New Commissioner Checklist

New Commissioners:

Welcome to the Commissioner Corps, the oldest service organization inside the World Scouting Movement.

History: In 1908, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, recruited a group of men who had been identified by the Monarchy as potential leaders in their communities. These men were exactly the type of people Baden-Powell wanted to assist him in building the Scout Movement. “Baden-Powell’s Gentlemen” would become the first Commissioner Corps, the same group you are a part of today. The Boy Scouts of America trace their Commissioner roots back to William Verbeck, Peter Bomus and most notably, Daniel Carter Beard. Chief Scout Executive James E. West noted that Scout Executives come and go. So to provide continuity, the ranking uniformed officer should always be the volunteer commissioner. The most famous of all uniformed commissioners in the history of the BSA is President Teddy Roosevelt.

Here is a list the things which need to happen to get you on the path to performing your first duties as a commissioner:

  1. Application: You will need to fill out a new application and provide it to our District Commissioner or our District Executive or District Director. Your position will be Unit Commissioner unless otherwise specified. Be sure to sign both sides of the application and fill out the right side column. Once your application is processed your District Commissioner or Assistant District Commissioner will be able to start assigning you duties in Commissioner Tools.
  2. Fee: If you are new to Scouting you will be asked to pay a $33 annual registration fee which goes to the national council for background checks and processing. If you are currently registered with the BSA in another capacity, you do not have to pay again.
  3. Uniform: One of the Methods of Scouting is uniforming and it is helpful for our Unit leaders and their youth to see representatives of the Council and the District uniformed appropriately. The Unit Commissioner patch is available at the Scout Store and online. It is most appropriate to wear the UC patch on your uniform but it is best, since you will be serving many different units, to not wear your unit numbers in conjunction with your UC patch. Make sure you look at the Arrowhead Award placement before you start cutting off patches and putting new ones on. You can save yourself some time and headache by planning ahead. If you can swing it, a second shirt is sometimes the best option.
  4. Training: It is required that each Commissioner be trained in the new Youth Protection. Additional Commissioner training can be taken online or taken in person annually at the Commissioner College and the University of Scouting. In basic training you will learn the role of the commissioner, how to use Commissioner Tools and how to be the best counselor and coach you can be for the Units you serve. Each commissioner must complete at least Basic Commissioner Training.
  5. Awards: Many awards are conveyed to commissioners for their commitment to Commissioning, their development into a better Commissioner and for the impact they have upon service to Units and youth as a Commissioner. Commissioners are selected for some awards and they apply for others, while some awards require a nomination from others who see their good works. All Commissioners are eligible for awards. Each Commissioner is given clear guidance of what is expected of them and consistency in training and the tools used to be a Commissioner are provided to you. Start working on your awards and recognitions today by going here.
  6. Communication: It is important that you are checking this blog and receiving emails from your fellow Commissioners on a regular basis. Please add your information to the form below so we can be sure to get you on our distribution lists. Also, we will provide to you a link to a document which will allow you to see the names, numbers and emails of the people you will be commissioning. Please remember that feedback is a gift. Give a gift to your units and the youth they serve by recording your unit contacts in Commissioner Tools. This is a key part of your job!
  7. Resources: There are four primary books you will want to know about. The origins of these books date back to the beginning of Scouting worldwide. Here’s more information.
  8. Meetings: The Commissioner Corps meets the second Thursday of every month at 6:30 PM. The Roundtable is held the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM. Additional meetings and trainings are offered throughout the year.

I know this can seem like a lot of stuff, but it is important to clear up the administrative side so we can get out there and really start helping the Unit and the Scouts they serve.

We are always in recruitment mode so please be on the lookout for other Scouters who are good listeners, gentle counselors and have the experience necessary to recognize problems before they become too serious to overcome.

Thank you for joining us. I think you will find the fellowship and camaraderie of the Commissioner Corps an important addition to your Scouting experience. I appreciate having you as a part of our team.

Yours in Service:

Shawnee Trails District Commissioner



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Author: RJ Wilson

Improving Scouting in the Kansas City area on volunteer at a time.