News for Commissioners

News for Commissioners_09.17.2020

Scouting’s Journey to Excellence (JTE) is the BSA aspirational planning, performance and recognition program designed to encourage and reward success of our units, districts, and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence and continuous improvement in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA.

 Many unit leaders have found JTE metrics to be an effective continuous improvement tool. As previously announced, changes were made to 2020 objectives to reflect the impact of COVID 19. For this reason, the unit JTE recognition program will continue, however, the district and council level JTE recognition will be discontinued for 2020 and 2021. JTE at the unit level will continue, and recognition patches will continue to be available for units and their members.

 Unit Recognition

Revised unit criteria, due to the pandemic, is available at The criteria intentionally provides units a great deal of latitude due to the significant variability of programming due to local pandemic regulations.

 2021 unit scorecards are available at Unit | Boy Scouts of America.

Journey to Excellence for districts and councils represents data which is important to help districts and councils deliver a quality program.   A new membership reporting tool is under development to aid districts and councils with key membership data including gender and ethnic diversity. You will soon hear more about this.

 Unfortunately, the council and district JTE dashboard (dials) and finish line report require substantial manual compilation and data management each month. With the significant reduction in staff at the BSA national service center, the staff support necessary to keep the dashboard current is simply not available.  Consequently, it is necessary to decommission the JTE dashboard and finish line report effective September 18. 

 We suggest that even if JTE recognition is not available, the JTE standards for districts and councils still represent a vision of good Scouting and can be used in strategic planning.

We will be considering what assessment and/or recognition system will be most helpful to councils and districts for 2022 and beyond.   It is very premature to speculate on what that might be. Questions can be directed to

Thank you for all you do for Scouting and for your support of the Journey to Excellence program.


News for Commissioners_08.27.2020


Resources to support the planning and delivery of virtual (and in-person) roundtables continue to be expanded. Check out the latest on our Roundtable Support page, including:

  • Frequently Asked Questions: A variety of questions have been asked during recent webinars and in emails sent to the national commissioner service team. Typical questions, and answers to them, are available and will continue to be added as new ones are received.
  • Planning Resources:
    • Additional videos to support openings, including requested countdown-to-start videos, are now available
    • Safety Moments through December 2020 have been posted
    • Cub Scout and Scouts BSA breakout materials are being added as soon as they are completed
    • Additional videos to support closings have been added
    • The length of all videos is now displayed in addition to their topic

Periodic notices of updates will continue to be posted through a variety of commissioner communication channels, but make a habit of checking our Roundtable Support page regularly to have the most current resources available to plan and deliver roundtables that will support the unit leaders we serve.


News for Commissioners_08.21.2020


Our local districts have provided positive, valuable feedback on the recommended content for August roundtables developed collaboratively by our national Cub Scout and Scouts BSA program committees and national service center staff. Development of content for September is nearly complete and work has started on October. The need to provide roundtable commissioners with advance notice of content topics and finalized materials as soon as possible is understood.

Current content plans for the remainder of 2020 include:

  • Safety Moments
    • September Code of Conduct
    • October Digital Safety & Online Scouting Activities
    • November Winter Sports
    • December Is It Scouting?
  • Cub Scout Breakouts
    • September In-Person Recruiting Events During Pandemic
    • October First Impressions of Your Pack (NMC)
    • November Keeping Your Cub Scouts Having Fun
    • December Pinewood Derby Hacks
  • Scouts BSA Breakouts
    • September Recruiting in the Time of Pandemic
    • October How to Conduct Virtual/Socially Distanced Ceremonies
    • November Getting Back to the Outdoors
    • December Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Merit Badge

Announcement of Hot Topics, by their nature, will have shorter lead times. The goal for that segment of roundtables is to share information that requires immediate action by volunteers. Hot Topic content will be posted in the appropriate month’s folder on our Roundtable Support webpage as soon as it is available.


News for Commissioners_07.31.2020

Take Family Fun Fest up to the next level! Follow up with your units and ask them to Share, post and boost Family Fun Fest on your council social media channels. Use the hashtag #FamFunFest in order to use These fun, interactive, online events are an ‘open house’ for Scouting. Learn how to do this at


News for Commissioners_07.30.2020

A Call to Action for All Commissioners

We’re committed to getting you the information you need – quickly – to provide great support to our unit leaders and the youth they serve.

Just three things:

  1. The Commissioner is now published quarterly; the next issue will be out shortly. Once again, it will provide a lot of good information, including two articles that set the stage for our work over the next year. Scott Sorrels, your national commissioner, wrote the first; Larry Chase, your national service team chair, wrote the second. They speak to both the present and the future, to what we must do today and the impact that will have on Scouting and the youth we serve. Both messages are important to your work as commissioners:
  2. We hear you: many of our units have done their best to keep on Scouting – virtually. Others, and particularly our Cub Scout packs, need more support; they need resources to help them plan how to keep on Scouting in today’s socially distanced environment. Family Fun Fest will help provide those resources. Use this link to learn more about Family Fun Fest:
  3. A Call to Action: forward a link to this news item to the unit leaders you serve. Time is short; do it now. It will give them access to information about Family Fun Fest, which will provide them with resources to help them serve youth. In addition, they’ll also be able to read the two newsletter articles, which speak to our commitment to support them – and you – as we work together to deliver the promise of Scouting.

