2004 Keynote Remarks

Rick Cronk, National Commissioner

On Friday afternoon I will retire from the greatest volunteer job in Scouting - National Commissioner. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve for the last five years as National Commissioner and to meet and try to motivate so many great Commissioners and Scouters across the country.

If all goes well, Don Belcher will be elected as the next National Commissioner and he will bring his passion for Scouting and enthusiasm to the job.

One of Scouting's richest blessings is that there are 1.2 million registered - we hope all trained - adult volunteers in the Boy Scouts of America, who support 3.3 million Scouts in our traditional program. There is no youth, values-based organization in the world that can match our ratio of one adult volunteer for every three youth members.

The two most important jobs in Scouting from the viewpoint of a Scout are those of Scoutmaster and Den Leader. If you have capable, motivated and trained Den Leaders and Scoutmasters, you have GREAT PROGRAM. Great program keeps kids enthused with Scouting; they have fun; they stay longer; and they have the opportunity to develop the character that comes from confidence, positive self-esteem and the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

An effective Scouting program is quite simple:

Great Leaders + Great Program = Happy, Healthy Scouts

And the primary people responsible for the quality of leadership and program in Scouting are Unit Commissioners who actually get out and visit their assigned units.

  • Commissioners make sure that all their unit leaders are adequately trained - Basic Leader Training as a minimum.
  • Commissioners coach unit adults in planning a good unit program: an overall annual program plan, complete monthly plans, and a weekly meeting plan with all the details.
  • Commissioners observe unit operation and program and provide positive friendly guidance as needed.
  • Commissioners are good diplomats who handle new and sometimes difficult situations in a way that maintains harmony with unit adults. They help people work as a team.
  • Commissioners provide prompt, intensive, and often persistent care when major unit problems occur. That helps continue a great Scouting program for kids.

Of all the material printed by the Boy Scouts of America to assist in the delivery of a quality Scouting program are Appendices G, F, H. and I in the Commissioner Basic Training Manual, entitled Unit Commissioner Worksheet (Pack) (Troop) (Crew) and (Post). Use these four pages often and we will succeed beyond our wildest dreams.