My fellow commissioners,
This year has seen some extraordinary milestones in terms of service by the commissioner corps. Let’s talk about a few of the milestones we accomplished in 2013:
- The “Peg the Needle” unit visitation project was a huge success, with a more than 30 percent increase in recorded unit visits nationally over the previous year. A number of our councils recorded unit visit rates that were multiples of prior performance. We have recorded 153,070 unit visits through August 2013. That performance is amazing and shows once again how our commissioner corps responds to support the needs of the Scouting program.
- The roundtable study committee completed the initial phase of its study and has rolled out the new Cub Scout and Boy Scout roundtable guides, both of which can be downloaded from the national website.
- Our training team released a comprehensive revision of our College of Commissioner Science curriculum, including adding more than nine courses, all of which are free to download from the national website.
- The Unit Performance Guide, including the use of a newunit commissioner to shepherd a new unit through two charter renewal cycles, was approved as a standardized best practice. The genesis of the guide can be traced to the commissioner corps.
- The BSA will celebrate 100 years of Scouting by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this October in Salt Lake City, and all commissioners in attendance at the regional board meetings will join together in a first-ever joint meeting to chart the future of commissioner service.
- Commissioner Week at the Philmont Training Center had record attendance and participants enjoyed a special visit by National President Wayne Perry.
- A new training course titled Commissioner Service for Non-Traditional or Faith Based Units will be offered in 2014. The course was created in response to requests from commissioners for a program that covers a wide range of commissioner topics and developments.
Any discussion of 2013 milestones has to include the inaugural national Scout jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. The jamboree was, by any measure, extraordinary in so many respects. Most importantly, the young people I met had the experience of a lifetime. One Scout after another told me that the Summit was “awesome”—a phrase used a lot in West Virginia this summer. Venturers came to the jamboree as participants for the first time, and we hosted Scout delegations from 22 countries and gave them a glimpse of what the 2019 world Scout jamboree will be like at the Summit.
The jamboree—and the Summit itself—could not have happened without the selfless service of many of you who served on staff and as volunteer unit leaders. Our staff performed a herculean effort and worked tirelessly to ensure that each Scout and Venturer had that “awesome” experience. Many of you were a part of this historic effort, and I especially want you to know how much your service is appreciated.
Everywhere across America Scouting is happening because of our volunteers. As commissioners, we often work behind the scenes, but our role in ensuring a quality program and improving unit retention is more important than ever.
Thank you for all that you do and will continue to do to serve the youth of America.