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Contact information for Council and District Commissioners

Council Commissioner Richard Schneider rbr.schneider@comcast.net (559) 871-0495
Assistant Council Commissioner Al Stuart scoutal@comcast.net (559) 891-9186
San Joaquin District  Commissioner Anthony Ratkus Jr aratkus@juno.com (559) 289-3849
Thunderbird District  Commissioner Rod Chaney rocko93638@yahoo.com (559) 871-4336
Riverbend Commissioner John Wright comish4rb@gmail.com (559) 582-5201
Live Oak District Commissioner Cliff Woolley ckwoolley@comcast.net  
What Is Commissioner Service?
Youth experience Scouting in Packs, Troops, Crews, Teams, and Posts. The healthier the unit, the more wonderful things will happen for these youth involved in Scouting. To help make this occur, the Boys Scouts of America provides a program of unit service through adult Scouters specifically commissioned to help chartered organizations and unit leaders to achieve the aims of Scouting by using the methods of Scouting.
These commissioned Scouters wear a shoulder patch with a wreath surrounding the Scout symbol. Commissioner Service is the organization within Scouting that provides a program of unit service. Because of the importance of unit service to the successful delivery of the Scouting program, you will find Commissioners at every level of Scouting. And all of these Commissioners are there as a team to help assure that individual Scouts get the best possible program.
 
At the national level, BSA has a National Commissioner. Similarly, each Council has a Council Commissioner and Assistant Council Commissioners. However, it is at the District level that you will find more than 95% of BSA's Commissioners serving as District, Assistant District, Roundtable, and Unit Commissioners.
In each District you will find three types of commissioners:
         Administrative/Management Commissioners: This includes the District Commissioner and the Assistant District Commissioners. Their primary responsibilities are recruiting, training, guiding, and evaluating the Commissioner staff. In larger Districts you may find that their are line managers and specialty advisors within the Commissioner staff. For example you may have Assistant District Commissioners that manage several Unit Commissioners in a Service Area and others that specialize in re-chartering, training, or the administration of Commissioner service.
         Unit Commissioners: Unit Commissioners are assigned to one or more units, which they serve and counsel. In some Councils and Districts, Exploring units are served by Unit Commissioners and in others by Exploring service team members.
         Roundtable Commissioners: Roundtable Commissioners provide unit leaders with resources and training in program skills through regularly scheduled roundtable meetings.
The Commissioner's Mission
The Commissioners mission is to keep Units operating at maximum efficiency so they can deliver a quality program to a growing membership. The Commissioners role is to develop strength within the Unit by providing program resources, and acting as the liaison between the Unit and the District and Council. This helps Units provide the best possible Scouting program, which ultimately helps assure that individual Scouts have the best opportunity to
  • develop good character traits
  • participate and use good citizenship skills
  • practice personal fitness.
In general, the goals of Commissioner Service through the execution of a successful unit service plan are to:
  1. Help see that the objectives of Scouting are being carried out.
  2. Assure that each unit has strong, competent unit leadership.
  3. Promote regular meetings of unit committees.
  4. Encourage growth in youth membership
  5. Help assure that Scouts and units take an active part in District and Council activities.
  6. Foster a positive relationship between the chartered organization and its unit leaders.
This unit service program is invaluable to both the chartered organizations and the local Council when it is thoroughly understood and wisely administered.

The Commissioner's Pledge

ON MY HONOR: I will do my best to attend the monthly staff meetings and monthly district roundtables: 

I will accept basic training as a commissioner and see that my assigned units have qualified, trained adult leadership:

I will secure and wear the uniform and insignia pertaining to my office and will encourage all adult leaders and boys to so do: 

I will assist my unit leaders to prepare their annual charter registration papers and see to it that all, of my assigned units register on time: 

I will report at least monthly as to my contacts with each of my units by using the commissioner report card, which is supplied by the council:

I will strive to exemplify the ideals of the scout oath and law in all of my service as a commissioner and in my personal life.

History of Commissioner Service
The History of Commissioner Service
in the
Boy Scouts of America.
 
