We are pleased to announce that the long awaited NEW Administration of Commissioner Service, No. 34501 is now available online for the first time as a PDF on the Commissioners Website. It will also be sold as a hard copy available to be ordered from National BSA Supply later this month.

To locate the 210 page manual, click on Next, located on the left, click on Basic Commissioners Manuals.  Then, click on  Administration of Commissioner Service, No. 34501

What Is a Commissioner?

The Commissioner is the liaison between the local Council and Scouting Units. The Commissioner's mission is to keep units operating at maximum efficiency, maintain regular contact with unit leaders, counsel leaders on where to find assistance, note weaknesses in programs, and suggest remedies. The Commissioner is successful when units effectively deliver the ideals of Scouting to their members.

"SCOUTING" magazine calls the Commissioner "a combination of adviser, counselor, information and idea resource person, and cheerleader."

Commissioners have "one essential goal: Do whatever it takes to help unit leaders succeed in effectively delivering the ideals of Scouting."

If you are a unit leader, the kind of Commissioner you'll want to get to know best is called the Unit Commissioner. He or she is specifically assigned to your unit to help you succeed. Your Unit Commissioner becomes your key liaison between your unit and your District and Council.

There are other types of Commissioners, including Council Commissioners and Assistant Council Commissioners, District Commissioners and Assistant District Commissioners, and Roundtable Commissioners. These folks are equally important to the successful delivery of the Scouting program throughout your Council and District, but for Packs, Troops, and Crews, the Unit Commissioner is going to work most closely with you and your unit.

Roles the Commissioner Plays

A Commissioner plays several roles, including friend, representative, unit "doctor," teacher, and counselor.

The Commissioner is a friend of the unit. Of all their roles, this one is the most important. It springs from the attitude, "I care, I am here to help, what can I do for you?" Caring is the ingredient that makes Commissioner service successful. He or she is an advocate of unit needs. A Commissioner who makes himself known and accepted now will be called on in future times of trouble.

The Commissioner is a representative. The average unit leader is totally occupied in working with kids. Some have little if any contact with the Boy Scouts of America other than a Commissioner's visit to their meeting. To them, the Commissioner may be the BSA. The Commissioner helps represent the ideals, the principles, and the policies of the Scouting movement.

The Commissioner is a unit "doctor". In their role as "doctor," they know that prevention is better than a cure, so they try to see that their units make good "health practices" a way of life. When problems arise, and they will even in the best unit, they act quickly. They observe symptoms, diagnose the real ailment, prescribe a remedy, and follow up on the patient.

The Commissioner is a teacher. As a Commissioner, they will have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth of unit leaders by sharing knowledge with them. They teach not just in an academic environment, but where it counts most-as an immediate response to a need to know. That is the best adult learning situation since the lesson is instantly reinforced by practical application of the new knowledge.

The Commissioner is a counselor. As a Scouting counselor, they will help units solve their own problems. Counseling is the best role when unit leaders don't recognize a problem and where solutions are not clear-cut. Everyone needs counseling from time to time, even experienced leaders.

Ways Unit Commissioners Can Help a Unit
  • Brainstorm with leaders to find solutions to unit problems.

  • Listen to unit leaders' needs, ideas, and suggestions, and communicate these "up" to the District and Council.

  • Find and suggest resources that will help you have better Scouting activities and programs in your unit.

  • Facilitate a strong relationship between your unit and its sponsor.

  • Help you re-charter your unit each year, on time and as painlessly as possible.

  • Help you grow and maintain an active unit committee.

  • Help Troops grow through the Webelos-to-Scout transition process.

  • Develop ways to recognize your top adult leaders for their contributions to the unit and Scouting.

  • Troubleshoot unit problems and identify solutions.

  • Help your unit's program and activities stay pointed toward "true North."

Resources for Commissioners

Commissioner Job Descriptions

Unit Commissioners

The Unit Commissioner is a generalist whose overriding mission in Scouting is to help units succeed. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Help each unit earn the Quality Unit Award

  • Use the annual Commissioner service plan, with its scheduled opportunities for Commissioner contact with units

  • Know each phase of the Scouting program and keep current by reviewing Scouting program literature.