Thank you for all you do to serve youth through Scouting!


News for Commissioners_07.27.2020

Chris Beaver Joins National Commissioner Service Team as Chair for Roundtables

Christopher Beaver has taken on the role of Roundtable Chair for the National Commissioner Service team. He began his Scouting experience in 1987 as a Bear Cub in the Atlanta Area Council and continued through the program until age 18, joining the Chilantakoba Lodge of the Order of the Arrow in the New Orleans Area Council.

After moving to Wisconsin for graduate school, Christopher became Scoutmaster of Madison Troop 29, a role he held for five years. He has also served as District Vice-Chair for Membership, Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, Unit Commissioner, District and Assistant District Commissioner, and currently serves as Assistant Council Commissioner for Training for the Glacier’s Edge Council in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2018, Christopher served as course director for Wood Badge C7-620-18 and was presented the Silver Beaver in same year. He completed work for his doctorate of commissioner science in Atlanta in 2019.

Christopher is honored to join the National Commissioner Service Team and looks forward to advancing virtual roundtables.


News for Commissioners_07.22.2020

Transforming Roundtable Webinar 7.15.2020

What does it look like and why is it important?  This is the recorded session from July 15, 2020 with all commissioners.



News for Commissioners_07.17.2020

Colleges of Commissioner Science across the country

Have you checked out the Colleges of Commissioner Science that are being offered across the country and virtually?  Puerto Rico is even offering a virtual Spanish College of Commissioner Science in August.


News for Commissioners_07.15.2020

2021 National Jamboree Postponed

Communication from the 2021 Jamboree Leadership:  It is with great disappointment we inform you that the 2021 National Jamboree has been postponed. As a committed member of our staff, we wanted you to hear this news from us directly.

We thank you for your cheerful service for volunteering to be part of the 2021 National Scout Jamboree. We cannot thank you enough for your willingness to serve our movement as the BSA needs your continued support and active participation as we Face the Challenge.

The unpredictability of the pandemic and its impact on local councils, which are key to the success of any Jamboree, are the two main reasons for this difficult decision.

The Boy Scouts of America is committed to the safety of all youth in our programs. Planning, preparations, and decisions regarding National Jamborees take place months, and even years, in advance. The unresolved issues surrounding the pandemic make it exceedingly difficult to plan and prepare for a premiere event of this size in a way that continues to keep the safety of Scouts, volunteers, staff, and communities at the forefront.

We know this decision brings many questions about your role and the future of the Jamboree. To assist, we have compiled a FAQ at which will be updated as decisions are made and as more information becomes available. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to email them to

Like you, we are disappointed that we will not be able to hold the National Jamboree next summer, but we know this is the right decision. We are grateful for your commitment to the Jamboree thus far and for understanding this extremely difficult choice. We are strongly committed to ensuring that this once-in-a-lifetime experience returns to the Summit Bechtel Reserve as soon as possible.

Yours in Scouting,

Dr. Glenn Ault Daniel Busby Al Lambert
Jamboree Chairman Jamboree Director ASCE, Outdoor Programs


News for Commissioners_07.09.2020

The Linked-Troop Webinar recording is now being shared.  Commissioners with linked troops should watch this webinar and share it with their linked units.  Commissioner Webinar 6.2.20

2020 – Virtual Impact Sessions announced 

You told us that you wanted National-Level Impact Sessions that were more available to commissioners throughout the country. We heard you and took action. The result is what we call Virtual Impact Sessions.

Virtual Impact Sessions are 2 hour live online training events. They provide a laser focused session on a relevant topic. Participation is limited to 30 people and are scheduled monthly (except June and December).

You can register at:

The current topics scheduled are:

Effective Commissioners: “The Right Stuff”

Recruiting for Diversity: “Including All of Our Friends”

Inside Recruiting: A Menu to Getting the Scouters
Elements of a Successful Retention Plan
The New Member Coordinator


News for Commissioners_07.06.2020


Providing leaders with timely information on an ongoing basis is one of the best ways that we can support them – particularly in this time of change. Roundtable has been a primary vehicle for providing information to volunteers. We will present a webinar on July 15 at 8PM Eastern on Transforming Roundtables – What does it look like and why is it important? The agenda will be:

Why Virtual Roundtables?

