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Yearly Planning Conference

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In recent years, when we've held our troop planning conference using all the Scouts in the troop. The SM Handbook says that the PLC should do it. We've let all the Scouts participate in the past since we've had smaller numbers. However, we're looking at having 15-16 Scouts go on our winter cabin campout in a couple of weeks. That is usually where we do our annual planning. When we only had a few Scouts, it worked out fine. However, last year we had eleven Scouts debating about the different activities and it got pretty crazy. Add in 4-5 more, and I think it will get way too out of hand for our SPL to handle.


I'd like to see if I could get some ideas for how to still involve all of the Scouts in the troop, but have the final decisions made by the members of the Patrol Leaders Council.

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This past year our troop used a questionnaire which offered examples of activities, camping, and events based on what the troop had done in the past and also provided space for the boys to add ideas of their own. The intent was to focus the feedback but still allow individual input/creativity. Only about 1/3 of the questionnaires were returned, but it provided the PLC with some definite vectors to work with.

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Here's a plan that works.


Every Dec the troop has annual planning confernence and Fun night. Fun night is a lock in where the boys and can eat pizza, drink coke, play video games, and watch movies all night.



Boy must come up with the yearly plan before they can have fun. They are usally are done in an hour or so. And they do pick some good places to go.

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I am having one of those feelings that I have been here before. I can't remember exactly if it was pleasant or not but I must have gotten out alright.


Let's see, I agree with Chip for allowing the Scouts to participate in choosing their fate.


I agree with Fat Ole on the PL's Representing the Group. It is a basic leadership skill, one that the leaders will learn from by doing.


I agree with Many on using a questionnaire based on past events but allowing for some creativity. I would temper it with a different use of the Evaluation. Our Scouts evaluate each event before they leave the parking lot. The input is recorded for future use in Planning.


I have a personal preference against Purce's annual planning night but I am sure that it is a great event for him and his Troop, one that works.


We use some other steps.


We start by getting the District and the Council calendars. We use one of the big wall charts with each month and theme posted. I like to use Boys' Life, Program Helps or other program aids to enhance the planning process. We dont input the program specifics until later but use only the general program elements for the yearly planning.


Involvement from the committee and other adults is important for preplanning. We want to know what the possibilities are before we jump. We don't want to tread on sacred ground, such as marital annual reviews, Bowl games, home games of import, annual pilgrimages and vital religious events. Similar data is collected from the Scouts.


We are armed with a list of camps that are potential places of fun within a ten, twenty, fifty, and one hundred mile radius of our Scout Hut. Since the committee and other adult leaders are in a support role, we define the percentage of events that are workable distances that they are capable of assisting in during the year. We then know when and at what distances activity support is optimal.


Then, we have the annual Leadership Campout. We have done it several ways. Basically, we have several events for the PLC and intertwine the planning conference. We might have some training by both Scouts and adults. We have some planned events, contests, and general fun. We review last years evaluations for any other insights. We have a campfire and applaud our efforts. We are then ready to take home the new schedule, type it up and send it out to every Scout and family.


We generally take the entire troop but run two programs during the Planning campout. We want the Boy Leaders to be free of doing the Planning for a year's worth of activities. If it is done poorly or well, they are blamed or commended. We support their opportunity to make the choices.


Can this work in a group of 16 Scouts? Sure, if some are Scouts and some are leaders.




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Fuzzy wrote "I have a personal preference against Purce's annual planning night but I am sure that it is a great event for him and his Troop, one that works. "


Fuzzy buddy, just curious what personal preference you don't like?


Here some more info that may turn you from the "dark side" :)


At the annual "lock in" We give the SPL some guidlines.


1. Must have one outdoor or service event a month. We also give them the council calendar, a "where to go camping guide", and a few other aides.

2. We encourage the boys to attend dist and council events.

3. Keep the driving distance no more than 3 hours away.

4. No adults are allowed to speak.


I think it took about an hour and the boys came up with a good plan. Best part they picked a Klondike Derby is hosted by another district.


This is a great exercise for the "Boy lead concept". I think it works best for small troops like ours, but if you have a large one then use the PLC.




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In the past when we felt that the boys input wasn't making it to the PLC we took a large sheet of paper and laid it out on the table. A few adults took marking pens and we gathered the boys around the table. We started with a random boy and asked him for an idea... Good, bad, undo-able or just plain crazy, one of the adults wrote it down and we moved on to the next scout. Worked our way around the table several times until every one was out of ideas. Roled the paper up and put it away for the next PLC. Not every idea was used but atleast the scouts knew that the PLC knew what they wanted.


BTW: in most cases the PLC will define an event but not a location. (ex: We want to camp where we can fish for trout.) They leave the exact destination to the SM and CC. In some cases they will ask to go back to a camp they have already used in past years but they like using new camps.


Oh, one more thing, each year we print up a new Tshirt. Front had the troop logo. Back has a tour name on the top and then the event, location and date of each event for the year. Looks like the band tour shirts. The scouts love the shirts but as an unexpected bonus at our planning meetings we have the dates and events from past years right on our backs. Gets comical to see the boys searching to find someone wearing the tour shirt with the event they need to know about.

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The troop will be going to Camp Van for the Kaskaskia Dist Klondike in Feb.

After a few emails I found out that St. Clair isn't having a Klondike. Actually the Kaskaskia Klondike will have Troops from St. Clair and Crooked Creek. I'll see you there.


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