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Youth involvement in annual program planning

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  • #16
    huh, my reply above should have had a section quoting Eagle732 that said:

    We try to keep it simple.
    Adults set the dates. Camping trips are traditionally the last weekend of the month unless a holiday interferes.
    Boys choose the activities they want to do and which month to do them.

    But it didn't show up.

    Well, sounds like things are moving in a good direction though. If people are unsure how to increase youth involvement, maybe my idea of adults scheduling the when but letting the Scouts schedule the what for at least a couple of activities might still work.


    • #17

      Very often it is the boys that need the encouragement and assurance that ,yes, they really can make that decision.
      One of my favorite memories is sitting in on a PLC planning session and hearing the newly minted SPL ask the SM, "I REALLY can decide that??" and being assured that , yep, it won't happen if you don't want it to happen.

      Oh, sure, the adults still have to sign the contracts for reserving the campsites, and buy the gasoline and do the driving, but it really should be the boys doing the rest. And finding out what happens if it doesn't get done.


      • #18
        A challenge we continually face:

        For some camps here in Southern California, we need to book 6+ months in advance. With an election cycle every 6 months, this means choosing sites for the next group of youth leaders. We had a summer camp chosen by a group of Scouts who later did not attend in the same force that they voted.

        So we try to get the youth involved (like - lets hit a beach site again!). Then we put a couple of adults on the task of securing one of the few group campsites available on the beach around here. Ditto with backpacking treks - multiple permits have to filed so that the Troop can take the most boys backpacking. You can't count on Philmont lotteries to be won either, and those too must be filed well in advance.

        So we keep on working on putting the youth in control, while making sure that the adults are there to make sure that the program does not grind to a halt just because a couple of boys dropped the ball on something. Do I think that our pendulum sways between youth led and too much adult led - yes I do. It is an ongoing project, and its successes and failures is heavily dependent on both the youth and the adults who are engaged at the time.

        It is great when it all works, and we keep it good enough when it doesn't.


        • #19
          We used to do like most troops:

          - SMs develop the skeleton scheudle
          - SMs and EC have a laundry list of ideas
          - Scoutmaster or ASM integrates everything into draft schedule/plan
          - PLC reviews and votes on what to do...usually rubber stamping most things

          Problem was that we kept doing the same things because the parents typically drove the process. This year we were truly boy-lead. The boys were taught how the process works, shown how to break down the planning components and how to construct a proper annual plan. Then they went back home and researched what they want to do, such as monthly themes, meeting ideas, camping locations, etc. As Scoutmaster I took the liberty of planning September for them as an example and gave them last year's materials.

          We kept the team to a minimum (5) with the SPL, ASPLs and SPL candidates for next cycle as part of the process. Most work was done via email with two face-to-face meetings. Within 7-10 days we had our program for the year which the ASMs and EC were given to review. It was very nicely done. Around 50% of the events were different than what was done in the past. The rest were "old standards" the boys love. In the end it was THEIR program plan which 1) they were very proud of, 2) had no problem articulating to the rest of the troop, and 3) seemed very excited about.

          The amount of work on my end was about the same. I found teaching some of the boys how to plan was just as easy/difficult as it was getting some of the adults to participate. ;-)


          • #20
            Just got the final meeting invite, and the patrol leaders have been invited to the planning meeting. Definitely a step in the right direction.


            • #21
              >>This year we were truly boy-lead. The boys were taught how the process works, shown how to break down the planning components and how to construct a proper annual plan.