Whose Job Is It?

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Who's responsible for commissioner training? The answer may seem obvious. The council training chair should conduct commissioner training at the University of Scouting, right? Wrong! Commissioner training is very different from program leader training. Commissioners have a different set of training courses from those offered for leadership training because our focus as commissioners is different from that of unit leaders or program chairs. Note that the Commissioner Training Web page contains only commissioner courses, and the Adult Training Web page lists only program training. Again, our focus is different so our training is different.

As the commissioner training chair, I receive a number of requests from council training chairs wanting to offer commissioner courses at their universities of Scouting. And they are always amazed when I explain to them that commissioners should be holding a Commissioner College and that it is not their responsibility to offer commissioner training. Commissioners should be conducting the training. In other words, commissioners train commissioners.

The Administration of Commissioner Service manual has many references to commissioner training. Chapter 10, "Commissioner Training and Recognition," says: "One of the council commissioner's principal responsibilities is to see that a complete program is in place to train every commissioner in the council. District commissioners are responsible to see that everymember of their staff receives adequate training.

"Councils may appoint an assistant council commissioner for training. This person is responsible for the annual commissioner training conference/College of Commissioner Science, ongoing training opportunities, training recognitions, and promotion of theannual Philmont Training Center courses."

And Chapter 4, "Administrative Commissioners," says:

"... the council commissioners shall:

  • Be sure that districts provide opportunities for immediate commissioner orientation through online Fast Start, frequent basic training, and monthly learning experiences for all commissioners. ...
  • Conduct an annual council commissioner conference. Be sure that the conference includes the best in training sessions, fellowship, inspiration, and information on the latest in Scouting. Do everything possible to make it easy for everyone to attend (e.g., attractive setting and close to home)."

Note that a commissioner college is a type of commissioner conference. Both a conference and a college can be offered ifso desired.

Additionally, Chapter 4 says, "The assistant council commissioner for training coordinates commissioner training in the council, sees that basic training is available somewhere in the council during all parts of the year, trains district trainers, and sees that the concept of 'continuing education forcommissioners' really works."

And finally, specific responsibilities of the district commissioner include: "Provide opportunities for immediate commissioner orientation through online Fast Start, frequent basic training, andmonthly learning experiences for all commissioners."

If you are a council commissioner, please make sure that you are fulfilling your responsibilities by offering commissioner training in your council and ensuring that it is being taught by commissioners. If you don't have trainers on staff, consider adding them to your staff before the start of next year. District commissioners, please offer a training segment as part of yourmonthly meetings.

If your council doesn't offer a Commissioner College, you can have your staff attend a college in a neighboring council or you can start one. There is an excellent course offered at Philmont that focuses on starting and conductinga Commissioner College.

Should you need assistance with training at any level, contact Tim Acree at tim.acree@comcast.net.