Ethical Navigators Weekly Update – December 14


  • New: The Council met this afternoon to discuss strategy and 2015 plans. Lots of new information included.


We have no more planned for 2014. Do you have any ideas for Add-on? If so, let us know.

January 11
We will be kicking off our new year with a fun event – a skating party at Steinberg Ice Skating Rink in Forest Park at 1pm on January 11*. Please join us for winter fun. You can rent skates at the rink if you don’t have your own.

At the party, and also that morning at the Society, we will be registering families for membership in the Chapter for 2015.

See you there!

*Subject to confirmation that this does not conflict with other Society events.

General Meetings

We are not planning on having a General Meeting in December. Enjoy your holidays!

See the Outings Section above.


Navigators USA National Meeting

We have not heard any more information about about the proposed National Meeting, so we are assuming that it is not happening this year. If we get updated information from Navigators USA, we will let you know.

December Council Meeting

This afternoon, all members of the Council and two guests met at Ellen Wilson’s home for a strategy and planning meeting:

Tom Draney (Treasurer), Lance Finney (Communications), Andy Ford (Junior Navigators), Bob Heck (Travelers), Stuart Morse (Senior Navigators), Haley Pepper (Quartermaster), and Ellen Wilson (Stargazers). Jim Jordan and Rebecca Karlen also joined us.

The conversations covered many issues, but here are the highlights:

  • Age Groupings – Due to changes in the structure of the age groups at the Navigators USA level, we are adjusting our organization. Starting in 2015, Stargazers will no longer be a separate group. Instead, it will be folded into the Junior Navigators, which now runs ages 5-10. Senior Navigators will be ages 11-17. Travelers will continue to be for adults.

    Children under age 5 will be welcome to outings as younger siblings of other members. Additionally, children who have already been involved in our group will be grandfathered into other meetings if they have previously been involved. However, Stargazer/Junior Navigator meetings and curriculum will be focused on material appropriate starting at age 5.

  • Leadership – There will be some associated changes to the leadership structure:
    • Junior Navigators will be led by Andy Ford and Haley Pepper. Ford will focus on the older Junior Navigators (Polaris and Vega), and Pepper will focus on the younger Junior Navigators (Mira and Stargazers).
    • Senior Navigators will be led by Stuart Morse, with assistance from Jim Johnson.
    • Travelers will be led by Bob Heck, who will also provide backup assistance for both Junior and Senior Navigators, as needed.
    • Ellen Wilson will serve as Quartermaster
    • Tom Draney will serve as Treasurer
    • Lance Finney will serve as meeting coordinator and communications secretary.
  • SEEK Integration – Lance Finney and Stuart Morse met with Rachel Valenti and the Ethical Society’s Ethical Education Committee to discuss greater integration between the Ethical Navigators and SEEK. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we are working towards the following new structure for our meetings on Sunday mornings:

    Instead of having an Ethical Navigators General Meeting at 9am, before SEEK starts, we will offer the Navigator lessons and programming as a workshop as part of SEEK’s Special Interest Groups at 10am. This will happen once a month, and we propose that it be co-incident with the First Sunday Lunch Sundays each month (this means that the General Meeting will no longer necessarily be the weekend before an outing).

    The Navigators will gather at 9:45 for the presentation of colors and Navigator-specific business. After that, the SEEK-aged Navigators will then participate in the Navigators meeting as part of the SEEK Special Interest group time. Other SEEKers who are interested in a particular topic will be welcome to join us.

    Coming of Age and Youth Group-aged Navigators will participate in those programs at 10am. Then, the Senior Navigators will meet at 12:30 after grabbing a bite from the First Sunday Lunch for the Senior Navigators meeting, which will end with retirement of the colors. Senior Navigators who are in the SEEK group (some 5th- and 6th-graders) will will have the option of participating in the SEEK workshop in addition to the Senior Navigators meeting.

    This is a new model for us, and many details have yet to be worked out, but both the Ethical Navigators leadership and the SEEK leadership are excited about it. We intend to start this by September at the latest – we may start it as early as February if the schedules can be co-ordinated.

  • 2015 Calendar – we made the following tentative plans for 2015 outings:
    • January 11: Skating party, as mentioned above
    • February: Cabin camping
    • March: A Hike at Jefferson Barracks, combined with a trip to the Civil War museum there
    • April: Civics and fire safety at a Fire Station
    • May: Camping at or near Johnson’s Shut-in’s, including some climbing and a visit to Fort Davidson Civil War site
    • June: Camping for a long weekend (site undetermined)
    • July: Two events:
      • Camp Quest Kansas City, “a place for fun, friends and freethought for kids ages 8 to 17.” July 5-12, 2015. This would be a week-long sleep-away camp, similar in some ways to church and Jewish camp, but focused on freethought, science, and critical thinking. Obviously, this would be more expensive, and we should not be leading the programming there. Additionally, this would not be open to Stargazers. However, it could be a great way to meet other non-theistic or Humanist children from around the Midwest.

        CampQuest always wants more volunteers, so please consider volunteering. Also, if the Kansas City plan falls through, there are other options in Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, etc.

      • Float trip with optional camping, similar to our event at Meramec State Park this summer. This would be open to all, including those too young for CampQuest.
    • August: Pool party at the Hecks
    • September: Pinewood derby (distributing and building the cars at SEEK and racing them as the outing)
    • October: Camping combined with bicycling and a skills challenge
    • November: Art or Theater event (perhaps Bob Kramer Marionettes).
    • December: Break
  • Fundraiser – We plan to repeat the pancake meal fundraiser, but this time as the November First Sunday Lunch instead of as breakfast.
  • Fees – In order to ensure that financial issues do not prevent involvement by any interested families, we intend to present annual fees and outing fees as “suggested donations”. Obviously, if you can pay, please do. But if you can’t pay, please participate with us anyway.
  • Outing Participation – We will not require parents to participate in camping and other outings with their children. However, if you as a parent want your young children to attend without you, please co-ordinate with another parent to make sure that there is another responsible parent. So, if your child wants to go camping, but you have a conflict, please work with another parent to make sure that it is clear in what tent the child should stay, etc. For Senior Navigators, there will be more events in which there will be independence for the children than we have had in the past.

See you next month!

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