Commissioner’s Corner October, 2017
District Commissioner Robert Monto
WHAT is a Unit Commissioner?
A Unit Commissioner is a volunteer Scouter who works directly with Scout units and leaders to help them provide the highest quality Scouting program possible. As friends, teachers and counselors to unit leaders, Commissioners represent the ideals, principles and policies of the Boy Scout program while providing the resources of the district and council to the units they serve. The primary purpose of the Unit Commissioner is to help units succeed.
WHO can become a Commissioner?
Commissioners are adults with a passion for Scouting who are willing to help one or more units of the Chartering Organization to provide a quality Scouting program for their youth members. Prior experience in Scouting is helpful but not necessary. A friendly personality, a desire to help others succeed, the ability to listen, and a willingness to learn are “musts.” Former Scout unit leaders, local business and community leaders, retired adults and others desiring to help support Scouting are great candidates for this position. These volunteers may be just what some pack, troop, team, crew, or ship needs! Those interested should contact your District Commissioner
WHAT Is Commissioner Service?
Youth experience Scouting in Packs, Troops, Crews, Ships, Teams, and Posts. The healthier the unit, the more wonderful things will happen for these youth involved in Scouting. To help make this occur, the Boys Scouts of America provides a program of unit service through adult Scouters specifically commissioned to help chartered organizations and unit leaders to achieve the aims of Scouting by using the methods of Scouting.
These commissioned Scouters wear a shoulder patch with a wreath surrounding the Scout symbol. Commissioner Service is the organization within Scouting that provides a program of unit service. Because of the importance of unit service to the successful delivery of the Scouting program, you will find Commissioners at every level of Scouting. And all of these Commissioners are there as a team to help assure that individual Scouts get the best possible program.
At the national level, BSA has a National Commissioner. Similarly, each Council has a Council Commissioner and Assistant Council Commissioners. However, it is at the District level that you will find more than 95% of BSA’s Commissioners serving as District, Assistant District, Roundtable, and Unit Commissioners.
Districts Have 3 Types of Commissioners
This includes the District Commissioner and the Assistant District Commissioners. Their primary responsibilities are recruiting, training, guiding, and evaluating the Commissioner staff. In larger Districts you may find that there are line managers and specialty advisors within the Commissioner staff. For example you may have Assistant District Commissioners that manage several Unit Commissioners in a Service Area and others that specialize in re-chartering, training, or the administration of Commissioner Service.
Unit Commissioners cover one or more units, unsurely for a Chartered Organization, which they serve and counsel.
Roundtable Commissioners provide unit leaders with resources and training in program skills through regularly scheduled roundtable meetings.
The Unit Commissioner’s Role
A commissioner plays several roles, including friend, representative, unit “doctor,” teacher, and counselor.
The commissioner is a friend of the unit. Of all their roles, this one is the most important. It springs from the attitude, “I care, I am here to help, what can I do for you?” Caring is the ingredient that makes commissioner service successful. He or she is an advocate of unit needs. A commissioner who makes himself known and accepted now will be called on in future times of trouble.
The commissioner is a representative. The average unit leader is totally occupied in working with kids. Some have little if any contact with the Boy Scouts of America other than a commissioner’s visit to their meeting. To them, the commissioner may be the BSA. The commissioner helps represent the ideals, the principles, and the policies of the Scouting movement.
The commissioner is a unit “doctor.” In their role as “doctor,” they know that prevention is better than a cure, so they try to see that their units make good “health practices” a way of life. When problems arise, and they will even in the best unit, they act quickly. They observe symptoms, diagnose the real ailment, prescribe a remedy, and follow up on the patient.
The commissioner is a teacher. As a commissioner, they will have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth of unit leaders by sharing knowledge with them. They teach not just in an academic environment, but where it counts most—as an immediate response to a need to know. That is the best adult learning situation since the lesson is instantly reinforced by practical application of the new knowledge.
The commissioner is a counselor. As a Scouting counselor, they will help units solve their own problems. Counseling is the best role when unit leaders don’t recognize a problem and where solutions are not clear-cut. Everyone needs counseling from time to time, even experienced leaders.