The role of commissioners is 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 be served by the commissioner. And Have fun.
Councils, districts, or national publications are trying to do an excellent job in generating program support for the unit. We have efficiently loaded the cargo into the vehicle. But no matter how valuable the cargo, it will be of little use if the vehicle doesn't run properly. . Unless Scouting units are strong and efficient, the program won't reach the boy. No matter how well organized the council and district, the program delivery system stalls or fails with weak units.
The concept for today's commissioner service focuses on the unit. Commissioners have a specific mission: to keep the units operating at maximum efficiency so that they can deliver the program to a growing 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 boys, and units effectively deliver the ideals of Scouting to their members.
Commissioners are also involved with carrying programs to the unit, but their main concern is to develop strength in the unit operation. In other words, the concept calls for commissioners to develop program capability in a unit. They are neither program specialists nor production experts, although they are concerned and knowledgeable in both fields. Their activity is focused, not on program or production, but on the unit.
Commissioners must be sufficient in number, to fill the needs of the council and district. They must be trained and guided in their efforts. Unit commissioners are accountable for the success of their assigned units. Numbers and methods should be determined by the needs of units to be served.,
Where large numbers of commissioners or wide geographic considerations are involved, it may be desirable to appoint functional assistants to aid in the accomplishment of the mission. Assignments might be the servicing of new units or administering charter renewal sessions, for example. Extreme care should be exercised in the addition of assistant commissioners to the commissioner staff. The staff structure must be dictated by the needs of the council and district and the units to be served.
Effective unit service should include the help of operating committees. Providing service to units is the opportunity of all council and district personnel. It is important that commissioners use operating committee members whenever practical.
PUTTING THE CONCEPT TO WORK
The commissioners who who support unit serving commissioners have the following tasks:
Recruit men and women to serve as commissioners.
Show them how to help units succeed.
Stimulate pack, troop, team, and unit commissioners to gain the confidence of the leaders they serve.
Express appreciation to commissioners who help units succeed.
Encourage them to find continuing satisfaction as helpers of units.
Serving all Types of Units, the unit commissioner is a generalist who is familiar with Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Exploring. Know each phase of the Scouting program and be able to describe what each is and how each works.
Review Scouting literature. Review current Boy Scout Program Helps, Cub Scout Program Helps, Boys' Life magazine, and Exploring journal.
Visit unit meetings. Observe the unit in action and determine the degree to which the descriptions in the literature are being followed.
Visit with the unit leader. Listen to what the unit leader has to say about being a unit leader. Offer encouragement and support. Using the literature and profile sheet, help the leader see new opportunities for improvement.
Help the leader with forms and applications.
Encourage unit participation in district and council program events and training opportunities.
Visit with the unit committee. Observe the committee in action. Using the literature, offer suggestions for improvement. Work with the committee on rechartering process and budget plan.
Keep in touch with the chartered organization. Meet and orient the Scouting coordinator. Meet the head of the organization and explain your role as helper. At least once, in addition to the charter renewal process, give the Scouting coordinator and head of the organization a brief progress report and compliment them for using Scouting.
Know the neighborhood. Help graduating members of one program join the next level of Scouting. Identify potential members for Scouting units. Cultivate men and women who might become interested in Scouting leadership roles. Know chartered organizations and prospective ones.
Know the district and council. Identify resources that can help the unit. Know scheduled events which will help the unit. Work closely with the professional staff.
Eight Rules of Thumb for Commissioners
Set the example.
Adopt an attitude of helpfulness.
Be concerned about proper uniforming.
Continue to grow in experience and knowledge.
Attend training experiences.
Meet with and share information with other commissioners.
WHERE TO FIND SUCCESS
The success of the unit commissioner, and of every other kind of commissioner, can be found in the condition of his/her units. Much of this success is measurable--
How well is the unit attracting boys?
How well is the unit holding boys?
Are boys getting what is in the handbook?
Is there advancement?
Are Scouts getting outdoor program?
Are leaders trained?
Are leaders staying on the job?
Is the unit committee supporting the leader?
Is the institution supporting the unit?
Evidence of the commissioner's success can be found in many places:
In badges of rank pinned on the pockets of khaki shirts;
on merit badge sashes,
in the training awards bestowed upon leaders;
in service stars and veterans certificates;
and in the faces around a campfire.
Here a commissioner can look and find the applause and the medals and tie loving cups earned for unselfish service. Here he can find the difference he/she made.
How well does your Unit function?
1. Does your unit have a regularly scheduled committee meeting each month?
Units should have their committee meet once a month to transact the business of the unit and review and coordinate the upcoming months activities. The Troop Committee should have taken "Troop Committee Challenge Training"
2. Are your unit's activities planned and scheduled at least six months out?
Parents like to know what activities are upcoming and on the horizon. Good communication with your parent groups will encourage them to support the Unit's activities. If your unit has a website, it should be updated with your calendar. During the annual Program Kickoff at Sundance each Pack & Troop are given annual Program Planning Posters to help with this process.
3. Does a committee member handle all the unit's funds?
The Scoutmaster/Cubmaster needs to be working with the boys and the program. Time spent collecting and disbursing money takes time away from the boys and the program so you should have a Treasurer and be following the Unit Budget Plan.
4. Does a committee member purchase and keep records of all the advancement awards?
The Scoutmaster/Cubmaster needs to be working with the boys and the program. This is a job well suited for a committee member who does not want to be an assistant unit leader but wishes to act in a support capacity.
5. Are all your leaders trained?
A Trained Leader is a Better Leader. As your D.E. for the training records of all of the leaders in your unit.
6. Do leaders in your unit attend Roundtable?
Roundtables are your leaders opportunity to get program resources, to get information about upcoming District events, and to talk to other leaders that are having the same problems and successes you are having in your unit. Check your District web page for the time & place of your local roundtables. We conduct roundtables each month in Woodward, Enid, Ponca City, and Stillwater.
7. Do a majority of your unit members subscribe to "Boys Life"?
It is a statistical fact that a scout is more likely to stay involved in the program if he subscribes to "Boys Life".
8. Does your unit participate in District & Council Events?
District events promote the concept that each individual unit is part of something greater.
9. Does your unit either participate in, or put on, a Junior Leader Training course?
A Trained Junior Leader is a Better Leader. In 2007 Cimarron Council will launch our first every Troop Leader Training Course as a week long event at Will Rogers Scout Reservation.
10. Does your unit have a unit leader succession plan?
Transfers and family emergencies occur. Don't let you unit flounder because an assistant leader was not prepared to step into the leader role. Have a plan.
How healthy is your Unit?
If you answered 'YES' to 7 or more of these questions, your unit is very healthy.
If you answered 'YES' to either 5 or 6 of these questions, your unit is functioning well but might need to improve its committee organizational structure.
If you answered 'YES' to 4 or less of these questions, your committee is might not be functioning as well as it could and your Unit Leader might need additional support very soon.
Units that score 6 or below should take immediate action to improve the committee function and enhance the program you present to the scouts.
The Commissioner staff is here to help and give guidance, so please call us!