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The Last Word From the Council Commissioner
Got your attention? Yes this is the last word from your current Council Commissioner. By the time this is published in January, you will soon have a new Council Commissioner, Garry Lewis, who hails from Aquia District and has tremendous experience and energy. He has served on the Regional commissioner staff so he will bring a very valuable perspective to his new role.
It has truly been a privilege to serve NCAC for four years. Yes, four. I was humbled to be asked to return to serve one more year. And I was overjoyed at that prospect. This is absolutely the most rewarding job I have ever held at the council or district level, and I have been fortunate to been asked to hold several. There has been much to celebrate over that time, with NCAC being a national leader and trend setter, winning awards and accolades for being one of the best Scout councils in America. Along the way, there have also been many changes and challenges that we must be fl exible and growth-oriented enough to overcome so we can continue in a nation-leading capacity. We will have to change in many other ways, too, to serve the ever evolving demographics of the youth of the DC metro area. We must reach youth and parents in neighborhoods that are different than what we have been used to. Those children need Scouting too.
Our Scouting organization, especially commissioners, will have to look and act differently in order to attract more youth and adult leaders to service to raise children to be fit, healthy, reverent, and
good U.S. citizens. Commissioners have roles in nearly every initiative in NCAC, including the rapidly growing Exploring program, the new STEM clubs, and Venturing. To be prepared for that new future, all of us must be on the lookout for volunteers that can become great commissioners, and be trained to serve new youth, new leaders and new units in non-traditional ways.
It has been a very rewarding run, and a great pleasure and honor to serve with every one of NCAC’s great commissioner team!
Commissioner College: March 14
With all the changes taking place in how we serve Scouting, constant training is important to keep commissioners current about everything Scouting. There is no better single event to get all the latest and all the best information, as well as fellowship and networking, than our annual Commissioner College. Commissioners from all around the Region and National BSA come to be speakers and students.
This year’s theme is “New Tools and Resources for Commissioners.” We’re also going to continue
presenting the Dean’s Award for outstanding commissioner trainers, so you can nominate your
favorite trainer! It’s a day full of many different subjects. Go to www.NCACBSA.org/College for
more information and look for online registration to be available soon.
Commissioners’ Role in the New Cub Scout Program
Aligning with the Program Impact team, commissioners will be heavily engaged later this spring in helping to provide information, supplemental training, and unit service regarding the new Cub Scout program launching in May 2015. Stay tuned to your Roundtable Commissioners who will definitely, through their Big Rock Topic process, help facilitate training and information about the changes in Cub Scouting for excited leaders!
Journey To Excellence - By The Numbers
NCAC is, at this writing, back on its traditional track to provide a nation-leading program to the youth of the DC metro area: we are at Gold Level standing as a council. Also, for the fi rst time in four years, we have surpassed the national guideline for the commissioner-to-unit ratio. Congratulations to all those who made that happen! In 2015 the JTE bar is higher. One new measure directly affects
unit service: unit retention. The gold standard is 94% unit retention annually – this year we are 94.9%. We are almost at the JTE gold standard of contacting 36% of units six times annually, but we must work to improve that fi gure, so it is important that we make frequent, quality contacts with our units so charter partners continue to be strong partners for the success of our young people. Commissioners have a responsibility to excel in all the JTE metrics we are responsible for, and can encourage our volunteer peers in other areas and our units to excel as well.
Charter Renewal Shows Good Progress!
National BSA is making a number of changes to rechartering, scheduled for full implementation next year. In order to make the transition as orderly and as effective as possible, we have implemented the changes this year. As a result, commissioners have had to change the charter renewal process. The districts have done a truly commendable jobof implementing the changes, and as a result, with new processes for handling charters by the NCAC professional staff at the beginning of the cycle this year, there appear to be fewer inquiries, and charters are getting processed faster than ever before. While the final stages of the process will occur after this article is
published, the 2014-2015 recharter process looks to be headed for success and hopefully
another record year for Scout retention.
Commissioner Tool Kit
In 2015 we will bid a ‘fond farewell’ to the Unit Visit Tracking System (UVTS). It was a software tool designed by BSA a number of years ago and at the time was a breakthrough, aiding commissioners in accurately recording and storing all our contacts with our units. It had a number of useful features, and NCAC excelled in its use, but it was aging and often cumbersome and unreliable, failing to provide us the information today’s commissioners need to serve units. The new software tool for unit service, called Commissioner Toolkit (CT), will go into operation January 1, 2015 for NCAC commissioners. It will be a great way to record unit contacts on a user-friendly web-based, highly pictorial format. CT will make it much easier to enter data, watch trends, analyze and draw conclusions, and publish reports so commissioners can effectively manage unit service better.
The really great thing about Commissioner Toolkit is that it is owned and designed by volunteer commissioners that served on a national development team. All the features in it are designed from a commissioner’s perspective. One of the best is the ability to track roundtable attendance, a very important measure of a unit’s health and involvement. Professionals will like Commissioner Toolkit
because they will be able to read it and actually make comments about a unit.
NCAC’s ACC for New-Unit Service Dom Bee is leading our transition efforts as the Council CT Champion; he and several other NCAC commissioners were also on the national development team. Thank you all for creating this useful tool!
CT training started in late fall and will continue into the early part of 2015 as UVTS is retired and CT kicks off. We need absolutely everyone on board with CT, and district commissioner leadership to be prepared with your staffs.
Good People Serving In New Places
With over 520 commissioners in NCAC, people are constantly in motion. Several of our district commissioners are finishing their tenure in this key leadership role, and I would personally like to thank them for the their great service to Scouting: Jim Stewart (Old Dominion), Jorge Roca (Aquia), Keel Ross (Sully), Jim Hardter (Seneca), Tad Yergey (Bull Run), Drew Mrenna (Piedmont), Randy Wilson (Mattaponi), and Bill Stringham (Powhatan).
The good thing is that a couple of these talented gentlemen are taking ACC roles: Jim Stewart will become ACC Virginia Central, Drew Mrenna will become ACC Virginia South. We are also pleased that Bill Schoonmaker, currently Sully’s District Chairman, will return to commissioner service as ACC Mountain West.
The new district commissioners selected as of this point are: Randy Young (Sully), Tony Petruzzi (Powhatan), Gordon Henley (Seneca), and Mike Nepi (Old Dominion). We are pleased that you new leaders will serve your districts in new ways at this level. Thank you!
We’ve reconstructed the way ACCs will serve Roundtables: Jim Hardter will become ACC with George Costigan as ACC Roundtables to co-lead a larger team of experienced roundtable commissioners that will serve our Field Service areas, not the old construct of an a single ACC Roundtable for Maryland and one for Virginia. In addition, rejoining us will be Ben Overbey as ACC Montgomery. Tony Ryan takes on a new role as ACC for Strategic Plans, a role that Dave Parker retires from. We are very pleased to have all these new ACCs and some veterans in new roles, and are so appreciative of those who are going on to other capacities. This is a great team of people!