Commissioner Service (Boy Scouts of America)

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Commissioner Service is the group within the Boy Scouts of America that provides direct service to each Scouting unit (pack, troop, team, crew or ship). Commissioners are experienced Scouters who help chartered organizations and unit leaders to achieve the aims of Scouting by using the methods of Scouting. They help to ensure that each unit has strong leadership and they encourage training, promote the use of the unit committee and encourage a relationship with the chartering organization.


Commissioner service started with the first three national Scout commissioners: Daniel Carter Beard, Peter Bomus and William Verbeck.[1] Beard headed the Sons of Daniel Boone, Bomus the Boy Scouts of the United States, and Verbeck the National Scouts of America.[2] Bomus and Verbeck left after two years, and Beard served more than thirty.[3]

Local commissioners formed the first councils and started the tradition of direct support to the Scoutmaster. A first-class council had a paid commissioner (now known as a 'Scout executive or council executive'), and could keep 15 cents of each 25 cent registration, while second-class councils with volunteer commissioners could keep five cents.[4]

Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most notable commissioners having served as the council commissioner of the Nassau County Council.[4]

National level

Daniel Carter Beard

The National Commissioner is a member of the executive board of the National Council. The position was re-established in 1990, and is a four-year term of service. The current National Commissioner is Scott Sorrels of Georgia.[5]

The position of International Commissioner represents the BSA within the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

List of National Commissioners

National Commissioners of the Boy Scouts of America
Number Service Name Eagle Scout Silver Buffalo[6] Awards 3 Awards 4
1 1910–1941[7] Daniel Carter Beard 1915 1926 Silver Wolf 1924 Gold 1922
2 1910-1912 Peter S. Bomus[8][9]
3 1910-1912[10] William Verbeck[8]
4 1943-1960[11] George J. Fisher 1926
1960-1985 25 year long hiatus ---- ---- ---- ----
5 1985-1995[12] Earl G. Graves 1988
6 1995-1999 Francis H. Olmstead, Jr. 1997
7 1999-2004[13] William F. "Rick" Cronk 2001 Bronze Wolf 2008
8 2004-2008[14] Donald D. Belcher 1953 2005 DESA 2000
9 2008-2016 Tico Perez[15] 1977 2007 OA DSA 2004 DESA 2007
10 2016-18 Charles Dahlquist[16] 2007
11 2018-20 Ellie Morrison[17] 2013
12 2020- W. Scott Sorrels[18] Year Unknown 2011 Distinguished Eagle Scout 2018 Bronze Wolf Award 2020

Region level

The position of regional commissioner and area commissioner were created in 2007 and announced at the October 2007 National Executive Board meeting. These two positions were created "to support councils in the areas of membership, unit charter renewal, and training in support of commissioner service.".[19]

Council level

The council commissioner is selected by the council. Assistant council commissioners are appointed by the council commissioner with approval from the council.[20]

District level

The district commissioner and assistant district commissioners are responsible for recruiting, training, guiding, and evaluating the commissioner staff. The district commissioner is part of what is called the key-three, the other two members being the district chairman and the district executive.[21][22]

Roundtable commissioners

Roundtable commissioners use the roundtable meetings to provide unit leaders with resources and training in program skills. The roundtable is a forum for all of the unit leaders and provides opportunities for discourse and training.[23]

Unit commissioners

Unit commissioners serve and counsel one or more units (i.e. packs, troops, teams, crews or ships). They act as a direct representative between the unit and the district.[23] Unit commissioners are adult Scouters that have significant tenure within the Scouting program, and are dedicated to seeing individual units succeed. They also promote the monthly district roundtable within their assigned units and make sure that the unit leadership is current on training courses required by the National Council.[23] Unit commissioners also keep in contact with the respective unit committees and the unit's chartered organization.[24][23]

Training and recognition

Distinguished Commissioner Service Award

Commissioners are expected to complete Basic Leader Training so that they have the essential information they need to provide a safe and successful quality program. Advanced and supplemental training is generally performed at a commissioners college provided at the local council level.