  • Visit unit meetings and observe the unit in action and determine the degree to which the descriptions in the literature are being followed. Only if called upon, participate or help in some of the regular activities of the unit.

  • Visit regularly with the unit leader and listen to what the unit leader has to say. Offer encouragement and support and help the leader see new opportunities for improvement. but always maintain the best possible relationship with unit leadership. Help the leader with forms and applications. Encourage unit participation in district and council program events and training opportunities.

  • Work to ensure effective and active unit committees. Visit with the unit committee periodically and observe the committee in action, offer suggestions for improvement and work with the committee to solve problems and improve unit operation.

  • Keep in touch with the chartered organizations of the units you serve. Meet and orient the chartered organization representative. Meet the head of the organization and explain your role as helper of units. Help develop a good relationship between unit leaders and chartered

  • Know the neighborhood in which your units are located so that you can help graduating members of one program join the next level of Scouting (e.g. Webelos to Boy Scouts).

For information about being a Unit Commissioner, contact Ray Peaster in the Osage Hills District or Randy Asbery in the Grand Lake District.

District Commissioner
GL District - Paul Fuhrmeister
OH District - Ray Peaster

The District Commissioner leads the Commissioner staff of the district, guiding and measuring the district's unit service program. Major responsibilities include:

  • Recruit and train a full staff of Commissioners

  • Oversee the Commissioner training program

  • Work with the district chairman and executive as a member of the district's Key 3

  • Plan and preside at the monthly meeting of the district Commissioner staff

  • Attend district committee meeting to report on conditions of units and to secure specialized help for units

  • Represent the district as a member of the council Commissioners cabinet

Assistant District Commissioners

A district may have one or more assistant district Commissioners. Each is responsible for an assigned share of the units in the district, and the unit Commissioners who serve those units. Assistant district Commissioners are often assigned a geographic or specialty area of the district. They work closely with the district Commissioner and district executive. Major responsibilities include:

  • Recruit enough unit Commissioners to serve their assigned units and areas

  • Conduct personal coaching and orientation sessions for unit Commissioners

  • Maintain regular contact with their unit Commissioners to provide guidance in unit service needs

  • Serve units with no assigned unit Commissioner

  • Help unit Commissioners evaluate and improve their unit service performance

Roundtable Commissioners

OH District
Ed Boudreaux, Boy Scout Roundtable
Becky Balli, Cub Scout Roundtable

GL District
Randy Wilkins

  • Recruit and train a staff qualified to put on quality roundtables for unit personnel

  • Plan monthly roundtable programs

  • Make all arrangements for roundtables including meeting places, equipment, and supplies

  • Conduct regular critiques to determine how roundtables can be improved

Council Commissioner

  • Report to the Council President and serve as an officer of the local council, a member of its Executive Board and Executive Committee, and as a National Council member representing the local council

  • Be responsible for the unit service function of the council

  • Chair the regular meetings of the District Commissioners

  • Provide sufficient training opportunities so that every Commissioner receives training shortly after commissioning

  • Plan and conduct an annual Commissioner conference for training, recognition, and morale

  • Appoint Assistant Council Commissioners

  • Encourage and help District Commissioners recruit full staffs. Assist in recruiting District Commissioners as needed

  • Verify that proper techniques are used to select and recruit unit leaders

  • Maintain Boy Scouts of America standards of uniforming, wearing of insignia, use of the program, and other policies and procedures

  • Promote the Quality Unit as a standard of performance and ensure, through the District Commissioners, recognition of unit leaders and units achieving this standard

  • Be responsible, through the District Commissioners, for the presentation of program plans, ideas, and materials via effective district roundtables

  • Be responsible, through the District Commissioners, for the effective use of the annual service plan to ensure the health and tenure of units

  • Keep the President and Executive Board apprised of the condition of units

  • Cooperate with the Membership/Relationships chairman to successfully conduct the annual membership recruiting effort

  • Serve as a member of the Council Key 3


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