a publication for commissioners and professionals

Fall 2021


Sean Byrne 
Resources Chair 

Culture Includes Everyone

Hopefully by now, you’ve read each of the service team’s articles on the culture of unit service. If you haven’t, I encourage you to stop reading this one and go read those first. Across many of those articles you’ll read quite a few definitions on what culture is, you’ll learn why the culture of unit service is important and how it aligns nearly 13,000 volunteers in achieving our mission. After you’ve read each one, then read this one – as it’s designed to build on the rest.

The idea of ‘Be the heart. Build relationships. Change lives.’ reminds me of a story from the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. I served on staff for WSJ ’19 with the Puma Patrol, a brigade of young adult volunteers whose primary job was to hype up the participants and encourage interaction. Every night of the jamboree, we’d visit different basecamps to interact with all the participants. Upon entering Basecamp B one night, I found that one of the subcamp commissioners had organized a dinner party nearly 16 tables long. Scouts from 12 different countries were sitting together, sharing in each other’s food, swapping stories, and making friends. All of the usual barriers seen in international meetings simply vanished as Scouts who didn’t even speak the same language joined together in fellowship.

That’s what ‘Be the heart. Build relationships. Change lives.’ means

The culture of unit service is not new. Commissioners, like the subcamp commissioner above, have always strived to be the heart of Scouting, to build relationships, and change the lives of the youth and unit leaders we serve. What is new is that we’re now recognizing it and simplifying our message so that everyone understands our shared values. And that’s just it – the culture of unit service includes everyone. It includes both unit and administrative commissioners, it includes unit leaders, Scouting professionals, parents, chartered organization representatives, Scouts, and any other person that has contact with Scouting. As commissioners, it’s our job to set up the table and offer everyone a seat.

As Linda mentioned in her article, it’s harder to be an example rather than just give advice. But if we intentionally emulate our culture, imagine how many people we can bring in! The best part? Getting started is simple:

  • Commissioners’ goals already align with our culture; follow our cultural statement and everything else will fall in line.
  • Share all your Scouting adventures to social media! This is not only an important part of building relationships and being the heart, but also demonstrably impacts the growth of our movement.
  • Use your resources. Commissioners can get overwhelmed with everything – I certainly do sometimes as a unit commissioner, but there are so many places to find help. The commissioner website, newsletter and forum are chock-full of information and the Facebook groups have tons of people willing to lend a helping hand.

All of these things are meant to get us started on the journey. Building a culture of purpose is going to take some time, and it needs to involve everyone – not just commissioners. You are the resource for building this culture and I can’t thank you enough for your service in doing so.

As always, if you have any suggestions on improving our website, please send them to me. I also encourage you to share these articles with all your fellow volunteers so that we can begin building this culture today.

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