Introducing the Commissioner IT Toolbox

With the introduction of MyScouting Tools, all volunteers and professionals now have access to a new set of resources based upon their position in Scouting. For volunteers, these tools provide critical information they did not previously have access to unless they requested it from their council office.

One of these tools is the Unit Visit Tracking System (UTVS), a tool for those in commissioner service to record and review information about their contact with the units they serve.

Since September, a team of volunteers and professionals, including unit commissioners, administrative commissioners, members of the national commissioner support staff, and advisors, has been working to provide commissioner-specific input to the development manager and business analysts working on MyScouting Tools. The team has taken all of the suggestions received since the launch of UTVS, along with suggestions of other information that commissioners need to service their units, and has begun to create a new tool called the Commissioner IT Toolbox.

The Commissioner IT Toolbox will allow commissioners to record their contacts (visits) and other pertinent information about the units assigned to them. In addition, the system will allow one commissioner to help another commissioner enter contact information. This functionality will also allow for the entry of data on behalf of commissioners who may not be as comfortable with technology or who do not have ready access to a computer or other device for data input.

While the contacts will still be used for the Journey to Excellence, the main purpose of the tool is for commissioners to better serve their units by identifying and linking to the resources of the district and council to meet the specific needs of each unit.

Another key advantage to the toolbox is the updated unit assessment, which will replace the current Quality Indicators in the UVTS system. In making this change, the team has tried to eliminate forms and steps and provide simple and unified tools to support commissioners. Commissioners can make reports on their units using these new unit assessment items, which relate largely to the unit’s health and the Journey to Excellence criteria.

The initial release of this new tool will include commissioner information and unit information available to commissioners depending on their role. The tool uses something called “natural context” to determine what information is available for each user, and the user‘s Scouting position determines the “natural context.” Training information about unit leaders will be at the commissioners’ fingertips, as will a host of other information about the unit and district. The team is also building in information about the contacts in the districts, so commissioners will have it to refer to when their unit needs some additional help. Eventually, users will have the ability to send a message to unit contacts or commissioner contacts from within the toolbox.

The Commissioner IT Toolbox will be available with initial functionality sometime in the first quarter of 2014. Because this toolbox is being built simultaneously with many of the other areas of Scouting (Membership, Advancement, Program, etc.), new functions will be added as these other areas are completed. Updates will be sent as these enhancements become available.

A new page will be added to the Commissioners website titled The Commissioner IT Toolbox. Watch this page for the latest updates on the toolbox.


26 Responses to Introducing the Commissioner IT Toolbox

  1. Robert DeLong says:

    Sounds like a great tool for the commissioners.

  2. Joseph Schaeffer says:

    This new Commissioner IT Toolbox should be seen as a long overdue overhaul of UVTS. Along with this implementation and the implementation of the national Unit Service Plan, there should also be an new Power Point presentation for Commissioner Basic Training.

    • Rick Hillenbrand says:

      Joe: The new Commissioner IT Toolbox is being developed in concert with the national Unit Service Plan and other new updates that will be deployed this spring. The intention is to make sure that when the new tool comes out that it in synch with the other new commissioner information, forms and processes. We are also working with National Commissioner Service Team member Tim Acree to make sure the training needs are addressed.

  3. Rob Christy says:

    Is it possible to create a UVTS Mobile “App” for smartphones? It is a reasonable expectation that this would greatly increase the Unit Commissioner’s ability to enter Unit Visits; plus it would add to the “cool” factor of being a Unit Commissioner.

    • Rick Hillenbrand says:

      Rob: The new Commissioner IT Toolbox will be mobi platform friendly, along with regular computers, and tablets. PS I always thought Commissioners were cool.

  4. hgilson says:

    Would it be logical to think that these tools be directly incorporated into my.scouting. That way a person has a single point of entry to access scouting information. This way a Commissioner while working their UVTS data has the ability to transition to the other modules in my.scouting like the training module and check the training records for the leaders that they are visiting?

    Just an idea.

