Words from the Commissioner
Commissioners are district and council leaders who help Scout units succeed. They coach and consult with adult leaders of Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews. Commissioners help maintain the standards of the Boy Scouts of America. They also oversee the unit charter renewal plan so that each unit reregisters on time with an optimum number of youth and adult members.
EVERY SCOUT DESERVES A TRAINED LEADER
Every Scout does deserve a trained leader. As a Unit Commissioner one of the important things you can do is encourage and support our Unit Leaders to be trained in their position and even consider getting trained in areas that are outside of their specific position. For example, a Troop Leader can benefit by taking Webelos Leader training to gain a better understanding of the program that affects the success of a Troop. A Cubmaster should be trained in all Cub Scout positions. Troop leaders can take Venture Leader training to understand how Venturing may work in conjunction with a Troop.
And what better way to support and encourage our Leaders-“Set the Example”. As a Commissioner, we should be more trained than those Leaders we are working with.
So, get trained.
EVERY SCOUT DESERVES A TRAINED LEADER; EVERY UNIT DESERVES A TRAINED COMMISSIONER.
As your Council Commissioner I want to hear from you. If you are doing something that you think is successful let me know and I can share it with all our Commissioners. Likewise if you are having any problems I can support you with let me know. My email is
And always, let’s keep the “Scout” in Scouting.
The “Commissioner’s Challenge”
3. Get Trained
Unit Commissioners are resources to the Units they visit. In order to be a resource, the Unit Commissioner needs to know as much, if not more, about Scouting than the Scouters they are working with. I strongly encourage each Commissioner to be fully trained. That means all the Cub Scout position training, Boy Scout Leader Indoor and Outdoor training and ultimately Wood Badge training. And if you also work with a Venture Crew there is online Venture Leader training. Of course I encourage all Commissioners to earn their Doctorate of Commissioner Science.
2. Report your Visit and Leader Contacts
The Journey to Excellence recognition program is how program quality is measured from the Unit level all the way to the Council level. Unit service (unit visits and unit leader contacts) is one of the measured objectives to achieve the gold, silver or bronze level. Our Council goal is the Gold level, which is an average of 50% of our units receiving 6 visits or leader contacts within the year. This is measured by postings in the Unit Visit Tracking System (UVTS). After each unit visit or leader contact post it in UVTS
1. Visit your Unit(s).
Unit visitation is the only way to become familiar with the units you are a commissioner for. When you visit, don’t go empty handed. Make sure you share upcoming events in your district and council. Volunteer to help with a Pack, Troop or Venture meeting. Go camping with a Troop. Lead a game or song at a Pack meeting. Be a resource. And always have fun.
|Resources for Commissioners
NEW! Unit Commissioner Fast Start—This new online fast start training is an orientation designed for all commissioners to learn about the job responsibilities for a unit commissioner. This ‘fast start’ training is designed to be taken by all commissioners within the first few weeks of agreeing to be a commissioner.
This is only the introduction of your new position in Scouting. You should also take other training courses shared in the Commissioner Fieldbook,
- Unit Visit Tracking System
- Products for Commissioner Identity
- National Commissioner's Podcast
- Basic Commissioner Manuals
- Other Commissioner Resources
- Roundtable Support
- The Commissioner—A newsletter for the council commissioner and the council Scout executive
- Commissioners at the Philmont Training Center
Roles the Commissioner Plays
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.
See the Commissioner Fieldbook and Commissioner Administration for more details on commissioner criteria and responsibilities.