How Commissioners Support the Membership Function

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By Ellie Morrison, new-unit organization and retention committee chair, and Scott Sorrels, national commissioner service chair


Unit Commissioner PatchJust like in the children’s story “The Three Little Pigs,” too often we have, like two of the pigs, built units out of straw and sticks. It doesn’t take a Big Bad Wolf to blow most of those houses down. We have, obviously, built some units out of bricks, and for the last several years the BSA has worked to determine just what those bricks are.

There are a number of bricks: at least 10 youth to begin with, at least five adults, a unit commissioner specializing in new units from the very first organizational steps. Other bricks include leadership training, an annual program plan, and a financial plan—in short, all the things that make a good foundation for a unit. The Unit Performance Guide identifies all of those bricks and prescribes a method to get them all in place. It contains the information that volunteers and professionals need for organizing a solidly built unit. The guide can be found by clicking here and will shortly be released as an e-book.

But even these units made of brick can fall prey to the Big Bad Wolf, particularly if the “mortar” (read “good commissioner service”) between those bricks isn’t being delivered on a regular basis. It is the commissioner that makes all the difference. Your service is critical to the survival and strength of these units.

The truth is you can’t do it alone. The Big Bad Wolf is still out there, wearing many different faces. The entire district committee is there to support you. It has the information to help units, but it needs you to identify which Big Bad Wolf has shown up at the door. Your job is to determine what help is needed and provide the link between the committee and the unit. The membership chair is already working toward the same goal: a district committee that is a viable organization focused on the units in its care. If we work together, no amount of huffing and puffing can blow our house down!