  • Basic Leader Training for Boy Scout roundtable commissioner is Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner Training.[25]
  • Basic Leader Training for Cub Scout roundtable commissioner is Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner and Staff Basic Training.[25]
  • Basic Leader Training for district commissioners, assistant district commissioners, and for unit commissioners is Unit Commissioner Orientation.[26]

After completing performance goals, the Arrowhead Honor may be awarded. Commissioners may then earn the Commissioner's Key by completing basic training and serving for at least three years.[27] After five years of service the commissioner may be recognized with the Distinguished Commissioner Service Award.[28]

Wreath of Service

The "wreath of service" is located on all commissioner position emblems (and the professional Scouting positions).[29] The laurel wreath is a traditional Roman symbol of victory, triumph, accomplishment, and civic service. The BSA uses the laurel as a symbol for the service rendered to units and the continued partnership between volunteers and professionals.[4] The wreath of service represents commitment to program and unit service.Template:R

The Commissioner position is the oldest in Scouting and is the origin of the professional Scouting positions, which is why badges of the professional Scouters have that feature as well. The wreath of service is a feature on all commissioner and professional position patches. Primary commissioner (Council Commissioner, District Commissioner, Unit Commissioner) insignia bears a silver laurel wreath in accordance with the long-standing BSA award standard (based on the U.S. military concept) of silver being higher than gold. Accordingly, assistant commissioner (Assistant Council Commissioner, Assistant District Commissioner, Roundtable Commissioner) insignia bears a gold laurel wreath. [30]

See also


  1. Shumow, Lee. "Youth Organizations | Boy Scouts Of America". 
  2. Worcester, Randy (2010). Commissioner Service, Our First Hundred Years. Middle Tennessee Council. 
  3. "History - 1920 to 1929". Spartanburg, SC: Martin Media LLC. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "History of Commissioner Service: The First 100 Years". 
  5. Moegenburg, Michael (2020-05-23). "Please Welcome Scott Sorrels as our New National Commissioner". BSA. 
  6. "List of Silver Buffalo recipients". 
  7. "Daniel C. Beard Boyhood Home". National Park Service. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jordan, Benjamin René (2016). [Verbeck%20and%20Bomus,%20to%20quit%20their%20positions%20as%20BSA%20National%20Commissioners&PA102 Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America: Citizenship, Race, and the Environment, 1910-1930]. UNC Press Books. p. 151. ISBN 9780299094041.,%20such%20as%20[Verbeck%20and]%20Bomus,%20to%20quit%20their%20positions%20as%20BSA%20National%20Commissioners&PA102. "The lack of military training and martial emphasis in the evolved BSA also prompted several military men, such as [Verbeck and] Bomus, to quit their positions as BSA National Commissioners." 
  9. Macleod, David I. (2004). Building Character in the American Boy: The Boy Scouts, YMCA, and Their Forerunners, 1870-1920. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 151. ISBN 9780299094041. 
  10. "William Verbeck, Educator, is Dead; General and Former Commander of New York National Guard, Succumbs at 69. Headed Manlius School - In 1927 He Was Made Commander of Crown of Italy -- Received Citizenship by Legislative Act" (in en-US). The New York Times. 1930-08-25. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  11. "Dr. George J. Fisher". Volleyball Hall of Fame. 
  12. "Scouts In The Big Office". 2007-09-14. 
  13. Curtis, Mark (2008-12-24). "Lafayette's Rick Cronk Retires from Boy Scouts". Lamorinda Weekly (Moraga, Ca). 
  14. "Donald Belcher 79 of Pauma Valley". 2018-07-19. 
  15. "Our team". Edge Public Affairs. 
  16. Davidson, Lee (2017-06-04). "Top BSA leader, who is LDS, hopes Scouting-Mormon marriage lasts". The Salt Lake Tribune. 
  17. Wendell, Bryan (2018-05-31). "Meet the two new volunteers on the BSA's National Key 3". Scouting Magazine. 
  18. "Please welcome Scott Sorrels as our new National Commissioner". 2020-05-23. 
  19. "New Regional/ Area Commissioner Positions Approved". 
  20. Richardson, Norman Egbert; Ormond Eros Loomis (1915). The Boy Scout Movement Applied by the Church. C. Scribner's sons. p. 30. 
  21. Whitehouse, J.T. (2021-02-08). "Rough year, but Scouts endure". The Vindicator. 
  22. Robinson, Sr., Charles (2020-02-23). "The Boy Scouts Made Me a Man". 
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 A Study of Boy Scouts and Their Scoutmasters: A Report of Four National Surveys. 1960. 
  24. Administration of Commissioner Service. ASIN B018FP7RJI. 
  26. "Commissioner Basic Training (using training manual No.33613F". 2007-11-16. )
  27. "Unit Commissioner Progress Record for the Commissioner Key / Arrowhead Honor Award". 
  28. "The Distinguished Commissioner Service Award". 2014-05-20. 
  29. Wendell, Bryan (2021-06-23). "Roger C. Mosby becomes the BSA's 14th Chief Scout Executive". Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine). 
  30. "The History of Commissioner Service". 

External links