By Ellie Morrison, New-Unit Retention Task Force
The Unit Performance Guide outlines how to start a new unit positioned for success. Several of those strategies are designed to strengthen units and encourage retention. The unit Key 3 concept is one of these.
Scouting has utilized the concept of a Key 3 at many different levels of Scouting. All of us are familiar with the district Key 3 and the council Key 3. We also employ the Key 3 concept at the area, region, and national levels. It just makes sense to use it at the unit level, the most critical level of Scouting.
A unit Key 3 comprises the unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, crew or team Advisor), the unit’s committee chair, and the chartered organization representative. Many wonder why the unit commissioner is not a member, but the unit commissioner is not a member of the unit. He or she serves as an advisor to the unit Key 3. The unit’s length of existence and current situation determine how frequently the unit commissioner meets with the unit Key 3.
Like other Key 3s in Scouting, the unit Key 3 meets monthly at the midpoint of unit committee meetings. The Key 3 addresses unit challenges, checks on Journey to Excellence status, and adjusts program and administrative elements to ensure unit progress toward JTE. The unit Key 3, along with the unit commissioner, reviews Voice of the Scout feedback and makes recommendations to the unit committee to strengthen unit service to youth.
Almost 30 councils across the United States have been employing the concepts outlined in the Unit Performance Guide for nearly two years. In the most recent survey of those councils, 90 percent endorsed the unit Key 3 as the most successful element of the program. In addition, the pilot councils had 33 percent fewer dropped units than those councils not utilizing the methodology outlined in the Unit Performance Guide. The unit Key 3 played an important role in those results.
If the units you serve are not currently using the unit Key 3 concept, encourage them to start—27 of the 30 pilot councils think it is great!