Consider Serving as a Unit Commissioner
As far as a time commitment to be a Unit Commissioner (UC), it isn’t the ‘one hour per week’ that Scout leaders joke about … it’s actually a little less than that (per unit). UCs are asked to simply touch base (e-mail, call, visit), with each unit that they are assigned to, once per month – go to a Committee meeting, Pack meeting, Troop Court of Honor, special activity, ... something! This makes UC service a great option for an adult what wants to serve, but may have a dynamic lifestyle (i.e., travel for work, parents of older teens with random activities, etc.).
The goals while you are there are:
- Be seen. Historically, the only time units saw their UC was at re-charter. Let them know that you are there and thinking of them – all year round.
- Be accessible. Build some trust and then folks will bring you all kinds of interesting questions – where they just want a seasoned Scouter’s ear. E.g., most Cub Scout adult leaders are “the blind leading the blind”, so having an experienced adult in the back of the room, especially in a planning meeting, is a huge blessing. Troops are usually easier.
- Be helpful. Talk about what is coming up from District or Council that might help them (camporee, program preview, YPT training, etc.).
- Be observant. Look for good healthy activity (fun, organization, participation) and then enter what you saw (10 minutes or less) in MyScouting.org’s Commissioner Tools area.
You can serve as a UC, while still being active in your son’s unit! Former Cubmasters (CMs), Scoutmasters (SMs), and Committee Chairs (CCs) often make great UCs, because they have the direct experience to offer to those that replace them – and many have hopefully had positive experiences with other Commissioners already. But any service-spirited adult can be a Unit Commisioner.
If your son has crossed over, but you’d like to continue some level of involvement in a Pack (or your son is ready to continue the adventure without you), then, consider serving even one Pack as their Unit Commissioner. UCs CAN also be ASMs or Committee members in Troops – which enables you to be active in your son’s program but also do more for that Troop or some other unit, if you want.
In fact, if you feel called to help guide a unit, but the Unit “Key-3” (Cubmaster/Scoutmaster, Committee Chairperson and Chartered Organization Representative) roles are filled, consider serving alongside the Key-3 as their UC. Note: Commissioners cannot concurrently serve as a Unit Key-3 leader, since their role is to aid the Unit’s Key-3.
Experienced UCs serve no more than 3 units; new UCs typically only serve 1 unit. So, in general, presume that you’ll serve one 60-90 minute timeslot some time during each month (per unit) …. and then also try to attend the Zmonthly District Commissioners’ meeting. Beyond that, we do have a few busy spikes where you’d make a few extra phone calls during re-charter and Join Scouting Night to see if the units need help processing their paperwork – and perhaps make a Friends of Scouting (FoS) presentation, if you are so inclined.
For more information on Commissioner Service, check out the “Fast Track: Unit Commissioners” video on MyScouting.org for a more formal overview – but it all boils down to just being a “visible friend to the unit – particularly to the unit’s key adult leaders”.
Or, contact the Assistant District Commissioner for your area, who will buy you a coffee and further explain the program:
Coppell – Chris Wilt
Irving – Joe Garcia