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92_SPL

Yearly Annual Planning Meeting

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Our troop has a planning meeting comming up where we plan the rest of the year. This is the first one i have been to being as i read about it in my SPL handbook and so I asked about it and now we're having one. but could someone help me with what type of things the meeting should include.

 

TY,

David

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Good work 92_SPL. The annual planning meeting sets the tone for your troop's upcoming year.

 

I have been involved with several troops, packs and posts as a Scout and a Leader. Different units handle planning meetings in different ways; I'll outline how my current troop does theirs.

 

1. We set the planning session for a Saturday, usually starting at 8 or 9 o'clock. All participants bring a bag lunch. Sometimes the session lasts into the afternoon, sometimes it's done right after lunch.

2. All current PLC members are expected to attend. Other members of the troop are welcome - they may contribute ideas, but may not disrupt the flow of the meeting. The PLC sits together at tables set up in a large square, "guests" sit off to the side. SM, ASMs, are also present to answer questions, guide, lead and sometime cajole as the situation dictates.

3. The PLC establishes a theme for each month - canoeing, wilderness survival, rock climbing, backpacking, local history, geology, etc. Usually they brainstorm ideas, writing them all on a markerboard or flip chart. Then they whittle the list down to twelve.

4. The PLC then maps out the year's calendar of events with tentative dates - campouts, tours, projects, etc. to match the themes. This includes specific destinations. This sometimes takes awhile since several good ideas might come up and discussion takes place to decide which one to concentrate on.

5. Planning for individual meeting agendas is not done at this meeting; meeting plans for the next month are done at the monthly PLC meetings. The meeting plans will reinforce the theme for the month with skill sessions, guest speakers or whatever else applies to the theme.

6. The planning meeting ends with PLC members assigned to research additional info that is needed for any of the planned activities.

 

Some things that help the process:

 

Everyone needs to come into the meeting with not only ideas, but also information about those ideas. You want to go to Grand Canyon; OK, what can we do when we get there, what does it cost, how will we transport the troop 600 miles, where are the campgrounds, can they be reserved, etc. Ideas can be backed up with brochures, info from websites, etc.

 

Try to have the school/church calendar on hand so that the troop's activities don't conflict with major activities/holidays.

 

Print out a large block monthly calendar from your computer so that a master calendar will show tentative dates and plans as agreed upon by the PLC. Print it out showing holidays.

 

The goal of our annual planning meeting is to come away with the monthly themes for the upcoming year and tentatively planned specific activities (with dates). Details are worked out at monthly PLC meetings throughout the year.

 

Remember that things might change from the planned schedule due to unforseen circumstances and have a few alternate plans ready. It doesn't hurt to have an alternate location for each planned campout - if there is a park or scout camp close by your location that can be used on short notice, it can serve as your backup plan for any campout on your schedule.

 

Good Luck! You have already made a step in the right direction.

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Congratulations David!

 

Your on the right track. The troop may have a set of Troop Program Resources. If not, maybe they can get them. It is a set of 3 books that have 12 program plans/themes in them. The monthly themes that Eagle74 talks about are in these books. As you move into your PLC meetings, there are 4 weekly meeting planners and a weekend planner for each theme. Helps a lot in the planning.

 

Talk over tentative ideas with your SM to get their insight.

 

Follow the way Eagle74 suggests to run the day, but make some time for fun and team building exercises to pull your PLC together as a team.

 

Good Luck

 

OT

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Eagle74 has most of the suggested items. I would add a couple of items that you should have on hand: local Cub Scout Pack's calendar (or at the very least their Webelos cross over dates) and any Band/Orchestra, sports, etc. calendar. The second items are needed only if you have a very small troop and you want to include everyone's interests. I would shy away from dates such as baseball/football opening date, playoffs, band/orchestra competition, etc.

 

As for the Cub Scout Pack, getting the webelos cross-over campout and attending the cross-over are important recruiting events. Helping out with Pinewood Derby or Blue&Gold or etc. are important relationship building events between Troop and Pack.

 

Also, at the planning meeting, if you have access to the Internet, that would be great. It serves to look up places, events, costs, availability, calendars, etc. If not you would have to do a lot of the upfront leg works to come up with ideas.

 

Important thing ... don't let the adults do the planning for you! You (PLC) do the planning. Have an adult leader be a facilitator (a person who would be able to keep the flow of the meeting moving and keeps everyone involved and as Eagle74 pointed out to answer question and coach ... if done correctly). You can be the facilitator; however, since you are the SPL, you run the meeting. If you don't have a good facilitator, the meeting will bog down to an item or two.

