Commissioners of the Boy Scouts of America

Commissioners are District and Council leaders who help Scout units succeed. They coach and consult with adult leaders of Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, and Venturing crews. Commissioners help maintain the standards of the Boy Scouts of America. They also oversee the unit charter renewal plan so that each unit reregisters on time with an optimum number of youth and adult members. 

Joe Lane

Council Commissioner

Philip Bodkin

Assistant Council Commissioner

Army Leonetti 

Assistant Council Commissioner

Kendra Gaynor

District Commissioner - Polaris

Paul Kendzierski

District Commissioner - Red Jacket

Shirley Lam

District Commissioner - Onondaga


More about Commissioners of the BSA

What is a Unit Commissioner?

A Unit Commissioner is a volunteer with some background in Scouting and the ability to empathize with and understand the problems unit leaders face when trying to operate Scouting's programs. A Unit Commissioner is your friend and a leader whose passionate overriding mission in Scouting is to help units succeed. More specifically, units can call on their Unit Commissioner for help, advice and expertise.

• Commissioners have been involved with the Scouting program, for some time and have experience.

• You and those in your unit may be new to Scouting. You are full of enthusiasm, and eager to learn.

• Perhaps you are fumbling along in the dark, you need some training, but don't know here to find it. A Commissioner helps.

• You may suspect there are resources. You don't know what they are. A Commissioner helps.

• Maybe you have heard about Program Helps or seen some different suggestion pages in your Scouting magazine, but need the guidance to know when to use them. A Commissioner helps.

What does a Unit Commissioner do for the District?

By visiting units regularly, they help relay the unit's needs to the district. No matter how capable your District Commissioner, District Executive and District Chairman (the district key three) may be, they can not possibly visit all of the units in the district on a regular basis. The unit commissioner becomes the district "expert" on their units.

They may be asked by the District Commissioner to get the opinion of unit Scouters on a new program or activity the district is proposing. Or, conversely, your unit may come up with the idea that makes a Cub Field Day or Boy Scout Camporee a resounding success!

What does a Unit Commissioner do for Scouts?

Boys join Scouting because they want a program that's exciting and fun.

Parents allow boys to join because they know Scouting is a great program that educates a boy as he's having fun.

Consider what would happen if a Scout is not given a quality experience because the unit lacks organization or just plain doesn't have enough help.

That's where the Unit Commissioner plays a role. They're the Scouts' "Guardian Angel". They're the one that passes on the answers, ideas and suggestions that are the lifeblood of Scouting.

Without their help, units could be in real trouble. With their help, unit leaders and committees will know they have a friend who knows what Scouting is all about...a friend who will help them find the answers.

If you have a question for your Unit Commissioner call that person. If you do not know what that person is contact the Council Service Center at (716) 891-4073 for the information.

The Commissioner's Pledge

On my honor I will do my best, by example in my daily life to make the Scout Oath and Law a more vital force for good character and citizenship in the lives of the youth and leaders I serve.

I will do my best to help secure, and to help make effective, the finest possible leadership for the units I serve.

I will do my best to help make the program of the units I serve the best they can be, rich in wholesome fun and adventure.

In all that I do, I will strive to help my units attract into membership every qualified youth so that through their participation, those youth can help make America a finer, greater nation in the world community.

Roles the Commissioner Plays

A commissioner plays several roles, including friend, representative, unit "doctor," teacher, and counselor.

The commissioner is a friend of the unit. Of all their roles, this one is the most important. It springs from the attitude, "I care, I am here to help,what can I do for you?" Caring is the ingredient that makes commissioner service successful. He or she is an advocate of unit needs. A commissioner who makes himself known and accepted now will be called on in future times of trouble.

The commissioner is a representative. The average unit leader is totally occupied in working with kids. Some have little if any contact with the Boy Scouts of America other than a commissioner's visit to their meeting. To them, the commissioner may be the BSA. The commissioner helps represent the ideals, the principles, and the policies of the Scouting movement.

The commissioner is a unit "doctor." In their role as "doctor," they know that prevention is better than a cure, so they try to see that their units make good "health practices" a way of life. When problems arise, and they will even in the best unit, they act quickly. They observe symptoms, diagnose the real ailment, prescribe a remedy, and follow up on the patient.

The commissioner is a teacher. As a commissioner, they will have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth of unit leaders by sharing knowledge with them. They teach not just in an academic environment, but where it counts most as an immediate response to a need to know. That is the best adult learning situation since the lesson is instantly reinforced by practical application of the new knowledge. The commissioner is a counselor. As a Scouting counselor, they will help units solve their own problems. Counseling is the best role when unit leaders don't recognize a problem and where solutions are not clear-cut. Everyone needs counseling from time to time, even experienced leaders. Resources for Commissioners

* Products for Commissioner Identity

* Basic Commissioner Manuals

* Other Commissioner Resources

* Commissioners at the Philmont Training Center

* National Meeting Presentations

Commissioners must not be registered simultaneously as unit leaders. Some commissioners may be registered on a unit committee because they have a son in the unit or because of previous personal history in the unit, but their principle Scouting obligation should be with commissioner responsibilities. Commissioners may be currently registered in only one commissioner position.


Basic Training courses are available in the BSA Learn Center

Journey to Excellence Quality Unit Award Program

"Scouting's Journey to Excellence" is the BSA's council performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA. Below are supporting documents and links for units to better understand and implement the Journey to Excellence program with your unit.

JTE Unit requirements»

Resources for Commissioners

Commissioner Resources»