Upcoming Change to Commissioner Tools Unit Visits

At February’s SoCal Commissioner College and again this week at my council’s Commissioner Cabinet, I heard that changes are coming to Commissioner Tools. Some of the supposed changes include:

  • Focus on dialogue and goal-setting with leaders rather than scoring units
  • Simplified logging of unit visits, possibly with a single visit type rather than simple vs. complex

No one seems to know when these changes are coming. No one has seen a preview. No guidance has been provided on how commissioners should use the current tools during whatever transition period there will be.

Does anyone on this forum have insight into what’s happening and when or how these changes will be communicated?

Similar future ideas were communicated in the CST 9 commissioner gathering. Use the tools as is till they change. But focus on the goal of helping units. Entering a 1 or 2 for membership doesn’t help a unit on its own. Helping the units recognize the need for and planning a recruitment event does.

Would be super helpful if some simple guidance could be put in writing for those of us teaching commissioner college courses on how to best use the current commissioner tools and what changes are planned in what timeframe. BCS 120 Technology for Commissioners was just updated in January while BCS 104 Unit Visits and BCS 116 were last updated in Aug 2021. It doesn’t sound like much has changed philosophically in the last three years, but there are plans being made to align the tools with the emphasis on relationships over evaluations. But it’s really disruptive to the learning process when someone chimes in with a rumor such as “I heard national is changing commissioner tools and assessments are going away.”

Thank you to the College of Commissioner Science staff for the 3/31/24 round of course updates and for the 4/19/24 News for Commissioners at https://www.scouting.org/commissioners/news-for-commissioners/.

For those seeking more details about the coming changes, ask your council commissioner for a copy of the slides on Commissioner Connections by Karen Bengtson & John Cherry from the 3/3/24 Council Commissioner Confab session.

It would be really helpful if the access to this wasn’t quite as obtuse as it is.

So, as a Unit Comm I should go to my District Unit Comm who then goes to her Council Unit Comm who then may, or may not, know how to get this material? All of us only working the proverbial One Hour a Week. And then it will come back down the path. Has no one at National ever played the Telephone game?

BSA seems to really like hiding up-coming changes. If nothing else, this is very frustrating to those of us closest to the Units.

@PaulStrasma @DavidSchilpp

Changes to Unit Commissioner Tools (and Commissioner Connection Guides) are in the early stages of development. Mike Weber, chair of the Commissioner Technology committee at the national level, provided a very helpful session on this at NAM (National Annual Meeting) last month. The earliest we will see changes to Commissioner Tools will be 4th quarter of this year. The discussions happening now are just as you indicate, a method to begin relaying to all volunteers that changes will be occurring.

Your Council Commissioner is the single best resource to help you. They should be attending a monthly/bi-monthly Commissioner Confab with all other Council Commissioners (evening ZOOM meeting). This is where they obtain this crucial information and then relay it to their District and Unit Commissioners through your locally planned meetings.

Every Council operates differently. Our Council has frequent meetings between Council Commissioner and District Commissioners and information is relayed to Unit Commissioners (we tried all Commissioner meetings, but they were poorly attended, so it didn’t seem locally that Unit Commissioners wanted to receive the information directly from the source - I guess they felt email communication was sufficient).

National does relay some information at the appropriate time via their Commissioner email newsletter that should go to all registered Commissioners. Again, there hasn’t been much news on the changes to Commissioner Tools as it is still in the early stages of development. I suspect (no actual knowledge) there should begin to be articles and more information into the fall as development nears completion and training materials are developed. With such a change coming, they will clearly want to telegraph the changes as the timeline is finalized.

Hope this helps with some clarification.


Thanks, that helps. much

Zachary, thank you for sharing what you know in the tradition of roundtable. I would encourage the national commissioner team to use multiple channels for timely communication of important topics like this. In this case, a simple update of the Technology Information Update section (last updated Sept 2023) on the Technology for Commissioners page would ensure that those with an interest these types of updates could access them.

You’re welcome @PaulStrasma. Unfortunately, there most likely isn’t someone from the Commissioner National Service Team that monitors these forums. You’re best bet is discussions with your Council Commissioner. Again, they should be you’re single best resource and communication through them should flow both ways (we are always encouraged to give feedback during our Council Commissioner Confabs to the National Team and items presented to the national team brought back to our local councils). Most, but not all Council Commissioners attend. If yours isn’t one that is attending, maybe this will be a good nudge to encourage them to attend (or send an ACC in their place when they can’t attend).

Hi @PaulStrasma and @ZacharyMcCarty, this is Griffin from the Service Team. Thank you for your suggestions and feedback. We’ve passed this suggestion along to the appropriate people on the team. Your Council Commissioner should have recently been briefed on the upcoming changes and the general timelines for this. Once changes are rolled out to the commissioner tools, there are plans to update the trainings as required. At this time, final changes are still being evaluated and discussed. However we anticipate 4th quarter of this year for final implementation (subject to change based on resources).


Thanks @GriffinRoblyer I wasn’t sure if there was anyone from the Service Team was here. I appreciate the clarification. I know they had this open for a while and hadn’t had any feedback (other than an allusion to Karen and John’s excellent presentation from March. And I am sure with Commissioner Week soon to occur at Philmont, there will be even more info for their Council Commissioner to share should they attend.