District Training Status

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One of the key duties of District is to encourage units to improve their programs in order to make the scouting more inviting to boys. BSA offers training for each position in order that adults can better understand the duties that they have accepted. Training is required for Rechartering.

Council records training records to be able to find out where training needs to be encouraged.

Among our units district wide, our training rate looks like this (if you are registered for more than one position, you can be trained and untrained simultaneously, appearing on this chart for each): 

The pattern is clear. Units in Zionsville and northern Pike Township tend to have adult leader ship rates well over 50%. Moving toward the south and east, training rates plummet to the point where some units have no properly trained leaders.

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Congratulations to our Commissioners

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This Saturday, our district chaplain Jim Brinkley, Assistant District Commissioner Stu Bowes, Unit Commissioner Andy Fulks in Zionsville (who serves double duty as Sugar Creek District’s Assistant District Commissioner, too), Unit Commissioner Mat Gerdenich in Washington Township, Cub Roundtable Commissioner Sharla Merrick, and District Commissioner Jeff Heck attended the annual Commissioners College.  

Fulks pic
Andy Fulks

 Congratulations to Andy Fulks for earning his Doctrate of Commissioner  Science,  which requires attending three colleges and writing a these.

Congratulations to Stu Bowes for earning his Masters of Commissioner Science, which requires attending two colleges, and Jeff Heck for his Bachelors for attending his first year.

Stu delivers homily at Scout's own
Stu Bowes

Cincinnati’s Dan Beard Council announced that they would hold their own Commissioner College the first Saturday in August, and they invited our Commissiners to attend. They will be offering the new Roundtable Commissioner curriculum. For those who could only attend some of the courses, preventing a degree completion, the Dan Beard classes can help complete the degree.

Cub Scout Recruiting Resources Online

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The BSA built a new website in the past year called ScoutingWire. Its primary purpose is to serve as a central clearinghouse for news from the BSA.ScoutingWire logo

One example of these resources that are timely to Scouters’ needs is a page on Cub Scout Recruiting. ScoutingWire has a subpage called “Marketing Hub” where this information can be reviewed in more detail. There is one section for Councils and Districts. There is another section for Packs and Dens.

Bryan on Scouting says, “Our overall goal: Let’s not let one boy miss the chance to be a Cub Scout.” This is just a small example of what ScoutingWire has to offer. Take a look!

Jeff Heck

Saturday’s “Ideal Year of Scouting”

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Saturday is the annual training for “Ideal Year of Scouting.” Assistant Director of Field Services Darin Stendl reported at Roundtable last night that this is designed as an “open house.” This means that you can show up at the time that is convenient for you.  There will be training sessions all morning and vendor booths available. These vendors will be happy to discuss what opportunities they have your youth.

The event takes place at Golden Burke Scout Service Center from 9 AM to 1 PM this Saturday.

This program is ideal for unit leaders, committee members, and the Patrol Leaders’ Council.  Every unit should send a representative!

For more information, see the Crossroads of America Council website. 

Roundtable: High Adventure Materials

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Tonight at Boy Scout Roundtable, District Commissioner Jeff Heck led a discussion of high adventure for boy scouts and venturers. He talked about the opportunities for units to provide high adventure and its benefits to the program.

  • Provides marketing panache to incoming families, allowing dreams and visions of great adventures to come.
  • Provides solid leadership development opportunities for crew contingent youth leaders.
  • For participants of all ages, builds personal and long-lasting connections with nature and their travel companions.
  • Fosters self-reliance, flexibility of mind, and perserverance.

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BSA Advancement Newsletters

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Like most businesses today, BSA has built many online resources and is using social media and email lists to push that information to potential users.

Some users automatically receive these newsletters based on their position. Some users have to opt-in to the newsletter lists.

Merit Badge Counselor’s Compass is one of those. (You can subscribe by emailing merit.badge@scouting.org.) In the current issue of the Compass, they discuss:

  • Changes Counselors Need to Know
  • Interactive Digital Pamphlets Now on Sale at ScoutStuff.org
  • Be Sure to Read The Notes
  • Merit Badge Myths: Fact vs. Fiction
  • Completing Requirements as Stated Matters
  • Beekeeping: A Part of Existing Merit Badges

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North Star FOS Phone-a-thon

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We are holding a phone-a-thon on Tuesday, June 9th from 6pm-8pm to finish contacting some 300 donors who have not submitted their 2015 FOS donation. The cards represent approximately $29,000 in unworked pledges. Our goal is to try and collect $10,000 more towards our 2015 goal. If we are successful, we will be at our goal!

We are holding the phone-a-thon at the scout office. I know this is short notice, but, I need to hear from you by this Thursday’s roundtable if you can help us out. If you can not attend on the 9th, would you be willing to make calls on your own if we supply the contacts?

Please help us restore North Star’s image as a great district. Remember that money we raise goes to supporting programs for our young scouts.


District Chair

317 283-4285


Go Away, Mosquitos!

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USA Today has an interesting article about bug repellents. Good timing for camp! 

 What they seek:

Day says he is convinced it’s mostly about carbon dioxide: mosquitoes and ticks find their victims by detecting it and some of us produce more than others. That includes heavier people, pregnant women and exercisers. “The amount of carbon dioxide you produce depends on your metabolic rate,” he says.

What leads to CO2 production:

What you eat and drink may matter, Day and Bernier agree. Alcohol, in particular, seems to attract mosquitoes, they say. At least one study also suggested smokers were at higher risk – but probably because they spend so much time smoking outside, Day says.

What to use:

CDC says you want one that includes DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or a chemical called IR3535.

What to avoid:

• “Natural” repellent sprays made with plant oils, such as citronella, lemongrass, and rosemary.

June Roundtable Agenda

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Our June Roundtable will be held, as always, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, 4th Floor, Indianapolis. RSVPs are welcome, but not required.

District ExecutiveWe plan on introducing our new District Executive Con Sullivan. He will be asked to give a few remarks.

The opening general session will be “Maximizing Council Resources for Your Unit” by District Commissioner Jeff Heck.

We will then break into Cub Roundtables and Scout Roundtables.Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 11.01.01 AM

Sharla Merrick our Cub Roundtable Commissioner will host a conversation on Cub Recruitment, with a special emphasis on what will be happening in July, August, and September this year.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 11.00.25 AMJeff Heck will host a conversation about planning high adventure and using fellow district members as resources.  We will discuss BSA bases and non-BSA trip ideas, planning cycles, and problems to watch out for.

Please be sure to invite any and all adults from your units. It is very important to get as many membership coordinators from all of our units to participate in Sharla’s discussion. Cub Recruiting this year is going to require Boy Scout Troops’ help, so please have your membership coordinator attend.

Eventbrite - District roundtable

– Jeff HeckDistrictCommissioner

Useful Camp Gadgets as Teaching Aid

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As we arrive at our Ransburg campsite, the Firecrafter phrase “useful camp gadget” appears. For new scoutmasters, this seems to be a unique phrase. It is as mystical is the idea of “scoutmaster.”

In fact both of these phrases go back over a century. A scoutmaster is a reference to the 19th century word “master,” which was short for “school master.” The schoolmaster had a master’s degree, which gave him the authority to teach bachelor’s degree candidates. Baden Powell picked up on this notion of a master-as-a-teacher when he named “scoutmasters.” Simply this was a teacher of scouts. Scoutmasters were assumed to have deep knowledge of a particular area, scout craft. The biggest part of this was woodcraft.

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