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Re: [Scouter_T] Commissioner Training

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  • Don Wilson
    Hi, Richard, The first training that a Unit Commissioner receives is, like every other position, Fast Start, and should be presented within 48 hors of taking
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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      Hi, Richard,

      The first training that a Unit Commissioner receives is, like every
      other position, Fast Start, and should be presented "within 48 hors
      of taking the position." Yeah, right.

      There there is Commissioner Basic Training. This training us
      generally at council level and takes one day or two evenings. Basis
      is just that, a fairly quick overview of requirements as a
      Commissioner and explanations of the various resources that a
      Commissioner has, or supplies.

      Commissioner College is generally a full day, and may be presented to
      Commissioners of more than one council. Our College, scheduled next
      week, is presented to Commissioners of three councils, and the
      location rotates each year.

      For the new commissioner, the first year is the Bachelor program,
      extended presentations of subjects touched on during Basic, which may
      include 5 to 7 presentations. The second year is Master's level
      (again 5-7 presentations) and then comes Doctorate, which may require
      two years to complete. For the Doctorate, the first year is used for
      selection of a project to be completed over the year to the next
      College, where each candidate presents their project and results.

      Post Doctoral Seminars are provided at each College to keep
      Commissioners sharp and to share information.

      As with positions in Scouting, advancement is recognized. The first
      would be the Arrowhead Honor, which can be earned within the first
      year as an active Commissioner. Indeed, the Arrowhead Honor is
      usually a requirement for completing the Master's degree.

      Commissioner's Key can be earned by completing 3 years as a
      registered Commissioner within a 5-year period plus other training
      requirements. The Commissioner Key is a prerequisite for earning the
      Doctor of Commissioner Science.

      There are other recognitions are Distinguished Unit Commissioner,
      Distinguished District Commissioner, and Distinguished Council
      Commissioner.

      That is likely overkill for your question, but I did not have
      anything to do for a few minutes.

      There is one thing that should be emphasized. Unit Commissioners
      report to the District Commissioner, and acts on instruction from the
      District Commissioner. This is important, as the unit leaders must
      know that the Commissioner is there to help, not spy. Problems occur
      then other district leaders decide that they can place requirements
      on Commissioners.

      Hope that helps.

      Don Wilson
      Unit Commissioner (13 years)
      District Commissioner (5 years)
      Assistant District Commissioner for Recharter (present)
      OHC 427
    • NeilLup@aol.com
      Not to overkill seriously the question but there are excellent sessions on Commissioner Service at Philmont Training Center. I would also comment that, like
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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        Not to overkill seriously the question but there are excellent sessions on
        Commissioner Service at Philmont Training Center.

        I would also comment that, like with many Scouting jobs, initial training
        likely comes by personal coaching by the Asst. Dist. Comm'r or the District
        Commissioner. One likely will not need to or want to wait until the next
        official training.

        Best wishes,

        Neil Lupton


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Scouter Chuck
        Don Wilson wrote (an extended description of the UC position). The next question is, what is the time commitment? 2-3 nights a week? 5 nights a week? 7 days
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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          Don Wilson wrote (an extended description of the UC position).

          The next question is, what is the time commitment? 2-3 nights a
          week? 5 nights a week? 7 days a week?

          This is also important, as these positions can eat time like
          Godzilla eats cars. How much time is one expected to spend doing
          this job?

          When I was a young Boy Scout back in the late 50's and early
          60s', my father was a "Neighborhood Commissioner". He was told
          that if you had one night a month at home with your family, you
          didn't have enough to do.

          I have been considering volunteering to be a UC, but the extra
          time commitment is one thing I've been worried about.

          YiS,

          Chuck Bramlet -- Phoenix, Az. ----- mailto:antelope95@...
          I "used to be" an Antelope! -- WEM-10-95
          Thunderbird District -- Grand Canyon Council
          District Committee Member at Large
          -------------------------------------------------------------------
          "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing"
          -- Stephen R. Covey
          -------------------------------------------------------------------
        • NeilLup@aol.com
          ... In my opinion, the great thing about being a unit commissioner is that you largely can control your own time. First, you can decide how many units you
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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            In a message dated 1/22/06 5:51:32 PM, antelope95@... writes:


            >
            > I have been considering volunteering to be a UC, but the extra
            > time commitment is one thing I've been worried about
            >

            In my opinion, the great thing about being a unit commissioner is that you
            largely can control your own time.

            First, you can decide how many units you will take. If you take one,
            then the time is (surprise) about one third of the time if you take three.

            Second, your responsibility is to make one meaningful contact with each
            unit each month. That could be visiting a meeting, visiting a committee
            meeting, having a good phone conversation with the unit leader, meeting the
            unit leader at a roundtable, camporee or Pow Wow, etc. It could even be an
            exchange of e-mails.

