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About Polaris

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  1. Agree with NJCubScouter. Pack Meetings involve the Cubmaster and the entire group of boys. Dens involve boys in the same grade and they meet separately from the Pack. I am aware with some Packs in our area, the boys all meet on the same night and in the same location. One night a month is reserved for the Pack Meeting and the other 3 nights are reserved for Den Meetings. If this is the case in your Pack, I agree with you. On the night the Dens meet, it appears too much time is being spent on group time and not enough time in the Den Meeting.
  2. I second Qwazse. Make copies of all paperwork. Always. Make. Copies. As a former CC, I gave a copy to our DE or took it to the Council office for processing. DE would take to Roundtable to give the award to the individual or I would pick it up and take it. I left it up to the DE or Council to get the elusive final signature. If I picked it up, I would then give it to the Scouts to present to their Den Leader at a Pack Meeting with a blurb on why their Den Leader was the best DL ever. The Den Leader will appreciate the presentation for the Scouts way better than from the DE at RT.
  3. The Troop is sending 2 crews to NT in 2016 out of the Atikokan base. A couple of years ago, the crews paid extra for the lightweight canoes for their NT trip. Most of the adults that went on this trip recommend the aluminum canoes stating the weight savings was negligible. They also said the lightweight canoes are more easily damaged. The 2016 crew is a 50/50 mix of young/older scouts with very little canoeing experience. We will have enough adults in each crew to solo carry a canoe including the interpreter. For those of you that have attended NT, what do you recommend--lightweight or aluminum canoes? Is the cost worth the benefit?
  4. A former Boy Scout leader was told by his Catholic Church he cannot resume his role despite the policy change. http://m.wlky.com/news/former-gay-boy-scout-leader-says-hes-not-allowed-to-return-to-leadership-role/34538506
  5. Website--outdated. Needs webmaster. However, Google Calendar link is current. Members log in to view TroopMaster reports, adult and youth rosters, meeting minutes, etc. TroopMaster for advancement. TroopLedger for finances. Google Groups for mass email. Divided into adults only and adults/youth. Primary form of communication. Shutterfly share site. Photos are uploaded into event folders. MS Excel, Word and PowerPoint for spreadsheets, docs and COH slide presentations. Not sure of program used to create COH printed programs.
  6. Polaris