 

Good luck

 

 

 

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Some good stuff here! This meeting is important enough that we try to find a special setting for the day. We also invite members of the Troop Committee to come in and prepare lunch so as not to interrupt the flow of things; also gives them a good opportunity to get a little closer to the Troop functioning and sends a message to the PLC that their time is valued.

 

Might be worth a pre-meeting with your SM to review the past year?

Definitely want to have school dates nailed down; dances and concerts and football games etc. Also take your District and Council calendar into consideration ie Camporees, OA functions.

This information is available but have to dig for it sometimes.

 

It's important to have the whole year's calendar on one page for the Scouts to work from; they don't always see things from month to month (and some of we adults aren't much better! You can find a reasonable template in your Troop rechartering package(?)

 

You might consider a brief review of last year's calendar and activities as an introduction to your planning session. Remember that a different group put that one in place and learn from it

Good luck David

 

 

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An "affirmative" to all above, and a strong encouragement to use the recently-published SPL Handbook to guide your PPC -- most of the advice you've been given is in the SPLH. It and the PL Handbook are in my opinion two of the best things to come out of Irving in recent memory...

 

KS

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The only thing I would alter is step 1. I'd make that "make a list of the program goals you want to accomplish in the comong program year." That way as you develop the plan you can evalute it by seeing if you are fulfilling the goals.

BW

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David -- Mr. SPL -- you have received some excellent advice here. Congratulations for taking your troop down this important path.

 

There is one tool that can help the adult carry out the plan you and the PLC will create. It's called the Ideal Year of Scouting and is available through www.trails_end.com Your unit can creat it's own private page and it will allow someone to input the troop's entire schedule for the year as well as costs, etc.

 

That's the main benefit I see. It's heavily geared toward the popcorn sale (big surprise, huh?) and will tell the unit how much popcorn each Scout needs to sell if he wants to pay for his entire program year of Scouting. It also allows for the management of Scout accounts.

 

It's quite a system, even if you don't sell popcorn.

 

Good luck in your endeavors as Senior Patrol Leader -- one of the best positions in Scouting!

 

Dave

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buffalo2 - I really like the idea of the committee doing lunch. Our planning meeting is in August and I will suggest that the committee or the SM/ASMs prepare lunch.

 

While things occassionally get a little silly here, there are always tons of great ideas and good information for the taking.

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I agree with the suggestions from everyone. I've read most of the Posts. I may have missed it but I just want to add. That you should ask your Charter Org. for thier calendar as well.

 

Matua

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Hi David

 

Lots of great ideas. Eagle74 gave you a great start. I will point out the first one, even the second annual planning are the hardest because it's. It can be hard for the SPL to maintain control when he doesn't exactly know what to expect, so keep the expectations of this one very simple.

 

1.You may not see it this first time, but as you grow you will see that goals are the rails that keep good program and track. Bob gave good advice to start with goals. I would suggest for this first time, have your PLC set only a few goals so that you guys dont get lost in the details of what your doing, maybe as few as two the first time. I also suggest that you and your SM walk in the room with a few goals in mind already so you can start the discussion with some examples

 

2. Just like Eagle74 suggested, break your meeting into small controllable blocks. Our PLC started with about 30 minutes devoted to setting troop goals. Then the SPL ask for ideas for the Monthly theme, then the Campout Themes, and after that campout locations. Some troops combine Monthly Themes and Campout themes together which is fine. But the point for you is break up your meeting so that you can control subjects. Or else everyone gets distracted with to many ideas and starts talking.

 

3. Our Troop also allows everyone to give ideas, but you will loose the meeting quickly is you dont hold some kind of order. One idea is allow only patrol leaders to give the ideas for the patrol. The adults are considered a patrol in here and while all adults can give ideas, only one can speak for that patrol. Set a maximum number ideas for each patrol. For example, during the Monthly them section, each patrol can give five ideas. You go around the room ask each patrol for one idea, then go around again until youve done it five times. Do the same for Campout Themes and again for locations. This allows you to control the flow of ideas to one person at a time. This also allows the adults to give ideas they feel is needed for the program.

 

Then allow the scouts to vote on the ideas. Our patrols are allow five votes on each subject. We take a break let the scouts discuss among themselves likes and dislikes of ideas then the patrol leader put a mark next to the idea his patrol likes. In our troop, each patrol is allowed five votes for each block. I dont where the number came from and you can certainly add more.

 

Allow SHORT breaks so the scouts can talk about the ideas and to stay fresh. Our experience is four hours is about the max for staying on topic, even with short breaks. After that, everyone starts to just say whatever they feel just to finish the meeting. A lunch break is a great idea. I also like the idea of using the SPL Handbook to plan the meeting is an excellent idea.

