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scoutldr

How competent is your Unit Commissioner?

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Scoutingmama,

 

Greetings!

 

I guess I'm chiming in late too.. But to respond to your comments.

 

 

All units should have a Unit Commissioner. If nothing more than to let the unit know that someone outside of their unit is concerned about their unit's successes and advancements. Rather than receiving certificates and streamers in the mail, a Unit Commissioner from the district may deliver a streamer or award in person.

 

Many years ago, the Commissioner would have been the seasoned expert to visit and answer questions.

 

Just 10-15 years ago, many of us Scouters did not have a Scouter blog to chat with. Most of our units did not have webpages, emails, online documents, resources such as Scouting.org did not exist, neither did scoutstuff.org. Or even amerature Scouting websites like USSSP or Baloo's Bugle didn't exist years ago. So now, in 2008, it is easy to learn or find a standard BSA Advancment answer, without having to consult a Unit Commissioner.

 

I would agree with most; it would be ideal if a Unit Commissioner was a Scouters primary registration. And that their own Scouts have long been grown and the UC's enjoy the program today, as much as they did years ago. But I am equally happy just having a visitor from District.

 

These current Unit Commissioners may still deliver local program themes, what's happening at the next camporee, the summer camp promotions, and maybe some "how-to" demonstrations.

 

I'll agree, a successful unit may be less concerned about what "this guy" can do to help, when no help was requested. But I enjoy the company of my fellow Scouters, and would certainly appreciate a Unit Commissioner stopping by for a business or social call.

 

I would ignore the gossip (or scuttlebutt), it doesn't help anyone.

 

Do you really need a Unit Commissioner? Yes, every unit should have a friendly unit commissioner. Highly successful units, and those units desiring to become highly successful.

 

What can you expect to happen?

Hopefully your newest Unit Commissioner will visit your unit a little more frequent than you talk with the District Executive. If it has really been a few months ago, either your unit is MIA or your DE is MIA.

 

Welcome your Unit Commissioner to any meeting. I would. Wouldn't you?

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

 

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Depending on the relationship between your unit and the UC/CC's unit, this might work or it might be a mess. I know it isn't supposed to be this way, but sometimes there is a bit of rivalry between units in the same town, and in that case having the CC for one unit also serve as the UC for the other unit is asking for it. At the very least it would cause me to raise an eyebrow and ask a few questions.

 

Scoutmomma, in theory I think the answer to your question "do we need a UC?" is "yes" because ALL units are supposed to have a (functional) UC. Whether it is "right" or "wrong," I've found in our district at least that UCs are often the carriers of important district information. They let units know about upcoming events (often before they're advertised), they help units measure relative strengths and weaknesses, they let units know about new ideas and ways that the district and council volunteers are trying to provide better service to units, and so on. They also provide good feedback to district volunteers about how we can better serve our units' needs with more or different training opportunities, changes to district activities, etc..

 

Units who do not have a good UC can still be quite successful, of course, but they may be missing out on many resources available to them and consequently might find themselves reinventing the wheel, duplicating efforts that the district or council is already making to help with recruiting, retention, raising their profile in their community, finding out about upcoming events, etc..

 

 

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I know it isn't supposed to be this way, but sometimes there is a bit of rivalry between units in the same town, and in that case having the CC for one unit also serve as the UC for the other unit is asking for it.

 

I guess that's at the root of my wariness. Our troop and this CC's troop have some recruiting overlap in the sense that the boys in our geographic "territory" and theirs both attend the same middle school, and we have some scouts that he thinks should be in his troop, but they chose to join ours. So, yeah, there's a bit of rivalry going there, seeing that we have 36 scouts to their 6. But I guess I will give him the benefit of the doubt for the time being, and see how things go.

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Just recently the BSA has put more emphasis on regular commissioner visits, for decades now the model for unit commissioning was that of the wise and friendly family physician making house calls. The problem is that even in that model it was often the case that the doctor had to spend most of his or her time visiting sick patients and not the well ones.

 

In fact in over 30 years of unit leadrship, in 3 councils and 4 districts, I cannot recall more than one perhaps two visits from a UC the entire time. I could not even tell you the name of our current UC or if we even have one. I take comfort in the fact that there are units who need them more and I presume they are with those units helping out. If one should call and what to visit we will be glad to welcome them. I we should need one I will assume they will come when we invite them.

 

Until then...we are doing fine and I hope they are as well.

 

 

 

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Okay, here's my slant on this thread. I have been a Unit Commissioner for 5+ years. My units of responisibility are a Pack (48 years as a unit), a troop, and a Venture Crew. I started that crew and I am the CC. Yes, I know that is not the best scenerio, but if it's okay with the DE and DC, than so be it.

 

I have been an adult scouter for 8 years (10 as a kid too). I have taken my job seriously my entire tenure. I am trained as a Unit Commissioner, although I have not been to Commissioner College because our council always held it on the 1st Sat. in Dec. and I had a family Xmas party every year on that day. My wife would have gone beserk if I had gone in one of those years (her side of the family).

But being trained was vitally important in my understanding the role and duties of a UC and how I would impliement them.

 

Yes, I have witnessed many UC's and ADC's not doing much, although, I believe our district has the highest ratio of commissioners in the council. But if they are not doing their "jobs", it's the units that suffer. My ADC has never called me to see how I'm doing. Fortunately, we had a very good District Commissioner who took his job seriously. He stepped down a year ago and his replacement, in my opinion, is even better. So we are lucky in that regard.

