The commissioner’s role is to support and encourage units. When this is done correctly and with the best interest of the unit in mind, unit retention usually results.
There are several tools for the unit commissioner. The Annual Service Plan and Recharter service immediately come to mind. Those plans get the UC into the unit on regular visits. Of course, “It’s not a visit until it’s in UVTS,” as NER Regional Commissioner Peter Casey would say. But there are more tools than that.
The unit self-assessment tool has been underutilized in the past. It takes time to do it correctly. As a result, many units have skipped this step. But here is where encouragement and a little how-to assistance from the UC can make all the difference. This issue’s [[article name/link]] regarding the self-assessment. The use of this tool twice a year (as required by Journey to Excellence) can reveal sore spots as well as strengths to unit leadership. That makes the job of the UC easier—it becomes more of a how-to rather than convincing the unit of what it needs to do. It certainly makes the unit annual program planning easier.
Another tool that is just becoming available is the Voice of the Scout (see the “Voice of the Scout” article in this issue). Unit members and/or parents will have a chance to weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses of the program from their perspective. The unit commissioner will be privy to this information and can better guide unit leadership in how to make things better.
Good programs that interest youth draw more youth to the unit. Happy parents help with the operations of the unit. With all that energy and enthusiasm focused on a good unit annual program, the results can be astounding.