Commissioners are available to help units succeed. A unit is the basic structure operated by a chartered organization to deliver the program of the Boy Scouts of America to youth members. The BSA works with and through the chartered organization to serve youth. It is important that the chartered organization and its units be served effectively with the guidance of a commissioner. Unless Scouting units are strong and efficient, the program won’t retain the Scout. No matter how well organized the council and the district, the program delivery system stalls or fails with weak units.
The concept for commissioner service focuses on the unit. The commissioner’s specific mission is to keep units operating at maximum efficiency so that they can deliver a good program to a growing youth membership. Today’s commissioners are results-oriented rather than procedures-oriented. They are successful in their mission when units continue to operate, units regularly accept new youth, and units effectively deliver the ideals of Scouting to their members. Commissioners are involved with carrying programs to the unit, and their main concern is to develop strength within the unit operation. In other words, the concept calls for commissioners to develop the program capability in a unit.
Roles the Commissioner Plays
A commissioner plays several roles, including being a friend, a representative, a unit “doctor” or paramedic, a teacher, and a coach.
The commissioner is a friend of the unit. Of all your roles, this one is the most important. It springs from the attitude, “I care, I am here to help you, what can I do for you?” Caring is the ingredient that makes commissioner service successful. Be an advocate of unit needs. A commissioner who makes himself or herself known and accepted with the unit leadership will be called on to help in 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 your visits to their meeting. To them, you may be the Boy Scouts of America. Be a good example. Show that you believe in the ideals, the principles, and the policies of the Scouting movement. Represent it well!
The commissioner is a unit “doctor” or a paramedic. In your role as “doctor,” you know that prevention is better than a cure, so you try to see that your units make good “health practices” a way of life. Sometimes being a paramedic and performing triage on a unit to keep its program going or providing support to their leadership is critical. When problems arise, and they will even in the best unit, act quickly. Observe symptoms, diagnose the real ailment, prescribe a remedy, and follow up on the patient.
The commissioner is a teacher. As a commissioner,you will have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth of unit leaders by sharing your knowledge with them. You 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 coach. As a Scouting coach, you will help guide units in solving their own problems. Coaching is the best role for you when unit leaders don’t recognize a problem and where solutions are not clear-cut. Everyone needs coaching or assistance from time to time, even experienced leaders. You provide them with different “plays” that might be the right one for them to move ahead or succeed at solving a problem
Specific Commissioner Responsibilities
Unit Commissioner– Provide unit Service in accordance with Commissioner manuals.
- Use the annual commissioner service plan, to help assigned units maximize their Journey to Excellence achievements.
- Facilitate the on-time annual charter renewal of all assigned units.
- Visit assigned units meeting and activities and then to record observations in Unit Visit Tracking System.
- Work to assure effective and active unit committees.
- Keep in touch with the chartered organizations of the units you serve.
- Know where to get district and council resources that can help the unit.
- Attend commissioner training experiences and earn the commissioner training awards.
Assistant District Commissioner – Recruit and lead the assigned Unit Commissioners to provide Unit Service.
- Recruit enough unit commissioners to serve their assigned units and areas.
- Conduct personal coaching and orientation sessions for unit commissioners.
- Maintain regular contact with their unit commissioners to provide guidance in unit service needs.
- Serve units with no assigned unit commissioner.
- Help unit commissioners evaluate and improve their unit service performance.
District Commissioner – Recruit and lead a Commissioner staff that is sufficient to provide unit service to the district. Be a member of the District Key 3 leadership team and help the District fulfill it’s mission and JTE goals.
Major Responsibilities include:
- Recruit and train a full staff of commissioners.
- Oversee the commissioner training program.
- Ensure an effective monthly Roundtable program is conducted.
- Plan and preside at the monthly meeting of the district commissioner staff.
- Attend district committee meeting to report on conditions of units and to secure specialized help for units.
- Represent the district as a member of the council commissioners cabinet.