Recruitment of “Mystery House”

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Update 8/20/15: mystery house filled! Thank you!
This just came in from Council’s Development Director Leslie Anderson:

I need your quick help with a fun, last minute request.

We would like to have 1 mystery house in each district during the popcorn sale.

We will promote clues to the mystery house in each of the e-newsletters.

The mystery house prize is GUARANTEED $50 POPCORN SALES!
Once a Scout finds the mystery house, we will communicate that it has been found in that district in the e-newsletters.

This will also help promote TAKE ORDER SALES!

Will you find someone in your district that will agree to buy $50 worth of popcorn from the first Scout that knocks on his/her door?

 I need 5 clues to that person’s home (and the name & address of that person), and I need them by next Thursday, August 6th.   (Sorry for the late notice!!)

Popcorn 2015 logoSample clues:

  • Near a school or RR crossing
  • Red door
  • White picket fence
  • East side of town / county / city name
  • 2 white pillars

We need 5 clues because there will be 5 e-newsletters during the sale.   The most general clue will come first and move towards the more specific clues.

Will you help?

If you have a person who would be willing to be the “mystery house,” please contact Jeff Heck at


Beta Test: Commissioners’ Coffee Hours

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With our busy schedules in the evenings and family commitments, it is often difficult to take an evening when youth are not present. The Roundtableis supposed to be an evening meeting to have an open forum to discuss unit improvement and management.

District Commissioner Jeff Heck is experimenting with a modern twist adaptation of Roundtables, Commissioner Coffees. (Coffees do not replace but supplement Roundtables. No attendance credit for Adult Leaders’ Key Awards are eligible.)

The agenda will be free-form and driven by attendees. If scouters wish to do nothing but story swap, that is fine. If you have questions or concerns that need to be shared one-on-one with a commissioner, the loose format will easily accommodate break away discussions, like an office-hours with a college instructor.

We expect attendees will head straight to work, so no uniforms.

Come see us at Paneras across from Brebeuf on Tuesday, August 11th from 7:30 am to 9:00 am, open house format. (Open house means come when you can.)

Or see us at Cornerstone Cafe at 54th and College (east end of Moe & Johnnie’s) on Wednesday, August 19th from 7:45 am to 9:00 am, open house format.

Or finally, see us downtown on Tuesday, August 25 at 7:30 AM to 9 AM at Bankers Life Dunkin’ Donuts.

Back to School: 24 Days and Counting

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For August 27th, we still need volunteers (such as Boy Scout Troop leaders and scouts) to man tables at the following schools. None of them have existing scouting units:

  1. IPS 109
  2. Deer Run Elementary
  3. Eastbrook Elementary
  4. Snacks Crossing Elementary
  5. Park Tudor (no confirmations but two families contacted; expect a “yes” from one of two)

Pack 625 needs help at New Augusta South and Central Elementary, their normal feeder schools.

Please contact Con Sullivan, our District Executive, to sign up or with questions.

Importance of State Fair Base Camp for Recruitment

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Michelle Carroll continues to seek volunteers for Base Camp at the State Fair Grounds. I was confused about the impact Base Camp has on recruitment. So I asked some questions. Here is what I learned.

Council uses Base Camp to put BSA programs in front of families and to have conversations with families about what Boy Scouts is. Depending on the year, weather, and scheduling of the Fair, between 400,000 and 1,000,000 people pass by Base Camp. Of those people, just short of 15,000 enter Base Camp to see what it is about. This means that as many as 1,000,000 people see BSA in the community, and many have contact with BSA members.

At the shooting range, boys are given an opportunity to express interest in scouting, by the parents’ signing a contact list. Persons on this listed are sent emails to inquire about joining.

Volunteers are important to this process for several reasons:

  1. Base Camp volunteers have contact with prospective families, telling the scouting adventure stories.
  2. Base Camp volunteers’ story telling increase the number people who express interest in scouting by signing up in the shooting range.
  3. Base Camp volunteers cause prospective families to have warm feelings about scouting before the prospective family walks into a scout sign up night. These prospective families are more committed to joining scouting and more likely to draw other interested families to the sign up night.
  4. Base Camp volunteers help boys experience parts of scouting that no story telling can match. These volunteers help stoke the flames of passion for scouting before any sign up occurs.

Help making recruiting more effective this fall by volunteering your unit for Base Camp.

Making Stronger Units: Cub Den Edition

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Around 2010, Boy Scouts of America examined what new packs and troops had in common and what distinguished those healthy ones from packs and troop that died quickly. One conclusion was that there were three people dedicated to the health of the new unit: the chartered organization representative, the unit committee chair, and the unit leader (e.g., Cubmaster or Scoutmaster). These key 3 people consistently worked well together toward a common vision.

BSA subsequently examined all levels of scouting to see how these lessons learned could be applied. BSA rolled out the idea of a Key 3 at every level of scouting.

For a Cub Scout Pack, the Key 3 is identified as the Chartered Org Rep, the Pack Chair, and the Cubmaster. They are what make the Pack function (but, as we used to say until May 31, 2015, “The Cub makes the Pack go.”)

