News for Commissioners

Background Check Forms Revised_12.2019

Several questions have been asked about new background check authorization forms that were implemented earlier this year. Our national council staff has been reviewing those questions and feedback received. Revisions have been made that are intended to address as many of those questions and issues as possible while still complying with various applicable regulations.

As communicated previously through other channels, the authorizations will be used only to complete criminal and driving record checks; no credit checks will be done. Information received will be shared only with local councils and our Learning for Life organization; it will not be shared outside our organization.

Our volunteers are understandably concerned with the privacy of personal information. Our national council remains committed to protecting our youth members from abuse; criminal record checks are an important part of that effort. As it has done in the past, information received will continue to protect the information received via volunteer authorizations and ensure that our barriers to abuse are meaningful and effective.

The revised background check authorizations will be available to adult volunteers from their local volunteers through the normal application process.


Commissioner Website Updates Completed_12.2019

New web pages on Recruiting and Exploring now provide a consolidated information sources on those topics. The recruiting page provides the latest information available as well as materials that can be used to support the development of local recruiting plans and train commissioners on how to identify prospects and make a compelling ask to serve units. The Exploring page provides access to an array of information resources to enable commissioners and Exploring service team members serve posts and clubs effectively.


Successful Impact Session in Philadelphia_11.2019

Recruiting commissioners is a critical need. Commissioners from throughout the Northeast, Southern, and Central regions gathered in November and engaged in active discussion of how to develop and implement plans to meet that need. They told us that developing an understanding of millennials, their preference for working in teams and their approach to that from discussion with participants from that demographic, overall discussion among participants and presenters, and all the experience in the room were among the best things that happened during the session. Their composite evaluation was 4.7 (on a scale of 5) and 9 out of 10 participants would recommend Commissioner Impact Sessions to other commissioners.


Successful Impact Session in Houston_10.2019

A group of dedicated Commissioner College staffers gathered in October to develop plans to deliver great colleges in their councils. After active discussion throughout the weekend, they told us interaction with the national commissioner and staff and meeting and interacting with other participants were among the best things that happened during the session. Their composite evaluation was 4.8 (on a scale of 5) and 9 out of 10 participants would recommend Commissioner Impact Sessions to other commissioners.


Successful Impact Session in Indianapolis_09.2019

Another successful Commissioner Impact Session was held in Indianapolis in September. Over 35 participants learned about all the capabilities of the most commonly used applications in the My.Scouting suite, increased their knowledge of BSA mobile technology, and learned about plans through a review of the BSA’s Information Technology Roadmap. They told us the best things that happened during the session were getting a clear picture of the status of BSA’s technology and plans, gaining exposure to many tools they had heard about through online training, and networking with other Scouters. Their composite evaluation was 4.6 (on a scale of 5) and nearly 9 out of 10 participants would recommend Commissioner Impact Sessions to other commissioners.


Philmont 2020 Commissioner Week Schedule Set_09.2019

Week #1 at PTC will be Commissioner Week once again. All conferences will be designed specifically for commissioners. Several familiar conferences will be offered; all will include new content. A new conference, Serving All Units – Working With Venturing Crews, Sea Scout Ships and Exploring Posts, has been added. Registration will open shortly. Check the details at:


BEST Study Confirms Commissioner Value_09.2019

The BEST (Building Evidence in Scouting Together) Study, supported by the Bechtel Foundation, has been underway since 2016. While the study continues, initial findings are becoming available. It’s first phase offered three key take aways: (1) Scouting is a positive youth development program; (2) Scouting provides the critical conditions to help youth mature in a healthy, functional manner, and, (3) Those units that execute the program using Scouting BSA’s eight methods are likely to deliver positive youth development.

The BEST study also provides confirmation of the role of commissioners: strengthening units to enable them to deliver the best possible program that will ensure every member of the BSA has a great Scouting experience. It also confirms that commissioners investment of time and talent in Scouting is a direct investment in youth.


A New Commissioner Conference At Florida Sea Base_09.2019

Regional commissioner impact sessions on technology were offered in 2018 in the northeast region and 2019 in the central region. Both were well-attended and received excellent reviews from participants. It’s clear the topic is of interest. A new national conference, Applying Technology in Unit Service, will be offered for the first time at the Florida Sea Base Conference Center during the week of January 12 – 18, 2020. National conferences enable a deeper dive into the subject matter with more time devoted to hands-on, practical application of content. Registration is open.

For more information:


A New Approach to Commissioner Training Curriculum_09.2019

Change is constant. No longer is it possible to deliver current training to commissioners through periodic, major revisions to segments of our online and instructor-led courses by temporary volunteer task forces. Ongoing teams of SME’s (subject matter experts) are being formed to focus on Commissioner Basic Training and College of Commissioner Science courses. Those teams will enable more current content in individual courses and more rapid updates to all courses affected by program or policy changes. National faculty members will continue to be charged with reviewing and updating content before presentation of any national conference or impact session.


Unit Service Plan Patch Available

The Unit Service Plan patch has been around for some time. If you’ve attended Commissioner Week at PTC recently, you may already have one. In response to requests from commissioners, it’s now available for purchase.


National Commissioner Service Team Meets at BSA National Annual Meeting_05.2019

Your National Commissioner Service Team held an open meeting the day before the official opening of the BSA National Annual Meeting. This has been an open meeting – commissioners attending NAM are welcome to attend. The team reviewed achievements during the past year and solicited feedback from guests on needs to be addressed in the future.

Interested in the report provided? Download the presentation powerpoint icon


National Commissioner Service Team Strategic Review at BSA National Annual Meeting_05.2019

Over 250 commissioners attended a strategic review provided by your National Commissioner Service Team at the BSA National Annual Meeting. An overview of potential goals in five key areas (Development, Exploring, Marketing & Communications, Recruitment & Retention, and Starting & Sustaining Units) was provided. Participants provided feedback and engaged in discussion of those and other topics of interested.

Want more details about the overview? Download the presentation powerpoint icon