What does a Commissioner do?

The commissioner is a friend of the unit. Of all their roles, this one is the most important. It springs from the attitude, “I care, I am here to help,what can I do for you?” Caring is the ingredient that makes commissioner service successful. He or she is an advocate of unit needs. A commissioner who makes himself known and accepted now will be called on in future times of trouble.

The commissioner is a representative. The average unit leader is totally occupied in working with kids. Some have little if any contact with the Boy Scouts of America other than a commissioner’s visit to their meeting. To them, the commissioner may be the BSA. The commissioner helps represent the ideals, the principles, and the policies of the Scouting movement.

The commissioner is a unit “doctor.” In their role as “doctor,” they know that prevention is better than a cure, so they try to see that their units make good “health practices” a way of life. When problems arise, and they will even in the best unit, they act quickly. They observe symptoms, diagnose the real ailment, prescribe a remedy, and follow up on the patient.

The commissioner is a teacher. As a commissioner, they will have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth of unit leaders by sharing knowledge with them. They teach not just in an academic environment, but where it counts most—as an immediate response to a need to know. That is the best adult learning situation since the lesson is instantly reinforced by practical application of the new knowledge.

The commissioner is a counselor. As a Scouting counselor, they will help units solve their own problems. Counseling is the best role when unit leaders don’t recognize a problem and where solutions are not clear-cut. Everyone needs counseling from time to time, even experienced leaders.

Unit Commissioners are appointed by the district commissioner with the approval of the council executive board.

Unit commissioners should—

  • Have excellent people skills
  • Have a Scouting background or be fast-track learners
  • Know and practice Scouting ideals

Unit commissioners will focus on the following four primary areas:

  1. Supporting unit growth through the Journey to Excellence.
  2. Contacting units and capturing their strengths and needs in Commissioner Tools.
  3. Linking unit needs to district operating committee resources.
  4. Supporting timely charter renewal.

Roundtable Commissioners are appointed by the district commissioner with the approval of the council executive board.

Roundtable commissioners should—

  • Be congenial and enthusiastic performers
  • Have the ability to recruit a roundtable staff
  • Have a good Scouting program background in the program for which they will run roundtables
  • Be a good planner

Roundtable Commissioners will focus on the following areas:

  • Monthly plan and supervise the delivery of program ideas and motivation to Scout leaders that will enable units to provide a more effective program to Scouts.
  • Have knowledge of Scouting literature and how to help leaders use it in support of their program.
  • Take the training necessary to grow in experience and knowledge. This may be done through council-sponsored commissioners’ conferences, roundtable workshops, national or regional conferences, etc.
  • Make arrangements for roundtable to occur, such as: secure the meeting place, equipment, and supplies.
  • Attend monthly commissioners’ meetings to report on the roundtable activities and to alert unit commissioners to units whose leaders are not attending the roundtable.


If you are considering volunteering to be a Unit Commissioner or a Roundtable Commissioner please contact: