Continuing Education for Commissioners

If you are a commissioner leader or professional advisor, be sure to get a current copy of this valuable resource. Download the latest version by clicking here.

One of the principle responsibilities of the council commissioner is to see that a complete program is in place to train every commissioner in the council. District commissioners must see that every member of their staff receives adequate training. See that your council and each of its districts provides all of the basic opportunities for commissioners to learn and to grow in their effectiveness.

1. District Commissioner Staff Meetings

Training is a continuing process for all commissioners. Commissioners meet monthly for a district staff meeting. Part of every meeting should be devoted to a brief training topic.

The district commissioner and district executive select a topic each month that best matches the current skill needs of their commissioners. Parts of the training outlines in section 5 of this book provide ready-to go training topics for district commissioner staff meetings.

Helping units to succeed is at the heart of every meeting, including the training topic.

2. Council Commissioner Meetings

The council commissioner meets monthly or bimonthly with all district commissioners and assistant council commissioners. The meeting is the nerve center of the council’s commissioner operation, and a training topic should be part of it.

The council commissioner and Scout executive (or the Scout executive’s representative) select a topic each month that best reflects the learning needs of district commissioners. The feature article of the quarterly commissioner newsletter is usually an appropriate topic. Many parts of the training outlines in section 5 of this book provide training topics for these meetings.

Some councils find it effective to appoint an assistant council commissioner for training to coordinate training topics as well as help plan the annual council commissioner conference, and promote commissioner participation at the Philmont Training Center.

Again … helping units succeed is at the heart of everything that occurs at the meeting, including the training topic.

3. The Commissioner Conference: A Guide for Conference Planners

The local council’s annual commissioner conference should be the greatest event of the year for the council’s commissioners and professionals—a highly informative, high-morale, total team event.

Be sure that each member of your conference planning committee has a copy of Continuing Education for Commissioners.

You will find important sections on—

  • Conference Options
  • Planning Guidelines
  • Session/Classroom Techniques
  • 19 ideas to promote the annual conference
  • A work schedule
  • Sample program for both a one-day and two-day conference
  • 42 suggested session topics

Councils should place the highest priority on attracting all unit commissioners and new ADCs—this is usually best accomplished close to home in a single council. A single-council conference also best develops a healthy bond between unit commissioners and their commissioner leaders and professional advisers.

4. College of Commissioner Science

The college of Commissioner Science is one optional type of annual commissioner conference. The college is a format modeled after college courses and degrees. Those planning a conference with the college approach should also use section 3, which helps with factors common to all types of commissioner conferences: important planning guidelines, promotional ideas, a work schedule, sample program outlines, classroom techniques, and suggested session topics. Section 4 is a supplemental resource with information unique to the college. You will find—

  • Ingredients for success
  • College faculty organization
  • Suggested degree requirements
  • Suggested curriculum
  • Sample diplomas

5. Training Outlines

The training session outlines can be used in a variety of ways.

  1. District commissioners and district executives use parts of the outlines for training topics at monthly district staff meetings. Outlines can easily be copied for use by commissioners assigned to present a specific topic.
  2. Parts of the outlines can be used for training topics at council commissioners meetings.
  3. Each outline can be copied and given to session leaders for the council commissioner conference.
  4. The outlines have been coded as degree requirements for councils that run a college of commissioner science.
  5. Many of the outlines also are useful in the personal coaching of any district Scouter, regardless of the Scouter’s title.

Commissioner leaders, trainers, conference planners, and professional advisors will want to have complete training outlines available for the following training sessions:

Introduction to Commissioner Science
An overview of commissioner service and the single most important resource—The Commissioner Fieldbook.

Unit Charter Renewal
Review a proven plan for reregistering Scouting units on time with minimal loss in membership and leaders. Learn the role of the commissioner to facilitate and achieve on-time charter renewal.

The Commissioner and the District
Interaction of the commissioner with the district executive and district committee. Understanding district and council operation.

Unit Visitation
Provides participants with insights on effective unit visits, what to look for, and how to be help—not a hindrance.

Practical Solutions to Common Unit Needs
Helps commissioners understand how to respond to unit needs. Participants become familiar with Unit Commissioner Worksheets and Commissioner Helps for Packs, Troops, and Crews.

A Commissioner’s Priorities
Suggests the priorities for a unit commissioner’s Scouting time and energy, reviews steps in handling unit problems and covers the important Quality Unit Award.

Youth Protection Training
A seminar designed to provide a commissioner with an overview of what constitutes child abuse and the responsibility of the local council and commissioner in preventing child abuse and reporting suspected cases. The complete Youth Protection Guidelines training is presented.

