Build the Unit

New-Unit Organizer and New-Unit Commissioner

The new-unit organizer works closely with the institutional head or executive officer of the chartered organization to put together an organizing team. A new-unit commissioner supports that effort and strives to become a familiar face to that group, taking the lead in helping the team complete some aspects of its responsibilities.

While unit commissioners can be thought of as Scouting generalists, new-unit commissioners specialize in a new unit’s first 36 months. While building and growing a new unit, the new-unit commissioner supports the new-unit organizer, becomes a familiar and consistent link between the chartered organization and the district, and provides support to the new key leaders.

The specific responsibilities of the new-unit organizer and new-unit commissioner—outlined in the Unit Roadmap—cover all aspects of the Asses-Plan-Act cycle, leading to the goal of building relationships based on trust, candor, and objectivity as they partner for success.

Building Relationships

Commissioners’ objectives are only possible when a commissioner has an open, trusting relationship with unit leaders, so the most important thing commissioners do is make a visit (or two…or more) …and record it in Commissioner Tools.

“Commissioner service is the glue and grease of Scouting. We are the glue that helps units stick together, and we are the grease that effects change.”

Ellie Morrison,
National Commissioner May 2018 – May 2020

Today’s commissioners are successful in their mission when units continue to operate, regularly accept new youth, and effectively deliver the ideals of Scouting to their members.

Commissioners can find ongoing support to achieve their objectives on the following webpages developed just for them:

Select Quality Leaders

Assess: Characteristics of successful unit leaders include the following:

  • Commitment to the ideals of Scouting
  • High moral standards
  • Ability to relate to youth
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure
  • Good organizational skills
  • Ability to relate to and interact with adults
  • Flexibility and the ability to compromise
  • Good planning ability
  • High energy level
  • Good attention to detail

Plan: The growth of Family Scouting means that units will want to recruit additional female unit leaders to ensure there are enough trained leaders to meet the Guide to Safe Scouting’s Adult Supervision Requirements for units serving female youth. The adult supervision requirements for all units are as follows:

Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. There must be a registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over in every unit serving female youth. A registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over must be present for any activity involving female youth. Notwithstanding the minimum leader requirements, age- and program-appropriate supervision must always be provided.

Act: Once willing leaders with the right characteristics and attitude of service are recruited, they must receive the proper training and orientation that will equip them to deliver the program to youth with support. That includes mandatory Youth Protection training and position-specific training to prepare them for their new roles and responsibilities.

District Operating Committee

Assess: Effective unit service includes helping unit leaders access the specialized assistance of those on the district operating committee whenever commissioners determine or learn that it is needed.

Plan & Act: Commissioners can call upon the district operating committee to provide specialized advancement or camping help for units, organize new units, train leaders, and conduct events such as camporees. Ensuring units get support to meet their needs and strengthen their programs also helps build relationships among Scouters at all levels.

Train Unit Leadership

Assess: Even after completing Youth Protection training and position-specific training for their new roles and responsibilities, Scouters can always benefit from additional guidance and training. They may even request supplemental support.

Plan: Commissioners should look to the expertise of those on the district operating committee and connect unit leaders with those who can help a unit problem solve and provide more in-depth information for successful unit management.

Act: District operating committee members can offer support in areas including

  • Training
  • Program delivery
  • Activity and event planning
  • Advancement and recognition
  • Accessing resources
  • Budgeting and fundraising
  • Recruiting youth and adults

Commissioners can also encourage unit leaders to participate in supplemental training opportunities on a district, council, or national basis, as well as online.


Support unit leaders by encouraging them to attend district roundtables, which present timely communication, program ideas, networking and relationship development, and additional training for unit leaders. Roundtables provide a great forum for practical ideas that can immediately be implemented within units. Make sure to provide leaders with a district calendar of events so they know when and where roundtables are held.

Unit Program Planning

Assess & Plan: No organization can exist without funds, and a new Scouting unit is no different. Helping units establish sound practices early in the organization process will serve and secure the Scouting program for years to come.

Act: With that in mind, ensure the unit committee understands basic principles and procedures to avoid potentially problematic situations. These include the following:

  • Developing a Unit Budget that anticipates the needs of the unit for the coming year
  • Fundraising, including opportunities, guidelines, restrictions, and BSA requirements
  • Fiscal Procedures for Units, including useful formats for keeping financial records and helpful information for unit committees, particularly treasurers


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