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PLC meetings and expanding the adult limits

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The SM Handbook and the PLC portion of the SM Specific training class (which I teach) only give guidelines and suggestions toward a healthy boy run program. These are starting places for a healthy program foundation, but as the scout grows and the program grows, the dreams of these young men push the limits and so we must push out ours. If we put limitations on the scouts program, we will stand in the way of growth. The hardest job a Troop scout leader has is getting out of the way of the scout.


Im not suggesting everyone jump to the weekly format because we are all different. I am only suggesting that those who have, have found it to work better because it is easier on the scouts, the adults and the boy run program. Sst3rd, our meetings are basically the same as yours. It is done before all the other scouts arrive and just about all the planning is done there with the ASPL polishing it. We have an advantage that the SM can coach the SPL after the meeting and then he only has to wait a week to try the idea. 4, 7 or 8 weeks are a long time to wait. We tried and it was frustrating because the SPL and PLC made basically the same mistakes and the adults had to maintain order. Also, when the SPL assigns task or ask for ideas from the patrols, a month is way to long to check on the progress of the task. He spent too much time on the phone and it required a lot of discipline from a 13-year-old Patrol Leader to keep up. Weekly reports are much easier for younger leaders.


As for adults in the meeting, we found it was impossible for adults to let the scouts run the meeting. I have yet to see a meeting run with more than one adult where they didnt push some thought or idea. Its like trying to get men to ask directions. We are not wired that way. So we keep the adults in hallway out of site only listening. If there needs to be any adult input, they can ask the SPL later. The SPL only needs to wait a week to give the adult suggestion to the PLC. Works very well and allows the SPL to maintain control.


Our SPL calls the SM the night before the meeting to review the agenda and to get the adult announcements. We changed to this away from meeting before PLC meetings because sometimes the SM and SPL needed more time. Sometimes either the SM or SPL were late for the meeting. A call the night before is relaxing with very few limitations.


The SM and SPL review the performance of the PLC and Troop meeting the last thing before the SPL locks the doors and gives the key back to the SM. Rarely does the SM interrupt the SPL during the evening. Whether he is dealing with a misbehaving scout or directing the program, we want him to feel the aches and pains of the job so he feels motivated ask questions. I wrote down little notes then reviewed them later that night. The SPL was encouraged to do the same. I always asked questions, never directed criticism. Thank goodness too, sometimes things werent as them seem and the SPL was right.


As for the BSA basic Troop model, I have been involved with the new adult training in the Council and I am responsible for our Council JLT program. When we sit down talking about training courses, basically we think of the new scoutmaster. We are thinking of the starting place and basic structure of his program that gives him and the scouts time to get their feet on the ground. Eventally the SM should step back as the wheels are turning and lets the scouts grow. I find the uniform discussions interesting because sometimes it shows the limited vision of us adults. Our parental and adult nature naturally think in terms of looks and color, but character is on the inside and is shaped by experiences. Same goes for the way we only think our way is the only way we don't let these guys try something different from our vision. As I said before, we shouldnt try to make the boy fit in our perception of a boy scout. We should ask him what he thinks and then ask why. We should test his actions and ideas against the Scout Law or Oath, not our vision. He may have a better idea, and many times does. Are you prepared to let him try that idea? What are the limitations that would permit him to try these new ideas? That is why WB was changed, the adults were trying to make the scouts fit in the adults Patrol Method experience. Patrol Method is not a mold to force each scout into one shape. Patrol Method is our tool, it's the hands of experience and struggle shaping the scout like a piece of clay. Each one is different with different needs and ideas. The shape depends on his personal experience. The Methods in scouting have to be flexible. That is why I try to teach adults in my classes to think of the program in terms of character, citizenship and fitness. Its not how many times the PLC meets, its what they get from the PLC meeting and is it meeting their needs.


First we must get our programs on the ground, the SM Handbook, the SPL Handbook and the Patrol Leaders Handbook will do that very well. But once it gets started, we adults must start pushing out our limits and thinking outside the box so that the scouts have room to push out their limits and think outside their box. Its unfortunate, but the adults in the boy run troop, not the scouts, limit boy growth.


Ive got to tell you that while thinking about our PLC meetings, a lot of memories of scouts saying, "Oh I get it!" were brought out. When I think about all I have watched from your sons and mine, I get pumped and fired up. This program is the best at building men, and we are here in it right now doing it. What you do today with one boy for one minute may change his life forever. Thank you God because I love this scouting stuff.


Hey, have a great day, I am trying to get to the JLT stuff. We have some great experience on this forum.




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