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Woodsmith

PLC "too busy"

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I apologize if this subject has been addressed before -- I did not see it. I come from a large Troop (over 80 boys) and for 3 out of the last four campouts we have only had ONE or less member of the PLC present. Usually it's a Patrol Leader who has to be temporarily promoted to SPL. This weekend we have 17 boys attending, NO PLC or "Senior" Scouts -- only 3 are 1st Class, 4 are 2nd Class and the rest are New Scouts. The PLC selects, or at least approves, the outings and activities -- and profess enthusiasm -- but at campout the roster is lacking.

I intend to address the PLC at their next meeting and see if they have any ideas as to what can be done to increase participation. We've only been trying to really utilize the Patrol Method over the last year -- but it makes it rather difficult if there are no leaders to lead.

Any advice/suggestions before I confront the guys?

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My first question is - is the PLC truly planing these events? Because if they are they should be planning the event so that it fits their schedule and their idea of a enjoyable event. If the adults are telling the PLC what to do then I would have the adults step back from the process a little - no, a lot.

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Yes, they plan the events -- for the most part -- some of the events have "fixed" dates, such as the Camp-o-ree. Some are annual/traditional events -- the schedule is planned far in advance, so I doubt the boys really know what conflicts to expect -- except dates that are close to the usual school obligations (exams, sporting events). Some outing locations must be reserved a year in advance, which makes changing things to accomodate schedules tricky.

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A couple of quick questions.

17 Scouts out of over 80?

This ought to be looked at as a red flag?

Not so long ago you posted that you had 25 new Scouts are you using the NSP?

Do you have an annual plan?

I used to be the Scoutmaster of a very large troop, when it grew to over 85, I found it was just too much for me to manage even with six very active ASM's.Of course every situation and leader is different.

If possible you might want to see if your Council is offering a JLTC course this summer and see if some of your Scouts can attend.

PNScouter makes some very valid points.While it might not always be possible for the schedule that the Scouts have and the schedule that the adults have to be the same.You might want to consider having events for the NSP's and separate events for the Venture Patrol? As well as events for the entire troop.

There is a very big difference when the PLC plans the event and when the PLC approves the event.

Eamonn

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"17 Scouts out of over 80?

This ought to be looked at as a red flag?"

Yes, indeed.

 

"Not so long ago you posted that you had 25 new Scouts are you using the NSP? Do you have an annual plan?"

Yes and yes. (actually, it is more like 30 New Scouts)

 

"If possible you might want to see if your Council is offering a JLTC course this summer and see if some of your Scouts can attend."

All the current PLC members are Green Bar trained -- we have 4 more Scouts attending JLT next week.

 

"There is a very big difference when the PLC plans the event and when the PLC approves the event."

I am seeing that -- that is what I hope to address at the next PLC meeting -- it may be that we will have to let go of some "Favorite" annual trips of some of the adults to better address what the boys really want, hopefully increased "ownership" of the schedule will increase participation...

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Some time back OGE posted a really good way of getting through a Annual Planning meeting. Maybe If we ask him nicely he will post it again or he will point us to it. It really showed how the PLC could come up with a plan that worked.

Eamonn

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I agree with the others. 17 boys out 80? That's not just a red flag, it's a red billboard.

 

From the slim information, it sounds like the boys might not feel "empowered"- like the program isn't theirs. It's important not to get into a rut and do things just because "that's what we've always done". And the boys should decide what they want to do- adults should have very little input.

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I agree with the others. 17 boys out 80? That's not just a red flag, it's a red billboard.

 

From the slim information, it sounds like the boys might not feel "empowered"- like the program isn't theirs. It's important not to get into a rut and do things just because "that's what we've always done". And the boys should decide what they want to do- adults should have very little input.

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Arrghh Arrghhh Arrghhh

 

I can't get the search function to work, so here goes again:

 

This takes a bit of pre-work, but once its done, the whole process works so much easier.

 

Take 12 sheets of huge easel pad type paper and construct a 12 month calender, each sheet a separtae month. Label the dates Sunday-Saturday. Then, mark all the troop meeting dates. Then IN PENCIL mark all the district and council events (Camporees, Klondikes, etc)

mark off summer camp and any high adventure trip you are taking. If possible, get the school systems calendar and mark off three day week ends, graduation, prom, SAT test time and put that on the calender. Then when the planning gets started, the group knows when different things are. I am not saying dont plan an event when Prom is, but just recognize such an event may be lacking older scouts, this may not be a problem, just a consideration. While planning place a campout in each month and assign responsibility for it. This is marked on the calendars. After each month has a campout/activity in it, then start planning Troop meetings. Place your Court of Honors and weeks you will not meet. Take a look at the meetings prior to a trip and preparation for that trip becomes part of the meeting program. Taking a canoe trip? Safety Afloat and Safe Swim defense should be presented prior to the trip, Get it scheduled and arranged. Klondike in a month? Time to brush up on winter camping and scout skills. If you block out the year and then see when your meetings are in relation to your events, meeting planning falls into place naturally.

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Thanks OGE, your a good chap.

I thought about you last night there was a program on PBS on regional breweries in PA.The program visited the Lion Brewery.Strange to find a brewery that make soda pop.

Eamonn

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Did someone say PA Breweries? None better than Straub, in St. Mary's! I'm not a big beer drinker (actually, I am big, I just don't drink much beer), but I'd never pass on a chance for a "greenie"!

 

OGE's plan helps, but not completely, fix one of the big problems we have. Our PLC DOES choose almost all of the outings it does (Summer camp and Klondike are fixed). But they do so with little thought for their participation in outside activities. We bring school calenders to the planning meeting, and have noted prom and such. Stuff still gets planned for that weekend, then, all of a sudden, all of the leaders get girlfriends and can't be there. Even with prompting to choose a different date, it never seems to happen. We considered making the planning cycle six months, but as another poser pointed out, this doesn't allow for some of the extended planning that is sometimes necessary.

 

Mark

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Thanks guys --

We have our Annual Planning meeting coming up soon -- the first that I will be observing -- and I plan to implement your suggestions and open better lines of communication between SM (soon to be me) and the PLC so we can address any issues and increase participation. Wish me luck!

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Woodsmith

I wish you all the luck in the world.

 

 

Mark, I had you down as a Rock or a Stoneys Man, maybe even an Iron City.

The Lion has a pineapple soda that sounds like fun.

Eamonn

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OGE - wow! What a great process! How about answering a few questions?

 

1) What month does this happen?

2) Is the plan presented to the members of the troop for feedback before it's finalized?

3) When does that occur, relative to the SPL election (and resultant shifts in other troop PORs)? In other words, does the planning PLC carry out the plan they developed?

4) Is the troop committee and/or ASMs present?

 

Thanks.

 

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