Council News

Silver Beaver Nominations

The Silver Beaver Award is the highest award the Council can bestow upon a registered volunteer Scouter in recognition of distinguished service to the Council and its youth. Nominations will not only be judged on their outstanding volunteer service at the Council level, but their overall service to youth.

The Silver Beaver Awards are presented during the Council Annual Recognition Banquet.

Download the nomination form

Nominations for the 2020 Silver Beaver Awards are due no later than January 31, 2020.

Fargo Scout Shop Giving Tree

The annual Giving Tree program provides an opportunity for the Scouting community to help local Scouts who may be in need of uniforms and/or uniform items. Download the letter for more information.

The program starts November 15 and goes through December 21, 2019.

  • The Scout Shop is looking for Scouts and what they may need – see letter
  • Donations from Scouts and Units will be needed to help fulfill requests of those Scouts in need.
  • The Giving Tree is similar to other Angel Tree programs which are a popular way to help those less fortunate. An Angel Tree looks a lot like other Christmas trees, but instead of traditional ornaments, it is decorated with cards of Scouts in need of a uniform, uniform items, or handbooks.


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

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 - DEMO Available

To access, please visit

At the log in page, a set of credentials to choose from is presented to you in the top-left corner. Simply select a user and click “log in”.

The experience is best accessed and viewed from your smart phone. For an “app” like experience that provides you immediate access, be sure to “add to home screen” from your device. Instructions are below.

For iOS Users:

1. In your Safari browser, click the upload symbol.

2. Scroll to the right until you find "Add to Home Screen".

3. Click "Add" in the top right corner.

For Android Users:

1. Click the Create Bookmark icon.

2. Click the "Add to" drop down and select "Home Screen".

3. Click "Ok".

A quick note, as this is a demo environment with multiple people accessing, you may see some changes or find some meetings may be moved, etc. This is to be expected. A how-to-guide is also available. They have also set up the den’s meetings, but you can see the walk through via the guide.

Rechecks of Criminal Backgrounds Explained

From Bryan on Scouting - October 14, 2019

You might have seen an email announcing that the Boy Scouts of America will be performing periodic rechecks of criminal backgrounds of all volunteers.

Without dedicated volunteers, Scouting wouldn’t be the great, life-changing program it is today. You help make Scouting happen. You can also help make Scouting a safe place for our Scouts.

The BSA is committed to youth safety, so before your 2020 annual registration can be processed, you’ve got to review the disclosure documentation and sign a background check authorization as detailed in the email.

To get some additional clarity on the topic, we talked to Steve McGowan, General Counsel for the Boy Scouts of America.

“We recognize this requires some extra steps for all of us who are volunteers, but it’s one more way we are committed to putting youth safety first,” McGowan says.

He also mentioned that the organization had received some questions about this initiative, so he has helped put together this FAQ so volunteers could get answers to their questions.

Read the FAQ

Addressing Recent Media Reports About Abuse in Scouting

August 14, 2019

This article was contributed by Michael Johnson, National Youth Protection Director for the Boy Scouts of America.

Recent media reports have highlighted claims of abuse against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). As Director of Youth Protection here at the BSA, I share the same concerns as anyone seeing these stories, and I have the utmost respect for the courage demonstrated by these men coming forward. These claims understandably raise questions about what we do to keep kids safe in Scouting today, and I’d like to take the time to address those questions.

Sadly, there have been times when individuals targeted youth in our organization and took advantage of our programs in order to harm children. This infuriates me and our entire organization. We are heartbroken for victims and apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support survivors, and we encourage them to come forward.

In my 24 years investigating child abuse cases as a police detective, I spoke with hundreds of victims and spent decades interrogating predators and sending them to prison. I know what we as an organization and as a society are up against.

I understand the scars victims carry throughout their lives and have seen firsthand the impact on families. Victims and survivors must be believed and supported unconditionally. Protecting children is a duty we all share. 

The BSA understood this when it took the step of creating a full-time National Director of Youth Protection position in 2010, which is dedicated exclusively to working to keep kids safe from predators in Scouting programs. Contrary to many inaccurate reports, our youth protection policies are in line with – and sometimes even ahead of – society’s knowledge of abuse and best practices for preventing abuse. We actively share and continually improve these policies through our mandatory youth protection training, our ongoing collaborations with groups such as the Centers for Disease Control[1] and youth-serving organizations, and continuous engagement with survivors of abuse and top experts in this area. We also make our training and policies available free to the public.

Our efforts began in the 1920s with what we now call the Volunteer Screening Database (VSD), formerly known as the Ineligible Volunteer Files. This system has been the subject of much misinformation, but it was established at a time when there were virtually no resources or tools for protecting youth. It was intended as a screening mechanism to prevent individuals accused of abuse or inappropriate conduct from joining or rejoining our programs. Today, experts[2] agree that maintaining such a database is one of the most effective ways to prevent predators from having access to children.

While local chartered organizations and parents are responsible for selecting their unit leaders, the national organization mandates criminal background checks as part of that selection process. It is worth noting, however, that background checks alone are not sufficient, as experts have found a significant amount of abuse goes unreported.[3] This is why we will continue to push for the creation of a national database to serve as a clearing house for all youth-serving organizations and go beyond existing criminal databases. We believe all organizations such as ours should identify, document and report adults who have harmed children or have been suspected of harming children and report this information into a national registry so that these individuals cannot move from one organization to another, regardless of whether authorities pursue criminal charges.

