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Yearly Outings Calendar

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Hi, when do you set your yearly outings calendar, and how do you go about it?


Special meeting, just PLC, do you include parents? How much time is dedicated to this and is the Scoutmaster usually involved, or would the committee be the last say on what they boys are able to do.


Just wondering.

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Our Troop is having one this Sunday for a few hours in a local city park. Ultimately, it's the boys who decide what they want to do and the SPL should run the session. The Scoutmaster should be on-hand to give advice when asked and to provide input where safely is a concern. As I understand it, the Scoutmaster submits the boys' plan to the Committee for final approval. However, since it's the boys' Troop there should not be much influence by the SM or the Committee.

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In our troop.... Starts in April. Published in May.


- The PLC does it. Patrol leaders are supposed to get suggestions from their patrols.

- The SPL leads the planning.

- The SM meets with the SPL a day or two in advance to prepare for the planning.

- The planning agenda is

---- #1 Agree on the process to do the planning

---- #2 Goals

--------- Identify goals. More hiking? My water sports? Caves? Advancement? Fun events? Character? Service? Other.

--------- Once all listed, prioritize them.

---- short break

---- #3 Ideas

--------- Identify ideas. Specifics. Places, activities, etc.

--------- Prioritize the list.

---- short break

---- #4 Build the calendar

--------- Put fixed items on the calendar (scouting for food, scout sunday, B&G for local packs, etc).

--------- Start putting the ideas on the calendar based on priority.


When done, the troop has a functional calendar for the next year. It's transposed from the large poster paper duck taped to the walls of the outdoor shelter into our web site calendar (which can be printed).


The next committee meeting reviews the calendar to confirm everything is do-able.


That's what our troop does. I thought it came out of some BSA book, but I've never found it.


One key part is that as patrol leaders get ideas from the patrol and then represent the patrol during planning. Scoutmaster gets ideas from the adults and represents the adults. The scoutmaster tries to guide / coach the discussion but it's the scouts planning session. We try to shield the scouts from the other adults.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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The PLC chooses the activities in June.

They decide if they are location specific, (I.E. we want to hike Shiloh NBP) or if they are location neutral (I.E. we want to do a wilderness backpack trek), choose the time of year they want to do that activity, and start plugging it into a calendar.

This year we planned 3 years out, with Jambo in 2013, out of council summer camp in 2013, and Philmont in 2014. These events helped to drive an increase in hiking/backpacking for next year.


Adults choose the dates, but not the events. There are too many things to consider; 6 school systems, 3 major church memberships/activities/federal vs. non federal vacations, and home school vs. non-home schooled scouts.



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We just did ours.


All scouts 1st Class and above are invited. Myself (SM) and 1-2 other adults attend also for guidance only. Each scout must bring at least one monthly theme and an activity idea. These go on lists and get added to via brainstorming led by the SPL. Working with a draft calendar that lists school holidays the boys fill in the dates. It took about 2.5 hours to grind through.

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New SPL is elected each 6 months, March and September.

He schedules a planning session and invites all the Patrol Leaders.

They review and agree to, or modify, the existing 12-month troop calendar and 3-year high adventure calendar.

They contribute ideas from their patrols for outings for a 6-month period that is 1 year out. They vote in the outings that sound best to them.

Each patrol leader selects which outings his patrol will handle.

They review and add to the long-term high adventure calendar.

They agree to the 18-month and 3-year calendars.

The SPL presents it to the committee for support at their next meeting.


The committee doesn't have a say in the outings.

The only adult directly involved in the planning is the Scoutmaster.

It takes about 3 hours.

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Actually we did it very similar to Fred's troop. FYI that process was in the old BROWNSEA course and probably the old WB course.