    Pack Logos

    Our CC is a graphic designer. She designed ours--obviously free of charge. Poll your parents and see if you have some talented folks. Some of the "logos" you see out there are on t-shirts from ClassB.com.
  7. Here's an idea for a water boot--Keen Gorge Water Boots--however, this model is discontinued. Less expensive than boots in the NT Trading Post. These boots were acceptable by BSA NT standards. SM's son wore these for BSA NT 2013 expedition out of Atikokan, ON and into Quetico. SM said they were perfect. Rugged soles with 3mm neoprene and adjustable straps.
  8. You are not going to find specific guidance on Eagle advancement reimbursement procedures. This is determined by your unit's committee with very limited guidance from the BSA. Your CO may offer more guidance as it should reflect their policies and procedures. I suggest you bring this up at your committee meeting. Our policy is in writing, so we are all on the same page. Here is our policy: ECOH expenses are the family's responsibility however, with receipts, can be reimbursed out of the scout's account--which consists of parent funds and fundraiser funds. Eagle Project expenses are reimbursed, with receipts, from the scout's Eagle Project Fundraiser Account only after the project beneficiary and Scoutmaster has signed off on the paperwork. The family may also request reimbursement from their scout account if they didn't raise enough funds to cover the entire project expense. Any remaining funds in the Eagle Project Fundraiser Account are donated to the beneficiary. The troop will write a $50 check to the parents as an Eagle gift from the troop. The check is not written until receipt of the Eagle credentials from National BSA and the SM notifies me of such. With the exception of the Eagle gift, no receipt=no check.
  9. No. You cannot stop payment. You would resolve it in this manner: Step 1: Contact the retailer and explain the problem and settle the issue. Step 2: If this does not resolve the problem, contact the financial institution of the card and file a dispute. This is then turned over to Master Card or VISA and they will contact the retailer to investigate the issue. Exceptions to this may include: "All sales final" sales or an agreed payment per terms of a contract. Of course, you must be timely reporting the dispute. Sounds like a credit card, eh? A lot of folks have misconceptions about debit cards and that they don't offer the same protections as a credit card. Well, this just isn't true. Here is an explanation of "What is a Debit Card" per VISA: "Debit cards are payment cards that debit—or subtract—money directly from your account, as if you were paying with cash or a check. So, for your debit card to work, you must already have the money in your account to cover the transaction. Debit cards are sometimes referred to as check cards. Debit cards differ from credit cards in that credit cards are payment cards that draw from a credit line—money made available by your card Issuer. In many cases, you are given a grace period to pay for your purchases, and if you do not pay in full by the end of this period, you are charged interest. Certain credit card issuers may charge interest from the date of the transaction even if you pay your balances in full every month." Source: http://usa.visa.com/personal/get-help/financial-skills/debit-cards.jsp
  10. This depends upon when you report the fraud to the bank according to Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. Source: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards If the loss is reported within 2 days for a debit card, the maximum loss is up to $50. Wait for more than 2 days, you may be responsible for up to $500. That being said, I asked our banker about this and he said if it is legitimate fraud, not to worry about it. He said they have clients that report fraud monthly--believe it or not. For this reason, units utilizing debit cards must be proactive and go online at least 3 days/week to check account activity. Units cannot wait until the monthly statement arrives in the mail. Those individuals with debit cards must report all transactions as soon as they are made to those with online access. If I see an unusual transaction, I will send a text to the Scouter with the card to inquire about the transaction. The usual response is, "Oops! Sorry, I forgot to text you. I went to Wal-Mart today."
  11. We use credit/debit cards. It is a convenient way to pay online summer camp and HA deposits. And it eliminates postage on registered mail. The CC, SM and ASM will text a receipt so I can match the charges to our online bank account and categorize within TroopLedger. I will use the card to make after-hours ATM deposits and the receipt includes an image of the check. I go online and check our account several times a week and look for unusual activity. I was leary when I learned we had them, but cards work well for our large troop.
  12. I received a Starbucks gift card. Since I rarely go out for coffee, it was a nice gift. I also received a camping duffle bag that I now use in Boy Scouts. My son recently swiped it from me and uses it when he isn't using his backpack. Several years ago, I gathered up the boys and had them present their Webelos Leader with a knot award. I had them stand up and tell a favorite story or why they thought Mr. T was a great Den leader. He was so surprised. I could tell it made his day.
  13. Fraud and Theft ....can happen without dual signatures. Money could easily be transferred from the general fund into someone else's account. No reimbursement check needed. The SM could purchase 2 bags of charcoal and 3 propane refills and keep a bag and tank for his personal use. I don't know of anyone in the Troop that is checking all of the purchases and making sure they are all present and accounted for. The grubmaster could hand me a receipt and his parents keep half the food for themselves. Patrols will often combine at a campout if they are missing a majority of members. The adults aren't checking on them to see who ate with whom or how many actually provided the food. I am sure there are other ways to work around the system. You get the idea. Don't get me wrong. I am not against dual signatures, but it isn't the absolute solution to preventing embezzlement. It requires many layers of checks and balances. Ideally, the Treasurer should have an auditor. This is someone that does not touch the money. He/She can review the checking account and receipts and statements. I had an auditor when I was the Pack's Treasurer. I would send him the receipts and he had online access to look at the checking account and match the checks to the receipts. He could not sign checks nor did he make deposits. (He is an IRS enforcement agent by trade. ) I am unsure if the SM and CC are going online and looking at the account. I will ask them about it. Although, I can't make the SM and CC go online and check my work. They have the ID and password to do so. I periodically send them my son's account statement so they can go over it. I don't want parents to think I am doing "funny stuff," so I create duplicate systems to assure there is an audit trail to track all of my work.
  14. Reimbursements: ....must have a receipt. The grubmasters must turn in food receipts within 2 weeks after the campout. The family can be reimbursed directly via a check or they can have the credit applied to their account. Most opt for a credit. If no receipt, thanks for your donation! Now, I have called a campsite and requested a receipt when the individual couldn't find it buried in his email. The SM and CC use their debit cards quite frequently, so honestly, I don't write a lot of reimbursement checks. They will throw the receipt on the shopping cart or on their lap or kitchen counter and snap a photo of it and text it to me. The one thing I do need from them is the category for the expense so I know how to track it in TroopLedger (or Quicken) as well as the net worth statement. I suspect other leaders from other units (Outings Chair) book their campsites and activities, but our SM and CC make most of the reservations via their troop-issued debit/credit cards. The Pack's CM was asked to get some info for a venue for PWD, Raingutter Regatta and Blue and Gold and bring it back to the Committee for discussion. Instead, he went out and signed contracts and wrote deposits out of his own funds. The CC had to reiterate the importance of running expenses past the Committee for approval. Fortunately, the sites were good, so all is OK. If I receive a request for a reimbursement and I question its validity, I will run it by the SM or CC just to be sure.
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