By Darryl Alder
Sep 19, 2019

Scout Ambassador Toolchest: The New-Unit Organizer

Every new pack, troop, or crew needs loving care to get up and running. That job goes to the new-unit organizer and is passed on to the new-unit commissioner as the unit begins to operate well. Building and sustaining high-performing packs, troops and crews (units) takes the teamwork of both volunteer and professional Scouters working together throughout the entire process.

Why do we need a New-Unit Organizer?

Scout units in the BSA are getting started, but they are also dropping as fast, if not faster than we can start them. Statistics show that only one out of every three new units makes it to their third year.

Giving extra attention at startup to get them going right usually leads to high-performing units. When a new unit is organized the BSA has made a promise to those families that their sons or daughters would have a top-quality Scouting experience. One that they cannot get anywhere else. It is a promise that we really need to be keep!

Role of the New-unit Organizer

The New-Unit Organizer plays a key role in the success of the new-unit organization plan. He or she is a member of the district membership committee. This team works to create more opportunities for youth to join Scouting by organizing sustainable and high-performing new units.

The New-Unit Organizer may be part of the team who makes the initial “sales call” to the head of a prospective chartered organization. Market research and determining whom to approach to become a chartered organization are membership committee decisions. The full-time staff works with the membership committee as they go through this process. Once a decision is made to start a new unit, a New-Unit Organizer is assigned to the potential unit.

The New-Unit Organizer also works closely with the chartered organization head to appoint a chartered organization representative and to establish the steering or organizing committee, which consists of three to five people who will plan the next few steps in organizing the new Scouting unit(s).

Attributes of a New-Unit Organizer
• Scouting experience
• Passion for moving Scouting forward
• Commissioner background is ideal (usually a commissioner has previously held several other Scouting positions – Scoutmaster, member of committee, etc.)
• Community Leader
• “Means” to move Scouting forward
• Large circle of influence and connections within local businesses, schools, religious groups, community and service organizations.
• Control over their own time —Executive type position at work or very recently retired
• Problem Solver
• Team Development – Be capable of recruiting, training and motivating volunteers to serve. Ability to place volunteers in the most ideal position to match their skills set.
• Organization Skills – Keep track of potential units in many different stages of formation.

At the same time, the district commissioner assigns a New-Unit Commissioner. During unit formation, the New-Unit Organizer and the New-Unit Commissioner work closely together to ensure the unit’s success.

Comparison of Duties for the New-unit Organizer and the New Unit Commissioner

New-unit OrganizerNew-unit Commissioner
• Organizes and runs recruitment efforts. • Supports recruitment to get at least 10 youth and five adults for the unit.
• Coordinates with the district training chair to provide Youth Protection and initial training.• Encourages leaders to take training both during this organization phase and into the future.
• Supports a leadership succession plan before the first charter renewal.
• Introduces the organizing team to the Journey to Excellence and the Voice of the Scout.• Helps unit leader write a vision statement and set goals for the uIntroduces the organizing team to the Journey to Excellence.
• Helps leaders plan the details for their first meeting and introduces them to the national first month meeting plan.• Schedules an annual program planning meeting led by an
experienced district representative.
• Attend the first meeting. • Attend the first meeting. From
this point on, the new-unit commissioner takes the leading role in mentoring the unit for the next 36 months.
• Familiarizes the leaders with the district/council calendar and
encourages roundtable attendance.
• Ensures that unit leaders and parents are added to council and district email lists so that they receive current event and training information.• Ensures that unit leaders and parents are added to council and district email lists so that they receive current event and training information.
• Present the charter at a full meeting of the chartered organization with the commissioner• Present the charter at a full meeting of the chartered organization with the new-unit organizer

Darryl Alder, blogger for "The Boy Scout"

Author: Darryl Alder is a retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. However, his pride in Scouting is his volunteer service as an Exploring Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and Commissioner. He currently serves on the Utah National Parks Council Executive Board and is a Scouting Ambassador.

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