NESA Eagle Scholarship Website Is Live and Taking Applications 

If you know a Scout who has earned the rank of Eagle, you should show them this site of scholarship opportunities. 




Oxcart Trails & Lakes District Merge

After careful consideration and discussion with key volunteers of the Oxcart Trails and Lakes District, the decision was made to merge the districts together. This change will take effect immediately. The discussion of merging the two districts has been ongoing for the past few months and with a single professional staff it made logical sense to bring the two together.

What is changing:

As this is a new district, a selection committee comprised of members of both the former Lakes and Oxcart Districts, met to review a new district name. The new district name is Prairie Fire and will be numbered as D2. A Facebook page and council webpage will be created and information from the previous two districts will be merged and duplications removed.

The interim Key 3 will consist of Adrian Panther, Mike Denke and Brenda Thomson. The district committees will become a single committee. A nominating committee will be formed to help with the leadership selection of the new district. The district committee will meet on the first Thursday of the month at 6:00 pm and will be followed by Council roundtable and district breakout. Due to the Governor’s order, attendance at these meetings will be via Zoom. Meeting links and agendas will be provided in advance.

What is not changing:

Units will remain the same and numbers will not change. Unit program will not be affected by this change. We will continue to offer a Summer Day Camp with camps being held in Alexandria, Fergus Falls and/or Perham each summer. Drop points for Spring Product Sale, show-n-sell popcorn, take order popcorn will remain the same.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact either Thomas D. Huether, Field Director, or Brenda Thomson, District Executive.


These Key BSA Tools and Applications Now Feature Simplified Logins

You can use your Apple ID or Google login to access Scoutbook, Internet Advancement or



Renewal and Rechartering Now Have PayPal Funtionality in Scoutbook

New Scoutbook functionality allows units to accept and make payments through PayPal for various unit operation items.

Watch Video or Read More


8/31/20 Message from the Scout Executive

Volunteers & Staff,

I am constantly impressed by the dedication of our Scouting Movement and the way we band together as an organization in challenging circumstances. Amid these great difficulties, Scouting has continued to build character, confidence, leadership, and hope in families and communities across the country, and your efforts have helped make some incredible things possible:

When regular Scout Meetings were interrupted in March, you helped to make the Council’s Home Base Camp Virtual Scouting site successful. Since inception, this site has had 1000’s of visitors and well over 300 Scouts have earned the Home Base Camp Patch by completing one or more of the achievements. Despite real challenges, our scouts and leaders were able and willing to continue their Scouting adventures at home.

Similarly, this past May we had over 680 Scouts, parents and leaders participate in our first ever Council Virtual camporee, proving once again that Scouts always lead and find a way when things get tough.

Finally, when the majority of the summer camps in America closed this past summer to avoid any virus related challenges, our camps operated. Over 700 Scouts-BSA and Cub Scouts attended camp and helped to bring a sense of normalcy back to what has been a challenging year.

Now more than ever, families are looking for what Scouting offers. When asked what they want from youth-serving organizations this fall, parents overwhelmingly said they want to give their children a sense of normalcy, as well as something to do as a group, even if socially distant, or something productive to do with peers, even if it’s online. Scouting delivers what parents are asking for. Together, we need to stand ready to bring Scouting to even more youth and families this year.
As we promote Scouting in our community, some people may have questions about our youth protection policies and how we keep kids safe. Each question is an opportunity to shed light on the important policies and procedures we’ve put in place that make Scouting safer than ever before.
It is important to emphasize that the safety of children in our programs is our absolute top priority. That’s precisely why, over many years, the BSA has developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization.
If you are a volunteer, you’ve taken youth protection training, undergone a criminal background check, and play an integral role in the BSA’s commitment to keep kids safe. At Northern Lights Council, and at all councils across America, adhering to and upholding these policies is a duty we take very seriously. I encourage you to view and share the video and infographic about the BSA’s youth protection measures and resources that make Scouting safer than ever before.
Conversations about safety will be especially relevant over the next several weeks when those in Scouting and other members of the public will likely see and hear print, TV, social media, digital and radio advertising from national BSA’s Chapter 11 noticing campaign. Although only the national organization has filed for Chapter 11, you will likely come across these ads in the coming weeks, so I wanted to make sure you knew their purpose and had the necessary information to address questions or concerns they may raise for you or others.
These noticing ads are different than those many people have seen so far that have been sponsored by plaintiffs’ attorneys trying to solicit clients. The BSA’s ads are instead designed and sponsored by national BSA to ensure that victims have the opportunity to come forward and apply for compensation from a proposed Trust by filing a claim by the November 16, 2020 deadline set by the court. This advertising effort underscores the BSA’s commitment to the dual objectives of its bankruptcy proceeding: equitably compensate victims of past abuse and continue the mission of Scouting.
If you would like additional information about the BSA’s outreach to victims of past abuse, see this FAQ. For questions about local Scouting, please contact me directly by email.
Yours in Scouting,

Richard E. McCartney
Scout Executive


Scout Handbooks and Merit Badge Pamphlets Now Available on Kindle

Read more about Handbooks available on Kindle

Read more about Merit Badge pamphlets available on Kindle




The Steps You Can Take Right Now to Help You Return to Scouting Activities

October 4, 2020

While many Scout units have a desire to return to Scouting activities, they have questions about how to do so safely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the recent webinar on how to hold meetings safely during COVID-19, attendees received tips on the key steps they can be taking right now to find a safe way to return to their meeting activities.

Step 1: Check your local requirements to see if you can meet. The safety requirements vary greatly around the nation, so it’s vital to check on what your local government requires and abide by those regulations. The BSA SAFE Restart Scouting Checklist has been specifically created to help you guide you through this as you build a framework for getting back to your Scouting activities. 

