The Need to Recruit Hasn’t Changed—Or Has It?
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Visiting our local councils is a great experience! The
commitment and enthusiasm of our commissioners is
energizing—and their questions are often thought-provoking.
By now, you probably know that the 2015 unit service
Journey to Excellence goals for districts and councils include
significant changes. One is the elimination of the traditional
3-to-1 ratio (an average of three units served by each
commissioner). That raised an interesting question during a
recent visit: “What are you really telling us? Are commissioners
less important?” An interesting perspective—and far from the
intent of the change.
Consider this: The ratio objective was replaced with a unit
retention objective. For years we’ve said that commissioners
“own” retention. In 2015, we’re going to measure the impact of
the work we do. That’s a good thing. Unit retention is critical to
Scouting’s success, and that means commissioners are important.
Or this: Our simple and unified approach to unit service calls
for us to “provide an adequate number of trained commissioners
who provide a link to district committees in support of a quality
unit program.” “Adequate” isn’t defined; that was intentional.
The needs of each unit service team in our local councils will
determine the “adequate” number of trained commissioners to
help our units better serve more kids through Scouting.
In our last issue, we talked about the five “P’s” of recruiting
commissioners: Preparation, Passion, Potential, Priorities, and
Poaching. An “adequate” number of trained commissioners
has a lot to do with Priorities. Even the most dedicated
commissioner’s obligations at home or at work may make it
impossible to take on three units. Our single greatest challenge
in unit service is sustaining new units and, as a result, the Unit
Performance Guide methodology calls for us to assign a
dedicated unit commissioner to each new unit for its first 36
months. Priorities may require more commissioners to serve
Unit service is all about impact. By changing our
performance metric to unit retention, rather than the ratio
of units to commissioners, we’re focusing on the impact
commissioners should have on the units they serve. In
Scouting’s second century, unit service is more important than
ever, and that’s exactly what this change tells us.
The need to recruit commissioners hasn’t changed. It’s
continuous. Use the five “P’s” to ensure we have an “adequate”
number of them.