Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Unit Commissioner

Last weekend I attended Commissioner Basic Training in my capacity as an assistant Venturing round table commissioner. While the training was focused mostly on unit commissioners I still found it very helpful.

Part of what I really liked about it is that now I know what I can or should expect from my own unit commissioner. I knew I had one and I knew who he was, but I didn't know how that position fit with anything else, or what I could expect from him. Now I do.

So, here are the responsibilities of the unit commissioner:
  • Help the unit earn the Journey to Excellence Award. (formerly Quality Unit Award)
  • Know each phase of Scouting and its literature. Be able to describe how each works.
  • Visit meetings of assigned packs/troops/teams/crews regularly, usually once a month.
  • Visit regularly with the unit leader.
    • Be aware of unit leader concerns and challenges.
    • Serve as the unit leader's coach and counselor.
    • Build a strong, friendly relationship.
    • Help the leader see opportunities for improvement.
    • Encourage unit participation in district and council events.
  • Work to ensure effective unit committees.
    • Visit with the unit committee periodically.
    • Observe the committee, offer suggestions for improvement, and work to solve problems.
  • See that unit leaders have adequate training.
  • Facilitate on-time charter renewal of all units.
    • Help the unit conduct a membership inventory of youth and adults.
    • Help the unit committee chairman conduct the charter renewal meeting.
    • See that a completed charter renewal application is returned to the council service center.
    • Make arrangements to present the unit charter at a meeting of the chartered organization.
  • Attend all meetings of the commissioner staff.
  • Become trained.
  • Set the example.
    • Adopt an attitude of helpfulness.
    • Keep promises.
    • Be concerned about proper uniforming.
    • Be diplomatic.
    • Be a model of Scouting ideals.
  • Know the resources available to the unit in the neighborhood, district, and council.
 Now that I know what my unit commissioner is supposed to do I can say that, for the most part, mine hasn't done his job very well. I haven't had any visits. Our committee hasn't had any help--and I know they could use it. I could be wrong, but I suspect he doesn't know much about the Venturing program. As far as I can tell, he hasn't done anything to help our leaders get training. He hasn't attended commissioner staff meetings, at least in the time I have been attending them in my role as a round table commissioner.

I didn't mean this to be a complaint about my unit commissioner. Its just that when you learn what is supposed to happen, it gets discouraging to see that it isn't being done. But maybe I can change that. Now that I know he is supposed to make visits, I can invite him to our meetings. I can ask him for help with Journey to Excellence. I can ask him for suggestions about how to improve our program. I can ask for help in encouraging our other leaders to get trained.

As I said before, this training was a great experience. I think it would be great for every unit leader to have this training, if only so they will know what they can expect from their unit commissioners.

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