The Boy Scouts of America was created on February 8, 1910 by W. D. Boyce . On June 21, a group of 34 representatives from around the nation met and developed organizational plans. This group opened a temporary national headquarters in New York using a local YMCA office. In September, Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, visited the U.S. and described the program.
 
In the early days of the BSA, units were organized by resourceful individuals who sometimes had to acquire the materials from England and other places to make it happen. These first organizers were commissioners.
The newly formed troops didn't communicate well and as a result there were many inconsistencies. The new National Office struggled to manage the variations in the program. One area that was an obvious inconsistency was uniforming.
Some units used military uniforms while others created their own either by referencing images of English Scout uniforms (from the English Scout Handbook) or by simply putting pieces of "scout-like" items together to form an ad-hoc uniform.
Daniel Carter Beard was asked to be the first National Commissioner. Parts of his duties were to create a uniform standard as well as standards for program and field operations. With a National Commissioner at the helm and new standards, the would-be commissioners already in the field would need to become official.
 
The first "official" Field Commissioners were appointed in 1914. These field representatives issued special awards (like Life, Star, Eagle, and Lifesaving) as well as, the authorities to both create new units and to remove commissions from volunteers as needed.
 
After a couple of years (in 1916) some of these early commissioners were asked to become Scout Executives. A few accepted the position and the Field Executive position was born. This shift eventually led to the separation of the roles of the executive and the commissioner. This began a partnership between volunteers and professionals that exists still today.
 
(Note the "wreath of service" on all commissioner and professional's position patches. This wreath is a symbol for the service rendered to units. It also symbolizes the continued partnership between volunteers and professionals. The Wreath of Service represents the unending commitment, on the part of Commissioners, to program and unit service. The position of Commissioner is the oldest in Scouting and is the origin of the professional Scouting positions, which is why professional Scouters wear the Wreath of Service as well. As a direct result of the importance of unit service to the successful delivery of the Scouting program, there are Commissioners at every level of Scouting)
 
The first commissioners were Council Commissioners. As councils grew, more help was needed. The councils began to divide the workload into manageable districts where the District Commissioner structure emerged. One Commissioner could handle a few units, but as districts grew, so did the structure of the Commissioner Corps.
 
In the 1940's the structure of commissioner service began to evolve. A need for unit serving commissioners was apparent. The workload on District Commissioners and Deputy DC's was too heavy, and a more personal touch was needed. The position of Neighborhood Commissioner was created to fill this gap. These Neighborhood commissioners would usually serve only up to four units.  By the 1960's the terminology changed, as did the structure. Neighborhood Commissioners were now known as Unit Commissioners and only served a maximum of three units. All Deputy positions were changed to Assistant. Commissioner Service as we know it today began to take shape.
 
Experimentation in the 1970's brought us a short-lived Zone Commissioner as well as Stove piping some of the Commissioner positions. In the 1980's these were dropped and by 1990 a new plan with a new National Commissioner position to create the Commissioner structure now in place. Today organization from the national level, Boy Scouts of America has a National Commissioner. Reflective of national, each Council has a Council Commissioner and Assistant Council Commissioners to ease the work load. It is at the District level that you will find most of BSA's Commissioners serving. Whether as District Commissioner, Assistant District Commissioners, Roundtable Commissioners, or Unit Commissioners. The Unit Commissioner being the most important of all the rest because of the unit service they provide. Without that service, we would have no reason to have the other positions.
Commissioner Training
 
There are a number of Training and Recognitions opportunities just for Commissioners.  These training programs will help you be a better Commissioner.  A better Commissioner means you are able to help your units and leaders better and more effectively.  The recognitions show that you are doing your job as a Commissioner and learning more.
 
Fast Start
 
Fast start is the first step for any new Commissioner and is to be delivered immediately after a new Commissioner registers and before he or she meets with their assigned units.  The video is called: Commissioner Annual Orientation; Helping Units Succeed.  Videos are available through the Council Service Center Scout Shop in Sacramento, your District's Training Committee Chair, or District Commissioner.
 
Youth Protection
 
As one of America's largest youth-serving organizations, our first job is to protect our youth from injury and abuse.  We are now offering the Youth Protection Training online. Click here to begin training and learn the facts and responsibilities of youth protection.  When you are done, you will be able to print off a trained certificate and we will be automatically notified that you have taken this course.
 
