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Unit Commissioners

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P18A, a functioning UC, when "on", is always a phone call away, and can tap a number of seasoned scouters throughout the district to address any given unit's novel concerns. (Or, sometimes, can frankly tell members of a unit that they have a problem that will only be solved when people decide to hold one another in higher esteem than they are currently willing.) His/her presence at meetings is merely to make unit leaders comfortable with giving him that call.


I would like to propose that the underlying BSA model is broken.

  1. There are too few competent UCs.
  2. As mentioned before, many UCs wear to many hats, so all of the positions they fill are compromised.
  3. Many folks who could be UCs barely have time to make it to district roundtable. Let alone get trained for a position.
  4. They don't have time because their units demand a lot of attention. There are funds to raise, advancements to track, pwd tracks/camp boxes/klondike sleds/trailer shelves to build, schedules to arrange, meetings to fret over, etc ...
  5. Therefore, adults commit to being Cubmasters (or assistants), Scoutmasters (or assistants), Advisors (or assitants), Den Leaders (or assistants), Committee Chairs (or assistants) for years on end.
  6. Let's work from youngest to oldest part of the program ...

    1. DL's can't free up more time because they are running point rather than assisting a den chief (or two or three).
    2. CM's can't free up more time because they are running point rather than assisting a senior den chief (eg. a JASM or Venturer who specializes in youth ministry).
    3. SM's can't free up more time because they are running point rather than assisting a SPL and his PLC.
    4. Advisors can't free up more time because they running point rather than assisting the crew president and his/her officers.
    5. CC's can't free up more time because they are hearding adults rather than assisting, a committee comprised of a senior den chief, SPL, Crew President, (and maybe Historians, Scribes, Librarians, and Quatermasters).

[*]The majority of senior youth see no substantial place for themselves in the realm of unit leadership. (It's crowded with adults!) So they leave, reinforcing the cycle of adults bailing out a leadership-poor program.

[*]Thus, on a district level, your best potential UCs -- those who, through serving, get a birds eye view of the scouting landscape -- are stuck in bloated adult-led committees. They have rarely seen real youth leadership, so they have no baseline with which to encourage other adults in pursuing it. Their larger experience is seeing adults work with (or don't work with) other adults to make scouting work as youth leadership get's removed from the equation. So, the advice they give is not the advice that a unit leader who truly values youth leadership needs.

Fix the model. Find more competent UCs.

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When there's something I need from our UC I contact them, let them know what I need, and give them ways to get back to me including multiple mediums or ask what day works with them if I need to meet with them.


When the UC needs something from me they just show up at a meeting. Yeah well the PLC plan something for that day with me being a judge, or last week I was asked by 2 boys to do SMCs, or a couple of boys had called ahead to talk over a merit badge with me. The UC expects me to just drop everything and do what they need. I'm sorry, but I'm more of a first come, first served type of person so call ahead and I can tell you when I will be free that night or if I need to come early to meet with them I will. But don't just show up and expect my time.

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... When the UC needs something from me they just show up at a meeting. ...

Ideally a UC should come on a regular schedule and NOT when they need something from a unit leader. After routinely sitting in on a couple of meetings and being clear that he/she wants nothing but to get to know yours and a couple of other units, both UC and leader(s) will figure out when it is and isn't good to bring up anything. For some leaders that will be during the meeting; for others, with a note or E-mail afterwords; for others, coffee may need to be served. ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is a perfect example of this need for regular Unit Commissioner contact at a Troop in my council. Unfortunately, there's very little Scout-level input: no PLC, no patrols, no cooking by Scouts, infrequent outings. Anyway, without going into too much detail, my point is that I spoke with the District Chairman and he indicated that, at this point, the Troop in question regards the thought of a UC as a threat. They are not welcomed because the Troop has things the way they want them...


I agree with those who post here saying that the system, as is, needs tweaking to make the UC more effective.

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I agree with those who post here saying that the system' date=' as is, needs tweaking to make the UC more effective. [/quote']


​Only if you mean "tweaking" in the same way that field dressing tweaks a deer. The UC system needs the guts removed and the remaining meat cooked into something that works.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was a UC from 2004-4/2014.


I was a UC for a pack, and during that time I brought that pack back from the dead once and helped get it new leadership at the last minute before it was about to fail again (both times when the "Cubmaster who did everything" left).


I attended almost all the Committee meetings and occasional unit meetings as needed, and did the FOS pitch each year. I occasionally helped out a bit with the program when needed.

Because I helped revive the pack from virtual death, I designed a lot of the annual program for the pack, much of which continues each each pretty much as I designed it.


I was also UC for a Scout Troop for three years. A troop with a good program and good leadership. The Cub Pack I'm COR and CM for feeds this troop, and being UC helped me coordinate the program of the Pack and Troop.


Back in April I was being badgered by an Assistant District Commissioner for not using the on line reporting of unit contacts. In fact I had been using the on line reporting feature, until I could no longer log on to the system. I was badgered by the ADC and DE to send in a report to a Council Secretary in that case, which I was not interested in doing.


When they continued to badger me about that, I resigned as a Commissioner.


I've since discovered (I think) that the library computers I used for such reporting weren't up to the logging on process, which also explained why I couldn't log on to this forum or internet rechartering.


The past few days I've been using a park department computer center and suddenly I can log on to all this stuff again.


But perhaps badgering a volunteer until they quit satisfied someone.

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