            In my opinion, the job of Unit Commissioner is much like that of a first
            aider or even a ski patroller. You check often enough to make sure everything
            is OK or if there is a problem, Should you find a problem, if you wish
            and you have the skill and interest, you address it. Otherwise, you
            call for help from the appropriate source.

            As far as time, under normal conditions, I would say 1-2 hours per
            month for each unit that you take plus one evening per month for a Commissioner's
            meeting, roundtable, etc. When things get bad, it can take more.
            On one occasion, I spent some time each day for two weeks on a unit when they
            were having a spat between the committee and the unit leader. But that is
            unusual.

            Unit Commissioner can be an extremely rewarding job and really doesn't take
            that much time. We have all heard unit leaders say "I've never seen a
            Commissioner." That is probably because there weren't enough people willing to
            serve.

            I hope that you will give Commissioner Service a shot. It is good fun and
            very rewarding.

            Best wishes,

            Neil Lupton


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • McQuaid Family
            Well, hello! I bet you already go to RoundTable, so that s not an additional meeting for you. And if you can convince a unit that you cover to car pool, well,
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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              Well, hello!
              I bet you already go to RoundTable, so that's not an additional meeting for you. And if you can convince a unit that you cover to car pool, well, that is a chance to check in with the unit. Don't forget stopping by when they are camping and your unit is too! That's another chance to meet up.

              Neil is quite right. When he trained me as a District Commissioner, we talked at great length about ways to "visit" units. I was very lucky in that the Unit Commissioners I recruited LOVED the latitude I gave them, and were dedicated to visiting their units. One commissioner confessed she liked her Cub Pack visits, as it gave her even MORE ideas to share.

              Please, consider doing even just 1 unit. Your fellow volunteers will thank you!

              I thank you!

              Yours in Scouting.
              Marian McQuaid
              Assistant District Commissioner
              Great Blue Hill District
              Boston Minuteman Council
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: NeilLup@...
              To: scouter_t@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2006 6:45 PM
              Subject: Re: [Scouter_T] Commissioner Training



              In a message dated 1/22/06 5:51:32 PM, antelope95@... writes:


              >
              > I have been considering volunteering to be a UC, but the extra
              > time commitment is one thing I've been worried about
              >

              In my opinion, the great thing about being a unit commissioner is that you
              largely can control your own time.

              First, you can decide how many units you will take. If you take one,
              then the time is (surprise) about one third of the time if you take three.

              Second, your responsibility is to make one meaningful contact with each
              unit each month. That could be visiting a meeting, visiting a committee
              meeting, having a good phone conversation with the unit leader, meeting the
              unit leader at a roundtable, camporee or Pow Wow, etc. It could even be an
              exchange of e-mails.

              In my opinion, the job of Unit Commissioner is much like that of a first
              aider or even a ski patroller. You check often enough to make sure everything
              is OK or if there is a problem, Should you find a problem, if you wish
              and you have the skill and interest, you address it. Otherwise, you
              call for help from the appropriate source.

              As far as time, under normal conditions, I would say 1-2 hours per
              month for each unit that you take plus one evening per month for a Commissioner's
              meeting, roundtable, etc. When things get bad, it can take more.
              On one occasion, I spent some time each day for two weeks on a unit when they
              were having a spat between the committee and the unit leader. But that is
              unusual.

              Unit Commissioner can be an extremely rewarding job and really doesn't take
              that much time. We have all heard unit leaders say "I've never seen a
              Commissioner." That is probably because there weren't enough people willing to
              serve.

              I hope that you will give Commissioner Service a shot. It is good fun and
              very rewarding.

              Best wishes,

              Neil Lupton


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Don Wilson
              Without a doubt, Scouting is a sponge that will suck up every drop of energy one puts forth yet the sponge is always dry, asking for more. By the book, a Unit
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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                Without a doubt, Scouting is a sponge that will suck up every drop of
                energy one puts forth yet the sponge is always dry, asking for more.

                By the book, a Unit Commissioner is assigned three units. Also by
                the book, there is an Assistant District Commissioner for each three
                Unit Commissioners. I need to meet the guy that wrote the book.
                There are never enough active trained Commissioners, so we do the
                best we can.

                As a District Commissioner, I asked the Unit Commissioners to make
                direct contact with the leaders of their assigned units at least
                monthly, and to make at least one unit visit each quarter. This
                would be the minimum requirements, and likely units would have enough
                problems to need more contact. The monthly contact could be a phone
                call or a few quick words at a roundtable. The idea is to show
                interest, but not smother. Nothing makes a unit leader more nervous
                is to have a Unit Commissioner hovering around all the time.

