Proper New-Unit Organization and Unit Retention Is Critical

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Scott Sorrels
National Commissioner Service Chair


One of the best resources to be published recently by the Boy Scouts of America is the New-Unit Retention Guide, which was introduced last year. The guide, now updated and renamed the Unit Performance Guide, is a comprehensive manual for creating and sustaining high-performing units. Produced by the New-Unit Retention Task Force under the leadership of Mark Kriebel, the guide assimilates some of the best field-proven methodologies that have been used to start and retain new units. Among those ideas are the creation of a unit Key 3 (the unit leader, chartered organization representative, and unit committee chair, advised by the unit commissioner) and the new-unit commissioner, who is charged with ensuring that the new unit survives and thrives through two charter renewal cycles. The guide is currently being piloted in various councils. Although the commissioner corps and the National Commissioner Service Task Force have been integral to the mission of the New-Unit Retention Task Force, our work is not done.

We are excited, and it seems only appropriate, that two of our own will be transitioning to play key roles in the New-Unit Retention Task Force. Ellie Morrison, who has served on the Commissioner Service Task Force since its inception as our chair of recruitment and retention, has accepted the appointment as the new chair of the New-Unit Retention Task Force following the National Annual Meeting. Under Ellie’s leadership, the commissioner corps set records for commissioner recruitment and unit-to-commissioner ratios. We respect her vision, her Texas charm, and her extraordinary common sense, as well as her ability to get things done. We have pledged to Ellie that because of the work and common mission of the two task forces she will forever be a part of our commissioner family. It is a great opportunity for Ellie, and we wish her the best in her new role.

Mark Wappel, who has been the National Commissioner Service Task Force adviser since its creation, will be transitioning to serve as the new staff adviser for the new-unit organization/retention committee and supporting national BSA membership initiatives, effective June 2, 2012. Mark has successfully leveraged the strength that comes from a true “volunteer-led, professionally guided” partnership, and he deserves an immense amount of credit for the work and accomplishments of the National Commissioner Service Task Force. Thank you, Mark, and our best wishes to you as you begin your new adventure.

We are pleased to welcome Steve Sawyer as the new staff adviser for the National Commissioner Service Task Force, and we look forward to working with him as we continue our mission.