Mac’s Message #40: Role of Stake YM Presidency as Unit Commissioners

Mac McIntire

Mac McIntire

When I was a stake Young Men president I often bemoaned the fact that I didn’t get to work directly with the boys. I wanted to be in the trenches with the young men so I could be a righteous influence in their lives. Fortunately I was comforted by something I emphasize to managers in attendance at my Accountability Management Workshop which I facilitate for my consulting company clients. I tell the managers in that course that I can improve the performance of their employees without ever seeing or speaking to their employees. I can improve the performance of their employees by improving the performance of the managers. Effective managers create effective employees. Consequently, I consoled myself in my stake Young Men calling by knowing that I could improve the priesthood faithfulness and Scouting performance of the young men throughout the stake by improving the performance of the adult Young Men leaders.

The primary responsibility of the stake Young Men presidency is to train the adult Young Men and Scouting leaders throughout the stake. Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010) makes it clear that the stake YM presidency is to orient newly called ward Young Men leaders and “provide ongoing encouragement, support and instruction” (15.4.1). This section of the handbook also says the stake YM presidency is to “meet with these leaders regularly to learn of their needs, discuss the needs of the members they serve, and communicate information from the stake presidency. Periodically they visit ward meetings and classes as arranged with ward leaders.” It’s obvious from the handbook that the stake Young Men presidency is supposed to play an active role in the Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood programs in each ward in the stake.

Interestingly, when I served twice as a ward Young Men president, and later as a Scoutmaster, I never saw anyone from the stake YM presidency. I didn’t even know who they were. I had no idea that they had an important role in ensuring my success as a Scouting and priesthood leader.

Members of the stake YM presidency also “register with the BSA as unit commis­sioners, serving as liaisons to the individual Scout­ing units (troops, teams, crews) in the stake” (Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States [May 2015], 3.3). As unit commissioners they should receive appropriate Scout leader training. They also should regularly attend and participate in district committee meetings and roundtables. The unit commissioner’s role is to “meet regularly with unit leaders, create close relationships with them, help them with rechartering, and inform them of BSA district and council activities, training opportunities, pol­icies, and health or safety issues.” Unit commissioners act as coaches, consultants, and confidants to the Scouting leaders in the stake. They are a vital resource to the unit leaders.

The stake YM presidency is the second line of support for the ward YM leaders—the bishopric being the first line of support. Obviously this means the members of the stake YM presidency should be fully immersed and well-versed in the fundamentals of the Scouting program. They should be laser-focused on the eight Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood and know how the Aims and Methods of Scouting help achieve those purposes. They should have a firm testimony of the Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturing programs so they can inspire others to implement the Scouting programs as designed by the Boy Scouts of America. The stake Young Men presidency should be the chief cheerleaders when it comes to Scouting.

If you are a member of a stake Young Men presidency, I urge you to magnify your calling by learning all you can about Scouting, attending district meetings, getting properly trained as a unit commissioner, attending Wood Badge training, and seeking inspiration and revelation through fasting and prayer regarding your stewardship responsibilities.

If you are a ward Young Men leader, I encourage you to seek out your stake Young Men presidency. Get properly oriented and trained under their tutelage. Invite them to your quorum meetings and Scouting activities. Develop a strong working relationship and bond. Draw upon the inspiration, knowledge, and experience of your stake leaders so you can make your Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood programs even stronger.


Take a Moment to Reflect

  • Does your stake Young Men presidency have a firm vision and testimony of Scouting and understand its value in achieving the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood?
  • Has your stake Young Men presidency been properly trained as unit commissioners and are they faithfully and effectively serving in that capacity?
  • Is your stake Young Men presidency actively involved in orienting and training Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leaders?
  • Do the stake Young Men leaders periodically attend ward Aaronic Priesthood quorum meetings and Scouting activities?
  • Is there a strong bond between the ward Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leaders and the stake Young Men presidency?


Turn Your Reflection Into Action

  • What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?


“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).


-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Aaron says:

    Thanks, Mac, for this message and for the past few weeks! Actually, thanks for the blog and all the effort you and others have put into it. I find it very valuable to help me understand the program as it relates to the Church and to communicate that to leaders in my ward and stake. I’ve passed the last few entries on to my bishopric, stake YM presidency, and stake presidency.

    One note, the eight purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood link takes us to Section 8.13, just a little past the listed purposes.

    Thanks again!

    Aaron Rasmussen
    Hayden, ID

    1. Mac McIntire says:

      Thanks for your kind words. And sorry about the link. We will try to fix that.

  2. David Parker says:


    As usual, your post is right on point. As a member of the Stake YM, we have been trying to fulfill the responsibilities in the manual, including fully functioning as Unit Commissioners. I guess I was visiting enough when the Bishop of one of my ward’s was threatening to move my records to his ward! One struggle we have is getting Bishoprics to communicate with us when their YM presidencies change, even after asking them multiple times! We’ve resorted to going through the ward directories online every so often to make sure there aren’t changes.

    I had a similar experience to you as a ward YM president where the only time I saw the Stake YM presidency was at ward conference each year. Towards the end I saw my HC over YM a fair amount and that was great.

