a publication for commissioners and professionals

Summer 2021


Sean Byrne 
Resources Chair 

It’s the People Too

Last month I had the pleasure of giving the keynote presentation at Atlanta Area Council’s quarterly commissioner meeting. My topic was ‘Growing Scouting,’ and it was a slightly expanded version of a talk I gave during Commissioner’s Week at Philmont Training Center. (A quick aside, 2021 was my first time at Commissioner’s Week and it was a BLAST. Definitely put it on your calendar for next year, June 5-11, 2022, if you haven’t already.)

My presentation, both in Atlanta and at Philmont, included three main points:

  1. Emphasize collaboration and support 
  2. Eliminate silos 
  3. Focus on the youth

Your national commissioner service team believes that if we work on perfecting these three points, we can grow Scouting. Here’s a quick dive-in to each point.

Focus on the youth:

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is simple: “To prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” ‘Young people’ are the third and fourth word in that mission. Everything we do must be for the youth. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun too! By all means, please share all the fun you’re having – that’s a great way to grow our movement.

Emphasize collaboration and support: Through our resources (this newsletterour Facebook page and groupsNews for Commissioners, etc), we often know where the organization is heading before our units and volunteers. Let’s proactively share that information with our units and build up the relationship. Sometimes it’s difficult information and sometimes it’s joyous, but we build that trust either way by sharing. A better informed unit is a better unit to serve, and therefore deliver, our program.

Eliminate silos: Silos dampen our ability to achieve our mission and serve the youth. When units have a question, we want to be the person they approach first. But that doesn’t mean we have to be the answer. Our job is to act as a resource to our units and link them to other resources. Connect your unit with district and council committees, and don’t forget your professional. If a unit isn’t recruiting, that’s not just a commissioner problem – that’s a membership problem; eliminate the silo and bring in other people to help.

But since my focus is on resources, I have one more thing to share.

In the crowd at Philmont listening to my presentation was Louis Todd, Atlanta Area Council’s council commissioner. He decided that I could be a resource to his volunteers and he invited me to Atlanta. And in inviting me down, he, and all the new folks I met down there, became a resource to me.

People are resources too. In Larry’s article, you’ll recognize that we have a lot of digital and print resources available to you. But don’t forget the value of other people. Nothing can be more effective in Growing Scouting than including, teaching, and talking to others.

So here’s your invitation to reach out to a unit or a volunteer. Include them, talk with them, help them. And connect them with others. That’s how we can grow Scouting.

Join the Resources Team: I’m looking for people too! If you have any experience in copy editing, web design/analytics, research/history, or project management – let me know. I’m looking to fill two SME roles: one to copy edit our resources and one to run routine website updates. If these aren’t for you but you’re still interested, I’ll be opening up more roles during the year, so still reach out. Scouters of all experience levels, backgrounds, demographics, and ages are encouraged to fill out the Interest Survey and email it to

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