    • Rick Hillenbrand says:

      hgilson: The new Commission IT Toolbox will be an integrated part of the MyScouting suite. We have designed training segments in to the tool which will us MyScouting training data to allow commissioners to look at what training has been completed, and especially watch for when YPT is about to expire.

      • hgilson says:

        Rick – Thanks for the response. I have to say overall I like all the changes that are coming out through my.scouting. The one thing I would say is “Hurry Up”. Commisioner’s Toolbox with an updated UVTS, Advancement Module, the ability to delegate additional people in the system, the ability to send out directed communications to specific units or people within your group. I know it takes time to program all this, but I think so much of it is well overdue. Keep up the good work.

  5. Connie Knie says:

    Asking this question not to be prickly, just showing my lack of technical savvy. What is the difference between an app and just using a smartphone to get on line like you do a computer?

    • William Turner says:

      Connie, an app is a stand-alone program. You do not access it through the web browser. Beyond that, there are differences in performance, where the work is being done (client-side vs. server-side), etc.

  6. Mark Ellis says:

    I am so pumped! Speaking as a District Leadership Training Registrar who often provides adult leader training info to Unit Commissioners for the units they serve, making that info available through the Commissioner IT tool is real value added.

    • Rick Hillenbrand says:

      Mark: Glad you too are excited – as you can imagine the whole team of volunteers and pros working this are also very excited.


  7. Buddy Crenshaw says:

    With all the changes coming about with UVTS. I think there should be some thought in the process at the end of entering a visit that a commissioner entering that visit should be able to put in other visits without having to back to the start and re-enter all their information to get another visit put into the system. I know it gets hard to explain why this is not in the system by now. thanks bc admin/acc

    • Rick Hillenbrand says:

      Buddy: I feel your pain. I need to double check where we ended up with Release 1 capability with respect to simplifying the ability to enter common information for multiple contacts (new term instead of “visit”) such as when visiting units at a camporee.


      • Buddy Crenshaw says:

        Thanks Rick; We have also come up with a Commissioner Status report which each Commissioner gives a monthly report on the status of his or her commissioners and health of the units in their districts. we get a good feel for what is going on with the large majority of the units in this respect. Thanks for all you do in scouting for our benefit.

  8. Gary Wilson says:

    I’m the ADC for Mercer Area District of Bucks County Council. Our district has been using for three years an Excel spreadsheet that I developed. It’s populated with extract of visit data from UVTS each month and shows our monthly progress towards reaching our visit goals. It also shows which Commissioners are behind and ahead of the visit plan.

    I’d be happy to share a copy with the folks developing the new site for their consideration. I know an adjacent district of ours has also adopted it.

    • Rick Hillenbrand says:


      A bit of a detailed answer.

      First, thanks for your efforts to automate what most administrative commissioners have found is the only way to keep ahead of the game: management by exception. Your efforts, and similar efforts by many other commissioners led us to creating a standardized set of ‘canned’ reports and forms, many of which will be available in release 1 that should help you accomplish what you have been doing by manipulating the UVTS exports (Which I too have done.)

      For you, and all others who are keeping up with this thread, here is a listing of JUST the release 1 EXCEPTION reports (there are also reports that are focused on Units, Districts, and Councils):

      Performance Report
      ============================= ========================
      No Email Address in Profile Email Saturation Rpt
      Invalid contact information Invalid contact information
      Units without a UC Units without a UC assigned Rpt
      UCs without a unit UCs not assigned to a unit Rpt
      New Unit UCs New Unit UCs
      New Unit UCs without a Unit New Unit UCs without a Unit
      Commissioner Awards Status Commissioner Awards Rpt
      Priority Units Priority Units Rpt
      Unit Health Unit Health Rpt
      Unit without a Self-Assessment Self-Assessment Rpt
      Units not attending Roundtable Roundtable Attendance Rpt
      Units without a Visit Unit Visit Rpt
      • All
      • By color code
      Webelos that did not transition Webelos that did not transition

      Additionally the following EXCEPTION reports have been identified for post release 1 (some require information beyond the control of the Commissioner Tools team):

