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Cub Scouts | Scouts BSA | Venturing
May 2022

The Life of a Unit Commissioner

By: Richard A Balch

Several years ago I was sitting in a Round Table when Bill Kaczmarek gave a presentation on the Unit Commissioner service. He gave a quiz to test our knowledge and I flunked. I did not know vey much about the Commissioner corps. I’d occasionally see these older gentlemen wearing a wreath-like red insignia who would make some surprise appearance to my unit events. At the time, I was busy worrying about running the Scout Pack or Troop and did not know what the Unit Commissioner did behind the scenes. Then as I completed Wood Badge, I made a commitment while completing my ticket, to become more involved with Scouting. I made it a priority to attend the Round Tables and soon had a great network of friends that shared the same values as I did. As my youngest son aged out of Scouting, I needed to make a choice - continue helping in some other form or drop the program all together. With all the time and energy I put into the program as well as my strong belief in the Scouting mission, I decided to continue my commitment to Scouting. Running a Scout unit is a lot of work! As a unit leader there are many responsibilities such as campouts, focusing on helping the Scouts advance, recruiting and retention, mentoring the youth, and staying atop of finances and administrivia. So when I decided to start my role as a Unit Commissioner, my spouse was not too excited as she envisioned more time commitment with the above duties. But the good news was that I was actually more flexible with how I wanted to spend my time. There are three meetings I attend monthly: Round Table, District Commissioner Meeting, and District Committee Meeting. Vital communications are passed during these meetings and I do networking. To learn my new role, I completed the online Commissioner Basic Training offered through BSA. The training exposed me to more of a strategic aspect of the Scouting program and online tools I did not realize were being employed to help the units. The Commissioners have an opportunity to pursue higher learning in Scouting through the College of Commissioner Science where there are three levels including Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate. These college sessions are offered periodically throughout the country and I had an opportunity to attend an in-person event at Michigan Crossroad Council in Wayland, MI and one virtually with the Northern Star Scouting Council. I talked with the District Commissioner and asked to be affiliated with several troop and pack units on east side Green Bay and Kewaunee, WI. I started attending their committee and unit meetings. I could read the looks on the parent’s faces – who is this stranger wearing a Scout uniform attending our meeting?

I met many wonderful leaders and parents in the units and established a rapport. I provided information on District and Council events and helped answer their questions or concerns. Other duties also include helping during recruiting for Spring and Fall Round-Ups and assist units with their annual re-chartering. The opportunity to be a Unit Commissioner is enjoyable and rewarding. The challenge remains for the Voyageur District to have more Unit Commissioners. It would be ideal to have Unit Commissioners for every two units in the district.

The following are the job qualifications to be a Unit Commissioner:

  • Be an effective communicator.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Have sound judgment.
  • Be tactful.
  • Have a Scouting background or be a fast-track learner.
  • Be persistent and patient.
  • Be adaptable.
  • Know and practice Scouting ideals.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Fulfill promises.
  • Be a team player.
  • Be a coach.

If you are interested in learning more about being a Unit Commissioner, I invite you to talk to a Unit Commissioner such as:

  • Myself (
  • The District Commissioner, Tod Salfai (
We will ensure you will have the proper training and mentorship to help Voyageur District continue to have successful units for years to come.

District Dinner

Join us on June 2nd for fellowship, a family style dinner and program to recognize our Scouters both at the Unit and District level for their hard work and noteworthy achievements.

Unit and District Volunteer Recognitions to include the District Award of Merit, District Square Knot, Rookie of the Year, and Distinguished Unit Scouter Awards.

Dress code is Dress or Business Attire, Executive Casual, or Scouting Field Uniform. A cash bar will be available for those not in Scouting Field Uniform.


Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

5:30 p.m. Gathering and Fellowship

6:15 p.m. Family Style Dinner

7:00 p.m. Program


The Rock Gardens

1951 Bond St. Green Bay, WI 54313


Unit and District Volunteers, Spouses, & Guests


Adults $25

Youth (12 and under) $15

Click here to register

Day Camp

Have you ever wanted to...

  • Go to Scotland?
  • Toss a caber?
  • Compete with the long bow?
  • Curling?
  • Learn what a crannog is? (hint – it is a Scottish dwelling dating back to around 3000 BC)
  • See the Glen Finnan Viaduct?
These and many other Scottish adventures await at our summer Day Camps!

Sign up today for any of our Day Camps to participate in the fun!

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