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Making suggestions to the PLC

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So with a truly green PLC (aside from my more wizened Instructor, the most experience anyone on the PLC has is 6 shaky months as a PL), how does one make suggestions without crossing the "doing it for them" line?


I want to make a "leadership contract" with the PLC collectively, like I will support your decisions, so long as they do not jeopardize safety." But of course, I feel the need to take it farther than that, like "...and if it will not be a unmittigated disaster which sinks the troop" (or was that too harsh). In return I want the PLC members to pledge to listen to (not necessarily follow) my advice and consider it carefully before making decisions.


I know we have discussed it before, but I still want to find ways to empower these scouts to make their own decisions and give them a real sense of ownership in the troop. And I want to inspire them to make their own plans for responsible, positive outings. I want to turn my unexpected circumstance of a young PLC into an opportunity to shape these scouts into strong leaders, skilled outdoorsmen and good citizens.

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Have you had Troop JLT? Sent anyone to NYLT?


Using the SPL/PL handbook (small thin one) for the most part & as SM you can use the G2SS and the "sweet 16" to limit the PLC "brain storming".


Best advice, work with the SPL (before and after the PLC), and let him work with the PLC. Get the SPL/PLC to setting action items for the Pl to follow up on.

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dg98adams, the training begins this weekend. NYLT is not offered in our council; the nearest I have found is a 2 weekend course in a neighboring council late this winter. But it will require our scouts to take off two days of school due to differing school schedules. Only one of these scouts meets the minimum age requirements.


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Give the the tools to help themselves. Depending on what tools you give them, you can make that your invisible hand.


1) Give them an empty calendar with slots (camping weekends, meetings) to fill. If you want to guide them towards certain weekends, fill in the school schedules for them beforehand. Filling in the dates they need to work around isn't overstepping your boundaries, but helps a greener leadership by getting rid of some of the fog of war.


2) You'll need to be within the guidelines presented in "Guide to Safe Scouting." You can pick up this booklet at your local council office. It's a big list of no-no activities.


3) The main part of planning an event is the who, what, when, where, why, how. Give them a blank form for each event. Make them fill out the form, listing the who, what...etc.


4) If they're having trouble filling up meeting plans, they can always fill in meeting activities with even prep activities. For example, if it's a survival campout, a good meeting plan beforehand would be on survival skills. Let them come up with this idea by asking "How will you plan for this survival campout?" when it comes time to fill in the meeting plans. ;-)


5) A list of activity ideas is a great way to nudge them in the direction they should be going. It can be the difference between a calendar full of poker tournaments and a calendar full of camping.


Your guidance is an important part of their leadership development, but definitely keep an arm's length from the decision making. During my time in scouts, I was an SPL on and off for 4 years. I ran my meetings with a top down approach to planning. We started at the multi-year planning (This year summer camp at ___ scout reservation, next year high adventure at ____ scout reservation.) We then moved to monthly planning, 1 activity per month. We had our annual staples (Retreat in August, Spelunking in November, Rock Climbing in February, etc.) and we sprinkled in activities relevant to preparing for that year's high adventure or things that just sounded fun. We then went down to the weekly planning, which was things like planning meetings themselves as well as smaller things like when scouting for food bags were getting picked up, etc.


Hope that helps, let us know if you need any more advice!


@dg98adams - Did you go to Jambo '01?

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Buffalo Skipper


NYLT is an unknown in our troop too. Although I have been asked to help staff it next year. I might carve out a week fo rit.


For our Troop I try to involve "group leadership" games to even out the discussion. I would prefer to exclusively use the procedure in the SPL/PL book for the PLC, but I am just 1 of 4 ASM's.


I think the PLC is the key, if you can get the SPL working to empower the PL, and do planning (they come prepared for the PLC instead of deer-in-the-headlight-look you have something).


Emphasize Patrol identity, and using the ASPL/APL to make it work.




No I have never attended a Jambo....my son is going to 2010 (only 2 out of his home Troop is going) with 38 of his closest friends from the council :).

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Yah, it might just be my background, eh? But I really hate all da pseudo-legal "contract" baloney people do with kids. Raisin' kids isn't part of contract law. And most of these silly "contracts" are imposed by da side with the power (the adult), and so don't comport to legal contracts at all. So just terrible all around. Poor child raisin' and poor legalism.


I think Eamonn has da right of it, eh. Yeh have to think about this project as a long-term one, Buffalo Skipper. What you're talkin' about in terms of self-directed, independent patrols and able-to-plan-from-scratch youth leadership is a goal for 2012 or 2013. Heck, most adult scouters can't get there and do a good job in their first couple of years.


So your goal for this year is just to get 'em from where they're at to a couple steps further. Begin with da small things centered around camping skills, eh? Can they cook their own meals with no help? Can they cook tasty meals usin' a bunch of different techniques? If not, then start there with some fun, solid cookin' instruction. Can they plan their own meals? How 'bout for backpacking?


Yeh have to get them truly independent in da basics first. Cooking, navigation & timing, safety, camping in weather, all that stuff. Maybe that's the job for this year, eh? And as an adult, you keep supportin' the other stuff.


Then maybe next year yeh work on them planning individual outings.


Then maybe the next year yeh work on them selecting new and creative outings and setting up a calendar.


Now that's not sayin' that you aren't havin' 'em participate in planning and decisions along the way, eh? But you're also not letting 'em sink. Maybe they're at da "G" as in "Guide" for cookin' and meal planning, but only at da "D" for "Demonstrate" when it comes to calendaring. If that's where they're at, then your job in EDGE is to meet 'em there.


Yeh just have to remember that your goal is to keep 'em moving along until you can Enable 'em to do it on their own down the road.


Rome wasn't built in a day. Same deal with kids and scout programs.




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