Roundtable Opening

Roundtable Hot Topics

Roundtable Safety Moment

Roundtable Breakouts

Roundtable Closing

Networking in a Virtual Roundtable

Linking Needs in a Virtual Roundtable

Register Now for the July 15, 2020 8PM Eastern Time Webinar called Transforming Roundtables at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

We will have a Q & A at the end. Please submit your questions in advance to


News for Commissioners_06.29.2020

Roundtable Update

Providing leaders with timely information on an ongoing basis is one of the best ways that we can support them – particularly in this time of change. Roundtable has been a primary vehicle for providing information to volunteers. Unfortunately, roundtable attendance has declined steadily for a number of years, making it difficult for it to be a solution for timely communication. A number of efforts and campaigns over the last several years haven’t altered that trend.

What is being done to change that?

  1. We have created a new, flexible roundtable agenda.
  2. Opening
  3. Hot Topics
  4. Safety Moment
  5. Program Breakouts
  6. Closing
  7. We are encouraging virtual roundtables because they are proving to be effective during the COVID – 19 pandemic.
  8. Our National Service Center will provide national content for virtual meetings.
  9. New resources to support planning and hosting virtual roundtables utilizing the new content is being developed.

Why are we making these changes?

  1. We want to increase roundtable’s impact in a way that is simple, sustainable, and flexible
  2. Roundtable commissioners, scouters and council staff are busier than ever. Volunteers have made it clear they do not want to invest the total time (including travel) that attendance of in-person roundtables require.
  3. In most councils, access to technology now makes virtual meetings practical.
  4. Virtual meetings are effective, efficient and recommended, but not required. This flexibility meets local needs due to limited internet access as well as the need for periodic face-to-face gatherings. Virtual meetings can’t and shouldn’t replace all in-person meetings, but they have proven their value.
  5. We learned that virtual roundtables work.
  6. COVID 19 provided opportunity to try virtual Roundtables widely across all corners of the BSA and received positive feedback on this approach.
  7. Attendance increased and we reached an even broader audience when roundtables were recorded and shared.

More information is coming soon.


News for Commissioners_06.23.2020

WEBINAR: Linked Troops – What, Why and How. Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7PM Eastern.

We will present a panel conversation on the what, why, and how of linked troops. Learn more about the research and the rollout as well as the on-the-ground linked-troop experiences of Scouting volunteers and youth.

Panelists include former National Commissioner and local linked troop Unit Commissioner Ellie Morrison, Scouts BSA committee member and Gender Diversity task force lead Ashley Steigerwald, BSA Pilot Committee chair and concept developer Gary Schroeder, Regional Commissioner and linked troop Committee Chair Linda Baker, and local linked troop Senior Patrol Leaders Dana and Charm.

Please email suggestions for questions to and include your email address in the body of your email. Your input is valuable.

Webinar Registration link:


News for Commissioners_06.16.2020

Unit Service Strategic Review presented by your National Commissioner Service Team!  Video of the recorded session from the virtual National Annual Meeting.

Scouting continues to change to remain relevant to today’s youth and families; Unit Service continues to change to help ensure every member of the BSA has a great Scouting experience. Your service team reports on Unit Service accomplishments over the past year and discusses potential high priority issues (such as commissioner training, recruiting, starting and sustaining units, and delivering effective roundtables) to focus on in the coming year.

In addition, your input is needed. The National Commissioner Service Team exists to help you help units ensure a great Scouting experience. We asked webinar participants their opinion of how the service team can best support them.  We are still looking for feedback, even though the webinar has completed.  Send your thoughts to When you do, please be sure to include your email address in the body of your email.

Service Team Strategic Review (Webinar)
Service Team Strategic Review (PPT)


News for Commissioners_05.26.2020

Please welcome Scott Sorrels as our new National Commissioner.

 Scott is not new to unit service, nor is his experience in Scouting limited to it. He served for nine years as the first chair of the National Commissioner Service Team. He has been a key Scouter in Venturing, including serving as vice chair of the National Venturing Committee and founder of Winterfest some 46 years ago; so you might see him wearing Venturing green. He has served as president of Area 9 in the Southern Region, and continues to serve on our National, Northeast Georgia and Atlanta Area Council boards of directors. Scott’s service to youth has been recognized multiple times. He has received the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and the Silver Buffalo. He has been involved in International Scouting serving as the 2019 World Scout Jamboree co-chair. Most recently, he has been awarded the Bronze Wolf, the World Organization of Scouting Movement’s highest honor.


Meet a Virtual Hero – Life Scout Brantley O’Day II_05.21.2020

Brantley O’Day II, a 13 year old Life Scout with Troop 265 at Gibsonville United Methodist Church in Gibsonville, NC, has been using his passion for technology and the new 3-D printer he bought with his birthday and Christmas money to make ear saver devices to help frontline healthcare workers avoid painful ear rubbing from their PPE masks.  

The idea came from a Canadian Scout via his mom’s Facebook feed.  He decided to use his own 3-D printer and computer to edit a file, purchase the filament, and start manufacturing in early April.  Each set takes more than 3 hours to complete. 

