Commissioner’s Newsletter April 2014

Commissioner’s Newsletter April 2014

Dear Commissioners,

Springtime is “prime time” for Scouting, with some of the year’s most exciting events coming up, like Scout-O-Rama, Cub Day Camp, and Boy Scout long-term camp.  This newsletter will keep you informed of important happenings in Orange County Council’s commissioner service.

The Unit Service Plan

What is the Unit Service Plan?

Scouting’s new Unit Service Plan is the biggest news in commissioner service.  It’s a rethinking of the way our districts operate.  Under the Plan, we start with unit commissioners meeting twice a year with their units, who perform a self-assessment of their performance against the Journey To Excellence (JTE) scorecard standards.  Areas needing improvement are reported to the district committee (through the Assistant District and District Commissioners).  The district committee then mobilizes its various committees (membership committee, advancement committee, training committee, etc.) to go directly to the unit’s leadership to help them overcome challenges and achieve higher performance.

What does it mean for commissioners? 

It means your input on unit performance will drive everything that happens in the district, and you have the backing of the entire district committee to bring about positive change in your units!  So having regular discussions with the unit’s lead volunteers will be more important than ever.  Getting and reporting to the district your insights on what really matters, i.e. what we measure in JTE, will be critical to your effectiveness as a commissioner.  If your desire as a commissioner is to improve a boy’s Scouting experience, you’ve never been more empowered to do so than now.

How can you learn more about the unit service plan?

The unit service plan is described in much more detail in the document that can be downloaded at this link.  Plus Special Power Point Presentation – this link.

This month’s tips for unit visitation:

Scout-O-Rama—will your units be participating?  This year’s new “camp card” SOR ticket is a great improvement over the coupon booklet of previous years.  It’s a discount card that can be used over and over at great places, like Pick Up Stix, Golden Spoon, and Souplantation.  The one-time coupons for Dick’s Sporting Goods ($10 off) and Ralph’s Supermarket ($5 off) more than pay for the card price of $10 each.  Many families will want to buy more than one, just so mom and dad each have their own.  And the Scout-O-Rama event itself will be even better this year, with a new international program and even greater unit participation, thanks to our council’s dynamic SOR committee.


Are your troops going to summer camp?   Across our council, currently only 1/3rd of Boy Scouts are planning to attend a long-term summer camp this year.  Now is the time to ask unit leaders what steps they’re taking to ensure the best participation possible.  So much of a Scout’s advancement and personal development depends on long-term camp participation; we’ve got to do what we can as commissioners to encourage attendance.    If a troop is not planning to attend summer camp at all, please report this to your district commissioner.


Have your units scheduled their annual program planning meeting?  Spring is the time to “Be Prepared” for the year ahead, planning the big picture of the program, and making camping reservations.   Please make sure every unit makes plans to hold this important meeting

Is spring recruiting in the works?  Every Cub Pack, and indeed every Boy Scout troop, should be making plans to conduct a recruiting campaign through schools, faith-based organizations, civic groups, and every means possible to put the word out about Scouting.  Please make sure this mission critical activity is being planned now.

Upcoming Commissioner Training Opportunities:

  •  Unit Commissioner Basic Training—essential for all UCs.  Thursday, May 15th, evening at the LDS Stake in Irvine, CA.


  •  The Area Commissioner’s Conference, Western Region, Area 4 will be held September 20th in Burbank, California.  All commissioners are welcome to attend this training and networking event that will include the ten councils in our Scouting Area.  If you’d like to carpool, please contact Deputy Council Commissioner Joe Koch at:
  • Commissioner College:  Saturday, October 25th at the council office–mark your calendar!

Commissioner Awards:

A new knot award, the Commissioners Award of Excellence in Unit Service is now available through the BSA for commissioners .  Requirements can be found at this link and involve working directly with units on action plans to improve youth retention and streamline the charter renewal process.

The traditional Commissioner Arrowhead Award is available to commissioners with one year of service.

Thank you so much for all you do for Scouting in Orange County!

Yours in service,

John A. Hovanesian, MD

Commissioner, Orange County Council



Unit Self Assessment Instructions

Unit self Assessment Form

Commissioner Award of Excellence in Unit Service Progress (PDF)

Unit Service Plan (PPT)

Unit Service Plan (PDF)

Unit Service Plan Catalog of Services