The Group Commissioner

Every Scouting Group (in Canada, at least) needs one...but what does the Commissioner actually do?

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Ken and Colin discuss the role of the Group Commissioner (GC) within the Scouts Canada group model. The Scouts Canada wiki is offline at the time this episode is being published, but it describes(d?) the role of the GC thusly:

The Group Commissioner is recognized as the principle point of contact for the Group and assumes the leadership of the Group Committee. The Group Commissioner may delegate the responsibility for chairing the Group Committee meetings to the Group Administrator but still retains the responsibility of accountability to the Area Commissioner for the Group’s overall well being.

The responsibilities of the GC are many, including:

- Provide an essential link between Sections, Groups and Areas.
- Be the conduit for rapid communication and response providing a direct avenue for servicing and the passage of information in both directions.
- Ensure the delivery of Scouts Canada’s programs in accordance with its Mission and Principles, which meet Scouts Canada’s Program Standards and are in keeping with the goals and ideals of the Partner/Sponsor.
- Ensure compliance with all Policies and Procedures of Scouts Canada
- Establish and maintain positive relationships with parents, leaders, Partner/Sponsor, other Commissioners and the community at large.
- Represent the Group as a member of the Area Commissioner (’s team and provide monthly reports on the program status of the Group.
- Communicate accurate and timely information on all Scouting matters, including procedure and policy changes, between the Scouters in the Group and the Area Commissioner (
- Develop positive relationships between the Sections, the Sponsor/Partner, the community and the Area Commissioner (’s Team.
- Encourage Section leaders and Group Committee members to attend Area Scouters’ Clubs.
- Provide assistance and leadership to the Group in the development of quality program plans on a regular basis (as per Scouts Canada’s Program Standards).
- Approve Section programs and outdoor activities.
- Regularly meet with leaders to monitor progress in achieving Program Standards and provide assistance where possible.
- Ensure all guidelines, practices and procedures pertaining to risk management and the safety of members is strictly adhered to.
- Identify/engage external resources as required so that annual Group initiatives and goals can be achieved.
- Provide support in the preparation of camps or special events.
- When necessary, assume direction of a Section.

And this isn’t even the complete list!

To aid in performing their role effectively, a Group Committee is often assembled around the GC, so that various roles (e.g. Treasurer, Quartermaster, Fundraising, etc.) can be delegated to others.

This episode was recorded in a restaurant, and at two different points, a schoolteacher out for an evening with some friends stopped by the table to engage in some spirited — though not exactly on topic — discussion.


A shout-out to Brad is long overdue; he reached out to us at the beginning of May to let us know that he — a Scoutmaster in Scouts BSA — would be visiting the Edmonton area later in the month. We were able to arrange to meet him for lunch, and a delightful discussion about Scouting in our two countries.

Next, we have to give a shout-out to Raúl, who wrote in with what may become a topic suggestion:

Hello, good evening,

I just saw on the wall of a group of scouts (Grupo Scout Nómadas: from Spain a publication about a symposium on bushcraft. Although you probably know about it (because it is held in Alberta), I thought you might be interested.

Regards, Raúl

Many thanks to Raúl for sending that link in!

We also have a shout-out to give to Cindy, who followed up on some correspondence she sent in last year, regarding using one of our episodes (the topic of which was the Fleur-de-lis) as training material for her group’s Scouters and parents. It evidently went over very well

John also gets a shout-out for sending in a suggestion:

I enjoy your podcasts (scouter in BSA, North Carolina) and listened to #80 tonight where one of your guests commented about an upcoming Harry Potter themed event. I have a suggestion concerning the 'wizard robes'. In the US (and I presume in Canada), there is a ceremony for high school graduation that requires participants to buy low quality cap and gown for a one-time use. Perhaps some of your units could prevail on seniors (presuming that your schools are like the ones in the US) who are graduating to donate their gowns to young scouts?

Many thanks to John for sending this in; we will try and capitalize on the idea for upcoming camps.

Additionally, we’ve a shout-out for Neil, who sent in a news item for a Scouting Five episode.

And Ken has a special shout-out to offer to Patrick, Don, Kathleen, Linda, and all the rest of the team that put on the Alberta Damboree a couple weeks prior to this episode. It’s always an amazing event, regardless of the weather; well-run, engaging, challenging...and, above all, so much fun.

And as always, we’ve a big thank you to offer to the folks at Scouting Radio for rebroadcasting Scouting Stuff episodes to their worldwide Scouting audience. If you're listening to us on Scouting Radio right now, let us know; reach out and get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.

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Slow Burn, by Kevin MacLeod

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