Over the last several weeks, he has delivered over 200 ear savers to medical providers, including Forsyth Medical Center, Alamance Regional Hospital, the Kernodle Clinic, Alamance Eye Center, Burlington Pediatrics and several veterinarian offices.  Many requests continue to pour in from other providers. He has also printed high filtration masks requested by a medical provider. I

Brantley has written up a plan to encourage other 3-D printer owners to join the initiative.   He would love to share the pattern to help more healthcare workers, especially Scouts. If you would like to help supply resources for his project or help him print these ear saving devices, please reach out at for more information and details!

“To help other people at all times” – even during a pandemic.   Well done!  You are truly living the Scout Oath and are a model for all scouts and scouters during this difficult time.  Thank you for showing everyone what Scouting is really about.


News for Commissioners_05.16.2020

Resources for Virtual Roundtables – Coming Soon

Despite the great deal of uncertainty in our world, many of you are already making your plans for the fall. One of the key components of the fall calendar and the upcoming program year is the Roundtable schedule.

All scouting is local, and in the last few months, we’ve seen increased participation in Roundtable as our local councils and districts have implemented virtual roundtables. The National Commissioner Service Team and National Service Center Staff will be increasing their support of this valuable new tool beginning this fall.

As a result, the Roundtable Support webpage will be refreshed to provide new resources including digital content.  You may have already noticed that this is the location for the recorded webinars on Virtual Roundables.  We will have resources for the August Roundtable available in early June.  We will share additional information regarding virtual roundtables as it becomes available.


News for Commissioners_05.15.2020

Please join the National Commissioner Service Team as we present a summary of Unit Service achievements over the past year and discuss potential high priority issues, such as commissioner development (training), recruiting, starting and sustaining units, and delivering effective roundtables on Zoom.  We will be presenting on Tuesday, May 19th at 7PM Central Time. This webinar is in addition to the webinar on Roundtables held on May 14th.

Time is short so Register Today!

If you have suggestions on high priority issues that need to be addressed to enable you to serve units better, please let us hear from you. Send your thoughts to When you do, please be sure to include your email address in the body of your email.

The COVID pandemic made it impossible for any commissioners to gather at our National Annual Meeting originally scheduled for later this month. It also created an opportunity for every commissioner to participate in a session that would have been available to limited number of NAM attendees.

Scouting continues to change to remain relevant to today’s youth and families; Unit Service continues to change to help ensure every member of the BSA has a great Scouting experience.  And, our time together will also offer an opportunity for all of to learn how today’s technology can enable effective virtual experiences when face-to-fact meetings aren’t possible.


New Commissioner Tools Training_05.13.2020

Check out the new commissioner training on the Commissioner Tools webpage

The training for the updated Commissioner Tools is being presented in two formats. Powerpoints have been added and content has been updated in the static training, and video modules have now been created.

The topics are:

Navigation and Simple Assessments
Detailed Assessments and Unit Service Plan
Commissioner Tools Reports
Commissioner Tools for Administrative Commissioners
Commissioner Tools for Roundtable Commissioners

Static training is presented in PowerPoint and PDF formats and guides the commissioner through the major highlights of commissioner tools. Individual commissioners can use the documents to familiarize themselves with the functionality of Commissioner Tools.  These documents also can facilitate instructor lead training for newly recruited commissioners, or as a training element in a monthly commissioners meeting. Each PDF document contains the speaker notes for the Powerpoint.

The new video training modules are temporarily being offered on the webpage until the BSA Learn Center is updated.
PLEASE NOTE: If the modules are used from the webpage, credit is NOT recorded in training records.


Commissioner Technology Group Provides Access_05.06.2020

The Commissioner Technology Group helps provide commissioner and unit volunteers with access to BSA and associated applications that enable them to work effectively and efficiently and efficiently.

Its members, both volunteers and BSA professionals, collaborate to:

  • Ensure that Commissioner Tools supports Unit Service
  • Represent and advocate for commissioners on technology issues
  • Develop an understanding of the functionality and relationships between BSA applications such as Commissioner Tools, Training Manager, Member Manager, and Scoutbook to support he development and application of training for commissioners
  • Provide commissioners with information they can use and share with unit leaders about commercially available technologies that support virtual meetings and Scouting

The scope of their effort is large, and so is the group. See the link to get to know them better: Commissioner Technology Group


Meet the Virtual Heroes of Three Harbors Council_05.05.2020

In southeastern Wisconsin, Southern Shores District Commissioner Ryan Spellecy had a concern. From his research at the Medical College of Wisconsin, he knew that many, including members of Milwaukee’s hard-hit communities of color, did not have the option to stay home from their jobs in essential businesses during this international pandemic. They also lacked access to facemasks that would allow them to work and still protect or care for loved ones at home. So Ryan and his professional colleagues leapt into action. 

