April 28, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm.

1.  Welcome

The minutes from the last meeting were approved with a correction that the cost for our own food at Tomahawk would actually be $20 more per person.


2.  Reports from the PLC

Nick S. reported on Basic Skills.  He stated that it was very fun and went smoother than in the past.  Participation was good.  The first years seemed to have had a very good experience, as did the Webelos who were in attendance.

Nick wants to get input from the Committee on what activities to do during the May and June campouts. 

The troop box will be cleaned out during the activity session of next week’s meeting.  Inventory will be taken of what is in the box.


3.  Scoutmaster Report

Tom DeGayner reported that 5 of our adults have received the Star of the North award.  They are Rick Rausch, Joe Markham, Christy Bartlett, Mark Beckers and Roger Scherping.  They have been recognized for their contributions to the troop and to Scouting in general.

The PLC will decide what they would like to do for the 15th anniversary to be held later this year.  Joe Mikkelson is preparing a Powerpoint presentation.  The Committee agreed on September 27 as the tentative date.  Roger Scherping will find a location and a coordinator.


4.  Camping Subcommittee

MarySue Abel reported that the May campout is approaching quickly, May 15-17.  Themes will include hiking and biking.  Those going to Philmont will be hiking during the campout.

The June campout is still being planned.  Rum River and geocaching at a campground are two ideas still in the works.  July and August are set.

MarySue is working on obtaining Camp Ripley for October.  March Planning Weekend next year will be held at Phillippo at Gwin Center.  Basic Skills next April will be moved forward one weekend to April 16-18.

The June Court of Honor is planned for June 16th; a Philmont meeting will be held after.  The swim test for Tomahawk is planned for June 23rd.  Tomahawk deposits have been turned in for 2010.

MarySue is working on a recommendation on making our own food at Tomahawk.  The deadline on this decision is at the end of June with the final roster.  Christy Bartlett and MarySue will discuss this.

Mark Beckers reported that Scouts should continue endurance training for Philmont.  Deposits for SeaBase have been turned in.  Five people still have not responded to taking CPR/First Aid training for Philmont.  Sessions for CPR and first aid training are set for May 3 and May 17.

No Quartermaster report. 

Mark has passed the first aid kits overhaul to Joe Markham, and they will be ready in time for Tomahawk.


5.  Advancement Committee

Tim Willard is currently going through merit badge books in our troop library and is considering getting new books to replace those that are outdated.  Since merit badge books will be updated annually going forward, it will be difficult to maintain an up-to-date library.

The Advancement Committee is also looking into giving immediate recognition to first-year Scouts when they obtain their Scout badge instead of waiting for the next Court of Honor.

Merit badge cards are available on the troop website, and Tim is looking into whether we should print our own on cardstock to save on troop expenses.  The Scout Shop charges $6 for a pack of 50 cards.

The Advancement Committee would also like to talk to the first years to give them information on who can sign off on Scout books and tell them what needs to be done to work through rank advancements.  Troop guides are also available for suggestions and encouragement on advancements.

Two boys are coming up to their 18th birthdays, and Deb Clarke and Christy Bartlett are working together to encourage them towards achieving Eagle rank.

Christy is working with Ann Cerney on the Religious awards.  There will be a presentation on Religious Emblems at the tromp meeting on May 5.


6.  Fundraising Subcommittee

Michele Willard reported that flowers delivery and pickup is this Saturday from 11:30 to 1:00.  Adults are needed to sort when the flowers are delivered between 8 and 10 am.

Ted Wallerstedt is taking over as High Adventure Fundraising Coordinator and will coordinate Cub Foods grocery bagging.

Other fundraising ideas under consideration include serving at Applebee’s and hosting car washes.

Mike Cerney and Ryan Solberg have been working to get approval to sell firewood to state parks.

Keith Nelson reported that flyers have gone out for the Manitou 15K race.  Bridget Newman is purchasing the medals and awards.  T-shirt designs are due next week.  Sponsorships totals are running about $750, which is about average.

Joe Markham reported that we did not meet the Friends of Scouting goal for the year.


7.  Community Service Subcommittee

Jim Hering reported that 28 Scouts attended the Heritage Park cleanup last week.  Bill Johnson reported that the city of Vadnais Heights was appreciative of our help and that the cleanup job went well.

