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KenD500

Troop Program Planning

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Has your Troop planned out next year yet?  What's on the list for the upcoming year?  How many months are "pre-planned" due to tradition?

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Has your Troop planned out next year yet?  What's on the list for the upcoming year?  How many months are "pre-planned" due to tradition?

 

We plan in June and July. Our Scout Year runs from September-August. We start with the a meeting run by the PLC where the patrols have their members show up with 12 monthly themes, 3 service project ideas, 2 fund-raising ideas and 7-10 camping locations. If they have a summer camp idea (location) they come with 1-2 of those too. This gets rolled up in to a master list. The PLC then meets to put themes with months, identify key dates on the annual calendar, pick locations, put the service projects et.al. on the calendar and then when it is all done, sends to the TC for implementation and confirmation the plan meets the annual troop budget. This is all boy-led but advised by the adults.

 

We also include high adventure in the planning, especially planning 18 and 24 months in advance for things like Seabase, Philmont, Kandersteig, etc.

 

Next year we have a tour of Alaska, glacier climbing, kayaking, many backpacking treks, mountain biking, ziplines, and a few other special events planned. Themes are cooking, camping, wilderness survival, climbing, eprep, pioneering, orienteering, citizenship and robotics. Service projects are too many to count, but roughly ten. Fund-raisers are several but pancake breakfast for the CO is the big hit.

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Our troop committee meets with our PLC to outline the entire year in advance- usually in June. We have a bike and camping trip on Block Island (off the RI coast) planned for Columbus Day weekend, and something every month through next June (I don't have the calendar in front of me) finishing with our traditional week at Camp Squanto next July.

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We plan a year of program every six months with each new PLC. So in essence, each PLC reviews the first six months and plans the following six months. 

 

Barry

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We do planning during a December cabin weekend.  We plan through the following February.

 

Several of the more "experienced" of my fellow scouters almost needed a defibrillator the first time I told the scouts they were starting with a clean slate and just because we had "always" done something didn't mean we had to do it again or in the same way.  That said, there are several campouts that always make it onto the calendar: we put on a joint weekend with our affiliated Cub Pack every year, we almost always have a Tenderfoot weekend in late April early May to get our newest scouts into the groove of patrol based tent camping, summer camp dates are adult dependent and we pick them more than a year in advance, and there is a parish member and supporter of the troop who invites us for a weekend at his farm every year.  Even though we do seem to always include these trips I make the scouts vote them up or down so just they know it really is up to them.

 

I ended up at University of Scouting class about Annual Program Planning where the instructor said he as SM sat down each year and put all the District and Council events plus all the traditional trips their troop took on the calendar and then let his scouts decide on maybe one trip a year.  We had a vigorouos discussion about how that fit into a boy-led model; I wasn't really interested in trying to change his mind, but I thought the other participants could use a second opinion.

 

Regrettably we are not very good at planning themes and weekly meeting topics that far ahead; for the most part we use the PLC to plan the meetings for the next month.

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One last thing our scribe does, he keeps a running list of ideas and events we don't use. We use it as the baseline for the next year's planning session.

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We are having our meeting in a couple of weeks.  They boys have the list of monthly themes that are available and they will pick what themes they want to do.  Similar to @, our scout year runs September-August.  We already have September planned because it is a camporee on one of the Lake Erie islands that we had to make the reservations for in June.  They boys decided that they wanted to do that.  We have a Klondike that we do every year and Polar Bear that we do every year (although the boys don't have to, they always want to) and we have a Thanksgiving campout that we do.  However, if they boys want to change any of those they can.

 

On a side note, we went canoeing this past weekend.  Several of the boys that went are on the PLC.  They said to me as we were floating down the river, "This is so much fun.  I wish we could do this again next year."  I told them that it was their calendar, if they wanted to schedule a canoe camping trip they could.  They were surprised at that comment.  The last couple of years, our former SM was kind of planning things as the year went along.  There was input from a couple of boys, but not all of the boys.

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My boys seem to fly by the seat of their pants on the monthly activities, but are quite capable to planning up to a year out.  This process will eventually tradition into a more serious annual planning, but being new with young scouts there is no "last year" to compare to and the future is "wide open" to whatever they wish to do.  This worked on advancement 2 weeks ago during the "meeting" time, last week they went to the archery club and did that for an hour, and this week they went kayaking.  They are trying out new things to see what might be fun for a more intense activity around these types of activities.  Another troop has been toying with the idea of doing a week long "summer camp alternative" on a 5 day float with our boys.  They need more discussion to decide whether or not to take them up on it.

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