To develop a solution, they leveraged their connections with a local manufacturer of hospital wipes made from the same materials as surgical masks, which was able to turn those rolls of wipes into rolls of masks. With the addition of stretchy bands for ear loops, the result is a kit for an easy-to-assemble, disposable face mask for those in need.

Ryan saw an opportunity for Scouts to do a good turn and help their community, too. With the help of District Director Nathan Rackers, the district sent word to Scouters who answered the call big time! Scouts and their family members representing fifteen Scouts BSA and Cub Scout units have requested kits to date and have made 42,000 masks and counting! In addition to what others throughout the region will also produce, the goal is to make 3.5 million masks.

Recipients have included those serving at public health clinics, churches, food pantries, and schools; grocery workers; police officers (who in turn further distribute them throughout the community); poll workers and voters in the state’s April presidential primary; those caring for an ill family member at home; and many others. 

A generation from now, these industrious Scouts will tell the next generation about the pandemic masks they made as a “Good Turn” project in Scouting.


Using Zoom for Virtual Scouting_04.24.2020

A recent national webinar for commissioners on virtual roundtables included discussion of a commonly used tool for virtual meetings: Zoom. While by no means not the only available tool, Zoom is a popular alternative. Participants asked for additional details on the mechanics of using Zoom.

In collaboration with national staff members, your service team’s Commissioner Technology Group went to work and developed a Zoom quick reference guide. While it doesn’t cover all the functionality available, it does cover the basics and addresses questions asked during the webinar. It’s available in both PPT and PDF formats so it can be used for training or personal reference. You can expect periodic updates as well as other virtual Scouting reference guides in the future.

Using Zoom for Virtual Scouting (PDF)
Using Zoom for Virtual Scouting (PPT )


Meet the Virtual Heroes of Troops 520B/G, Longhorn Council_04.20.2020

Today’s Scouts continue to follow their movement’s well-traveled path of service to community, particularly in challenging times. The Scouts of Troops 520B/G in North Arlington, Texas, came together to support an Arlington police officer’s Mom recovering from COVID-19. They kept on Scouting, supported their community, and applied all the practices needed top halt the spread of coronavirus.  They’re Virtual Heroes.


Meet A Virtual Hero – Council Commissioner Bob Hemmerly_04.17.2020

The Tecumseh Council in Springfield, Ohio is a small council with a big heart for serving youth through Scouting. The council has purchased a Zoom account to enable virtual Scouting. Council Commissioner Bob Hemmerly has taken that a step further by purchasing a personal account to ensure volunteers can keep on Scouting. The result has been virtual roundtables, Boards of Review, and unit level meetings conducted and shared via social media. That’s a lot, but Bob and his team weren’t satisfied. District commissioners are coordinating unit “wellness checks” and reporting the results in Commissioner Tools so they can be reviewed by the council commissioner’s cabinet. Bob and his team are working hard to ensure that every unit in the Tecumseh Council keeps on Scouting.


Marketing & Communications Group Formed_04.15.2020

Commissioners should be unit leaders’ best source of information and answers to questions. To enable that, commissioners need accurate, timely information about BSA developments, Unit Service tools, techniques, and opportunities for commissioners, and a way to identify and discuss best practices.  Your national commissioner service team’s Marketing & Communications Group has been formed to meet those needs.

Members of the team include:

Adam Cox, Social Media Moderator: Adam serves as a district commissioner and assistant council commissioner in the western region’s Cascade Pacific Council. He’s also a trainer for his council and district.

Ben Ward, Social Media Moderator: Ben is an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 555 and an assistant district commissioner in the southern region’s Heart of Virginia Council. He served on staff for the 2013 and 2017 National Jamborees and 2019 World Jamboree.

Bob Fish, Social Media Moderator: Bob serves as the Central Region’s representative on the Scouthern Bechtel Reserve Staff Association. Prior experience includes service as a district commissioner, assistant council commissioner, and national jamboree subcamp commissioner.

Emily Campbell, Social Media Moderator: Emily serves as an assistant council commissioner for Roundtable in the Central Region’s Tecumseh Council. She has served as a commissioner in multiple councils and also as a Philmont Training Center faculty member.

Griffin Roblyer, Social Media Moderator: Griffin serves as an assistant district commissioner in the Southern Region’s National Capital Area Council. Prior experience includes service as a district commissioner in another council.

Bruce Levitt, Photographer: Bruce serves as district vice chair in the Central Region’s Greater St. Louis Council. Prior experience includes leadership of a University of Scouting, OA Lodge Advisor, and National OA Photo Advisor.

Jeff Goldsmith, Webinar Moderator: Jeff serves as president of the Northeastern Region’s Jersey Shore Council and as a member of the national Scouts BSA committee. Prior experience includes service as the Northeastern Region’s Area 5 Commissioner and a variety of other Scouting roles. Jeff was instrumental in the development of commissioner webinars in the Northeastern Region and now moderates national webinars for commissioners.


