1. Visit your Unit(s)
Unit visitation is the only way to become familiar with the units you serve as a Commissioner for. When you visit, don’t go empty handed. Make sure you share upcoming events in your District and Council. Volunteer to help with a Pack, Troop or Venture meeting. Go camping with a Troop. Lead a game or song at a Pack meeting. Be a resource. And always have fun.
2. Report your Visit and Leader Contacts
The Journey to Excellence recognition program is how program quality is measured from the Unit level all the way to the Council level. Unit service (unit visits and unit leader contacts) is one of the measured objectives to achieve the gold, silver or bronze level. Our Council goal is the Gold level, which is an average of 50% of our units receiving 6 visits or leader contacts within the year. This is measured by postings in the Unit Visit Tracking System (UVTS). After each unit visit or leader contact post it in UVTS.
3. Get Trained
Unit Commissioners are resources to the Units they visit. In order to be a resource, the Unit Commissioner needs to know as much, if not more, about Scouting than the Scouters they are working with. I strongly encourage each Commissioner to be fully trained. That means all the Cub Scout position training, Boy Scout Leader Indoor and Outdoor training and ultimately Wood Badge training. And if you also work with a Venture Crew there is online Venture Leader training. Of course I encourage all Commissioners to earn their Doctorate of Commissioner Science.
4. Promote Youth Protection
The Boy Scouts of America places great importance on creating the most secure environment possible for its youth members. Effective June 1, 2010 Youth Protection Training has been mandated for all registered leaders. This training must be taken every 2 years. As a Commissioner it is incumbent on us to make sure our Youth Protection training is up to date as well as those leaders in the units we work with. I would challenge each of us to review the status of this training with our unit leaders and encourage our District Roundtables to hold Youth Protection training opportunities for those leaders who may not have access to a computer. Managing this training requirement will be an ongoing process for all leaders.
5. Be a source of information
Did you know? There are lots of awards that Scouts can earn outside of the traditional advancement awards. The following are some you may not be aware of. Many of these awards have different levels and recognitions based on complexity and effort. The William T. Hornaday awards are for distinguished service in natural resource conservation. The NOVA awards are for completion of activities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). These are just several of the extra awards Scouts can earn. There are also additional awards that adults can earn, a great reason to visit your unit. Take some information on some of the extras available in Scouting when you visit your units.
6. Help your unit(s) earn one of the levels in the Journey to Excellence
The Journey to Excellence is how unit quality is measured. As a Unit Commissioner you should be involved in helping your unit(s) achieve one of three levels available in the Journey to Excellence (Gold, Silver, Bronze). Make it a point to visit your unit(s) and share the appropriate form and help them determine what is required to accomplish one of the three levels by the end of the year. Another great reason to make a unit visit. And don’t forget to report your visit in UVTS.
7. Recruit a Commissioner
Unit Commissioners play a vital role in the success of a unit. A recent note from our Regional Commissioner indicated that almost all units that drop have not had a Commissioner visit within six months of the unit dropping. If we as a Council do not have enough Unit Commissioners we will most likely fall within that statistical result. We can always use more Unit Commissioners. Look for those Scouters or Scout parents that you think will be a good Unit Commissioner and tell them about how great it is to be one.
8. Attend your Commissioner meetings
There are several important meetings that should happen each month. If you are a District Commissioner you have three important meetings you are expected to attend. One is the monthly Council Commissioner Cabinet meeting. Another is a monthly District Key 3 meeting. And a third and not the least of the three is your District Commissioner meeting. If you are a Unit Commissioner, Roundtable Commissioner or Assistant District Commissioner you are expected to attend the District Commissioner meeting. These meetings are both valuable and important to the success of Scouting throughout the Council. This is the place to share unit issues as well as unit successes. It is also a place to share other Council information. Be committed to the success of the Commissioner corps. Attend your meetings.
9. Be an example
As a Commissioner always strive to be a positive role model. Not only to the youth you come in contact with but also the adult leaders you interact with. There are several things can be done to be a positive role model. First and foremost, always present yourself properly dressed. When visiting any type of Scout function as a Commissioner always wear a proper uniform. Not only does that mean Scout pants and shirt, but also wear the correct insignia. Your uniform should reflect that you are a Commissioner. Second your attitude should reflect you are there to be of service to the Unit. Maintain a friendly posture and smile. A positive appearance and positive attitude will go a long way with the units you serve.
10. Promote, promote, promote
Promote, promote, promote. Always be an activity promoter. If there is an upcoming District event, promote it. If there is an upcoming Council event, promote it. If there is an upcoming National event, promote it. Youth Leader training, promote it. Adult leader training, promote it. The more our youth and adults are involved in Scouting activities, the better chance there is of keeping a youth involved in Scouting. Promote, promote, promote.