Step 2: Call the families in your Scout unit to see how they’re doing. Check in by phone to connect personally with these families. Listen to their responses and gauge their readiness to return to Scouting activities. If laws in your community permit meeting, and you’ve met the other requirements of the SAFE Restart Scouting Checklist, spend some time talking about your process and the intention to return to Scouting activities safely. 

Step 3: Connect with other leaders and families to find solutions for ways the unit can meet safely. Currently, some traditional meeting places for Scout units are not available because of the pandemic, but there may be other viable, safe options for meeting that can be discussed. Some of these options may be outdoors using social distancing. Other options may be virtual. Be sure to use the guidance for Digital Safety and Online Scouting Activities when meeting virtually.  

Step 4: Engage your chartered organization. Especially if you’re having difficulty finding a meeting place, talk with your chartered organization to see what other options they might be able to provide. While a meeting room might not be available, perhaps the parking lot, a field, or a park could be a safe alternative. Whatever the proposed location, the chartered organization should be made aware of the issue and brought into the discussion.

Step 5: Reach out to the school in your community. If you’re used to working with your local school for a recruiting night, meeting space or otherwise, connect with them to talk about ways your Scout unit could be of service and assist them during this time. 

Step 6: Make sure you’ve updated your BeAScout pin and are using all of the available easy-to-use online registration tools. As you get back to Scouting, help new families find and join your unit without ever needing any paper to change hands. 

Though the times remain uncertain, Scouts and Scouters are resilient, and following the above steps can help you to Be Prepared and ease the process of getting back to Scouting quickly and safely whenever local requirements allow it.


Membership Fee Increase Starting August 1, 2020

A message from the Northern Lights Council Scout Executive, Rich McCartney:

To all Council Members,

We received written confirmation today that the National Executive Board voted for an increase of $6 for all annual membership fees at the recent National Annual Business meeting in May. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has worked to keep the membership fee as low as possible. Unfortunately, operating costs have continued to rise and COVID-19 has compounded the need to increase the fee to maintain the program.  To ensure they have the resources to fulfill the promise of Scouting, the updated national membership fees are:

  • $66 for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts participants
  • $42 for Exploring participants
  • $30 for council-paid memberships
  • $42 for all adult volunteers (includes cost of background check)
  • $75 for a unit charter fee

The membership fees will take effect August 1, 2020, for new members in the 2020-2021 program year. For renewing members, the new fee will take effect on October 1, 2020. The updated unit charter fee will take effect August 1, 2020, for all new and rechartering units.

Starting August 1, 2020, there will also be a one-time $25 joining fee for new program participants in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts; however, there is no joining fee for Exploring participants, participants previously registered in any BSA program, those transferring from one program to another, council-paid memberships, or adult volunteers.

We wanted to get this information out to everyone as quickly as possible to allow for proper budgeting and planning for fall recruitment.

For answers to FAQ’s CLICK HERE. If you have questions or comments, CLICK HERE.

Membership Fees Infographic

Pro-Rated Membership Fees Chart (effective 8/1/20)

As always, the Northern Lights Council will assist those in need with paying the registration fees. We won't turn away any youth that wants to participate in Scouting.

Registration Assistance


Scoutbook - your go-to app for your next den meeting


Give it a Test Run

If you’re a den leader, you’re going to love the latest update to Scoutbook! The Boy Scouts of America’s online tool for tracking Scouting advancement just rolled out a new update that’s going to make it easier than ever for den leaders to prepare for, and lead meetings, track advancement and attendance, and more.  

“We want to help all den leaders — both new, and experienced — feel equipped to run awesome den meetings that the kids enjoy and that parents consider to be a valuable use of their family’s time,” says Ryan Hill, the BSA’s national director of Digital Strategy.

Rather than having to juggle leader books and other resources, den leaders will be able to do everything they need from within the app — from organizing meetings for the year to preparing for their next meeting to tracking attendance and advancement. They will even be able to communicate with parents of absent Scouts about what their kids need to do at home to get caught up.

Also new in Scoutbook for den leaders, now the Cub Scout required adventures for each rank have been thoughtfully organized into roughly 12 meetings, making planning out meetings for the year simpler than ever.

“If you attend these required meetings, and your den leader simply keeps attendance in the app, then you have earned your advancement and you’ve also received the full value that we’ve always designed for you to get out of Scouting,” Hill says.

These changes are designed to help streamline and simplify work for leaders, so they can be more prepared for their Scouting adventures. It’s the same great program, just made easier.

“We know how busy families today can be, and that your time is valuable,” Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh says. “You want more time for you and your Scouts to explore, have fun and create positive life-changing memories in the Scouting program. The Scoutbook app helps accomplish that.”

These exciting new improvements to Scoutbook are specific to the Cub Scout den leader experience at this time, but it’s only a matter of time before leaders of other Scouting programs will see upgrades to their Scoutbook experience too.

“We’ve spent a lot of time interviewing den leaders, parents and Scouts from around the country,” Hill says. “We’ve received a lot of really great ideas we’re excited to roll out in future phases to bring new levels of fun and simplicity to everyone in Scouting.”

Scoutbook Answers

Log on to Scoutbook to make sure your unit is ready to adopt these updates this fall.

If you are a den leader and your pack is onboarded to Scoutbook, your pack administrator will send you an invite to connect in Scoutbook. This will prompt you to create an account.

Give it a Test Run

The BETA version is available now - click here to access if you are a registered den leader or click here to access if you are not a den leader (above the username there are three profiles you can use to access the content).


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