Empowering the Key 3

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Scott Sorrels
National Commissioner Service Chair 


You have heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Our feature article, “Key 3 is KEY,” showcases the national Key 3 gallery located outside the Chief Scout Executive’s office. You no doubt recognize our national commissioner Tico Perez (though this version of his uniform seems to be short of a number of knots).

The national Key 3 gallery is symbolic of the importance of the Key 3 concept. It demonstrates that our national president Rex Tillerson, our national commissioner, and our Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca are working together as a team to chart the vision of Scouting in our second century. When you witness their chemistry as team, you can see that each person understands his role in the Key 3. Each person appreciates, respects, and yes, demands that the others contribute his unique strengths, abilities, and perspectives to a common effort. We would be well served if we can emulate their example in every Key 3 throughout the Boy Scouts of America.

Volunteer empowerment has been a focus of our national Key 3. “Volunteer-led, professionally guided” is not a sound bite. It is a call to our volunteers, paired with our outstanding professional staff, to work together to bring Scouting to more youth throughout America. One common characteristic among our most successful districts, councils, areas, and regions is that a committed Key 3 understand and feel empowered to serve their roles. Not surprisingly, many of the same levels of Scouting where we have not been as successful as we might like are often missing an empowered and effective Key 3.

We occasionally hear from commissioner Key 3 that they do not feel as if their Key 3 is functioning as well as it should. Most troubling are those situations where a professional may direct the program to the exclusion of the president/chair and the commissioner, or a “Key 2” functions without the benefit of the commissioner leadership. We should not wait to be asked to assume our seat at the Key 3 table. We challenge our commissioner leadership to boldly assume their place at the Key 3 table and demonstrate the value and commitment that the commissioner corps brings to the delivery of a quality program.

Units need a Key 3 as well. The New-Unit Retention Guide introduces the concept of the unit Key 3. The unit Key 3, consisting of the unit leader, the chartered organization representative, and the unit committee chairman, is a new theory, but it recognizes the critical role the unit leadership and the chartered organization play in the success of the unit. Maybe we should have called it the Unit Key 4, since the unit commissioner is an advisor to the unit Key 3. It is a distinction with a difference, however, and recognizes that the unit commissioner is a coach, supporter, and catalyst to assist the unit’s leadership. We urge you to support and implement the unit Key 3 as a powerful means of empowering your units.

Congratulations, Tico. It’s a great picture and a great reminder of the contribution that you have made in your service as national commissioner. We would all be well served to follow your example.