Scoutmaster Musings - Annual Planning

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Scoutmaster Musings

Annual Planning
Last weekend, the troop put together its 18 month plan. The Senior Patrol Leader, ASPL, Scribe, and 7 patrol leaders met to figure out what the scouts want to do. What a great job they did!

Three adults attended just to give input about school calendar conflicts and other district level events such as Camporees. Other than that, the scouts did it all.

Each patrol leader brought ideas from his patrol. The ideas were listed and then narrowed down to about two dozen. From there, the scouts marked which ideas made sense to do in summer, spring/fall, or winter. They then plugged them into months of the year.

With the campouts for each month in place, a weekly calendar was used to list every holiday, troop meeting, PLC meeting, and district event. That showed which weekends made the most sense for campouts.

From this activity, the troop had its schedule of meetings and weekend campouts for the next year and a half. Each patrol leader then chose which campouts his patrol would take responsiblity to organize, plan, and lead. They will have an adult resource for each campout and will report their progress monthly at PLC meetings.

After a break, the scouts tackled the task of High Adventure trips. The same process of sharing ideas, prioritizing which sounded the most fun, and then choosing the best was done. We now have the high hopes of a week-long backpacking trip to the Bighorns of Wyoming in 2006 and Arches National Park in 2007. These are in addition to SeaBase in 2006 and Philmont in 2007.

These will be the first trips of this magnitude that the troop will have scouts completely plan. We have been preparing them for this for the past 18 months by asking them to perform a larger and larger part of weekend campouts. In the past, scouts made the schedule but then adults would organize and prepare for individual campouts. Now, a patrol does everything for a campout except pay for reservations, drive, and other tasks requiring an adult. Of course, the patrols of the younger scouts need more adult support than the older ones, but it has been working out great.

Historically, our troop has planned 12 months of outings in October. Since our SPL holds the position for 6 months, this means the SPL elected in March did no troop planning. Now that we have 18 months scheduled, each SPL and his team will do scheduling. The upcoming 6 months is firm, the next 6 months can be modified if necessary, and the next 6 months needs to be filled with activities.

It was rewarding to see the scouts have ownership of the troop's plan and I'm excited to see how well they take on the organizing and promoting of their trips.

Scout On!

Posted: 13:11 11-13-2005 34
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