Friend of the Unit
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By Joe Schaeffer, Assistant Council Commissioner, Las Vegas, Nevada
Note: This month we have an article from a guest contributor. We are pleased that Joe Schaeffer has agreed to share
Foghorn Leghorn was a Warner Bros. cartoon
character, an adult rooster from Kentucky who was
always full of himself. When making a speech for a
senatorial election, he began, “My friends—and don’t tell
me you’re not my friends; nobody can tell me who my
We all aspire to friendship. Can you be friends with a
gallon of gasoline? A quart of milk? An inch or a yard? Of
course not—these are units! Oh wait! Commissioners are a friend to the unit! A Scouting unit is an entity made
up of components such as committees, families, leaders,
and Scouts—all people! Commissioners may be working
with multiple units! That is a lot of people. How can we
become friends with all of them?
New friends are generally categorized as
acquaintances, someone you know and who knows
you and you know a little about each other. Let’s look
backward a little. Do you have friends from many years
past that you see only occasionally yet when you get
together it is like old times? This is a relationship.
In making friends with a unit, what we really seek is a
RELATIONSHIP! Relationships are built; they don’t just
happen. You can’t be friends with someone you do not
know or someone who does not know you. So the first part
of a relationship, just like a friendship, is an introduction.
Others need to know and remember your name and you
need to know and remember theirs. You need to ask
questions about their lives, past and present, so that you
can find common links. Answers to questions need to be
forthright; questions need to be friendly. Having done this,
you have made an acquaintance of someone.
The object is to build the friendship to a point where
each is comfortable with the other and to like each other.
This is the beginning of a relationship. When your paths
cross, you greet each other openly and are genuinely
friendly. Meeting on multiple occasions gives you the
opportunity to exchange views. Out of these exchanges,
two or more people begin to build a respect for each
other’s views and out of that respect seek out each other
in times of need. If you can accomplish that, you have
made a real friend and have a relationship!
Friends can count on each other in time of need.
Advice may be sought after and taken because people
understand and trust each other.
Commissioners can be very busy with UNITS that
could use assistance. Units do not need assistance;
people do! If, as commissioners, we invest our time wisely
recognizing the people in the units and developing a real
relationship with them, our roles will become easier. Unit
leadership will respond to commissioners’ desires and
their own needs because of that relationship.
A little time building a good relationship with the
people in a unit could save the commissioner many
hours of frustration in the future. Invest your time wisely
in creating relationships—the return on investment is