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Troop Planning

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Does your troop plan for the calander year? When do you start ? I'm looking for info on troop planning, I will be presenting this topic at round table and would like some background from other scouters -- what worked or didn't work for you.

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We start asking our boys what events they would like to do at summer camp when we are around the campfire. We brainstorm ideas and write them all down, even the crazy ones. We compile a list and present it at our fall annual planning meeting, which we hold after our district Fall kick-off event in August and before school starts for the year.

 

We map out our troop meetings for the year, district events, school events,and see what we can feasably use from the boys list. Things like a trip to Disney World have to wait (we live in Wisconsin), but we can definately do more camping and hiking, etc. We try to make sure that we have at least one troop or community event each month. We do leave enough room in the calendar for uncharted events, and we reveiw the upcoming 2 months calendar at our monthly committee meetings. We also use the Packs calendar so we can factor in combined events such as Blue & Gold (where the Webelos cross-over) and the Pinewood Derby (the troop runs the races).

 

Too much info? Sorry if I get too windy. Hope some of it helps!

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FIRST...Remember... boy led...not adult led.

 

Ours is and established troop with some real problems right now (see forums...issues...'troop growing too fast'), but we have(on going)a great outdoor program which helps.

WE START by giving the boys a survey to fill out while they are at Summer camp (usually on the trip home or as they are waiting for camp check-out...we have 90+% attendance).The survey asks activity by activity which the boy liked which he did not like, as well as asking them to "rank" the activies first to last. Then they are asked to add items from a host of possible activities we have heard about, seen on other troops web pages, or things they might just be interested for the heck of it (in many cases, fun things they have been exposed to at summer camp). We ask each scout to list his interests and hobbies. The adults also offer up a list of activities for the survey which they think the boys might like to choose from as well as offering 'skill' classes to check interest levels (map and compass, fishing, hunting, auto mechanics, see merit badge list for ideas)

 

This information belongs to the incoming SPL and his PLC and with assistance from the out going SPL and his PLC the information is plotted out activity by activity. The PLC then meets in August and with the Scout Master, hammer out a planned program for the next year using the input from each scout, suggestions from the patrols, and the 'feelings' thePLC as a planning organization generates. THIS PLAN IS WHAT THE BOYS WANT TO DO (within reason)... not what the S.M. wants them to do.

 

The S.M. works at these meetings with the SPL and PLC using our BSA District Activities Calendar and the local school calendar to set up the entire Scouting year (We use a September-August calendar)in a monthly calendar format for the entire year.

This nearly finished product is presented by the SPL to the Troop Committee in our August Planning Meeting.

 

THE TROOP COMMITTEE IS WELL TRAINED...our job is to help the boys implement their plan not to rewrite or redesign the plan. We look for scheduling or operational problems and let the SPL and SM address those (if we find any) and we then turn to finding ways to make it happen... and with training (all around encouragment, and making timely low keyed suggestions it can be done...

 

This is not to say everything works or changes don't happen with the schedule during the year...Conflicts with a changed school or District activity my cause a 'week-end' shift in our program but it rarely causes a "mission scrub". A troop trip to say "China" or even the National Jamboree might not make it to the plan when the boys decide they don't want to work hard enough to raise the necessary funds...but that is usually handled by the PLC and scout master corps long before they come to the committee.

 

If you have a new program, or a history of less than stellar out-door activities or perhaps a troop that has temporarily "lost its way" you might want to check out what others are doing and suggest a few things...but help the boy 'find' the program they want. Do not tell them what they are doing and do not 'give' them a finished calendar and then ask them to participate.

Lead them to the sources and let them see what the possibilities are they can do it...BUT make sure they DO IT OUTDOORS!

 

anarchist

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If your Troop is young (the oldest is young) then trying to have them plan for a calender year is a bit much. Three months is probably going to extend them.

 

Our system takes the 15 year olds away from the Troop so we max out at three months detailed planing and some fairly vague discussions about six to 12 month plans. These seem to involve big activities and the adults are forced to get it working for the Scouts until it all gets back within their grasp again.

 

Our PLC has Scoputs aged 12-14 and does an excellant job of day to day planning and can write a bold three month plan. They then need adult reminders to get going on things they have planned in bold terms.

 

Realistically we write the camp dates without consulting the PLC much as that is dictated by adult availability (harvest, holidays etc) except for Patrol camps that dont nned adult. Even so an adult always (at the ages we work with) checks the solo Patrol at least once in an overnight camp. Just before dark as a rule.

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Normally we do it the last week in July or the first week in August.

In May through June I suggest that the scouts be thinking about what they would like to do next year. Make a list...over produce so a compleate list can be made.

 

We meet generally during a weekend campout and go over the list whittleing it down to 12 months of camping and some weekend day trips.

 

Each trip,fund raiser, or activity must be asked------

Who--What---When----How?????-----Where....

 

Scouts should fund these....not mom & dad writing a check...as some do because it't the easiest thing to do. Try...Try...Try to get as much funded by the Scouts....they will apprecieate it more!!!!

 

When we have a (what seems to be a workable)calender the SPL presents it to the Troop Committee for approval. It's kind of like the Scoutmaster's conference before the board of review....it should be realistic and practical....and do-able. Going to Alaska next month or even two months from today is a little hard to do if you don't allready live there.

 

As Scoutmaster I stick to what the boys plan....some dates are moved for holidays and adult two leader positioning. I include district dates....i.e. training and special events and try not to conflict with them when posible...some cases you just can't.

 

I include Troop Courts of honors, Committee meeting dates, Board of Review dates, all school holidays, federal & state holidays, and NESA day, arbor day.

 

Print and distribute the calendar as guickly as possible....if some activies are ifffy....make it TBA or TBD....To be announced ...To be determined. Get the PLC to meet before hand on these.

 

Good luck

 

(edited by Eagle Foot)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our troop is young and is learning this process. The first few times were rough. Ended up being much more adult-led. But they just didn't know what to do. Each time has gotten better. The last time, we focused on a six month period, and it went pretty well. But still had a lot of adult leadership.

 

That was at the end of May, and they were planning July-December. In a few weeks, we'll be going through a formal planning session, planning for 2005. We'll be very specific for January-August. We'll be a little more vague for the balance of the year.

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