Re: Troop Leadership Question (Three Year Plan)
Anthony J. Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 22:02:11 -0400
Having been there, and having done that, allow me to present the Three Year
Year One -
This is your first year as a troop. Everyone is in a patrol doing New Scout
Patrol stuff. Your job is to be both Scoutmaster and Senior Patrol Leader.
Your five Scouts take turns being Patrol Leader for a month. With only one
patrol, a PLC isn't very practical, so program planning is handled by the
patrol (with the PL running the show).
Every troop meeting is really a patrol meeting. Every troop campout is
really a patrol campout. Decisions are made by the patrol leader based on
the wishes of the patrol members. You or one of your assistants will also
have to be the troop guide.
The important thing during the first year is to take your time. You may
start to think that a couple Scouts are capable of "running the show" but
resist the urge to "throw them to the lions." Let the Scouts you have learn
about Scouting and how it works during the first year. Above all, let them
get used to making decisions about what the troop does.
Year Two -
Following the Annual Planning Conference (which includes ALL of the Scouts)
you can welcome your new patrol. You now have a veteran patrol and a New
Scout Patrol, but still no SPL. Once again, one of your assistants will have
to be the troop guide for the new Scouts. Your veteran Scouts can now take
on some extra responsibilities. Fill the troop positions of Scribe and
Quartermaster with veteran Scouts. They should also select their "permanent"
patrol leader (okay, it's only for six months at the most).
You, as Scoutmaster should still be acting SPL when you have your first PLC
meeting. Your veteran PL and the new PL will attend along with the Scribe
and QM. The purpose of this meeting should be to plan a couple meetings and
a campout (standard monthly PLC stuff). While your veteran Scouts have
learned a lot about working as a patrol in their first year, they now need
to learn how to work together with another patrol. If you avoid selecting an
SPL in the second year your veteran Scouts will have a chance to concentrate
on gaining experience and not getting overwhelmed.
Year two is the year to introduce and maintain the PLC concept. Even without
a permanent SPL, you should assign the job to a veteran Scout for campouts
and other activities. This gives them a taste of the job with the added
benefit of being able to make mistakes. What you're looking for is giving
the responsibility of SPL to a Scout for a short period of time in order to
give them experience and so they can learn about the job in a somewhat
Year Three -
This is the year you've been waiting for. You should have one patrol of very
experienced Scouts, at least one patrol of veteran Scouts, and at least one
patrol of new Scouts. Now's the time to assign an experienced Scout as Troop
Guide. You'll also want to elect an SPL. Your experienced Scouts will
probably fill up the SPL, ASPL, TG positions allowing you to assign some
veteran Scouts the Scribe and QM positions (as well as Librarian and
Historian). Your Annual Planning Conference should be limited to a more
specific group of Scouts (although there is nothing that says you can't
invite the entire troop!). Following the APC, you'll be ready for your first
actual boy-run PLC.
This is where the adults get used to not having to do all the work. You, as
Scoutmaster, will want to let the SPL run the show. Your New Scout ASM will
have to get used to working through the TG. In the end though, you'll
discover that it's much better to advise.
Why does this work? Frankly, I think it has to do with the fact that the
troop is running much like a veteran unit from the very start. In a veteran
unit all of the work done in the first two years by adults would have been
done by experienced Scouts. Without the benefit of experienced Scouts,
adults take their place letting the younger Scouts learn how to play the
The biggest drawback to this plan is the fact that after two years on doing
all of the work, some adults have a tendency to get used to doing it that
way. This drawback can be fixed by making sure everyone involved in the
troop (SM, ASM, and Committee) are aware of the timeline and how the plan
will be implemented.
Depending on the actual makeup of the troop, this plan can be modified to
fit almost any situation.
Anthony J. Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scoutmaster, Troop 381
"Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop Theme!"
Great Trail Council - Akron, Ohio
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City