Basic Commissioner Training & Roundtable Commissioner Training
 A new Commissioner should complete the Basic Commissioner Training as soon as possible after taking the Commissioner position.  There is general Commissioner information and Commissioner specific information.  Roundtable Commissioner have special training to address roundtable needs, while Unit Commissioners get training about visiting their units.  It may also be helpful to a new Commissioner to take the Leader Specific training for Cub Scout Leaders, Boy Scout Leaders, or Venturing Leaders if you have not involved in that area of the Scouting Program, but are not required to become basic trained.  In this three-part course, you will learn the fundamentals of the critical job of unit service.
Part 1 -- Why Commissioners: Topics covered include Aims and Methods of Scouting, the Commissioner Service Role, Supporting the Unit, and Unit Program Planning.
Part 2 -- Units: The Commissioners Greatest Priority: Topics covered include Unit Committee Functions, Youth Protection, and Quality Unit Operation.
Part 3 -- How to Help a Unit: Topics covered include Counseling, the District Committee, Membership Management, Unit Charter Renewal Process, and Saving a Unit.
 
Self-Evaluation
In the Commissioner Field Guide, there is a Self-Evaluation form for a Commissioner to evaluate their performance in their Commissioner position.  This evaluation will help you determine areas you may need additional training or help from your Assistant District Commissioner.
 
Commissioner Meetings
The District Commissioner will hold Commissioner Meetings where all of your district's Commissioner will meet and learn about Commissioner stuff.  Here, Commissioners learn of important information to take to their units that they may not get for months.  There is also some training on important Commissioner functions.
 
Commissioner College
Go beyond the basics and learn additional skills to help you as a Commissioner.  Earn your Bachelors, Masters, or Doctoral degrees in Commissioner Science.
 
Philmont Training Center
Advanced Commissioner training is available at the Philmont Training Center located on the grounds of the Philmont Scout Range outside of Cimarron, New Mexico.  Here weeklong training programs are offered over the summer months for leaders from all over the country.  Sharing and learning is outstanding at Philmont.  Philmont is also a special place to also include your family.  It is Scouting Paradise.
 

Additional Commissioner Help

Unit commissioners must completely understand where their position places them in Scouting's organizational plan in order that they may be fully effective in knowing where and how to get help for those with whom they work. Help comes from many sources.  The most familiar are:
From the commissioner staff
  • Council Commissioner
  • Assistant Council Commissioners
  • District Commissioner
  • Assistant District commissioner.
Other help comes from
personal contacts and conferences, commissioner sessions and meetings.
  • From the professional staff through personal conferences. At meetings such as annual commissioner conference, all hands meeting, etc...
  • From district contacts
  • Routine information at meetings of the district.
  • From presentations made on subjects relevant to commissioner service at meetings within the district.
  • From response to specific requests for such assistance as advancement help, camping and activities information, etc. A member of a district operating committee or a professional staff member generally makes such presentations.
  • From training opportunities
  • Person-to-person assistance between unit commissioner and unit personnel.
  • From monthly roundtable meetings.
  • From unit leader training courses (Scout leader training).
  • From literature of the Boy Scouts of America Cub Scout and Boy Scout leadership manuals. (Name and display several.)
  • Council helps. (Display leader's program calendar, council and district publications.)
  • Scouting Magazine and Boys' Life.
  • Own personal experience. A wealth of helpful information may be gained from experience as a unit commissioner. Alert unit commissioners share highlight experiences with their associates.

Recognitions


 
Arrowhead Honors
Commissioners as part of their efforts to earn the Commissioner Key earn this award.  Requires at least one year of Commissioner Service in your Commissioner position.  For requirements, see the Commissioner Key Progress Card below.
 
Commissioner Key
The Commissioner's Key recognizes Commissioners who have taken the recommended training for these positions and have achieved a high standard of performance over a three-year period.

 Distinguished Commissioner Service Award

This is recognition for all levels of Commissioner Service and requires 5 years of service and performance as a Commissioner.