Meet A Virtual Hero – Assistant Scoutmaster Stacy Merrill_04.13.2020

The Scouts of Troop 368 in the Rivers North District, Water and Woods FSC, Michigan Crossroads Council, had a great virtual Scouting experience recently.

Assistant Scoutmaster Stacy Merrill challenged Scouts to complete a hike of the 2.2 mile outer loop of the Grand Blanc Commons. And this is Scouting, so the challenged included more than just a hike:

  • All Scouts – Pick up at least one piece of trash (take a picture of it and send it Mr. Merrill
  • Younger Scouts (New Scouts through 2nd Class) – identify five different tree species; take pictures and send to Mr. Merrill along with the names of the trees)
  • Older Scouts (First Class and Up) – Use a map provided and a compass to cut across the middle of the commons. Take a picture showing the map and compass while out in the middle of nowhere and send it to Mr. Merrill; include a report of “anything cool” found while off the mail trail.
  • Bonus High Adventure Challenges
    • Find the famous “big tree” of the commons (take a picture and send to Mr. Merrill)
    • Find the ruins of the old farm buildings (take a picture and send to Mr. Merrill)

Scouts were encouraged to follow Safe Scouting practices and social distancing practices (including completing the hike only with family members, not meeting up with other Scouts, etc.)

Local units anywhere could create a similar challenge that would enable the youth they serve to keep on Scouting, enjoy some time with family, and follow the practices we all need to employ to halt the spread of coronavirus. Share the concept with your unit leaders.

Stacy Merrill is a Virtual Hero.


Meet the Virtual Heroes of Troop 308G, Longhorn Council_04.10.2020

All three patrols of Troop 308G approached Scoutmaster Melody Terrell with a question as they became aware of coronavirus and its impact: “How can we help?” The answer was provided by the Waco Family Health Clinic, that had asked for masks for patients with symptoms to wear while in its waiting room. The need grew and the troop was asked to partner with the Waco Mask Seamstresses for COVID for mask supplies, collection, and distribution to clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and community agencies.  WMS for COVID is a McLennan-Waco (EOC) Emergency Operations Center Partner.

Helping in times of need isn’t new to Scouting; the heroes of Troop 308G saw the need and went to work.

Making masks was a perfect opportunity for the heroes of Troop 308G to keep on Scouting, serve their community, and maintain social distancing guidelines that will help protect them, family members, and members of their community from infection.

Want to learn how easy it is to make masks? See Melody’s video for all you need to know.

See the link:


Purchasing Advancement and Uniform Supplies_04.09.2020

Although all Scout Shops are currently closed to the public, the National Supply Center remains open to meet supply needs.

Uniform supplies can be purchased online at Minor delays in shipping may be encountered, but shipments are being sent out periodically throughout each week to purchasers. As an option, orders can be placed by phone at 800-323-0736

Advancement supplies are also available. Use the following steps to purchase advancement materials or products:

  • Unit leaders may email an Advancement Report to Insure the unit leader’s name and contact information and council name.
  • A Customer Service Team member will contact the unit leader for credit card information, shipping and billing information, and verification of Council and Advancement materials or products

Advancement materials or products will be shipped to the individual placing the order.


Recording Merit Badge Requirements_04.08.2020

Scout leaders are often asked whether a Scout is required to have a hard copy of a Blue Card when working on merit badges.  This question is currently being asked more frequently in today’s distanced environment.

While certainly the hard copy Blue Card is always an option, as the Guide to Advancement makes clear, leaders should remember that Scoutbook offers an electronic advancement record in which the completion of merit badge requirements can be recorded.  Scoutbook is a part of the BSA Internet Advancement system. As such, entering an advancement record in Scoutbook is the same as entering it in Internet Advancement.  Consequently, Scoutbook offers an officially approved alternative to a hard copy Blue Card for recording the completion of merit badge requirements. 

For Scouts whose unit has elected to use Scoutbook, access to this electronic advancement resource is easy.  However, if the Scout’s unit has not elected to use ScoutBook, anyone with a BSA member ID automatically has access to a Scoutbook account.  As a result, this alternative advancement record is available to any member of the BSA. 

In short, BSA offers Scouts working on merit badges from home or any other location access to two alternative forms of recordation of merit badge requirement completion:  The Blue Card and Scoutbook.  Both are authorized for use.  In either instance, the key is to ensure a record of the Scout’s merit badge work is maintained for future reference.

The National BSA teams are working hard to make all advancement materials, include the Guide to Advancement, consistent with the information outlined here.


BSA Scouting Forum for Commissioners_03.2020:

We are pleased to announce that we have added BSA Commissioners to the Scouting Forums.  Our goal is to provide another way for commissioners to discuss topics important to commissioners.  This is an especially useful channel for commissioners that do not use Facebook.  All scouting forums members can view the material, but you need to be a member in order to add a topic or comment.

