The Commissioner’s Corner

Why do we need commissioners?

I had the privilege of being newly elected as council commissioner of Patriots’ Path Council at the annual meeting this past February 27.  It is my honor to serve for the next three years and I will do my best to work with our council to continue the excellent programs for all youth.

So you get to know me better, here is my Scouting career.

I am an Eagle Scout and have been involved in Scouting for over 35 years. I am married and have two adult sons who are Eagles. I have served as a den leader, Webelos leader, Cubmaster, assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster. I have served as council vice president of finance and sit on various council committees and task forces. I am Wood Badge trained. I have been a Scoutmaster for several years in the council’s National Youth Leadership Training program and served as course director for the past two years. My goal is to once a month write a column for the newsletter on various topics. I invite you to send me your comments and questions and I will do my best to respond. Below is my email contact.

At the council annual meeting, a good Scouting friend of mine jokingly asked “Why do we need a council commissioner?” A good question. I will ask one better…why do we need any commissioners?

I think we can all agree that each unit has its own character. Some units work very well, some not so well. Some have much adult support, some have no or little support. Some have extensive programs, some have a small amount of program. When Scouting first started in America it was understaffed. There were no Scouting professionals outside the national office. Volunteers, then known as commissioners, helped start, register, and serve units. This continues today as the function of the volunteer unit commissioner (UC) is to do whatever it takes to help units succeed.

The UC’s most important role is to be a friend to the unit leadership. They’re not a spy for the council, or there to tell you what to do. Rather they use their knowledge and resources to support the unit in providing a quality, correct Scouting program. UCs use the EDGE (explain, demonstrate, guide, enable) method to support units needing any help. Some units may feel they do not need a UC, but I believe at some point even the most successful units will benefit having a relationship with their UC. Problems can arise with a parent or a uniformed adult or between the youth. Issues with membership or training can weigh heavily on a unit leader working to provide a quality program. UCs can be supportive of all these things. Remember the UC is the unit’s access to the district and council level volunteers and professional staff. They have direct and indirect access to numerous individuals that have years of experience. They can provide guidance and suggestions that may save time and energy not to mention a sense that the unit leader is not alone to deal with any issue.

The UC is also the pipeline to the district, providing information on how the units are doing. Ideas are shared and important concerns such as Youth Protection training are addressed. Information then flows  up to council and this is how I can get a reading on our council programs. As a member of the council key 3, I represent all uniformed Scouts and leaders. My voice is your voice and I can speak to council strategic goals concerning program, operations, and membership. The most important thing for me is to ensure our youth are receiving the best Scouting program we can offer. As a good friend of mine always says, “Scouting occurs at the unit level.” The UC is my ambassador to your unit. It all starts with them. The commissioner core plays a vital role in supporting a great Scouting program at all levels.

By the way we can always use more UCs.

Next month J.T.E.

Yours in Scouting,

Emil Rufolo


Contact me at