Each year, Scouting units (Packs, Troops, and Crews) are required to renew their charters with the Northern Lights Council.   The charter is the official agreement between the council and your local chartered organization to provide a program under the auspices of the BSA.  The process of renewing a unit's charter reinforces this agreement year-to-year and provides an opportunity to update registration records and qualify for Journey to Excellence recognition.

Thank you for completing your unit’s charter renewal on time and error free!  This website is intended to provide all the resources you will need (except the unit access code) to complete the process quickly.


For units that expire 12/31/19 - completed renewal was due to a commissioner by November 27, 2019

For units that expire 1/31/20 - completed renewal was due to a commissioner by December 19, 2019

For units that expire 2/28/20 - completed renewal is due to a commissioner by January 23, 2020

Contacts for Assistance

District District Commissioner Council Staff
Flickertail Andrew Banks Shaun Grover
Oxcart Trails Mike Guck Melissa Halda
Lakes Mike Denke Darin Steindl
Northern Sky Jefri Jones Megan Wiesneski
Lake Agassiz Tom Henderson Thomas Huether
Roughrider Paula Kleinsasser Rob Gilkerson
Tomahawk James Walker Rob Gilkerson
Frontier Trails   Paul Maloney
Great Plains   Carleton Borden

Charter Renewal Documents (make copies as needed)

Charter Renewal Instructions

New - Background Check Authorization

  • Required from every adult annually

New - Charter Fee worksheet (excel)

New - Charter Fee worksheet (pdf)

New - Charter Fee worksheet for Posts (excel)

New - Charter Fee worksheet for Posts (pdf)

New - Printing membership cards (pdf)

New - Printing charter certificates (pdf)

Membership Validation form

  • To be used if less than 5 youth will be registered

Registration Assistance form

  • For individuals needing assistance, not Scout Reach units

Insurance Fee Explanation & Information

Unit Account Authorization form

FOS Presentation Scheduling form

Free Rank Insignia Program for Units

Annual Charter Agreement form

Journey to Excellence (JTE) scorecards

Charter Renewal Checklist

  • For Commissioners and Field Staff

Unregistered Unit Report

  • For professional staff use only

Youth and Adult Application Forms

New Registration Fees Announced

October 23,  2019

We received an email from the National Boy Scouts of America regarding the increase in the national membership fee, effective January 2020. While costs to the organization have increased every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. it is no longer possible for the National organization to subsidize at the level they have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically. 

The new annual membership fees effective January 1, 2020 will be:

  • $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts,
  • $36 for youth members in Exploring, and
  • $36 for adult members
  • $60 annual Charter Fee (paid by the chartered organization)

The Northern Lights Council remains committed to supporting you and your unit through this process. We understand that the timing of this fee increase is not optimum and could be a challenge for some units who had planned for and began collecting Recharter fees at the $33 per youth rate. 

With that in mind, the Northern Lights Council Executive Board has elected to subsidize any 2020 recharter fee increase above $35.00 per youth member. This means each youth member will only need to pay $35 for registration plus $4 for insurance; a total of $39. The Northern Lights Council will cover the remaining fees for youth members who recharter for 2020. We hope that this will lessen the burden on your unit and give families time to prepare for increased registration fees in 2021.

This subsidy is for current youth members to assist with 2020 recharter fees. New youth members who join after January 2020 should be charged the new rate of $60.00.  A pro-rated fee chart will be coming soon.

Every dollar of the national membership fee goes toward the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, program resources, safety standards, youth protection and personal safety training, and services to councils nationwide to sustain Scouting. The National BSA organization will also continue to develop and improve resources that support our volunteers and youth members such as online registration, Member Care and Scoutbook, which now includes the Den Leader experience to ensure the safe and consistent delivery of Cub Scouting; as well as improvements aimed at simplifying the annual renewal process. 

Across the country and in our own community, we know that Scouting remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow.

