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Hello everyone,


I was really active in Scouting as a youth, Eagle, Vigil, Summer Camp Staff and all of that good stuff. After being away from the program for years I became involved with a local troop and am currently serving as their Scoutmaster. And since I seem to think I had some extra free time I just started working as a Unit Commissioner. My wife is an understanding and patient person.


It has been informative and fun to read through the forums and learn from everyone here. I think it is important to keep up with the changes in the program. I am afraid of being one of those, "Back in my day we did it this way" kinda guys. Now should I or shouldn't I wear my knots? :)

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I stumbled across some posts on knots and that seemed to be a very heated topic. I was surprised some many people take that so seriously. I am looking forward to being a part of the discussions on here.

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As far as knots, if you want to wear them and you earned them, you should wear them.


Now the more important aspect of your post, if you are a SM, you cannot be a UC. This is a pretty clear policy. Unit Leaders (which clearly a SM is) cannot serve as a commissioner.


The commissioner role has to be your primary role if you want to do it, and a unit leader just cannot make that happen. The SM position is undoubtedly the most demanding position in Scouting if done correctly. You should have no problem filling up all of your time with the duties of that position.


I am a little shocked that any DC or ADC would even consider allowing you to serve as a UC. The Commissioner Corps main job is to assure the health of the units in their district, council, etc. Allowing a unit leader to serve in a UC position does not accomplish that goal.


On you own personal front, there is plenty of opportunity for burn out in the SM position. Don't push it by doing too much. Welcome back to the fold, and have fun!


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Ditto to all of the above.


IMHO, your knots should tell a story of how you can help others. It's the man behind them that matters!


Thanks for your service. I know unit leaders who were simultaneously UCs, but they eventually transitioned away from the direct contact leadership. Most guys can't afford the flowers and chocolate needed for the Mrs. to support them in both jobs!


From your description, I would suggest working the SM gig for a little while longer to decide what from "back in the day" still works for you, find your replacement, then work the UC so you infect more SMs hungry for mentoring.

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Welcome to the forum!


As to the knots issue, that is your call. Wear them, or don't wear them.


Me personally I do wear them, but one of my uniforms is starting to look like a "Central American generalissimo," and I am thinking about applying the Sea Scout rule of no more than 6 knots to all of my uniforms.


I can tell you the three knots earned as a youth: Eagle, AOL, and Youth Religious (minus the devices)knots will be on every uniform.




Actually there is no prohibition on a unit leader being a commissioner, except possibly being a commisioner for there own unit (and I gotta check on it).


BUT as Quaz has stated, being an SM and a US takes up a LOT of time. heck I'm barely treading water with being a CS RT commish and a CSDL.


And in my expereince a CSDL is a heckof a lot harder than being a ASM or SM. Only thing harder than being a DL is being a DE (shudders at the thought of doign that again).

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Thanks for the comments. I just noticed that I wrote roll instead of role when I started this, I must have be hungry when I did that.


When I was asked if I was willing to be a UC I said that I would like to but could not since I was serving as a SM. But I was told that I could not serve as UC for my own unit but could for another unit.


My troop meets on a Tuesday and the one I UC for meets on a Monday. I think that as long as I only have one unit things will be fine. It is fun to learn a new aspect of the program.


My troop has some great ASMs and a good committee right now that along with some super youth certainly makes things really easy.




(This message has been edited by Unkiewill)(This message has been edited by Unkiewill)

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And from page 24 of the Commissioners' Fieldbook, Commissioners must not be registered as unit leaders." BSA is very consistent about this, and I wish people would not spread false information before they did a little research. This is why there are so many inconsistencies floating around.


http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33621.pdf(This message has been edited by johnponz)

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@johnponz That was the reference that I mentioned when I said I could not do it. The DC and DE said that it meant that a commissioner could not be registered with the unit they serve except in a committee member position. In November of last year at the Area 7 Commissioner Conference this was brought up we were told the same thing by the region guys. So that is what I am going with but I read it the same way you do. The wording makes it seem that a UC can not be registered with any unit.

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Lets start here COMMISSIONER FIELDBOOK FOR UNIT SERVICE (p.23): Commissioners must not be registered as unit leaders Although some commissioners may be registered on a unit committeetheir principle Scouting obligation must be with commissioner responsibilities. So, as you can see, this applies to more than just unit-level Commissioners; it applies to all Commissioners.


On your further questions


Unit Leader refers to, essentially, uniformed, direct-contact adult volunteers: Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, and their assistants, obviously, but in keeping with the principle should probably include Den Leaders, too (for pretty obvious practical reasons, despite their not being specifically mentionedbut this part is my own personal thought, having been a DC; its not a stated BSA policy).



The above is from "Ask Andy." I know the advice is not official, but a lot of Scouters trust and liten to his advice.


Finally, from the BSA website:




"Commissioners must not be registered simultaneously as unit leaders. Some commissioners may be registered on a unit committee because they have a son in the unit or because of previous personal history in the unit, but their principle Scouting obligation should be with commissioner responsibilities. Commissioners may be currently registered in only one commissioner position."


This language in unambiguous and is really not open to interpretation. It sounds like the people you have been listening to are trying to pad their "Commissioner ratios" by not following the policy as written.(This message has been edited by johnponz)

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Welcome! Glad you could join us.


The only thing I will comment on (not knowing if you can or can't).. Is just make sure if the "other" units you are a commissioner on are packs with feeder troops, you do not do anything to disturb the natural flow of the packs crossing into the CO's troop..


If there is someone who just knows the CO's troop is not for them, then that is one thing to invite them to your troop, but you don't want the parents and scouts of the cub pack to move to your troop because you have set up a way they have become more familure with you then their Troop leadership.


If you see that happening, you should take steps to find ways for troop & Pack to work together.. You want to keep both units of the CO (or all if they also have Venturing) healthy.

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I know of no reason why a Scoutmaster can't serve as a Unit Commissioner as well.


A gave up my position as Cubmaster at the end of last year, but until then I had been:



Unit Commissioner

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner

District Membership Chair


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