What Is Commissioner Service?
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
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.
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.
each District you will find three types of 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 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
Roundtable Commissioners provide unit leaders with resources and
training in program skills through regularly scheduled roundtable
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
participate and use
good citizenship skills
general, the goals of Commissioner Service through the execution of a
successful unit service plan are to:
Help see that the
objectives of Scouting are being carried out.
Assure that each
unit has strong, competent unit leadership.
meetings of unit committees.
Encourage growth in
Help assure that
Scouts and units take an active part in District and Council
Foster a positive
relationship between the chartered organization and its unit leaders.
unit service program is invaluable to both the chartered organizations
and the local Council when it is thoroughly understood and wisely
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.
The History of Commissioner
Boy Scouts of America.
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
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.
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.
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.
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" 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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
this three-part course, you will learn the fundamentals of the
critical job of unit service.
Part 1 --
Topics covered include Aims and Methods of Scouting, the
Commissioner Service Role, Supporting the Unit, and Unit
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
most familiar are:
personal contacts and conferences,
commissioner sessions and meetings.
professional staff through personal conferences. At meetings
such as annual commissioner conference, all hands meeting,
information at meetings of the district.
presentations made on subjects relevant to commissioner
service at meetings within the district.
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.
Person-to-person assistance between unit commissioner and unit
leader training courses (Scout leader training).
literature of the Boy Scouts of America Cub Scout and Boy
Scout leadership manuals. (Name and display several.)
helps. (Display leader's program calendar, council and
Magazine and Boys' Life.
experience. A wealth of helpful information may be gained from
experience as a unit commissioner. Alert unit commissioners
share highlight experiences with their associates.
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'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.
Commissioner Service Award
is recognition for all levels of Commissioner Service and
requires 5 years of service and performance as a Commissioner.