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In the Scout Movement, a commissioner is the person whose role it is to oversee a Scout association's programs, usually within a particular geographic area. Normally, commissioners are volunteers. In some Scout associations, the term Executive Commissioner is used to refer to a paid staff member.
The commissioner role appeared early in the Scouting movement. Individual troops were organized by existing community organizations, and those organizations took the primary responsibility for implementing the Scouting program. To ensure consistency between different troops, the Scouting movement relied on two concepts: leader training and the commissioner staff. Scouting's founder, Baden-Powell, developed and promoted numerous leader training programs, starting in 1910 and leading to a course in 1919 that is now known as Wood Badge. The commissioner staff provided an ongoing, independent check on the troops themselves.
A commissioner's full title is derived from their level within the organization:
- Unit Commissioner
- Area Commissioner
- Camp Commissioner
- District Commissioner
- Council Commissioner
- Regional Commissioner
- Provincial Commissioner
- National Commissioner
- Chief Commissioner
Sometimes commissioners have responsibility for a specific topic, such as Commissioner for Camping, District Roundtable Commissioner, or Deputy Commissioner for Wolf Cubs. Some commissioners also have assistants, such as the Assistant District Commissioner.
Boy Scouts of America
Commissioner Service is the group within the Boy Scouts of America that provides direct service to each Scouting unit (pack, troop, team, crew or ship). Commissioners are experienced Scouters who help chartered organizations and unit leaders to achieve the aims of Scouting by using the methods of Scouting. They help to ensure that each unit has strong leadership and they encourage training, promote the use of the unit committee and encourage a relationship with the chartering organization.