                Unit Commissioners serving Cub Scout pack generally get the summer
                of, but must make up for the vacation during Roundup. Commissioners
                serving Troops and Crews might have some free time in the summer
                while their units are at summer camp. But that is a great
                opportunity for unit service, and I asked Unit Commissioners to visit
                with their units in camp. It is good to be able to have a unit visit
                away from the usual meeting place.

                The largest effort on the part of Unit Commissioners is for
                recharter. Our council uses a 120 day recharter program, starting
                with an extensive unit inventory and survey. Unit Commissioners will
                be busy to insure that units recharter and as many as possible
                complete that recharter as Quality Units.

                So, the question of commitment as a Unit Commissioner is reasonable.
                The problem is that most Unit Commissioners wear more than one hat.
                As a Scoutmaster, I served as Unit Commissioner to Cub Scout units.
                And seeing that I had one night home a month, I also served as
                District Training Chair. And still the sponge was dry.

                Don Wilson
                OHC 427
              • R Fisher
                I don t think I read if you are currently wearing other hats . That would make difference to me. But I will say this in all honesty; the time commitment for
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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                  I don't think I read if you are currently "wearing other hats". That
                  would make difference to me. But I will say this in all honesty; the
                  time commitment for a Unit Commissioner is probably the closest to the
                  legendary "one hour a week" that I'm aware of. But if that one hour is
                  one that you have to give up something else for, then you are the only
                  one that can say if its worth it.

                  YiS

                  Roy Fisher
                • Scouter Chuck
                  Roy Fisher wrote... ... I am currently a Member at Large for the District Committee. I also attend RT, and used to be on the RT staff -- until someone
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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                    Roy Fisher wrote...

                    > I don't think I read if you are currently "wearing other hats". That
                    > would make difference to me.

                    I am currently a "Member at Large" for the District Committee.

                    I also attend RT, and used to be on the RT staff -- until someone
                    decided they wanted "new blood".

                    I do not serve directly with a unit, nor do I have any other
                    position in the District. I do help with occasional training
                    as requested (and qualified).

                    Hope this helps...

                    YiS,

                    Chuck Bramlet -- Phoenix, Az. ----- mailto:antelope95@...
                    I "used to be" an Antelope! -- WEM-10-95
                    Thunderbird District -- Grand Canyon Council
                    District Committee Member at Large
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------
                    "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing"
                    -- Stephen R. Covey
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------
                  • Dave Loomis
                    Your question is a bit like, How long is a piece of string? There are no other information on which to make the choice. If you are in a district with the
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jan 22, 2006
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                      Your question is a bit like, "How long is a piece of string?" There
                      are no other information on which to make the choice.

                      If you are in a district with the ideal three units for each
                      Commissioner, AND you happen to serve a pack, troop, and crew "owned" by
                      the same organization, your time outlay will be less, than if you
                      commission three units in different towns and programs or even the same
                      program. Ideally you should visit a unit's meeting and committee
                      meeting every month, and work on any problems that you observe. This
                      commits you to three committee meetings, three unit meetings, a
                      Commissioner meeting, and ideally a Round Table meeting each month. So
                      eight meetings month.

                      Since you Commission the units that will logically "graduate" Scouts
                      to their troop or crew, you will have less time spent working with the
                      troops and crews towards which, separate packs and troops will feed. If
                      you Commission three packs, troops, or crews you learning curve will be
                      shorter, since I expect Commissioners to take the Leader Specific
                      Training for each program they Commission, and are not fully trained.
                      You simply can't walk the walk if you can't talk the talk. However long
                      term Scouters becoming Commissioners from Crews, usually already know
                      enough about troop and pack operations that this training isn't as
                      important to your success.

                      If your district isn't well represented by Commissioners so that you
                      either pile on more units, or see them less, your evening load is going
                      to be heavier, until you get some more Commissioners. This is ONE
                      reason why National rates councils, and council's rate districts on
                      their unit/commissioner ratio, as this overly heavy Commissioner load
                      can burn Commissioners out very quickly.

                      And hard as it may be to believe, Commissioning a unit from which you
                      came is just asking for problems. No matter how well regarded you were
                      in your unit, when you try to work it as one of your units, you'll still
                      be regarded as good old Bruce, or Bruce from the troop, not Bruce who's
                      come to us to help us run a better program for the Scouts. This is the
                      major reason why most folks frown on Commissioning a unit were you used
                      to serve.

                      So, how long is your piece of string. You have committed yourself to
                      eight monthly meetings, plus any additional training you need to get up
                      to speed on the programs with which you are the least familiar. In Cub
                      Scouting, that takes at least one whole day to get NLE, Fast Start, and
                      Cubmaster training. If there is time and the breakout sessions permit
                      it you could also squeeze in one of the Den Leader Training sessions.
                      Boy Scout Leader Essentials take at least a night, a day, and a weekend
                      to become Scoutmaster trained, and another night if you also take Troop
                      Committee Challenges. Venturing is the easy one, only one day, although
                      Powder Horn Training is a lot of fun.