      Performance Report
      ============================= ========================
      BeAScout pins not current BeAScout Pin Management
      BeAScout leads not contacted BeAScout Lead Management
      Units not recruiting / growing Unit Not Growing Rpt
      Pre-Charter/Reorganized Units New Unit Organization Rpt
      No MyScouting Profile MyScouting Profile Rpt
      No Member ID in Profile MyScouting Profile Rpt
      Leaders not trained Unit Training Details Rpt
      YPT not current YPT Aged Rpt
      Units not attending camp Summer Camp Attendance Rpt
      No Annual Program Plan Program Launch Attendance Rpt
      Units not Rechartering On-time Charter Renewal Rpt
      Units without a Visit Visit Rpt
      • New & Reorganized
      • By JTE status Unit Visit Rpt

      Thanks again for your input and keep up the good work.

      Rick Hillenbrand

      P.S. Say “hi” to your Scout Exec Magne for me.

      • Rick Hillenbrand says:

        Sorry that my two lists lost their formatting… the problems with ASCII. It also looks like it converted my TABS to SPACES. So to properly read the two lists you’ll need to “intuit” where the tabs belonged between “Performance” and “Report”. Again, sorry.

  9. Ken Katzer says:


    We have a College of Commissioner Science coming up in early March. I was asked to teach a class on UVTS. I do not see any value in teaching about something that will be obsolete just two weeks later. Instead I would love to teach about the new Commissioner Toolbox. As an ADC myself I don’t have much access to my.Scouting (not one of the Key 3 so any unit) so all I know are the snippets from you here, on LinkedIn, and Scout-Wire. I am really excited about this new tool and would like to share. Do you have a PowerPoint that would go through the basics for UCs and/or ADCs? – Thanks!

  10. Rick Hillenbrand says:

    Ken – I agree that teaching UVTS is a bit pointless at this time. Where is your college? There may be a member on the Focus Group close by who can help. Contact me off-line; 703-477-5835.

  11. Charles H. Bachman Jr. says:

    I am impressed with the tools available to the key three . However; I have been a commissioner for a very long time and I see that the information is limited to the unit Commissioner . In the past , many years ago you were able to have copies of the entire registration of each unit you were working with. This was a two fold informational tool that enabled the average Unit commissioner and administrative commissioners were able to contact all of the leadership and members of the pack, troop, crew, etc. I do not understand why this has changed. This is and important tool for a commissioner to be effective. Even the training that has been completed under the new system . If the commissioner could see this information an problem could be averted. Instead you now have to depend on the Key three to tell you. I am fortunate enough to have a great key three behind me and able to give the problem to me with training missing or youth protection. However; This will change and always does with change of personal in positions. Ever item about a unit should be available to the commissioner. If the information stops at the key three then it gets no further. When this happens resulting in unit loss , units with out proper training. So why is this limited. Please give me a good reason to limit the commissioner. He or She is and are the main support direct to the volunteers of this organization. Thank you and God bless ! Charles H. Bachman Jr. A.D.C , Unit commissioner, Pack trainer , Special needs Scout Specialist , Pack committee Chair.

  12. David J Reiller says:

    It would also be a great feature to have available to the Commissioners a listing of units in their districts and zones with contact information for the key 3 of the units and the time , place, location at the meeting place where the unit is so that the Commissioner can easily find the unit when they arrive for the first time.

  13. Michael E. Clark says:

    Could someone kindly point me in the direction of the new Commissioner Toolbox?

    Especially, if a file or compressed file copy is available.

    Thank you!

    PS: I some has a e-copy of the previous UC Tool box, kindly point me to usable URL..

  14. Trevor B. says:

    Any ideas when these tools are coming out? I was told in Feb. at the NorCal Commissioner’s College that they would be out at the end of March 2014.

    • BSA Internal Communications says:

      We are continuing to work with the 14 councils that are User Acceptance Testing and these will be the first councils to go live. We hope to have Commissioner Tools available for release to all councils by the end of the summer.

  15. [...] this year, we announced the development of Commissioner Tools, a set of resources within MyScouting that will replace the [...]

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