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When was the last time you had contact with your Unit Commisioner?

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Seattle --


Our DE gets out a lot. Not just during FOS, but all year round -- and, he is exceptionally responsive when asked for information. (Which was made a stark reality when I attempted to get the names of two Venture Crew Advisors from a neighboring District Exec and it took him a week to respond.)


As District Commissioner I am out and about regularly. I visit units and functions - our DE and I were both at the District Training Day this last Saturday.


We see our District Chairman at Roundtables and District Committee meetings - sometimes at other "functions" in the district - like the upcoming District Webelos Crossover event. Of course, I don't normally look for District Chairman to be present at things like that - guess that is more of my experience.


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Troop -


"The answers to the question are all over the place. I just wanted to know what I should expect from a UC."


As you can see, the only appropriate statement is "Your Mileage May Vary."


When I was a CM and SM, I *expected* to see my UC monthly - didn't always happen. But slowly and surely I trained him to meet my needs and the needs of my units.


I know SMs in our District today that would be happiest if they never saw a Commissioner ... and there is usually a reason.


But, if you are not seeing or hearing from them on a monthly basis - then speak to your District Commissioner or an ADC, and ask if they can get you someone who will work with you.


And, I agree, recruiting Commissioners is not easy (we have that in a separate thread) -- but it can be done.

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Hello UC Eagle,



Congratulations on making the effort to get out and visit units "in the field" as District Commissioner. I think there perhaps should be a similar expectation for District Chairman.


You seemed ready not to expect your District Chair to appear at district activities, and perhaps not to join you in visiting units. Why is that, may I ask?


As I think about this, perhaps the District Key 3 might set a goal of visiting all units at least once/year, and share in carrying out that goal.


Even better might be to set a goal of having a volunteer district leader visit each unit at least once/year. That might encourage other district leaders to help with this program. A chart showing each unit might be displayed at district meetings with district volunteers filling in the dates of their recent visits.


It would also spread that expectation to visit units to additional district volunteers.


As District Membership Chair for example, we have some weak units I really should be visiting to see how they are doing and offer some encouragement.


I know our District Outdoor Chair has been discouraged by declining Camporee attendance. If he were encouraged to do unit visits perhaps that might inmprove.


In another thread we are discussing how to improve communication with units. Visits to units by district officers might be a very good way of doing that.


Certainly time consuming and perhaps burdensome for district volunteers. But should we be setting expectations for unit visits by district volunteers perhaps as part of our district annual plans?



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Seattle --


I "accept" that situation, as it is my experience for the last 30+ years -- not that I don't agree with what you are saying.


My "expectations" of a District Chairman, is to be a person who is well known in the business community, and has the ability to "touch deep pockets" -- especially in these post-United Way years. I want them to help lead the charge on the District Golden Eagle dinner, and get us into doors where I cannot.


I count on the Nominating Committee to get the right people on the District Committee - to be there to be the 'experts' that the Commissioner Corps can go to for assistance. (And to stop recruiting the Commissioner Corps to fill their holes.)


And while I think it would be great if the District Chairman joined the District Exec and myself in visiting all the Executive Officers of our various Charter Partners -- I know from many years at this, that "unit visitation and communication" is really the job of the Commissioner Corps. (Although it seems that National is counting more on the pros to do this.)


Could things be "better" with more "silver tabs" out and talking to units? Sure. However, I would want to ensure that anyone who is not a Commissioner, goes with a Commissioner when they visit a unit - so that good relationships do not go down the drain!


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Last year, our troop was experiencing some issues that I thought could benefit from some independent input. I contacted the DC and requested to be put in contact with our UC, as we had never been advised who ours was. The DC put me in touch with someone who I later learned was technically an assistant DC. Both the ADC and the DC took a sincere interest in helping mediate our issues, and the troop is on its way to putting the issues behind and growing.


What I learned was that, basically, our district does not have enough commissioner volunteers to assign unit commissioners. When I requested service, they provided excellent assistance, but it looks like they are only responding when someone either seeks out assistance or the problem becomes so acute that the unit is in jeopardy.

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Interesting comment. I suppose that the role the DC is supposed to fill. We haven't seen any of that, so I guess I was looking for other things.


Very likely you are correct. Do you have a history of that kind of prestige/power broker leader in you district? I can't tell from your comments.