So is there a Key 3 in a Cub Scout Den? According to official BSA literature, I have not seen that official designation yet (but I have not read all the new material cover to cover yet).

But, if we were looking for such a designation, what would be looking for?

In the Pack Key 3, the Chartered Org Rep handles obtaining facilities and communicates with the Chartering Organization (e.g., school, PTO, church, etc.). The Pack Chair handles planning and parents. The Cubmaster handles program delivery to the boys by leading meetings, pack activities, and pack campouts.

Using that model, what parallels are there in a Den to what we see in a Pack?

The Den Mother often feels like she has to provide the room at her house, plan the program, talk to the parents, and deliver the program. Is this the correct answer? Maybe not.

The Den Mother certainly may be responsible for offering the room, if the meeting is at her house. She definitely needs to communicate with the parents. Does she need to plan the program and deliver it?

There are two positions in Cub Scouts that are underused. The Den Chief and the Denner. We have looked at a Denner before.

A Den Chief is a Boy Scout who is fulfilling his rank requirement for Star rank or above by serving in a Cub Scout Den. His job is to serve as the Den Mother’s assistant and mentor to the Cubs and the Denner. For many Boy Scouts, Den Chief is their first role of responsibility. They need coaching. Once coached for a couple meetings, the Den Chief usually knows his job with a Denner and takes over the job of coaching each successive Denner.

The Denner is the temporary senior Cub Scout in the Den. He leads the other boys with advice and guidance of the Den Chief and the Den Mother. Good Dens have the Denner lead discussions about what the Cubs want to plan to do and help deliver that plan. Denners do not have much in leadership experience so they will need constant coaching.

Many Den Leaders do not like using Den Chiefs or Denners because it prevents the operation of a smooth meeting. Our goal in scouting is not to have smooth meetings without drama. It is to teach citizenship and responsibility through experiences. A successful meeting is not necessarily a smooth meeting. A successful Den Meeting has a clear chance for the Den Chief and Denner to talk to the Den Mother for 2-3 minutes before the meeting about the plan. Then before a new task, the Den mother reminds the Den Chief and Denner what to do for their next task in a matter of 15-30 seconds. There is no expectation that either the Den Chief or the Denner will remember from the before-meeting conversation. The reminders go faster, though, because of the before-meeting conversation. At the end of the meeting, before closing ceremony, the Den Mother coaches the Den Chief and Denner to have a Stop-Start-Continue conversation with the entire Den. This may only take a minute or two — short-attention spans and new concepts, you know.

Getting Den Chiefs can be difficult with the Boy Scouts hectic extracurricular schedules. Even so, don’t skimp on working on building your Den Key 3. You will be astounded by the results in a very short time.

Sad News about “Uncle Mikey” Stalcup

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Update 8/11/2015: a few pictures from yesterday’s funeral for !ike Stalcup.

Update 8/6/2015, 11:00 am: Mike’s funeral visitation is confirmed for Monday, August 10th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Flanner & Buchanan Broad Ripple, 1305 Broad Ripple Avenue, Indianapolis 46220. Services at the same location at 3 p.m. A celebration of life at Camp Belzer at 4 p.m. (Indy Star obituary scheduled for Sunday.)

Scouts and Scouters attending should consider wearing Class “A” uniforms. Members of camp staff may choose to wear their camp uniforms.

To understand the magnitude of the loss to North Star District and the Crossroads of America Council, just review Uncle Mikey’s own autobiographical scouting resume. Just a few highlights, among many:

  1. Eagle Scout with Bronze Palms, Eagle Board of Review October 23, 1954 with Troop 82 in Indianapolis according to the National Eagle Scout Association database.
  2. Assistant Scoutmaster beginning in 1961 with Troop 82 of North Star District and many other adult leadership positions through 1978
  3. Silver Beaver Award (highest award for service to Council)
  4. Continuous tenure as member at large of the Crossroads of America Council since 1982 until his death
  5. Western Section of National Council Training staff for 32 courses
  6. Firecrafter Minisino and member of the Order of High Bark
  7. Order of the Arrow Brotherhood member
  8. Doctor of Scouting Science
  9. Master of Commissioner Science
  10. Wood Badge Staff
  11. Unofficial Council Historian since 2000
  12. North Star District Commissioner or Staff for 18 years
  13. North Star District Committee for approximately 25 years

Update 8/3/2015, 11:00 am: Mike Stalcup passed away Monday night at 8 p.m. May he rest in peace.

4:14 pm: Sandi Hobbs at Council office has spoken to Nancy Stalcup. Plans are not finalized yet, but Nancy hopes visitation and viewing will be Monday, August 10, 2015 at 1 pm at Flanner & Buchanan Broad Ripple with the service immediately thereafter. The wake will be at Camp Belzer.

Original post: Mike Stalcup, known to many of us as “Uncle Mikey”, blacked out and fell on Saturday, August 1st. He is in a coma at St. Vincent’s Hospital 86th Street. An aneurism is suspected. The family has been called to the hospital.
Mike, most recently of Troop 56 and Pack 830, has been a long time volunteer for North Star District and Crossroads of America Council volunteer.