Please see the attached document for details on how to join: How to join the BSA Commissioners group – 2020-03-18

Commissioners have a new communication tool: a place just for those interested in Unit Service is now available. The same site also provides access to dedicated areas for other topics, including:

  • BSA Announcements
  • Cub Scout Program
  • Scouts BSA Program
  • Venturing Program
  • Sea Scouts Program
  • Exploring Program
  • My Scouting Tools
  • Scoutbook
  • BSA Commissioners

See the link:

Stay connected. Join the conversation. Keep on Scouting!


Meet Rainbow Council –  Virtual Heroes_03.2020

As we deal with the new normal of social distancing, finding new ways to keep on Scouting is essential to continuing to serve youth. All Scouting is local; some of the best ideas of how to do that are coming from our local districts and councils as our volunteers apply available tools and creativity to their responsibilities. The Rainbow Council  in Rockport, IL wanted to deliver roundtable; social distancing was a barrier; Angelique Minett, Kevin Kantorski, Esmeralda Bonk, and Diane Kloepfer  knocked it down with a video version that delivered timely information local volunteers needed. Social distancing was maintained; great information was delivered; no gas was burned; no time was spent driving. A great group of Virtual Heroes!


Scouting at Home and Virtual Meetings on Program Support Resources Web Page_03.2020

Did you know our commissioner website has a page devoted to providing you with program support resources? If not, check it out:  It provides direct access to a host of other sites that will provide   commissioners need to be the first, best source of information to unit leaders.

And now that page has been expanded to include links to information about Scouting at Home and virtual meetings.

Check in regularly; updates will continue to be added.


Video Conferencing Options_03.2020

Virtual Scouting has been a hot topic; it also can be a daunting one when the names and capabilities of technology tools to support it start getting tossed around. Which one is best? Are any of them really free? Where do I find out more about them?

Check out Video Conferencing Options for a quick summary of the more popular tools, direct links to their web sites, and also to some helpful tips on video conferencing preparations and etiquette.

You’ll find a discussion thread on our Scouting Forum for Commissioners  It’s a great place to share your experience with this new way to keep on Scouting.


Tips for Virtual Scouting Meetings:

Carl Drew, District Commissioner for the Capital District in the Baltimore Area Council offers some tips that may be useful when planning virtual Scouting meetings:

  • Emphasize that the meeting is an official BSA meeting
  • Adhere to Youth Protection guidelines
  • Set expectations: normal unit uniforming/attire should be worn
  • Begin meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Include the Scout Oath and Law, as appropriate
  • Include an opening invocation, as appropriate
  • Where possible and appropriate, conduct the meeting in a manner similar to an in person meeting
  • Where possible, close the meeting in accordance with your normal manner


Commissioner Webinar: The Role of the Unit Commissioner in the New Normal_03.2020

The latest national commissioner webinar was a standing room only event. Maximum capacity was 300; the limit was reached well before the session began; once it was underway, a new participant joined as quickly as someone had to log off.

There will always be greater need than can be met by a single webinar, either because of participant limitations or scheduling conflicts. Recordings are shared and copies of content are shared to enable everyone interested to have access. Providing the PowerPoint used – complete with speaker notes – allows wider use of the content.

See the links below to watch the webinar or access the Powerpoint.

Watch the webinar

Download the presentation


Foundations for Virtual Scouting_03.2020

As we work together to keep on Scouting while dealing with the new normal of social distancing, it’s important to remember some things will remain constant even as we use new tools and techniques.

Remember the foundations of virtual Scouting:

  • BSA Youth Protection policies and procedures
  • Guide to Safe Scouting
  • BSA Social Media Guidelines
  • Cyber Chip

Links to these and other valuable resources can all be found in one place:


Do You Know a Virtual Hero?_03.2020

All Scouting is local. As we implement social distancing to protect one another from COVID-19, more Scouting is becoming virtual. Commissioners are finding new ways to support unit leaders: to make contacts, provide information and answer questions that enable our units to keep on Scouting. Many of our commissioners are becoming “Virtual Heroes.” Our national commissioner, Ellie Morrison, wants to recognize them.

 Ellie calls commissioners Scouting’s “Glue & Grease.” Their work helps hold our units together during difficult times and enables change that strengthens them. This is Scouting; there’s a patch for that.

Do you know a Virtual Hero? Are you Virtual Hero?