Deb Clarke reported that we collected 1,657 pounds of food during Scouting for Food this past weekend, the second-most in the district.  All of this was sent out to the White Bear Food Shelf.  Some of the Scouts are encouraging us to push for a ton of food next year!

St.  John’s Cemetery cleanup is scheduled for 9:00 this Saturday during flower sorting.

Feed My Starving Children has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 20 from 6:00-7:30 pm.  This is located in Brooklyn Center.

We have made arrangements to help out at Relay for Life at South Campus on Friday, July 31.  If the field is under construction at the time, North Campus will be the facility.  We have also been tentatively asked to be the color guard for the opening ceremonies.

Jim is also looking into having our troop form a CERT team for assisting in emergencies by controlling traffic and other duties involving first aid and rescuing.  Training to be a CERT member would involve 20 hours of classroom.


8.  Website Subcommittee

Steve Anastasi is working on a proposed new version of the troop website.  He talked about current site statistics and ways we can get feedback on the website.  Currently, the site is lightly used. 

Steve would like to revamp the site to make it look more appealing.  He also said that anything that needs to be put on the website currently has to be funneled through him first, and he would like the site to be more collaborative.  One way is to use Google Calendar to allow multiple people to enter and edit events.  Google Picasa can also be used to upload photos to present as slide shows, to order prints, and to manage photos.  With these suggestions, we could come up with a site that allows for more basic functionality, grants access for multiple people to collaborate and submit information, and has secured information. 

There is a link on our home page that shows a draft version of a new site that is currently being developed.  We are continuing the policy of not using last names of Scouts and are also keeping the use of secure information using usernames and passwords for the site.  Steve is asking for feedback on the proposed new site.


9.  Treasurer’s Report

No report.


10.  Old Business

Roger reported that he has not heard back from the White Bear Rotary about our annual presentation to them, planned for late June.

Roger notes that many new adult leaders have stepped up to take roles in the troop, and he is appreciative of their help.  Our new volunteers are: Deb Clarke as Court of Honor Coordinator; Joe Mikkelson as Committee Secretary; Deb Clarke and Steve Anastasi as Advancement Committee Members; and Ted Wallerstedt as High Adventure Fundraising Coordinator.

Roger reported that he will be looking for an Adult Leader Training Coordinator and members to assist Steve on the Website Subcommittee.

Roger proposed the use of permanent Subcommittees because of how much our troop has grown.  There are simply too many adult leaders now for the Committee Chair and the Scoutmaster to coordinate everyone individually as we did years ago.  Roger proposed that we have our 5 Subcommittees – Advancement, Fundraising, Camping, Community Service and Website – meet monthly during the troop meetings (if possible).  This would move much of the discussion of issues down to the Subcommittee meetings, and then the Committee would discuss and approve the suggestions of the Subcommittees.  This would streamline our Committee meetings, encourage more discussion at the Subcommittee level, encourage other parents to take part in the Subcommittee meetings, generate more enthusiasm at the Subcommittee level, and encourage more parents to get involved as adult leaders.  After some discussion, it was decided to begin to follow this practice to determine how well it might work. 


11.  New Business

Mark received an email about merit badge counselors updating their information.  This information is updated every 4 years.  The merit badge counselor application has changed to indicate whether the counselor would be willing to work with the troop only, or as a district-wide counselor.  Tim Willard noted that he will be checking with those who are counselors to make sure that they still want to be counselors and to update merit badge counselor information.

Roger then reported on the activities of the Scoutmaster Search Subcommittee.  He explained the process that the Subcommittee followed in developing its recommendation, including the number of times they met, how they interviewed the candidates, and how they voted to develop their recommendation.  The Subcommittee met eight times over 10 weeks, and the entire Committee thanked the Subcommittee for their efforts.

Roger reported that the Subcommittee had a difficult time choosing between the three candidates: Ken Rowe, Mark Beckers, and Jim Letourneau.  All three were considered capable of doing the job well.  While this fact was a luxury for the Subcommittee, it also made the process of choosing that much more difficult.

Roger reported that the Subcommittee’s recommendation was for Jim Letourneau.  Ballots were then distributed.  The Committee voted to approve the Subcommittee’s recommendation of Jim Letourneau as the fourth Scoutmaster of Troop 494.

12.  Comments/Closing

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm.