For over a year we’ve focused on delivering Scouting in the face of two challenges: the BSA’s restructuring (bankruptcy) and COVID -19. Both challenges remain, but more recently we’ve seen good reasons to be optimistic their grip is loosening. As a result, Scouting’s focus has started to shift to the future and to how we will continue its mission ‘to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.’
Our focus has both short and long term elements.
Immediately, we all must concentrate on three priorities:
- Ensuring the safety of the young people we serve.
- Growing Scouting
- Building firm financial foundations for our local and national councils.
As commissioners, we need to consider what, specifically, we can do to support each of those. In this issue, members of your service team will provide insights into how you can help with Growing Scouting. Youth safety and financial foundations are essential; but if we’re unable to reverse the decades long erosion of our membership, other challenges become even greater.
As we focus on Growing Scouting, we need to remember that Unit Service is all about impact.
Scouting’s mission is focused solely on youth. As youth membership declines, so does Scouting’s impact. Our first responsibility in Growing Scouting is to attract – and retain – new youth members. But Scouting doesn’t serve young people in a vacuum; they are served in units, and those units can’t serve young people without unit leaders
Some ask what defines success for a commissioner. The answer isn’t frequency of contacts, or the number of entries in Commissioner Tools, or the number of unit service plans written, or attendance at roundtable, or Colleges of Commissioner Science, or commissioner meetings. Those are simply leading indicators – numbers of activities that hopefully indicate we’re doing the right things. Success is defined by the number of young people we attract to and retain in Scouting, the number of units formed and retained, and the number of unit leaders those units attract and retain. That’s Unit Service; that’s how commissioners have impact.
The new format of The Commissioner will help you find specific information to help you Grow Scouting. Check out the variety of topics ranging from Building Belonging to Growing Scouting through Roundtable.
Nearby you’ll find a bit more detail about the graphic here. Those details are important, but only because they support the impact we must have on Scouting; impact that must begin with Growing Scouting.
On the uptrail…