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Stosh

Themed Meetings

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As part of his boys' PLC/Planning meetings Hedgehog mentions the idea of themed meetings.  I found it interesting.  As the troop gets larger is this more of a concern than if the troop is 2-3 patrols instead?

 

I have never really done the PLC in that I have served as SM of smaller units.  Flags are coordinated by the PL's on the spot (who does what?, who's turn is it? etc.)   It's no big issue and the boys rotate pretty well. 

 

The themed issue?  My boys generally are doing "their own thing" in the patrol breakouts.  After flags, the patrols break out into patrol meetings where they work on what they want, do their own game or competition prep, advancement, or activity planning.  They then come back together for closing flags.  If two PL's want to do some inter-patrol competitions, they work it out between themselves.  NSP generally is working pretty diligently on advancement and getting oriented to the patrol-method for the first year, but then start taking on more challenging things after they all are at FC.  The advanced boys in the NSP work with the others who struggle and there's always one or two that do.  It does help the bonding for them to make sure no one falls behind.  

 

The older boys might be doing menu planning or equipment review for the upcoming camporee and the older boys generally are working on some sort of HA activity.  Either researching, reporting findings, or calculating costs of such activities to make sure they get the best bang for the buck.

 

Troop officers are generally off by themselves if they don't have a specific assignment they are working on.  TG is with the NSP, Instructor might be there with the NSP as well working on advancement.  QM might be with the patrol working out equipment issues, etc. SPL and ASPL kinda going around making sure everything is running smoothly.  Occasionally a troop officer might be called on to be an impartial referee for some game the patrol is playing.

 

Like I said, we never have gone with any theme for the evening.  What are the pros and cons in that my boys have never asked for such an emphasis and really stay pretty busy without it.

Edited by Stosh

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@@Stosh, our unit does this...

 

- Themes are selected by the PLC during annual planning.

- Generally, the monthly themes map to the monthly outing.

- Games and skills are tied to the theme if possible.

- The PLC tries to have the meetings build in skill difficulty as the month progresses.

- The games/skills are "weighted" so as to challenged all skill levels. One skill, many difficulty levels. This is where scouts planners need the most guidance.

 

That's pretty much what we do. Does it always work? Nope, but they always learn something.

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@@Stosh, our unit does this...

 

- Themes are selected by the PLC during annual planning.

- Generally, the monthly themes map to the monthly outing.

- Games and skills are tied to the theme if possible.

- The PLC tries to have the meetings build in skill difficulty as the month progresses.

- The games/skills are "weighted" so as to challenged all skill levels. One skill, many difficulty levels. This is where scouts planners need the most guidance.

 

That's pretty much what we do. Does it always work? Nope, but they always learn something.

That's what our troop did when we actually planned out our year and our monthly meetings as well.  Some months worked great, some months not so great.  Some of the themes were the same every year (December/early January was typically getting ready for Klondike, while late January/early February was about cold weather camping in preparation for our Polar Bear).  If the boys decided at the Annual Planning Meeting that they wanted to do a canoe trip in June, then the month prior was some sort of canoeing/water safety theme.

 

As I move forward to start this again, I am going to encourage the boys to expand their thoughts about what can be done for a theme.  In the past, they kind of limited their activities to what they can do in the church and part of that may have been how us adults kind of hinted at things.  But, as always, you need to learn from your past mistakes, and I want them to think about what they can do outside of the meeting place (either literally outside or at other venues, such as the fire house as part of a first aid themed month to talk to EMTs, etc.).  As long as the boys are learning AND having fun that is what is important.

 

@@Stosh, if your group is going along fine and you don't have retention issues, then you are probably fine, but for some of us this works as well.

Edited by pargolf44067

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@@pargolf44067 sounds like we are similar in planning. We also did things like "engineering" as a theme where we built rockets or rat trap racers or such. The last mtg of the month was the launch or race. Fun!

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That's what our troop did when we actually planned out our year and our monthly meetings as well.  Some months worked great, some months not so great.  Some of the themes were the same every year (December/early January was typically getting ready for Klondike, while late January/early February was about cold weather camping in preparation for our Polar Bear).  If the boys decided at the Annual Planning Meeting that they wanted to do a canoe trip in June, then the month prior was some sort of canoeing/water safety theme.

 

As I move forward to start this again, I am going to encourage the boys to expand their thoughts about what can be done for a theme.  In the past, they kind of limited their activities to what they can do in the church and part of that may have been how us adults kind of hinted at things.  But, as always, you need to learn from your past mistakes, and I want them to think about what they can do outside of the meeting place (either literally outside or at other venues, such as the fire house as part of a first aid themed month to talk to EMTs, etc.).  As long as the boys are learning AND having fun that is what is important.

 

@@Stosh, if your group is going along fine and you don't have retention issues, then you are probably fine, but for some of us this works as well.

 

No problem, that's why I started the thread.  if I think this kind of thing works well elsewhere, it's something that may need to be suggested to my boys to consider for their situation.  We kinda follow the idea that if camporee is next month, we do things this month to get ready for it, same for summer camp (my PL went through the summer camp menu to make sure the boys were going to be okay with food preferences and allergies and also what MB's they were signing up for) and other big activities.  Advancements and competitions are done more in the winter months.  I guess there's a bit of theme going on naturally, just never really promoted it as something concrete to focus on.  

 

When I had multiple patrols, they did basically the same thing but while one was doing menus another might be doing equipment check while a third (older boys) just did a game because they got that stuff done quickly being more experienced.

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We're small, like @@Stosh's troop, but older. Sometimes the boys like to have a theme. (Lately, that's been cooking.) Sometimes they just want to focus on the next event.

 

Like backpacking, when the straps start rubbing, adjust them.

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