 

Here is my point. Currently, the pack I am a UC for had their Cubmaster cross over into Boy Scouts with his younger son. The CC resigned at the same time. After many meetings, recruiting, talking with parents, no one was found to take over those positions. This is certainly not an unfamiliar occurance, but it happens. So, the two most important positions in this pack were vacant. What to do?

 

Well, anyone who is a UC can plainly see that this is one of those times where the unit UC "MUST" help and advise in everyway, shape, and form. My idea was to create a chart that would be displayed and promoted in the front of the room at the Blue and Gold Dinner. All of the pack positions, plus all of the chaired events were shown on the chart. There was a columns for parents to place a name tag on the chart they would like to either chair an event, or take on the responsibility of a pack adult leader. It worked. Not all of the positions were filled, but they now have a CM and CC. Now we have to get them trained.

 

Sometimes we forget that Scouting for adults is volunteerism. No one forces us to do what we do. As in life, there are those who will be oriented toward a posture of a "service to self" attitude, and those who do volunteer, as in desiring to serve others. Then there are all of those who fall somewhere in between. We want to provide the best scouting program for our youth as possible. A Unit Commissioner is a part of the team that strives to deliver the tools and guidance a unit needs to make that program the best it can be.

 

I was the UC for a Venture Crew before the one I created. At one time, they had 32 members (mostly females). When the adult leadership fell away, as well as the youth officers, the unit died. I was unable to stop the bleeding, not that I could have. But I did try to save it. At least I had the presence to recognize that I had to try, as a Unit Commissioner.

 

Some have stated that UC's are reduntant. I don't see it that way. If I can do my job and make a difference or an impact on some level, no matter how large or small, to the health of a unit, then I feel my volunteerism to scouting is worthwhile.

 

 

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I became a Unit Commissioner about a year ago. I am also a Tiger Den Leader, and a Assistant Leader for a Jr. Girl Scout Troop.

When I took this on as a Woodbadge Ticket, I thought I would get one unit, but I got 4. Some of them meet on the same day as out Den and Pack Meetings. This makes it almost impossable to go to meetings without neglecting my own unit.

Some of my units have made it very hard by not including me in the E-mail communication.

Some of these commissioners that are sitting in the back room, my be studying your unit, and hopes to copy your methods and idea's for one of his unit that is not very successful.

Share with your commissioner what you want out of him. The idea is for them to be a neutral observer, on how you work. You may have problems that you don't realize becouse you are to close to the problem.

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I became a Unit Commissioner about a year ago. I am also a Tiger Den Leader, and a Assistant Leader for a Jr. Girl Scout Troop.

When I took this on as a Woodbadge Ticket, I thought I would get one unit, but I got 4. Some of them meet on the same day as out Den and Pack Meetings. This makes it almost impossable to go to meetings without neglecting my own unit.

Some of my units have made it very hard by not including me in the E-mail communication.

Some of these commissioners that are sitting in the back room, my be studying your unit, and hopes to copy your methods and idea's for one of his unit that is not very successful.

Share with your commissioner what you want out of him. The idea is for them to be a neutral observer, on how you work. You may have problems that you don't realize becouse you are to close to the problem.

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"This makes it almost impossable to go to meetings without neglecting my own unit."

 

For this reason, in my Council unit leaders are not eligible to also serve as Commissioners. Units are, however urged to encourage some of their superfluous ASMs to become Commissioners. Some units have more ASMs than they do Scouts.

 

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Reporting back since the thread has reopened...

 

Well, I finally met the gentleman who was our UC at the time I joined the unit. He has since moved onward and upward to a DC position.

 

What was interesting was that he insisted that he had met me two months before I knew there were Troops in the area, at a Camporee I hadn't attended and had welcomed me to the team then... Neat fellow but...

 

No replacement for him that I have found yet...

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Our former UC was fired by our Unit. They were completely incompetent. Rather than 'help' our unit with issues, they contributed to many of the issues we did have and fanned the flames on hot topics to suit their needs! I don't believe there will ever be a UC out of the group (3 units) in our town that will be effective.

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Message has been edited at the request of the Forum Member.

Eamonn (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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I served as an UC for 2 units (Pack and Troop) with the same CO. It made work fairly easy, as I was known to both sets of leaders and committees. That being said, though I was welcomed with open arms by the Troop, the Pack was a different matter. The Committee didn't know my purpose, or theirs for that matter, and the CM felt I might infringe on his authority, which was running the entire Pack program, including the Committee. After an intial visit, which I asked for in an email which was never answered, I found that I had to contact and ask the COR if I could visit the Committee meeting. He was very forthcoming and said I was always welcome. I've received an invitation ever since, and am on their mailing list. The Committee has been very receptive and often will ask questions or seek clarification on some area of the Cub program. Communication with the unit is the key. I break the ice at Committee meetings by telling them what is on the District or Council calendar so their calendar will include it.

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The UC here has 5 units 3 Packs and 2 Troops. 2 of the Packs are new. One of the Packs that I have a son in is one of new Packs this group has never seen him. Even after requests for help. He has visited the Troop my older sons are in twice I think. Only there to sign our recharter packet. Sad to say the other new Pack has folded. I'd have to say the UC here is far from competent.

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"Is thier any formal training for a unit commissioner?"

 

Yes, however, I have found that it is handled differently from Council to Council, even from District to District. If you are a newly commissioned Commissioner, you should be viewing the Commissioner Orientation video within 48 hours, or take the online Fast Start for Commissioners. I was trained by one of the ADCs in my District, then attended Commissioner College about 4 months later. By the time you earn your Arrowhead Honor award, you should know your job.

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