  • If you are a unit commissioner, did you make a contact with a unit leader through which you learned of a new, creative way to keep on Scouting while social distancing? Or, were you able through that contact to help a unit that had stopped meeting to keep on Scouting? If so, tell us what you did and what you learned so we can help other unit commissioners be a “Virtual Hero.”
  • If you are a roundtable commissioner and have delivered a virtual roundtable, tell us about that and send a video so we can help other roundtable commissioners be a “Virtual Hero.”
  • If you are an assistant district commissioner and enabled at least 60% of your units to be contacted in April to encourage them to keep on Scouting, tell us how you accomplished and documented that, and what you learned about new ways to keep on Scouting.
  • If you are a district commissioner and enabled at least 50% of your units to be contacted in April to encourage them to keep on Scouting, tell us how you accomplished and documented that, and what you learned about new ways to keep on Scouting.
  • If you are a council commissioner and enabled at least 40% of your units to be contacted in April to encourage them to keep on Scouting, tell us how you accomplished and documented that, and what you learned about new ways to keep on Scouting.

Send your story to Be sure to include both your email and home addresses in the body of your email.

Be a Virtual Hero; help our youth keep on Scouting!


Virtual Scouting Resources_03.2020 

There have been challenging times throughout Scouting’s history, including war, economic depression, and natural disasters. Each time, Scouts have met those challenges by focusing on helping others – and have grown strong in the process. As our nation responds to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to find ways for its youth to keep on Scouting.

The social distancing practices needed to slow the spread of the virus limit our ability for traditional meetings of all types. Resources and tools are available to help implement virtual meetings that enable Scouting to continue. Many resources have already come online; more are being added daily.

Here’s a list of resources available today. We’ll continue to provide more as they become available.


Google Search for Virtual Scouting Resources_03.2020

A Google search is a quick and easy way to identify virtual Scouting resources.

Simply enter “BSA Virtual Scouting.” Some discretion will be needed in identifying the best resources, but thousands – literally thousands – of options will be displayed.


Calling All Virtual Scouting Best Practices_03.2020 – REVISED

  • The Scouting spirit is alive and well: a long list of resources to enable virtual Scouting is already available. A new national council webpage, which will continue to expand, is up and running with key information and resources:
  • Bryan on Scouting is an official BSA Scouting Magazine resource; subscribe if you haven’t done so already; it will be a great, ongoing resource on a variety of topics:

If you know a great virtual Scouting best practice, share it so others can use it to keep on Scouting. Send your best practices to:


How To Scout – Virtually_03.2020

Want to keep on Scouting with virtual meetings, but don’t know how?

Two of the most popular tools are FreeConferenceCall and Zoom – both because they work and because they offer free options along with more advanced options for a fee. Basic information about those services and their options are available on their websites. YouTube provides a variety of training videos. To get started, check out the following links:


Jeff Bostwick Joins National Commissioner Service Team_02.2020

Jeff Bostwick joined your National Commissioner Service Team as Recruiting & Retention Chair effective February 1, 2020.

Jeff brings a wealth of Scouting experience and a passion for serving youth, unit service, and growing and strengthening volunteer teams that will help address our greatest single challenge: recruiting an adequate number of trained, engaged commissioners.

Jeff is an Eagle Scout and a Vigil Honor member in the Order of the Arrow. A veteran Scouter who has served at local, area, region, and national levels of the Boy Scouts of America, he chairs the National Merit Badge Subcommittee and is a member the National Scouts BSA Subcommittee.  Jeff will  complete his service as the Area 6 Commissioner for the Western Region in May. From 2015-2019, he served as a member of the National Wood Badge Update Task Force.  Jeff was a Wood Badge Course Director in 1994 and has staffed numerous Wood Badge courses, including the recent and first National Linked Troop Pilot Course at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.  He has received numerous awards and recognition for his service to the BSA, including the Silver Buffalo Award, the Silver Antelope Award, the Silver Beaver Award, the District Award of Merit, the OA Founders Award, and the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. A  Judge of the California Superior Court, Jeff is married to Mary, an active Scouter. He and Mary have four daughters, an Eagle Scout son, and 13 grandchildren.

Please join in welcoming Jeff to your service team!


Curriculum Review Team Formed_02.2020

To enable ongoing updates to the Commissioner Development Curriculum, which includes basic training for all commissioners (both online and faculty led) and the courses for the College of Commissioner Science, a curriculum review team has been established as part of the National Commissioner Service Team’s Development Group.

Key leadership for the team includes:

Anna Tuohy – Team Leader. Anna serves as the Council Commissioner for the Three Fires Council in the Central Region. She has extensive experience in curriculum development and project management.

Kresha Alvarado – College of Commissioner Science Curriculum. Kresha serves as an Assistant Council Commissioner and Council Training Chair for the Circle Ten Council in the Southern Region. She has been actively involved in the development of the Current CCS curriculum and has served on national faculty at Florida Sea Base and Philmont Training Center

Dave Fornadel – Commissioner Basic Training. Dave serves as an Assistant Area Commissioner in Area 2 of the Southern Region. He had been actively involved in the development and update of Commissioner Basic Training.

Roberta Hudson – Quality Assurance. Roberta is a Unit Commissioner in the William D. Boyce Council in the Central Region. She has experience in training development and delivery, including service on Wood Badge Update Task Force.


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