a publication for commissioners and professionals

Summer 2021


Karen Bengston 
Commissioner Recruiting and Retention Chair

Engaging and Inspiring Unit Leaders

The heart pumps blood, sending oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our bodies while carrying away carbon dioxide and waste. In much the same way, commissioners direct energy and support to unit leaders while helping them find solutions for problematic issues.

As each council works to rebuild membership, re-energize packs, and recover from losses incurred during the pandemic, unit leaders need commissioners more than ever. One of the most effective ways commissioners can help with membership growth is supporting unit volunteers, especially new pack leaders who join Scouting with their children this fall. Commissioners can provide valuable support to unit volunteers by helping them feel inspired, engaged, and optimistic. How exactly do we do that?

Here are a few ideas:

Inspire: Share a brief example of how Scouting impacted your child or helped nurture a stronger parent/child bond. Let new leaders know how much Scouting means to your family. Encourage the unit Key 3 to involve all volunteers in decision making. Motivate by communicating.

Engage: Invite new leaders to Roundtable. Make sure volunteers know how to access training. Help the unit Key 3 understand the value in planning several months ahead and including all unit leaders in that planning. Encourage den leaders to schedule fun den activities that keep Scouts interested.

Display Optimism: Be the example! Optimism promotes excellence in leadership, creative thinking, and a higher level of success. Shaping experiences through a lens of positivity will make Scouting more exciting for our youth. Give affirmative feedback. When navigating a difficult situation, adopt a solution driven approach to resolving problems. Correct the negative, but don’t dwell on it.

Units leaders need commissioners to support them, encourage them and applaud unit success. Every unit, whether established or newly formed, deserves commissioner support. Inspired, engaged, optimistic unit volunteers result in a better program for youth. Great programs increase membership because they attract more Scouts!

In the past, commissioner success was determined in part by the number of registered commissioners and the number of unit contacts documented in Commissioner Tools. Recruiting was often instigated by a lower than acceptable ratio of commissioners to units. While those numbers are still indicators of successful unit service, our focus for the next few months must include membership growth and rebuilding packs.

A commissioner’s greatest impact comes from developing trusting relationships with unit volunteers. As we work diligently to rebuild membership, let’s also identify, recruit and empower unit commissioners to support unit volunteers. Scouting will rebound. Packs will return. And when they need our help, commissioners will be there in a heartbeat!

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