Can relate to the commentor about different schedules, my PLC had over 12 different schedules to deal with. Pretty much they followed the same pattern every year as we discovered, and so our weekends were pretty much identical every year. Just different places. Only scheduling curve balls was Mardi Gras and Easter,

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We have a planning weekend at our council camp, and the SPL runs the meeting:


1) each boy brings with them an idea to present to the troop for an outing, including approximate cost

2) adults have no say in which ideas are presented, but do speak up when there are G2SS age restrictions (an 11 year old was not too pleased to find out his caving trip couldn't include him) or activities which simply can't be done (we had two suggest mock-war paintball...)

3) ideas are then voted on for general interest

4) Once the ideas are vetted by the boys, the SM and ASMs start working out the calendar, keeping in mind firm dates for things like camporees, school breaks, and leaving open weekends for as many Eagle projects as we anticipate for that year. The ideas with the most votes get slotted first.

5) SPL reviews, and then the parents get to see the calendar


Having the boys do the brainstorming is easy, especially if you're forced to bring an idea. No freeloaders.


We set a few ground-rules, and make it clear that not all ideas will turn into an outing --- with over 24 boys submitting ideas, there simply aren't that many open weekends.


We also make it clear that economic load also plays a part in what winds up schedule.... You can't have a bunch of $100 events the two or three months before camp payments are due... A few families can probably afford it, but most can't.

(This message has been edited by Eolesen)

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We do a separate meeting in October that chooses the activities for the next calendar year. We've varied which Scouts get invited - I think at the moment we are going with those in positions of responsibility. Scoutmaster and a few ASMs are there. We do it at someone's house, there are snacks. It usually takes a few hours.


According to the BSA process, the committee should be presented the list and could veto items. We usually just do an informal thing where I email the proposed calendar to the CC and he says "fine."

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We are going through he process right now. Our patrol leaders are asked to get suggestions from their members and bring them to the PLC (Last night). They choose where they want to camp, want activities they want to schedule. This is brought to the Troop Committee (tomorrow night). The Committee will choose the actual dates, as we have to juggle a number of school and religious calendars. We leave that challenge to the adults. It works well for us.

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We are also very much like Fred, but we do it every six months. Its kind of a complicated process but the scouts have it down so well that it rarely takes two hours. Usually the PLC follows the planning with an all-nighter video game lockin. The SM usually kicks in pizza and coke before going home to a nice comfortable bed. Strangely, Planning Night is considered a perk for being on the PLC.


For me, the key part to making planning successful is meeting with the SPL the night before. That's a good place for the SM and SPL to discuss where the troop needs to improve or change. That is where one of my SPLs told me he was cutting out some fat by getting rid of a couple PLC positions.


I love this scouting stuff.



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Most units I know do their's in late August or so, after the Council Program Kickoffs when the council calenders for the coming year are released. Dates are set for coming year. Having the council calender is important to be able to work in those dates with the units.


This is usually done as a retreat with the PLC. Could be a weekend retreat or a day-long affair. ILST is usually done as part of this.


the whole troop is not involved. I've never heard of parents being involved.



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Last year, since we only had 8 scouts (1 patrol) in the troop, we met for a special troop business meeting. I (the SM), had the only patrol leader officiate. I brought 3 years of our past calendars, along with two posters. One poster had the activities for outings from the Troop Program Features books. This list of over 20 activities were to give the boys ideas they could choose. I also brought a poster with over 20 locations fro outings, that included our council camps, state parks, and the federal nature preserve in our state. On a marker board, we put the months of the coming year, and I told the scouts to match up a month, an activity (backpacking, canoeing, pioneering, etc.) and a location. The boys also made their own suggestions about activities and places, and they voted on each month. When done, the board had our camping schedule for the next year.


This year, I will provide similar posters and visual aids, but since we have two patrols now, we will have the new PLC do the selecting.


The reason to present the schedule to the troop committee is to see if anything on the list is logistically too much for the troop. A trip to Colorado for backpacking for a weekend is not really do-able but a similar trip within the state is. Or if we know that the cost is over $100.00 per scout, we may tell the PLC it is not practical without special fundraisers to raise X dollars per scout. Otherwise, what the boys want is what we will try to provide.



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