(no name) ((no email))
Tue, 21 May 1991 17:42:00 MST
Mike and others,
My experience as a commissioner is limited to one year, about 10 years ago
in the San Francisco Bay Area. I did learn one important lession about
being a commissioner I would like to pass on to everyone working as a
commissionier. By the time I moved from San Francisco I was working with
three units, but I started out with two units.
I was a year or two out of college and realy still quite green when it came
to the adult side of scouting. True I been an active (when not in college)
assistant scoutmaster for over two years and at age 17 when I was Chapter
Chief of the O-A, I was the District Camporee Chairman. The camporee had
been for about 400 scouts. The O-A did everthing except collect the money
(the District Camping Chairman wanted to do that, being the type to
delegate, I let him have the job).
One of the original troops I was assigned to was (from appearances) one of
the best troops in the District. They had a Vetan ScoutMaster who knew
volumns more about scouting than I did. My thoughts were more in the
direction of "I can learn from this guy, keep my eyes and ears open. That
is what I did most of the time. I also included keeping my mouth shut.
Just before I left San Franciso for L.A I was told, I was credit by the
Scoutmaster for saving the troop from colaspe. (This did not come directly
from the scoutmaster, but from the District Commissioner, who like everyone
else who has spent any time in the district, knew this scoutmaster well.)
Boy was I confused? Curious, I asked why. I never got a real direct
response, but before I appeared, the following was happening in the troop.
The ScoutMaster was burning out (the flames were roaring), the parents
rarely participated in the committee meetings, and in general things seemed
to be falling apart. When I left there were bundles of parents attending
committee meetings and the ScoutMaster had put out all flames and was quite
happy staying on as scoutmater.
Now I had to figure out how I did this, after all the Scoutmaster had said I
had a lot to do with it. So I took a look back at that year and asked
myself what did I do? First of all, I never waited to be asked for help.
In fact, I never really remember being asked to help at all. As I
indicated before, the ScoutMaster knew more than me. I remember he asked me
to confirmed a few things at committee meetings, but these he already knew
better than I did. In fact the only real question I remember being asked
was if I wanted to join the troop on their annual backpack trip in Yosemite
National Park (I said yes of course, that was an easy question to answer).
What else did I do? Well I went to their troop meetings about twice a
month and watched (and socialized when they had the scouts running things).
I went to every committee meeting I could make. I also helped talk several
of the other adults into taking the Scoutmasters Basic Leader Training. I
had help, one of the assistants was enthusiastic about taking the course,
and was trying to convince several other leaders to take the course. He
did most of the talking. (I am a horible saleman-that is why I left San
Francisco, I did not make it as a Sales Executive for the Hilton Hotel in
Oakland). But I did do one thing, "Setting the Example", I told them I was
planning to take the scout leader training myself. (Or the other leader
told them-good grief, this was ten years ago, I do not remember all the
The moral of the story for commissioners: Take an active interest in the
unit, do not wait to be asked for help. If you do, the problems might be
solved before they are problems. If you set an example for the parents of
the unit, some may follow. Some is better than none! Go to the unit
meetings when you can and participate in the committee meetings if the unit
will allow this. However, remember participating in the committee meetings
is usually sitting and listening and only speaking when spoken to. You do
not want to run their committee or troop.
Since that time, I have only seen a unit commissioner at a troop meeting or
committee meeting or Court of Honor once. This includes the last five
years when I held the positions as Assistant ScoutMaster and Committee
Chairman/Assistant ScoutMaster (I do the work of both positions). (I did
see the District Commissioner at about two (of ten) committee meetings,
but then she was the troop treasurer and I do not feel that counts, after
all 20% for the Troop Treasurer is not very good.)
Out troop has not suffered from this. We suffer more from the District
grabing up our people. Currently the Traning Chairman is one of our
assistant Scoutmasters, I am the Advancement Chairman and the District
Awards/Recognition Chairman is our Institutional Rep and the District
Commissioner last year was our troop treasurer.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City