What is a unit visit?

There is some debate among our commissioners as to what qualifies as a unit visit. Some think any contact, such as an email to a unit that solicits no response, qualifies as a visit and is eligible to be logged in commissioner tools. I have looked at training and other materials and have my own opinion but would like to know yours.

Secondly, is what constitutes a unit visit solely determined by BSA, or is it something that the Council Commissioner and the Scout Executive can decide?

Thanks for any insight.

BCS 104 has some great information regarding what is considered a Unit Contact… Bachelor Courses | Boy Scouts of America

Hopefully this helps to clarify the idea of what unit contacts are… but generally they are substantive in nature and interactive between unit leaders and the commissioner.


I think they are called contacts and not visits. If someone has the time, recording them all helps others see what has been tried. I think one of the concept is to treat the system as a record of all interactions with the unit. So, if you see that the unit has been called 2x and 3 emails sent and no response, something is up.

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Unit to a Commissioner and vice versa is the positive exchange of information. Not every communication requires a response, I agree, however acknowledgement or understanding of what was conveyed does need to occur.

Unit visits are for the health of the unit, not a checkmark for the fact that a visit happened.

If the unit did not gain something from the visit, then that meeting will continue over and over again.

Example: Hike on Saturday at 3 PM, meet at the Lodge at 2:30 for the carpool.

Some may see this as an order and move out.

Some may see this as a bark and ignore the conversation as the politeness was not stated.

Some will receive this as a task.

Some may decide this is information only, show up and move forward.

Some will see it and just ignore.

If the recipient and communicator have an understanding of the context, then one way communication did occur. This example is not a bidirectional exchange of ideas.

We are asked to have positive feedback as we as Commissioners are trying to understand and help units to be fruitful.

I’ll share a video of Unit Commissioner 118 that may help some to understand.


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Recording the contacts are important as there is turn over on commissioners and unit leaders. That record will allow a new commissioner come and and see how the unit is doing, what has been conveyed, and get a feeling for it even if the “old” unit commissioner has moved on.


A contact needs to be meaningful. It’s not went to Blue and Gold and the food was good. One of the objectives of unit service is to “Record the strengths and needs of a unit in Commissioner Tools.” That is a good standard to determine what should be recorded in Commissioner Tools.

One thought on tools. It is best thought of as a shared notebook. When a commissioner enters a contact, the information is available to all other commissioners in the district, as well as commissioners registered at the council, territory, and national levels.

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I think some of the challenge is that what’s meaningful is non-specific and different for different individuals. By my original interpretation, I wouldn’t record a lot of what is recorded now. However as we work through units that don’t communicate in response, it becomes meaningful to know that a contact was attempted and it’s the unit failing to respond.

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I understand.
Meaningful contacts can be understood to exclude saw the cubmaster at the hardware store. went to unit meeting and everything is good. On the other side - cubmaster is stepping down in February or lost charter partner is meaningful.

I’ve also seen way too many commissioners logging information such as 1. Sent info on camporee or sent information on JTE, etc. 2. Left message on Monday, no response. Emailed on Wednesday. No response. I suggest that if a commissioner wishes to document the lack of communication, that no contacts be made with one-way communication and that all of the efforts to contact the unit be aggregated into a single contact.

Hope this helps.

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I need to take exception to some of the statements here
Running into a Cubmaster at the hardware store and having a conversation where information was given or received definitely counts as a contact in my book. I had one unit were I was able to have this conversation almost weekly and was able to provide that unit help through the conversation. I even received questions at those contacts.

If I send an informative email to leaders with information on what is happening, a reminder for training or other pertinent info, that is a contact. We are doing our job keeping the leader informed. By recording it, others can see if any progress is being made and it keeps communication channels open.

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