 

Finally, I found that a meeting with the SM, SPL and ASPL the day before made it easier for us all to understand the goals. I would suggest that the ASPL be the guy trying to pull ideas from the quiet scouts, and also the controller of scouts who want to dominate the meeting. This allows the SPL to keep focus on the subjects and keeping the flow of the meeting going. The SPL from the very beginning has to show control. If not, the meeting gets long real quickly. Don't be afraid to put your sign up to get attention back to you and the subject. There are a lot of great ideas here, many come from PLCs with a lot of experience. You are new, so keep it simple, learn from thisexperience and then change to improve the next one. Our First Annual Planning went to 4:00 AM. About ten hours. Now our guys do in about three, and they get a lot more done. It takes practice.

 

Good luck

 

Barry

 

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What time of year do all your troops do their annual planning?

 

our troop does it in summer - and actually - I think that's a mistake.

 

the school calendar is out for holidays and teacher inservice days - but the band, choir and sports schedules aren't out until closer to school starting.

 

between vacations, summer camp and activities - alot of members are not available for such a meeting - and it's the LAST thing a boy wants to do on a summer saturday!

 

the boys come up with ideas off the cuff - mostly repeats of previous years and don't come prepared. so they "plan" stuff like "backpacking in August" or Devils Lake in June" without details - and the committee then takes it away and 'plans' the rest for them.

 

I've been trying to encourage the SPL and PLC to come up with more definative plans - I figure if it's 'done' the committee is less likely to try and take over from the boys.

 

I'm wondering if we plan the fall, and plan a full year planning session IN the fall - and then KEEP the annual in the fall - it might work better?

 

suggestions? comments?

 

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The problem is not that your PLC is not planning enough of the details during the planing session, though setting dates might be a good idea instead of just what is done in each month, the problem is that they are not given the chance to finalize those plans throughout the year. I see this because it is a problem my troop also has, the Scouts say they want to do this on this date and then the Troop commitee/leaders take over and makes it happen. What we both need to do is too convince the commitee/leaders to work with the PLC so that each patrol is assigned events. The patrols will then finialize the plans and the adults only do those thing that they can not do for themselves, like make reservation. What I am planning to do is to suggest to the Adults that we first encourge the PLC to assign each event to a patrol to finalize the plans for, second that each partrol has a ASM assigned to it to prod the patrol along and to be a resource to help them answer question and to do those things they can not do themselves.

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The SM has a lot of homework to do before the annual planning occurs with the boys.

 

The tasks described below are the primary responsibility of the Scoutmaster IMO.

 

1.) Gather district, council, school and CO dates for events that will effect the troop.

 

2.) Review resources needed to plan the annual program. Examples:

National Themes: July - Health Care, August - Boating/Canoeing,

September - Safety, October - Nature, November - Business, December - First Aid,

January - Winter Camping, February - Citizenship, March - Physical Fitness, April - Forestry,

May - Leadership, June - Special Cooking, July - Backpacking, August - Aquatics,

September - December themes will be released in May of 2004.

 

Possible Themes - Aquatics, Athletics, Backpacking, Boating/Canoeing, Business, Camping, Citizenship

Communications, Cooking, Cultural Awareness, Emergency Preparedness, Engineering, Environment,

First Aid, Fishing, Forestry, Health Care, High Adventure, Hiking, Hobbies, Leadership, Mechanics,

Nature, Orienteering, Physical Fitness, Pioneering, Public Service, Safety, Science, Shooting,

Special Cooking, Sports, Tracking, Wilderness Survival, Wildlife Management, Winter Camping - and more!

 

3.) Review the advancement status of each Scout.

 

 

4.) List goals for the troop.

Examples: Troop Membership (1st - Retention of existing Scouts, 2nd - Active Webelos recruitment )

Advancement - First Class within First Year as a Goal

National Quality Unit Award

Summer Camp (100% attendance)

Troop Equipment (fully equip each patrol)

Begin Interest & Preparation in High Adventure Outings (2005)

Service Project - Man Scouting for Food Trailer

Train Junior Leaders

Train Committee Members

 

5.) Review the program features available to the troop.

 

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Biggest downfall in planning that we see lies in the execution...

In a perfect world that Annual session just lays out the framework that is supplemented by a distinct part of your monthly PLC meetings. We like to work from the annual calendar for 90 days out, pencil things in at a moderate level of detail 60 days out for reservations etc, and the last PLC prior to an activity have it all inked in and ready for passing out to the Patrols for their part (duty rosters, menus, etc.) Constantly rolling forward in advance keeps everyone thinking about whats coming down the road.

Not perfect, always subject to change, but helps the boys keep the surprises to a minimum.

And if you're working without the school calendar handy you're begging for conflicts!

Might consider taking a page from the Venturing Leader's Manual with the Countdowns; while most Troop activities don't merit the 180 day timeframe its not a bad way to go and your SPL has one more tool to work with.

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