a publication for commissioners and professionals

Summer 2021


Larry Chase
National Commissioner Service Chair

Retention Enables Growth

Growing Scouting isn’t limited to starting new units and attracting new members; retaining units, young people, and unit leaders provides a firm foundation for growth. Scouting’s impact is limited when new units and members serve just to replace losses.

A commissioner’s impact is greater when their work supports starting new units and attracting and retaining new youth members, and unit leaders. It defines their success. Everything commissioners do should be focused on young people, units, and unit leaders.

Consider a simple picture of Unite Service:

There are a few tools we use to enable success: 

  1. Our mission defines our purpose: ‘to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them values of the Scout Oath and Law.’
  2. Our vision shows us what success will look like: every member of the BSA has a great Scouting experience. That enables us to attract and retain both youth and adult volunteers.
  3. Culture is our way of life as a group: it includes our characteristics and skills and defines our approach to achieving our mission and fulfilling our vision. We’ll be talking more about that in the future.
  4. We have just five objectives:
    1. Supporting unit growth and retention
    2. Contacting units 
    3. Linking unit needs to resources 
    4. Supporting timely charter renewals 
    5. Supporting unit leaders 
  5. Our focus today is to support Scouting’s immediate focus:
    1. Ensuring the safety of the young people we serve 
    2. Growing Scouting
    3. Building firm financial foundations for our local and national councils 

There are other details that require our attention: recruiting and developing commissioners, communicating information, and certainly, adapting to change. But this picture helps keep it simple. And it helps us stay focused on Growing Scouting through both adding and retaining units, young people, and unit leaders. 

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