In addition to mandating that volunteers complete comprehensive, research-based and expert-informed youth protection training, we also require adherence to youth protection policies including “two-deep leadership,” which prevents one-on-one interactions between adults and children – both in person and via digital channels. Additionally, even when not required by state or local law, we mandate all volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement. We require this in every Scouting program across the country despite the fact some states have exceptions to the mandated reporting of child abuse.[4] The child safety policies and procedures we utilize are among the most advanced and comprehensive of any youth-serving organization today.

It is a tragedy and a national epidemic that out of the general U.S. population, one in six boys and one in four girls experience sexual abuse or assault by the time they turn 18.[5] This is an unacceptable public health and safety problem that must be addressed. I’m proud that our organization has long sought to be a part of a collective solution to confront this epidemic and work toward a holistic solution, and we will continue to do so.

I can’t say that I, or the BSA, have all the answers; nor will there ever be a simple solution, but I can say we are working with key stakeholders to identify solutions. Our organization has always sought to protect youth, both in and out of Scouting. If there’s one thing that we have learned, it’s that keeping children safe requires a commitment by experts, government officials, organizations, families and survivors across the country to work together to end the national crisis of child abuse and exploitation. 

If you have been a victim of abuse or have any information about suspected abuse, please reach out to our 24/7 Scouts First Hotline at 1-844-Scouts1 for immediate assistance. For more on what the BSA is doing to keep kids safe, please visit:


Michael Johnson is the National Youth Protection Director for the Boy Scouts of America. He is an internationally recognized expert on child abuse prevention and investigation, and for 24 years of his 28-year law enforcement career he served as a Detective and the Lead Child Abuse Investigator in the Criminal Investigation division of the Plano Police Department outside of Dallas, Texas. He has conducted more than 350 trainings for child abuse prevention professionals in 47 states and internationally.

Report to the State 2019

The Report to the State was held on Wednesday, February 13 at the Elks Club in Bismarck. The annual event has been sponsored by the Bismarck Rotary Club starting in 1922 (this being the 97th year). Youth members from different Northern Lights Council programs - Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Exploring give a report outlining what happened in Scouting during the previous year. The official report is presented to the Governor during the Rotary Club meeting and other legislators during a tour of the capital. Thank you to the Rotary Club, all of the participants including Governor Bergum, Gen. Dorhmann and our youth members. Special thank you to Dale Sandstrom for chairing the event again this year.

Video of the Report to the State (part 1)

Video of the Report to the State (part 2)

Units That Have Qualified to Receive Free Rank Insignia in 2019

The Northern Lights Council is pleased to offer Packs and Troops the opportunity to earn free rank insignia through March 31, 2020. Qualifying units will receive free rank insignia each time a Scout advances in rank.  This offer is made possible by the annual Friends of Scouting campaign and council product sale.  To qualify for free rank insignias a unit must meet each of the following requirements:

Participate in Popcorn Sale – the unit must have participated in the council sponsored Trail’s End Popcorn sale in 2018 with a minimum of $500 in total sales.
Journey to Excellence – Units must have achieved at least “Bronze” level recognition in Scouting's Journey to Excellence in 2018. The Journey to Excellence unit scorecard must be completed, signed and submitted.
On-time Charter Renewal – To be considered “on-time” the charter renewal paperwork must be turned in by the announced deadlines for the district the unit is in.
Friends of Scouting – Unit must attain 2019 Friends of Scouting goal. Presentations should be held between November 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. The minimum goal is determined by: Number of registered youths listed on charter renewal paperwork x $40

The following units have qualified to receive free rank advancements through March 31, 2020 (additional units may qualify once they have attained their Friends of Scouting goal):

  1. Oxcart Trails District 3 - Pack 307
  2. Oxcart Trails District 3 - Pack 312
  3. Oxcart Trails District 3 - Pack 325
  4. Oxcart Trails District 3 - Troop 307
  5. Lakes District 4 - Pack 416
  6. Lakes District 4 - Pack 426
  7. Lakes District 4 - Pack 496
  8. Lakes District 4 - Troop 412
  9. Lakes District 4 - Troop 423
  10. Lakes District 4 - Troop 426
  11. Northern Sky District 5 - Pack 232
  12. Northern Sky District 5 - Pack 234
  13. Northern Sky District 5 - Pack 279
  14. Northern Sky District 5 - Pack 299
  15. Northern Sky District 5 - Pack 624
  16. Northern Sky District 5 - Pack 641
  17. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 203
  18. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 213
  19. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 214
  20. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 215
  21. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 222
  22. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 229
  23. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 241
  24. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 244
  25. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 246
  26. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 276
  27. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 637
  28. Northern Sky District 5 - Troop 644
  29. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Pack 1
  30. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Pack 13
  31. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Pack 19
  32. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Pack 34
  33. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Pack 116
  34. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Pack 162
  35. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Troop 37
  36. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Troop 41
  37. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Troop 130
  38. Lake Agassiz District 8 - Troop 151
  39. Roughrider District 10 - Pack 38
  40. Roughrider District 10 - Pack 59
  41. Roughrider District 10 - Pack 112
  42. Roughrider District 10 - Troop 32
  43. Tomahawk District 10 - Pack 412
  44. Tomahawk District 11 - Troop 411
  45. Tomahawk District 11 - Troop 425
  46. Tomahawk District 11 - Troop 433
  47. Frontier Trails District 13 - Pack 100
  48. Frontier Trails District 13 - Troop 2
  49. Frontier Trails District 13 - Troop 54
  50. Frontier Trails District 13 - Troop 73
  51. Frontier Trails District 13 - Troop 123
  52. Frontier Trails District 13 - Troop 326
  53. Great Plains District 14 - Troop 316
  54. Great Plains District 14 - Troop 368

We thank these units for their support of the Northern Lights Council!

Privacy Policy

Terms of Use

4200 19th Ave South
Fargo, ND 58103
(701) 293-5011