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Unit Commissioner?

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At the Council Calendar planning meeting last spring, my husband got asked to be a Unit Commissioner. He will go to the specific training this fall. We run my son's den and plan to take on a few other things this year (helping with the popcorn and day camp planning/organization).



Can anyone with first hand experience at this job elaborate a little more on what it actually entails, or SHOULD entail? Apparently our district hasn't really had unit commissioners in a while, I have never seen one at a pack meeting at least :) Googling it brings up things like helping webelos get into scout troops, making sure everyone is registered etc. Its all pretty broad, as how will one guy who visits the packs once a month be able to facilitate these kinds of things? Exactly how involved is this position?



Thanks a lot!

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A unit commissioner (UC) is an adult leader who is registered with the district to coach the chartering orgs and their units they are assigned on the scouting program. Myscouting.scouting.org has a training class for commissioner that is education. It explains the job.


Ideally, a UC is enrolled in scouting only as a commissioner and has no other job in scouting. He is expected to visit all of the units he is assigned by the assistant commissioner on a regular basis. He stands in the back of their unit meetings and courts of honor, and he sometimes attends their committee meetings.


His job is not to tell them what they are doing wrong, but to encourage them to do things right, be silent during meetings to never undermine the unit leadership, and help all of the leaders get along and deliver a great program with gentle, very diplomatic guidance.


The UC ensures that those adult leaders in the units they are assigned are recognized for their contributions - sometimes helping nominate them for honorary awards such as the silver beaver or district award of merit.


A unit commissioner is a very valuable role when done properly. It is best done by an adult leader who has been through the entire program with their son and is an experienced adult leader. The documentation from BSA even recommends that the person be a former boy scout.


Being a den leader is one of the most demanding jobs in the scouting program. Doing that along with commissioner is possible, but I do not recommend it.


The district you are in will have a single District Commissioner. That person will appoint assistant commissioners and a roundtable commissioner. Those commissioners will appoint individual round table commissioners (cubs, bs, and vent) and unit commissioners respectively.


The training tells you everything you want to know and more.(This message has been edited by BSA24)

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I really like BSA24's synopsis.

I like to think of the UC as a Scout Dutch Uncle. She/he is expected (unfortunately!) to know EVERYTHING about Scouting! Or, at the least, know where to FIND the answer.

They should be available for sympathy and running ideas by. They should suggest but not insist.

They will, by their very nature and love of Scouting, go places and help where needed. They will be "visible".

Not unusual to see Comisshers also be involved in training (IOLS, Woodbadge, WELOT, NYLTS, etc.) and other "greater" events.

They can be connectors, helping folks of like talent and desire get together.


Your husband, if he is not of a Scout background, should go and do a little of everything. Read alot. Help the Cubs. Get to know a local Scout Troop.

It is recommended that the UC NOT be the UC of his home unit, but that need not be a bad thing. The concern is to be neutral and not get involved personally in any internecine unit drama (see any number of threads here).

The Commissher is expected to shephard the Chartering process in the fall/winter, so he should get comfortable with that.

Commishing can be fun and rewarding. It can be frustrating and teeth gnashing. You know, like life.


But be a Den Leader first.

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I agree with SSScout. Get some experience before volunteering for a Unit Commissioner position. The most effective UC's have the experience that comes with going through the program with their son. They are also more focused on their UC job, since their son is out of scouting. A UC can still help out at the unit level, just not as much as they used to.

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Yeah, he didn't exactly sign up for this, its more like the guys in charge of our district/council are noticing him and getting him more involved. We show up for everything (round tables/council events/pack events/district events) and are usually one of the first to arrive and last to leave. This is our second year in cubs. My husband was involved in scouts all throughout his youth. His mom was a Guide leader (the UK version of girl scouts) and he got to Queen's Scout (UK version of Eagle Scout). The methods are a little different over here from how he grew up in UK, but the premise and core values are the same.


I am just wondering how taxing this will be on his time/energy. We work together on the Den. I normally make the den meeting schedule of what we will be doing/working towards and he will take charge and lead it.


Thanks for the information of what will be required of him. From what he was told, he will have 3 packs in our town to go look in on and be available to. I guess we can just see how it goes this fall. He isn't taking the job from anyone else, if he wasn't doing it, no one would be.





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Congrats to your husband!


You've already received some great answers about UCs. If I may offer a few random personal opinion.

Historically, UC's had previously brought news, flyers and information. In this era, with the internet being in practically everyone's home and even on their phones now; it is hard to bring new information to a unit leader/committee that has already received the flyer, filled it out and returned it to district/council. It becomes a challenge to be the knowledgeable expert with Scouting colleagues that are just as up to date on the latest programs.


Today's UCs can still serve in a great capacity though. Today, there are many questions on policies and procedures. Also best practices. How bylaws, dues, budget and etc are not standard, they may differ, and a few recommendations on best way to implement them.


UCs should be trained in advancement procedures, rechartering, bridging over, transfers between Scouting units, should a 1st year Scout go to camp as a provisional, how to communicate with parents that don't attend or drop off their son once a month. A UC may be asked a whole lot of awkward "What if" questions and should know the accurate answer, not necessarily the emotional answer. Some new UCs may "shoot from the hip". Meaning well, but they could be inaccurate.


Hopefully, he can easily talk with his colleagues. Although the unit leader of another Pack may conduct the program differently, it is safe and is it effective? Are the boys learning and having fun in a safe environment? Are the unit leaders welcoming to allow him in?


Also, can he approach the COR and present a "Charter" certificate? Will he be invited to provide a "Commissioners Minute" in lieu of a Cubmaster/Scoutmaster Minute? Hopefully your husband is welcomed and friendly with his fellow leaders/neighbors; and they are willing to listen and dialogue with him.


Good luck to your husband and newest Commissioner!


Scouting Forever and Venture On!



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I am just wondering how taxing this will be on his time/energy.


don't have him jump in and be a Uc for 2 or 3 Co.. Start with only one, most likely it will end up being a pack & Troop combo.. A good UC for average units visits about once a month to something, make sure the units know he is there, and makes contact info available for them to call or email him with..


If he is given a unit that is already collapsing then it is more then that, in order to help them regroup..


A great UC may be more visual..


A bad UC is when the unit scratches their head and says "You mean we have a UC?.. Never met the guy! Who is he?"

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