Effective Roundtables I
Designed for roundtable commissioners and roundtable staff members. Covers basic roundtable ingredients, planning cycle, and resource materials.

Effective Roundtables II
Designed for roundtable commissioners and roundtable staff members as a continuation of “Effective Roundtables I.” Covers promotion and publicity, roundtable location, and a variety of morale builders.

Commissioner Style
Presents important qualities for commissioner diplomacy, a concept of “exceptional service ,” thoughts about “roots and wings,” service recovery, and explains how to remove a volunteer.

Health and Safety Training
This session is the actual Health and Safety Training Course Syllabus of the Boy Scouts of America.

What Would You Do?
A group participation/discussion session on 10 fascinating situations that commissioners might encounter.

Service to New Units
Reviews specific commissioner actions to provide adequate care for new units.

Good Volunteer-Professional Relationships
This special partnership is the core of Scouting success at a council/district level. Learn the qualities and tips that make this relationship work well.

No-Lapse/No-Drop commitment
The group will explore why units lapse or drop and how to prevent it, how to develop a no-lapse/no-drop plan for a district, and why this is so important.

Unit Finance
An overview of the unit budget plan, who pays for Scouting at all levels, a variety of successful unit money-earning projects, and how to help units with special financial needs.

Commissioner Lifesaving I
This session sets the stage for saving a unit and reviews the basic unit lifesaving steps.

Commissioner Lifesaving II
This is an in-depth continuation of “Commissioner Lifesaving I,” dealing with the seven unit “hurry cases.”

Counseling Skills
This session presents counseling as an effective method for commissioners to help units succeed. It covers many elements of good counseling.

Webelos-to-Scout Transition
Covers important ways commissioners can help boys make the transition from a Cub Scout pack to a Boy Scout troop.

Venturing and the Commissioner
This session stresses the importance of a commissioner’s commitment to Venturing and suggests basic elements of a plan for a commissioner to help every crew succeed.

Good Commissioners Need Both Head and Heart
Includes great reflections for experienced commissioners. Take home thought-provoking tips and anecdotes.

Just for ADCs
This session emphasizes the importance of the assistant district commissioner, his or her responsibilities, the effective ADCs people skills, and the evaluation of his or her work.

Recruiting New Commissioners
This bread-and-butter session for all administrative commissioners covers the steps of recruiting commissioners, group recruiting techniques, and sources of prospects.

Orienting and Training Commissioners
A session for all administrative commissioners—covers all aspects of commissioner training, including new commissioner orientation, basic training, Arrowhead Honor, the Commissioner’s Key, and continuing education. A variety of classroom techniques are also reviewed.

Advanced Roundtable Leadership
An advanced seminar for roundtable commissioners (not staff) and other administrative commissioners. Includes roundtable staff recruitment, roundtable evaluation, and roundtable finance. Also reviews several important fine points for roundtable success, including how to support your staff.

Effective Unit Service in Low-Income Urban Communities
This session emphasizes the importance of Scouting for low-income urban communities and suggests practical methods for recruiting local unit adults, helping units with special financial needs, and providing effective commissioner help.

Effective Unit Service in Remote Rural Areas
This session helps commissioners tailor their service to sparsely populated rural areas, with practical methods for recruiting rural adults and working with rural units.

How to Remove a Volunteer
An open discussion of a topic only recently put in print. The session provides a variety of practical guidelines on this sensitive topic.

The Commissioner Leader’s Top 10 List
Today everyone has their top 10 list. This group will explore a top 10 list to guarantee good commissioner service.

Selecting a Thesis/Research Project Topic
This session introduces the participants to the thesis project, discusses what constitutes a good thesis or research topic, and helps them select their general thesis topic,

Limiting the Scope of the Topic
Participants receive help in reducing the thesis topic to workable size and ideas for thesis/project research.

Developing the Thesis Outline and Writing the Report
This session covers the thesis outline and a variety of suggestions for writing and revising the report.

Thesis Workshop
This course is for those who feel they need more help getting started on or completing their thesis.

Advanced Commissioner Lifesaving
Administrative commissioners are taught to give leadership to a commissioner lifesaving concept. It also guides selected districts in setting up the lifesaving team approach.

Preventing Commissioner Burnout
Covers types of burnout and how to prevent or correct it to maximize effective commissioner tenure. Includes valuable tips on time management and refers to several aspects of “commissioner wellness.”

Consider Your Spouse and Family
Suggests ways to enhance family relations and resolve family conflicts regarding Scouting. Discusses how commissioners’ spouses can receive recognition from Scouting.

The Commissioner’s Awareness of AIDS
This timely and important course for commissioners urges councils to use the excellent resources of the American Red Cross to help provide important information with implications for Scouting and administrative Scouters.