If you have questions about this or anything else, please feel free to contact Rich McCartney directly at (Office) 701-499-0640 or (Mobile) 701-552-1822. We are committed to helping you deliver the best program possible for the young women and young men that you serve. 

Thank you for what you do every day and every week to change lives!

** Special Note about Registration Fees **

The online charter renewal system has been updated with the new registration fees. Since the Northern Lights Council is subsidizing the fees this year, ignore the fee calculation in the online system.

Instead use one of the Charter Fee worksheets (below) to calculate the correct fees and submit with the Charter Renewal paperwork.

New - Charter Fee worksheet (excel)

New - Charter Fee worksheet (pdf)

New - Charter Fee worksheet for Posts (excel)

New - Charter Fee worksheet for Posts (pdf)

Charter Renewal Instructions for Unit Leaders

Download the full set of instructions here

  • Select an adult leader from the unit to be the Charter Renewal Processor for the unit.   The Charter Renewal Processor will then complete the following steps for “Error Free – On Time” charter renewal completion.    


  • Attend the district Charter Renewal Workshop.  Each District will be holding one or more workshops before the charter renewal paperwork is due.  You will receive your Charter Renewal Packet and receive instructions on the charter renewal process.  It also gives you a chance to meet your Unit Commissioner, your first line of help in case you need it.


  • Inventory your members and collect fees.  Collect BSA registration fee, Boys' Life subscription fee, and Council accident insurance fee from each member that will be continuing membership.  The unit may plan to cover the fees for each member from the funds raised during the annual Popcorn sale.


  • Get complete, new applications, including all required parts and signatures, for any new youth or adult members.   All adult applications must include the signed Disclosure/Authorization form and must also include proof of completed Youth Protection Training. 


Note:  All adult applications must be signed by the unit Committee Chair and by the Chartering Organization Representative.  All youth applications require the signature of the parent and of a unit leader.    


Complete the steps for online charter renewal


90-days prior to the charter expiration date - Click here to access the Online Charter Renewal System


  • Select “First Time User” and enter the units 9-digit unit access code listed in your Charter Renewal Packet.  Note:  This access code changes every year. (If you have misplaced your access code you may obtain it by contacting your district executive or by calling a Council Service Center.)        


  • Select the unit type (Pack, Troop, Team or Crew) and enter the unit number (all four digits).


  • Create a password as instructed.  (If you forget your password please call our Council Registrar at 877-293-5011.)        


  • Complete the information on each screen.  You can stop at anytime, log out of the system, and begin again where you left off.  To do so you will need to log in again as a “returning user”, using your access code and your password.


  • When you have completed all the information to recharter the unit, click the “submit” button.  Note:  You are not done with the charter renewal process yet!


  • Print the Unit Charter Renewal Report Package (all pages), which includes the Charter Renewal Application and list of new members, transfers, multiples, and no-fee adults.  The online portion is done – just a few more steps to complete your “Error Free – On Time” charter renewal.


  • Acquire the necessary signature on the hard copy of the Charter Renewal Application or secure electronic approval.  This is Executive Officer (or Institutional Head) of the chartering organization or Charter Organization Representative. 


  • Work with your unit leader and committee to complete the Journey to Excellence Scorecard for your unit.


  • Acquire one check from the unit to cover all youth fees, adult fees, accident insurance fees, and the $40 annual insurance fee for the chartering organization. Note - payment may also be made online using a credit card or e-check this year.


  • 30-45 days prior to the charter expiration date:  Gather all completed paperwork, all pages of the printed Charter Renewal Application (including page 1, which lists the adults and youth needing completed and signed applications), youth applications, adult applications and Journey to Excellence Scorecard.  Turn-in all paperwork (including one check to cover fees) at your districts Charter Renewal Turn-In day.  Or call your Unit Commissioner or District Executive to schedule an appointment to turn-in your completed paper-work.


  • Fix any defects:  Work with your Unit Commissioner or District Executive to complete any follow-up action items discussed at your charter renewal turn-in.