Re: Troop Commissioner & Pack Commissioner
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 23:05:53 -0500
Jim Sleezer asked:
>I recently visited a Scout Shop and discovered Troop Commissioner and
>Pack Commissioner patches. Does anyone know if these are old patches >or
have I missed an announcement that we are adding some variants to >the Unit
I guess you also missed the District Cub Commissioner, District Scout
Commissioner, and Assistant District Cub Commissioner and Assistant District
Scout Commissioner patches, too?? They are variations on the District
Commissioner and Assistant District Commissioner patches.
Don't worry, Jim...a LOT of Scouters did miss them.
When our program went through it's second "restructuring" in the mid 80s
(1978-88), the BSA also decided that in a lot of "traditional Councils" that
the role of the District Commissioner could be split along program lines.
It gave local Councils the authority to split District operations so that in
addition to *the* District Commissioner, giving overall guidance to the
District's unit service function, that he or she should have up to four "key
assistant" Commissioners: one for each program within the District (Cub,
Scout, Varsity, Exploring). Varsity in most Councils was captured with the
Boy Scouting program; Exploring had (and still does) it's own
"titles" and "positions".
The idea was to give more adults responsibilities in the District's
operation. Therefore, a "typical District's unit service function" could
*the District Commissioner
*a District Cub Scout Commissioner
*a District Scout Commissioner
*a District Exploring Service Team Chair/Commissioner
-- and their assistants.
Along those "functional lines", Unit Commissioners would only exist to
support combinations of Packs, Troops, Posts, Ships and Teams. Otherwise,
you would have Pack Commissioners servicing up to five Cub Scout Packs
(optimal is four); Troop Commissioners servicing up to five Boy Scout Troops
(again, the optimal is four); Team Commissioners for
Varsity units and of course Exploring Commissioners/Service Team Members for
Exploring units. Again the idea was that if you had specific
Commissioners for specific units ---"specialists", if you will...
It didn't work. Why didn't it???
National says that the "established Commissioner framework and construction
was too firmly entrenched in the structure of the District to make anything
other than traditional structure work." Fancy way for saying that "if it's
not broke, don't fix it".
Ask any combination of Commissioners that were parts of Councils trying to
use the new formula, and you'll get a different set of answers. Everything
from "it was an excuse to get more "key people" (read that as
"people with money") in leadership positions without offending the District
Chair or Commissioner relationship ("they didn't really do a lot anyways"),
to "not letting the process work where everything in Cubbing
had one pipe; everything in Scouting has another pipe....that's the way we
do things anyways" to "we never got the patches".
That last one, Jim, is important, because National listened to that one more
than the other excuses. As Jim (and others that have seen one of the
patches) noticed, the border of the Pack, Troop (and those places lucky
enough to have them, Team) Commissioner's patches were silver Mylar.
Yep, that SAME silver Mylar used as the border of OTHER patches that denoted
"trained" (Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, District Executive, and in gold
their assistants and workmates) back in the days of our FIRST "restucturing".
And those patches made GREAT trading stock, especially the Troop and Pack
Commissioner patches. Those patches moved fast off of the shelves, which
pleased National Supply but also gave the program folks a false sense of
security about the "new way of supporting the field Scouter".
The District Director patches came from that era as well; and at one time,
National *was considering* District Cub Executive and District Scout
Executive emblems (good thing they chose not to go with them...that would be
stupid; however, the two-person concept *did* prove to be a winner and lots
of Councils *are* using it as part of their adminstrative structure!)
When the program was reformulized in 1988, those commissioner positions were
"discouraged but still permitted" by National.
Doing things "by program" as it was called back then, did make a lot of
sense; afterall, go to any District Roundtable meeting and you'll see the
Cub Scouters over there, the Boy Scouters over here, and the Exploring and
Varsity folk either on their own or trying to horn into one or the other
forums. It did make sense to give some leadership to the unit service
function other than during those once-a-month meetings.
But local Councils didn't let the "program structure" work for a large
number of reasons, and as a result, we still have the same Commissioner
structure that has prevailed since the first Schiff course on Commissioner
Service in the Council, back in the 30s.
Old habits die hard....
(By the way, does anyone have one of those District Executive or Education
Executive patches with the silver Mylar border??)
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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