    Keep up the great work and I hope you’ll be covering more stake-level responsibilities in future blogs.

    One tricky part of stake Scouting leaders is how exactly to get registered and for the local council to get paid. This site has a good explanation and I pass it on to new stake leaders regularly.

    1. JD says:

      David –

      Stake Leaders Register within the Ward as Scout Committee, then register as their District Role. They only pay 1X per person per year, no matter how many roles you have.

      1. David Parker says:


        I’m aware of the process and how payment works, I was just commenting on it being a bit tricky is all. And they actually recommend that stake leaders register as Scouter Reserve, position code 91, so it doesn’t affect the training status of the unit. Committee members have training requirements and would affect the overall training status of the unit.

        1. Marla Thomas says:

          I expect that if a leader is registered as an ADC (Assistant District Commissioner) or just as a commissioner on the district committees of the wards he is commissioning then he make sure to get the training at whatever level he is commissioning. It is no good to be an “untrained leader”. He should get multipled on more than one district committee as a commissioner if his stake covers more than one district. By registering on one of his ward’s committees it can keep the other adult scouters he is associated with aware of his presence. Yes, no matter which scouting committee the registration is on the training records will be affected. Part of his role should be to help and assist with training; so, it would be very, very wise of him to get the training. Who wants an “untrained commissioner”?

  3. Jack Beckman says:

    I was a member of my Stake YM Presidency, and the District Commissioner for my district. I found it beneficial to have the Stake YM and the Stake Primary register as Assistant District Commissioners since they cannot possibly visit all the ward units, and had Unit Commissioners assist them. ADCs manage and direct, Unit Commissioners do the visits. Our Stake had 28 scouting units, just imagine what a burden it would be to visit them regularly for a Stake YM or Primary President.

    I ‘m puzzled as to having a Stake YM or Primary President register as a Unit Commissioner, who would they report to? I’ve seen something about the High Counselor registered as an ADC, but being an ADC isn’t something you just put on. It requires training and experience and a zeal for Scouting. Besides, the Stake YM and Primary are presidencies, they preside.


    1. David parker says:

      Jack, check out the green handbook and it’s pretty clear how stake leaders should be registered. The entire Stake YM presidency is to register as Unit Commissioners, so its not just the president doing the contacts. If you have too many wards, you may call stake specialists as Unit Commissioners. In our stake, we have 9 wards with youth programs, including a Spanish ward. Each of us, including the secretary, takes 2 wards and covers the Troop, Team and Crew in those wards. We call a stake specialist to serve the Spanish ward since none of us in the Stake YM presidency speak Spanish. This means that we each cover “6” units technically, but in reality some of the units are very small. For instance we have multiple wards where there are one or two deacons. Also, as a UC you can visit on mutual night and potentially visit all three units, which would be tough to do in a traditional set of units. I’m in my third year and I feel pretty comfortable covering 2 wards. They usually have the same comittee meeting and court of honor in a ward, so when I visit one of those, I enter 3 contacts, one for the Troop, one for the Team and one for the Crew.

      The green handbook is a little more ambiguous about the Stake Primary Presidency functioning as unit commissioners. I talked to Salt Lake about this and the concern is potentially taking mothers from the home. In their case, if they choose not to function as UC’s, they should call specialists to cover the Packs the stake. They might also coordinate with the Stake YM and cover some of the Troops, since EYO Scouts fall under the Primary stewardship. Regardless, calling 3 specialists to cover at least the Packs would mean in our stake that they cover 3 Packs each, which is right in line with the BSA’s guidelines for commissioners.

      The green handbook is equally clear about how high councilors should register. I agree that being an ADC does take a certain personality, but the Stake Presidency should take that in to consideration when assigning the HC over YM and the other over Primary. The training is provided by the council and should be readily available. I consider the church side of this relationship to be a dotted line responsibility. The ADC helps support the UC efforts and ensure that UC’s are trained and functioning. That does not clash with the Church side of the equation, in my opinion. On the BSA side, I report to my ADC and I can separate that from the Church side, where we report to the Stake Presidency member over YM. It’s really not a big leap.

      It sounds like you have 7 wards in your stake. If each ward has all 4 units, the Stake Primary and Stake YM should be able to easily cover all of those units, with the caveat of the Stake Primary I mentioned previously. With 7 wards, that means that the each Stake YM presidency member should cover 2 wards (one will cover 1 ward). That really shouldn’t be an issue.

  4. Ann says:

    I love your messages, i just wish it was actually being done this way in my stake. I am the Advancement Chair for our troop 3 years now and I am the unit commissioner because we have not had one in years. This makes for an awkward situation since we are struggling to find a new scout master. Our previous one has been it for almost 5 years and is about to be married next week and has to step down due to other obligations and after months of trying to get a new scout master, we still do not have one. I can only pray that things change and soon cause we have the strongest troop in our stake and I fear this is about to change. In the last year and a half, we have had 3 Eagles and 2 more have their Board of reviews Wednesday night and another is working in Eagle project more. We only have 11 registered scouts.

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