Commisioner Service

Mark Riley, Council Commissioner

Six Major Tasks for Volunteer Success. . . .

Volunteers are the heart of successful district operation. Voluntarism is the heart of successful Scouting. Commissioners are volunteers who reach beyond their paid employment to help units provide a better program for youth.

Commissioners contribute their time, talent, and money in ways that are beneficial to Scouting, as well as, satisfying to themselves. Council Commissioners and professional staff strengthen commissioner operation by carrying out six major tasks.

Commissioner must know what is expected of them to be successful. Carefully define, in writing, the responsibilities for each position.

Fit the right person to the job. Consider each prospect’s skills, interest and other relevant factors. Consider the variety of motivating factors for people to get involved in Scouting.

Provide each person with prompt orientation on their assignment and adequate training to be successful.

Provide ongoing coaching as needed. Build commissioners’ confidence and self-esteem. Help them make the best of their volunteers’ time. Coaching should be provided by the appropriate administrative Commissioner or professional.

Prompt volunteer recognition has an important impact on the tenure and quality of service in the district. Recognition must be sincere, timely, and earned. Use the large variety of formal BSA recognition items, but also be creative with frequent locally devised thank you’s. The personal "pat on the back" for a job well done may be even more effective. Recognize Commissioners face-to-face, from a person of status and preferably in the presence of their peers.

Help Commissioners to regular evaluate how they’re doing. Use the Self-Evaluation Guide for Unit Commissioners. A Self-Evaluation Guide for Successful District Operation, and the "How Will I Know I Did a Good Job? section in each of the district highlight books.

What is a Unit Commissioner?

Check out the online Unit Commissioner Fast Start Training

Many unit commissioners serve more than one type of unit. One commissioner might serve a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, and a Venture Crew in the same chartered organization. Another might serve only packs or only troops or only crews. The unit commissioner is a generalist whose passionate overriding mission in Scouting is to help units succeed. Specific responsibilities include:

Help each unit earn the Quality Unit Award.
Use the annual commissioner service plan, with its scheduled opportunities for commissioner contact with units.
Know each phase of the Scouting program and be able to describe what each is and how each works. Reviewing Scouting program literature.
Visit unit meetings.
a. Observe the unit in action and determine the degree to which the descriptions in the literature are being followed.
b. If called upon, participate or help in some of the regular activities of the unit.
Visit regularly with the unit leader.
a. Listen to what the unit leader has to say about being a unit leader.
b. Offer encouragement and support.
c. Using the literature and profile sheet, help the leader see new opportunities for improvement.
d. Maintain the best possible relationship with unit leadership.
e. Help the leader with forms and applications.
f. Encourage unit participation in district and council program events and training opportunities.
Work to assure effective and active unit committees.
a. Visit with the unit committee periodically.
b. Observe the committee in action.
c. Using the literature, offer suggestions for improvement.
d. Work with the committee to solve problems and improve unit operation.
Keep in touch with the chartered organizations of the unit operation.
a. Meet and orient the chartered organization representation
b. Meet the head of the organization and explain your role as helper of units.
c. Help develop a good relationship between unit leaders and chartered organization leaders.
d. In close cooperation with the district executive, give the leaders of the organization a brief process report and compliment them for using Scouting.
Know the neighborhood in which your units are located.
a. Help graduating members of one program join the next level of Scouting.
b. Identify potential sources for new youth members.
c. Cultivate men and women of good moral character who might become Scouting leaders.
d. Know chartered organizations and prospective ones.
e. Learn about resources and characteristics of the neighborhood, which may affect a unit.
Know the district and council.
a. Identify resources that can help the unit.
b. Know scheduled events that will help the unit.
c. Work closely with the professional staff.
d. Use members of district operating committees to help meet specialized needs of your units.
Set the example.
a. Adopt an attitude of helpfulness.
b. Keep promises.


Derived from the Goldsmith’s Hall in old London, a hallmark is an official mark stamped on gold and silver articles in England to attest to their purity. Service is truly the hallmark of commissioners which attests to the purity of Scouting.

Customer service is a hot topic today in and out of Scouting. Idea about service as it relates to commissioners are listed below for you to share with your commissioners in the weeks ahead.

1. Unit service must be unit oriented—oriented to the needs and goals of unit adults. Because units are so different, commissioner service must be flexible in adapting to unit needs.
Try to view life from the unit leader’s point of view. That’s called empathy. A commissioner with a unit-oriented attitude will not be overly district or council centered. Try to fit the service of the district to the unit, not forcing the unit to always fit the mold of the district. It’s a mistake to use a single strategy for multiple markets. Turn the organization chart upside down to put the unit on top.

2. Be a good listener. Listen intently. When we listen to unit people, we pay attention to what they are saying, but we are also alert to the feelings behind the words.

3. The attitude of the commissioner dictates the quality and effectiveness of unit service as perceived by unit adults. Unit leaders want a commissioner who seems to be interested in their problems; that is as important as resolving the problems. What works well is what is perceived to work well.

4. Caring is a habit. The move we view Scout units with a caring attitude, the more good service attitudes and behavior become a part of us.

5. Good unit service really means exceeding unit leaders’ expectations. Average commissioners will usually do those things most unit folk may expect. Excellent commissioners go beyond unit expectations.

6. Good commissioners take ownership of service responsibility. They are committed to service and they work to make units succeed.

7. In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about the contrast between "high-tech" and "high-touch." There is a place in Scouting for "high-tech," such as cell phones, GPIs, fax, computers, video, and the Internet. But unit service is an interpersonal event and many people today strive for the "high-touch" contrast to technology. Scouting is a very person-oriented service and commissioners need good interpersonal skills.

8. Commissioners must be available to unit people. Good service requires frequent contact and opportunity for communication.

9. Service providers know and use their resources. For commissioners, that includes members of the district committee, the District Executive, Scouting literature, and commissioner initiative in locating other resources in the community.

10. Good commissioners are problem solvers. They have the "can-do attitude."

11. Good service providers appreciate good humor and enjoy the process of service.

12. Alert unit commissioners provides feedback to the council on its service to units. They often know what council improvements would better help more units to succeed.

Web www.eacbsa.org
:: Home :: About Us :: Contact Us :: Links :: Site Map ::