                      This gives you some idea of what it takes to become well enough versed
                      in your programs to be effective. This is all in addition to either two
                      evenings or an entire weekend day at Commissioner Training. I list the
                      one day option although it doesn't give you actual practice in visiting
                      a unit meeting with another Commissioner to practice working with and
                      determining what, if any, problems the unit may be experiencing.

                      Generally District Commissioners feel you out a bit, and won't lumber
                      you with too many units until you get up to speed with the job, but
                      often your boss won't have any choice in the matter. If s/he has 45
                      units, and ten Commissioners, to carry the load, someone is going to
                      have to monitor additional units until things get better, or give the
                      more capable units less help for a bit.


                      Dave
                      ADC & BS Training Chair
                      Historic District
                      Daniel Webster Council, BSA

                      Scouter Chuck wrote:
                      > Don Wilson wrote (an extended description of the UC position).
                      >
                      > The next question is, what is the time commitment? 2-3 nights a
                      > week? 5 nights a week? 7 days a week?
                      >
                      >
                      > YiS,
                      >
                      > Chuck Bramlet


                      To reply, click on the address below.

                      Dave Loomis mailto:dloomis.nh.ultranet@...
                      245 Union St. (603) 431 5342
                      Portsmouth, NH 03801-4349
                    • NeilLup@aol.com
                      ... With respect, Dave, I believe this expectation is way over the top for a Unit Commissioner. In fact, if I were a committee member and the Unit
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jan 23, 2006
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                        In a message dated 1/23/06 12:31:27 AM, dloomis.nh.ultranet@... writes:


                        > Ideally you should visit a unit's meeting and committee
                        > meeting every month, and work on any problems that you observe.  This
                        > commits you to three committee meetings, three unit meetings, a
                        > Commissioner meeting, and ideally a Round Table meeting each month.  So
                        > eight meetings month.
                        >

                        With respect, Dave, I believe this expectation is way over the top for a
                        Unit Commissioner. In fact, if I were a committee member and the Unit
                        Commissioner showed up every committee meeting, I'd wonder why the
                        district/council didn't trust me.

                        If we have expectations like that for every Unit Commissioner, we won't
                        have many Unit Commissioners.

                        Oh, that's right, we don't have many Unit Commissioners :)

                        I stand by my earlier estimate as a minimum acceptable for doing the job.
                        One meaningful contact with the unit each month (meeting, campout, phone
                        call, etc.) and one meeting. One can do more and may decide to do more.
                        But I'd much rather have a full Commissioner's staff doing that rather than
                        only have the small number of people doing what you specified.

                        Best wishes,

                        Neil Lupton


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Dave Loomis
                        You re right. I should have said a unit OR committee meeting each month. Thanks, Dave ... To reply, click on the address below. Dave Loomis
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jan 23, 2006
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                          You're right. I should have said a unit OR committee meeting each month.

                          Thanks,

                          Dave

                          NeilLup@... wrote:
                          > In a message dated 1/23/06 12:31:27 AM, dloomis.nh.ultranet@... writes:
                          >
                          >>
                          >>Ideally you should visit a unit's meeting and committee
                          >>meeting every month, and work on any problems that you observe. This
                          >>commits you to three committee meetings, three unit meetings, a
                          >>Commissioner meeting, and ideally a Round Table meeting each month. So
                          >>eight meetings month.
                          >>
                          >
                          >
                          > With respect, Dave, I believe this expectation is way over the top for a
                          > Unit Commissioner. In fact, if I were a committee member and the Unit
                          > Commissioner showed up every committee meeting, I'd wonder why the
                          > district/council didn't trust me.
                          >
                          >
                          > Best wishes,
                          >
                          > Neil Lupton
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >


                          To reply, click on the address below.

                          Dave Loomis mailto:dloomis.nh.ultranet@...
                          245 Union St. (603) 431 5342
                          Portsmouth, NH 03801-4349
                        • John Halter
                          Actually, if you have three units, you could realistically visit a committee meeting and unit meeting each month and still only be visiting each unit once a
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jan 24, 2006
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                            Actually, if you have three units, you could realistically visit a
                            committee meeting and unit meeting each month and still only be visiting
                            each unit once a quarter.

                            Thank you,

                            John Halter
                            Pack Trainer
                            Pack 230 Apopka Florida
                            www.pack230.com
                            Assistant Scoutmaster
                            Troop 936 Longwood Florida
                            Wekiwa District Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner
                            www.wekiwa.org
                            "PackDude" at www.Scoutboard.com
                            ...and a good 'ol Bobwhite too! SR442



                            Dave Loomis wrote:
                            > You're right. I should have said a unit OR committee meeting
                            > each month.
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