Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Major Changes Coming for Venturing

Patriots' Path Council's vice president for membership and relations, Dr. Geoffrey Zoeller, discusses the major changes that are coming out of the national BSA for Venturing.  "These proposed changes should really help with Venturing's poor retention rate (53%) and the lack of sustained advancement of youth members (less than 1%!!!) ."

For some time, there has been a national committee looking to restructure the whole program.  Their recommendations include a new national committee structure for venturing, a JTE approach to how units function and measure success, a completely new advancement system, as well as changes in reporting, training, uniforms, and more.

A very solid overview can be found in the Scouting magazine blog. Go to the following link to find out more about the exciting changes coming for the Venturing program:

A beginning set of resources can also be found on the national BSA site by going to:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Commissioner Role in Membership Support

Today, Dr. Geoffrey Zoeller, Patriots' Path Council vice president for membership and relations, shares some of the ideas regarding Commissioner Role in Membership Support found on the Commissioners of the Boy Scouts of America Facebook page, which can be found at:

We are all in the membership business, but let’s talk about how you can use the Commissioner Corps to support your membership effort. The role of the Commissioner in membership will be an evolving one. The Commissioners own unit retention, and the Commissioners will continue to deliver unit service while we all work together to recruit and empower volunteers to lead the membership drive.
The Commissioners serve as the key link between the many resources of a functional district committee and the unique needs of each unit. In the absence of a strong district committee, the unit commissioner often is asked to fill many unit needs that should, in the best of all worlds, be provided by subject matter experts. Where those subject matter experts do not yet exist, our commissioners should support the efforts of the District Key 3 to recruit and deploy the right resource specialists. We have built this concept of linkage in our “simple and unified” mission statement and job description, outlined below. The concept of linkage is critical to our execution mission.  

The Retention Mission of the Commissioner Corps is best achieved by providing an adequate number of trained unit commissioners who provide a link to District Committee resources in support of a quality unit program.
We are asking our unit commissioners to focus on the following four primary areas:
Supporting unit growth in the Journey to Excellence criteria: JTE measures performance characteristics that unlock the door to a successful unit. Unit Commissioners should analyze the unit’s program and identify JTE areas where help is needed to move the unit to a higher level of JTE success.

Linking district committee resources to the unit: Unit Commissioners should support the district committee’s delivery of a “catalog of services” to support the specific JTE elements needed for a particular unit’s health and success.

Visiting units and logging the visits into the Unit Visit Tracking System (UVTS): Our core task remains visiting the unit. UVTS input feeds critical information to the district committee to help link resources to the unit.

Supporting on-time charter renewal: The commissioner’s focus is the retention of the unit, though we should be especially mindful of supporting new youth membership efforts as we move more toward a volunteer-led, professionally guided approach to increasing membership.
Finally, the Commissioner Corps is fully supportive of the concept of the New Unit Commissioner, as outlined in the Unit Performance Guide . The concept of assigning a New Unit Commissioner on a one-on-one basis to each new unit, through the first two recharter cycles, is a proven and approved best method that results in dramatically increased new unit retention.
Together, we can bridge the gap to increased membership in the BSA. 

Resources for Commissioner Service

• Administration of Commissioner Service Manual, No. 34501

• National BSA Commissioner Service website:

• Unit Performance Guide-

• Unit Visit Tracking System (UVTS) help support. The Unit Visit Tracking System online help provides personal assistance from a BSA Help Desk operator. The phone number for commissioners only is 972-672-¬4389. The operator is on call to answer questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Leave a message and they will call you back.)

• UVTS Training Support includes a PowerPoint presentation, a FAQ, instructions, and a video:

—For professionals, go to MyBSA, click on the Knowledge Base tab, and then go to MyTraining and Unit Visit Tracking System.

• MyScouting Support. Volunteers who have questions about MyScouting access or UVTS
access should send an e-mail to with their user name, e-mail address, contact information, council name and headquarters city, and question.