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What is the role of the Commissioner?

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I'm in my second year as an adult leader in a local Cub Scout Pack, getting used to some of the things that have changed in the 3-4 years I was out of scouting after having turned 18 and learning new things about how units actually run now and then. One thing that I've been curious about on and off is what role the unit commissioner serves. I remember seeing mine when I was growing up in my troop, but all I really knew about what he did is that he'd show up once a month, share a few words with our elderly ASM who'd been around since the founding of the troop, and that was about it (not saying that's all he did, just that that's what I recall from a boy's perspective on things).


What exactly is a unit commissioner supposed to do?

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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 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.


Generally, a UC should not be noticed by the majority of the unit, but should be very well known to the leadership of the unit.

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  • 1 month later...



Excellent description. Too bad that of the four units I serve:


- One has yet to be assigned a UC, though it's 4 months old.

- The UC to the Pack is invisible; he comes once a year to eat a free B/G banquet.

- The UC to the Troop is nearly invisible.

- NOBODY paid the Scouting "annual call" on my IH at the beginning of recharter season (look at the BSA recharter envelope!).


Now, if Unit Commissioners would walk the walk...


Bitterly, John


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My suggestion would be to talk to your District Commissioner, if your not happy with your Unit Commissioner.

Some Unit Commissioners dont really have a clue of what to do,but are more than willing to be there for you. Give a little guidance, a little patience,dont treat them like they are the enemy if you dont know them. Tell em what you need,good & bad. You'll have a friend for life.

A District Commissioner

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