Why Recognize Commissioners?

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Larry Chase
National Commissioner Service Recruiting and Retention Chair

It’s a fair question: Is there really any value to be gained from recognizing commissioners?

And there’s probably a related question: Do commissioners even care about recognition?

Recognition has been a fundamental concept in Scouting from its beginning. Done right, it’s a powerful tool that offers at least four benefits:

  1. Celebration of Achievement and Commitment
    Probably the first benefit to come to mind, recognition does offer the opportunity to acknowledge individual achievements. Equally important for commissioners, and beginning with the commission they receive, it demonstrates the commitment they have made to help our units serve more kids better.

  2. Definition
    In Scouting, we know (or can easily find out) what it means to achieve the Arrow of Light Award, or the Eagle Scout rank, or the Quartermaster Award, or the Silver Award, or the Award of Excellence in Unit Service. The definition of requirements that Scouting recognitions provide not only tells us what has been accomplished but also facilitates personal and team goal setting.

  3. Skill Development
    Learning and skill development are an important byproduct of recognition. Even receiving their commission results from newly appointed commissioners having completed basic training, received an orientation to the role they have accepted, and completed some of the fundamental tasks that position requires. With more advanced recognition comes increased experience and the development of advanced skills that enable greater effectiveness in supporting units.

  4. Inspiration
    We’re inspired by achievement. Seeing what others have accomplished enables us to see greater potential in ourselves and to strive to fulfill it.

Knots, pins, patches, and certificates may not be important to all commissioners, but serving more kids better is. Also, what we say to them in acknowledging their achievement can have a powerful impact—on them and on other commissioners present (and we should always strive to recognize achievements publicly).

The recognitions available to commissioners help define the skills and experience needed to provide effective unit service. And that’s why we’re working on revisions to commissioner recognitions: to ensure they incorporate the tools and techniques that our units need in Scouting’s second century. Changes to the Commissioners website will make it easier to learn about those recognitions, track progress, and provide tangible appreciation.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find an article detailing success stories about our newest recognition for commissioners, the Commissioner Award of Excellence in Unit Service. That article tells how two councils have leveraged recognition to improve unit service.

There is real value in recognizing commissioners: Done right, it helps us help more units better serve more kids, and that’s what unit service is all about.