Key 3 is KEY

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 Key 3 Gallery, National Council

One of the main concerns of commissioners is the retention of units. We look for reasons that membership declines and units fail. Very often the causes are really just symptoms; many times the core of the problem is a lack of strong leadership. That’s where the Key 3 comes into play. A strong, balanced, actively involved Key 3 is the key to sustaining a unit.

Last summer at Philmont, there was a remarkable opportunity for those gathered during Week 2 to see such a Key 3. The national Key 3—Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca, National President Rex Tillerson, and National Commissioner Tico Perez—held a fireside chat. It was obvious to all how equally involved, informed, and integrated they were. Regardless of the question, any one of them could answer it. And it was equally obvious that they tackle concerns from different perspectives and strengths to come to a solution with the best interests of the youth of our movement in mind. It was a joy to watch.

That’s what a real Key 3 does. They meet frequently in a quiet situation where successes and concerns can be shared and solutions reached. To work well, all three need to be actively involved. We need those Key 3s in every region, area, council, district, and unit—yes, unit.

In the New-Unit Retention Guide, which was released in May 2011 at the National Annual Meeting, a unit Key 3 is described and recommended. But a Key 3 isn’t just for new units—it is good practice for all units. A unit Key 3 has a little different look from district and council Key 3s. It is composed of the unit leader, the committee chair, and the chartered organization representative. The unit commissioner acts as an adviser—not a member—to the group. Here, concerns of the unit can be discussed and solutions found before they become problems.

If you are a commissioner serving as a unit commissioner, district commissioner, or council commissioner, stand up and be counted. Support Key 3 meetings, ask for help from the other members of the Key 3, and offer your assistance in return. Work toward having your Key 3 look and act like the national Key 3. They set the bar for all of us.