday and Boards of Review on Thursday. This chance for immediate advancement and the privilege of moving the tiles quickly helped further the drama.

In the electronic age, we tend to forget old tools sometimes work best. Our own Troop 35 has the privilege of a dedicated room 34715for scouting. As a result, they have one of the old-school advancement charts hanging on the wall. (Generic and Cub Scout and Boy Scout specific charts are available.) Each boy can easily see his own progress. In my short visit in June, I saw several scouts go over and read the chart to find out where they and their fellow scouts stood.

If you want to encourage advancement, find a way to put advancement before the boys in writing. They will tend to think about advancement more often.

District Training Problems: Committee Challenge

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As I have described in a previous post, our District’s position with the least amount of training is our unit committee members. Ironically, they are among the easiest to train. All of their training (Youth Protection, This is Scouting, and Troop Committee Challenge) is online. The entire process can be done in about an hour for a fast reader. Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.56.14 AM

They will need a login username and password. They will also be better served if they enter their BSA Council Number andMember ID in the system’s Profile. When you ask a Committee Member of any unit to get their training, please look at the Rechartering paperwork, the training reports on either my.scouting.org or myscouting.scouting.org. Then give them their member number, preferably by email for easy retrieval. You will save everyone headaches.

You can also send them a link to this article. I have attached at this link to a step-by-step guide for logging into the system and taking the Troop Committee Challenge. The same process is used for the Pack Committee Challenge and the Venturing Committee Challenge.

Please give us your feedback on how to improve these instructions.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.58.57 AMWe would like to have 100% of our committee members fully trained by Recharter time in October.

Sox Report: Week 6

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IMG_1323We have nearly 150 Firecrafter candidates popping sparks at Camp Ransburg.  I am going visiting to Camp Krickenstein next week. Maybe we can get them added to to the count, too.

Don’t forget tomorrow’s Mid-Summer Ritual!

This Thursday: Roundtable and Chartered Org Rep Training

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District Commissioner Jeff Heck encourages all units to send adult leaders to Roundtable. Former Cubmaster for Pack 105 and current Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 358 Tom Sugar will be leading a discussion on Cub recruitment.

Cub Scout logoTom was instrumental in recruiting in Pack 105 when it started a few years ago. Tom put a heavy dose of outdoor experiences into his Cub programming. As a result, he used the outdoor experiences as part of the Pack’s marketing.

Come be a part of the conversation about Cub and Scout recruiting. Learn how to tell your story about what you do in a way that is interesting and persuasive to both boys and parents.

After the 6:30 p.m. general session for open conversations, Tom will start with his discussions.Chartered Organization Representative patch

Also, Chartered Organization Representative Training (#D72) will be held after the general session. (Estimated start time 7:00 p.m.) This training is required for all Chartered Org. Reps. Please makes sure that your Chartered Org Rep is aware of this session and either has plans to attend or has contacted the District Commissioner to let the Commissioner Service know your Chartered Org Rep’s availability for another training session.

Chartered Org Reps have not been actively participating in the North Star District for the last few years. Our theory is that part of this low participation is that our units and the District have not made a concerted effort to train them on what the position’s responsibilities are. This training will help to begin remedying this problem.

The Chartered Org Rep is supposed to supervise all scouting activities for the chartered organization. The Chartered Org Rep is sometimes jokingly referred to as the Chief Scouting Officer of the Chartered Organization. The Rep should be supervising the units and actively participating in appointing a unit chair. The Rep should be attending District Committee meetings as the Chartered Organization’s representative to District and to Council.

Please help us encourage our Chartered Org Reps know how important training is for the health of your unit and your chartered organization.trained patch

Training Report Updates

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Over the last several years, our District’s training records have not been kept at the highest quality. Consequently, many scouters have reported to me that their records are incomplete.

Please make sure to login in to the new http://my.scouting.org to review your training record’s completeness. If you have training completed that is not reflected in the record, please contact your unit commissioner listed on the same website. If you are not sure who the unit commissioner is after reviewing the website, contact District Commissioner Jeff Heck for a referral.

We are still beta testing the extent of our ability to update the records without the Council Registrar’s intervention. However, if we are aware of the specific problems that you are having, it is much easier to figure what we can do for you.

For us to be able to make any updates, we will need some documentation to support the training being completed. Most instructors issue the required Certificate of Completion. We can accept those. If you do not have such a certificate and you attended University of Scouting or the old Cub Scout Pow-Wows, you can give us a transcript of those classes taken.

Please be especially attentive if you have taken Wood Badge, position-specific training for the position you now hold, your current Youth Protection Training class, and the Train-the-Trainer class called Trainer’s Edge.

These training records are important for facilitating Rechartering and maintaining a quality experience for the youth in our district.