Council News

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT)

5/26/20 Update

Due to COVID-19, the NYLT course has not reached minimum attendance and staffing requirements. The Council Training committee has made the decision to cancel the training that was scheduled for July 26 to August 1 at Camp Wilderness and will work to offer an excellent course in 2021. Registered participants and staff will receive a refund for fees paid for the 2020 course.

Scouts BSA Intro to Leadership Skills for Troops and Crews

Does your troop teach Leadership Skills or maybe struggle with how to do it?  Look no further than the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILTS)! The purpose of the ILST course is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to most effectively reach success in that role.  

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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


Silver Beaver Recipients Announced

On Saturday, August 15 in Bismarck, ND the Northern Lights Council will recognize and pay tribute to the countless volunteers who make Scouting happen across our territory. The highlight is the presentation of the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award the Council can bestow upon a registered volunteer Scouter in recognition of distinguished service to the Council and its youth.

Mark your calendars and plan on attending! Registration is open now!

Silver Beaver Awards will be presented to the following outstanding volunteers:

04 Lakes District - Michael Denke

05 Northern Sky District - Jefri Jones

08 Lake Agassiz District - Cameron Carlson

10 Roughrider District - Michelle Schock

11 Tomahawk District - Diana Rommel

13 Frontier Trails District - Gordon Herman

Important Message from the Scout Executive

Dear Scouting Community,

Today, the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to achieve two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue to carry out Scouting’s mission for years to come.

I want to highlight important points that are most relevant to the Northern Lights Council:

  • The Northern Lights Council has not filed for bankruptcy. Our Council is legally separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization.
  • Scouting programs will continue. This means that unit meetings and activities, district and council events, other Scouting adventures and countless service projects will take place as usual. In short, we expect no changes to the local Scouting experience in the area.
  • Scouting is safer now than ever before. Over many years, we’ve developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization. I can also assure you that our volunteers and employees take youth protection extremely seriously and do their part to help keep kids safe.
  • Restricted donations – past, present or future – can only be used for their designated purpose. In addition, Friends of Scouting (FOS) and other annual donations made to our Council will continue to fund necessary day-to-day expenses that are critical to local Scouting programs.

While we do not anticipate the national organization’s bankruptcy filing will have any direct impact on the local Scouting experience or your involvement with our Council, I understand you may still have questions about these issues and things you will see in the news. To that end, the national organization has established a dedicated restructuring website,

This site includes a helpful Resources page, where you will find a short video explaining what Chapter 11 means for Scouting, as well as a FAQ. The site’s Milestones page will be your best source for the latest updates throughout this process. 

If you have any questions about local Scouting, you can always feel free to reach out directly to me or your usual contact within our Council. 

Through your engagement and dedication to Scouting, the Northern Lights Council will continue to bring adventures, values and lifelong benefits to youth and our communities for generations to come. Thank you for your trust and support as we continue this important mission.

Yours in Scouting,

Rich McCartney, Scout Executive

BSA Has Filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Here’s What That Means for You

You can expect to continue your Scouting experience and the many adventures that fill your schedules.

Read more from Bryan on Scouting

Shop on Amazon Smile & Support the Northern Lights Council is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

Designate the Northern Lights Council as your charity, and your purchase will help the council with no cost to you!






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

Scoutbook should be 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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Fargo, ND 58103
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