It's truly great to be here. I'm given a pretty busy schedule here at the
national meeting. But I want you all to know that the opportunity to be part
of this session is the single most important event I attend. Rubbing shoulders
with those who give top leadership to commissioner service in our local councils
both humbles me and gives me a great sense of hope for the future of Scouting.
Like you, I have a passion for what we do.
You are important folk. Our new brochure on "selecting a council commissioner"
says this: "the council commissioner is an extraordinary Scouter, a role model of
exceptional Scouting service throughout the council. He or she guides the
Commissioners who recruit, train, and guide an adequate staff of commissioners
in their respective districts. He or she sets a high standard and expects
exceptional service by each district commissioner and each ADC in the council."
That's an exceptional responsibility. Only more exceptional in the BSA is why
we're really here: to see that America's youth are instilled with the finest
values-based program in America today.
Many of you have heard me say how convinced I am that kids, when assessing
their satisfaction with Scouting, simply vote with their feet. If a meeting
or camping trip was fun and the scout was challenged and is proud, he will
return. If he was bored, confused, or not particularly impressed, he will walk
out of that event for the last time. And if we believe in the value of
Scouting, we must consistently deliver an exciting, quality scouting program
full of challenge, learning, adventure, and fun.
Commissioners across the country are our established way of being assured
that we have a quality program in every pack, troop, and crew in America.
Commissioners can increase the tenure of kids in scouting so they have a maximum
exposure to the values we instill.
Today, I would like to challenge each of you in the year ahead to give some
very special attention to cub scouting, our entry-level program. Some
commissioners have had more experience with boy scouting, and we may need to
concentrate on some of the fine points in serving cub packs. I am, therefore,
delighted that in a moment, John Fooks will share some key ideas about "Cub
Scouting and the commissioner." Your great corps of commissioners are the
guardians of good unit program. Please have your commissioners focus on and
become even more effective in serving cub packs.
This past February, I had the opportunity to take part in the nationally
televised new-unit videoconference. Hundreds of potential chartered organizations
took part from over 300 local sites. As a result, there were 5,966 local
commitments to organize new packs, troops, and crews. As commissioners, we
have a big role to play in the success of this effort.
We must be sure we have a unit commissioner assigned to help new unit leaders
get their unit program off to a great start. In a few minutes, Steve Herman will
help us look at commissioner service to new units.
We have many Scouting procedures, program details, and operational details
to learn as commissioners. Perhaps even more important for commissioners,
however, are the people skills we need
- Unit diplomacy
- Working effectively through other people
- Creating teamwork and unity
- Being a good listener
- Recruiting the right kind of people as commissioners
Later in this elective, Ken Edgerton will present some important considerations
in assigning unit commissioners to units. How do we get the best match? Do we
pay enough attention to the people chemistry between unit people and the assigned
As you think about your commissioner team back home, I'd remind you that
commissioners are not passive. They must be proactive to personally visit their
assigned units regularly and help unit leaders develop the kind of unit we'd want
our sons to join and our neighbors' sons to join. Then commissioners get their
leaders to training, to continue the program through the summer, and to increase
the advancement recognition for all scouts.
I am always struck by how Scouting's core values are connected to the everyday
activities and advancements of a good scout unit. They learn values like honesty,
courage, respect, and good citizenship.
The measure of what we do is dramatic—but, we must be sure that young
people remain in the program long enough for the values and program of scouting
to significantly touch their lives. That is why I urge you to continue to increase
tenure of both youth and units in the Boy Scouts of America.