Perhaps that's an explanation for the weaknesses of my district. We have a tough time finding the leaders we need to provide the services that are needed. Our district chairs tend to be good and experienced district Scouters, but they mostly know other Scouters, not a wider audience that might be brought in as fresh blood and new volunteers.


I suppose I've read that as the desired standard for a district chair, but I've never seen it and wound up not looking for that kind of person.


I suppose I ought to be talking to our district nominating committee and asking them to be looking for that kind of person.


Thanks for an interesting comment ---- but please tell me if you've been able to attract that kind of DC.

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Do I have an effective DC now? No.


Have I experienced them in the past? Sure, many times, in multiple districts across multiple councils.


Have I personally experienced them in my current District? No. But I don't have the "time in grade" here in Florida. I do know a couple of the previous DCs and yes, they fit that bill to a "t." One is now the Stake President for the LDS Church, two others are very successful lawyers.



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@ Basement Dweller - "KEY 3 = Lazy self important people who award themselves and their cronies at the district awards banquet. "


Personally, I take offense to this. I am one of the Key 3, the District Commissioner, and I don't see myself, my DE, or my District Chairman in that light.


Lazy? I am an active Pack Committee member in my son's pack, in charge of Popcorn sales for the past 3 years, I am in my second year of being the Cub Scout Day Camp Director, and have been (and still am) and active Unit Commissioner. So, Lazy? No.


Self-Important? Not hardly. I am doing this job for the youth, not for my own personal gain. I don't expect nor want recognition for myself.


I am currently working with my DE to go over all of our units and prioritize who needs Unit Commissioners the most. Then I'm going to start working my way through the list of Commissioners we have and get rid of any deadwood so all we have are active, useful Commissioners.


Part of the reason I got the job of DC is because the DE wanted to get some fresh blood in there. Nothing against our previous DC, he was great, but it was time for some change.


Not all Key 3 are as you described. I'm sure some are, but not in my district.

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Basement Dweller,



With your last post I've decided that you do well in the "know thyself" category.




I'm out just leaving to do a FOS presentation for the Cub Pack for which I've been Unit Commissioner since 2004 at their Blue and Gold Dinner.



Thanks for your sendoff.




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I typically see my UC once a month at roundtable, where I also see my DC.


I'm happy to see them, we're friendly. There's really nothing I need from them, though. I think a good UC can be helpful to a unit, just as any experienced Scouter can. I'd be happy to have more volunteers, but I don't need them to stop by at meetings and just check in on us. I don't really expect anything of my UC, but if he helps out, that's a bonus.


SeattlePioneer - you sounds like you're doing good work. I know my DC seems to put in about 70 hours a week doing Scouting stuff - he's retired and this is what is his focus. People in these positions who are truly working to help the units can be a great asset. I don't think it's easy to find them, and a good unit can easily function without them, but like every volunteer, the things you do can make a big difference to those that you're working with.


Thanks for your service.

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Thank you Oak Tree, you are very kind.



I'm retired too. Before I retired I decided that I would make Scouting my primary activity in retirement, and I have done that. That has worked very well for me.


By inclination I'm rather profoundly introverted, and Scouting keeps me busy with interesting and useful things to do rather than diving into my belly button and disappearing. So Scouting serves my needs and interests in important ways as well.


And to update my answer to the question posed in the thread title, last night I attended the Blue and Gold Dinner for the Cub Pack for which I am Unit Commissioner, and gave the Friends of Scouting pitch. The pack awarded 15 boys the Arrow of Light and they crossed over into an excellent Boy Scout Troop.


My bias in Scouting was towards Boy Scouts, but a former District Executive pitched me the idea that "You can't have a youth program without YOUTH!" So I've spent most of my time recruiting Cub Scouts and working to provide them with quality units they can enjoy and grow into Boy Scouts.


Crossing over 15 Webelos was a profoundly rewarding experience for me!

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Interesting turn of events.

A few weeks ago I attended a pack meeting to answer question for the cubs and parents. During the meeting I meet their UC that happens to be a grandfather of one of their cubs. We talked a little and he let me know new council news.

At our meeting tonight the Packs UC showed up to our Troop the meeting to let me know about the new tour plan. I ask if he is my new UC and he said no but he wanted to make sure we got the info. We talked a little and he has offered to help us out. He even offered to bring me my Recharter paperwork next week and present it at our Court Of Honor to our CO.


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