Stalcup collage

“Uncle Mikey” Stalcup

District Publishes Eagle Board Guidebook; Eagle Project Coordinator News

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Long-time and recurring Eagle Board of Review Coordinator Jerry Simon has summarized his years of experience in one guidebook. Jerry has written some of the material. He has also used some of the material written by his immediate predecessor as the then-titled Eagle Coordinator Charlie Meyer, a life-long North Star Scout and Scouter.

Jerry’s experience has taught him that new scoutmasters and all Eagle candidates are slightly bewildered about the Eagle application process. He has reduced the process down to a how-to guide for our district.

Read the rest of this entry »

Back to School Night: 28 Days and Counting

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Once you get your new adults enrolled as scouters, they will need training. They are expected to complete Fast Start position specific online training within 48 hours of registration.

Remember Council accepts no registrations accepts without a Youth Protection Training certificate of course completion being stapled to the adult application. This is available online at or can be offered in person using a video available from the Scout Service Center or District Commissioner Jeff Heck at

District is working on its training schedule. Online training is available at for most positions. Council already has some in-person training scheduled. Cub position-specific training (e.g., Cubmaster, Pack Trainer, Den Leader, etc.) will be offered at the Scout Service Center on the

  1. evening of Tuesday, August 4th,
  2. evening of Wednesday, August 12th,
  3. evening of Tuesday, September 1st,
  4. evening of Tuesday, September 8th,
  5. evening of Tuesday, September 22nd,
  6. evening of Tuesday, October 6th,
  7. evening of Tuesday, October 13th,
  8. evening of Tuesday, November 3rd, and
  9. evening of Wednesday, November 18th.

BALOO training, which is required for Pack overnights, will be offered in conjunction with boy scouts Introduction to Outdoor Leadership skills on Saturday, September 12 from 9 am to 5 pm at the Scout Service Center. Every pack must have one person trained in this for a pack overnight campout. This session is highly recommended because future cub leaders who plan on serving as assistant scoutmasters in the future can obtain the necessary training for both at one event. These trainings never expire, so they are “one and done.”

Popcorn Kickoff August 8th

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Popcorn Kickoff training is August 8th at St Alphonsius Catholic Church at 1870 West Oak Street, Zionsville, IN 46077. (Parking is easiest for most meetings at the church if you enter campus from the west entrance off of 950 East/Bentley Rd, because of traffic flow design of the parking lot. (Entering from the south entrance would require you to drive around the north end of the sanctuary to get the closest parking space.)St Al's campus

Your unit should send two adults to training that day. One should be your Popcorn Kernel.St Al's in Zionsville

You can register to attend at at this link.

Back to School Night: 29 Days to Go

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At Back to School Night, new parents will be looking to answer the following questions:

  1. How much does Cub Scouts cost for the year?
  2. How does it fit with the family calendar?
  3. Does the Pack have a vision for its success?

To be able to answer these questions, your Pack Committee needs to be able to deliver 3 key documents to the prospective Cub parents:

  1. A document telling the parent how the program is paid for. This could be a budget for out of pocket expenses in neighborhoods with well-to-do families. This is more likely to be a statement of costs for each Cub and the role popcorn sales is used to defer the costs. This could be a statement describing how financial assistance is offered to families who need it. Your Unit Commissioner should be able to get you guidance for these items.
  2. A year-long calendar of Pack events. The dens should be meeting in early August to discuss with their den leaders what they would like to see the Pack to do. The den leaders should report those results for a mid-August Pack Committee meeting to schedule the year. The results should be listed on one sheet of paper and be specific about arrival times and departure times. For example, the North Star District fall family overnight at Indianapolis Motor Speedway should tell families to arrive at the track at a specific time and expect to leave by a specific time. This allows new families to put the event on their family calendars with specificity. This prevents double booking as easily. Successful packs are good at calendaring by habit because they simply say, “We customarily go to . . . in November so that we can . . . .” Newer or struggling packs can duplicate the clarity of vision by simply stating, “We are scheduled to go to . . . in November so that we can . . . .” Prospective families are looking for programs close to home that can clearly describe the program. They will avoid wishy-washy units that only say, “We are thinking about doing something this fall.”
  3. Having a vision statement for how the Pack will perform is very important. This vision statement is not a formalistic business plan gobbledy-gook. It is simply a some concrete goal that can be understood. To be a strong unit, look at the Journey to Excellence criteria for bronze, silver, and gold. Pick a level that makes sense to your Pack. Then tell prospective families what your goal is, “We plan on being a Gold Award Pack.” Most parent don’t know the criteria, and don’t care. They will be interested in knowing that the Pack has a vision of meeting the highest criteria. The statement could be focused on the boys, too. “We plan on each boy making rank by February’s Blue and Gold Banquet and going family overnight camping in the fall, in the spring, and at summer camp. We plan on attending {insert two Council Circuit of Fun Activities}.” The vision of success is contagious and exciting for prospective families.

Remember that part of your programming is already done for you. The Rocket Launch on September 12th and the Pack Family Overnight with District at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October.