Re: New SCM-How to jump start the PLC.
(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 9 Sep 1998 15:45:12 +0000
Myron Thomsen <mthomsen@EXECPC.COM> asked:
>How do I get the PLC in our Troop to take over planning meetings,
>outings etc. I sure don't want to do it by myself. At our
>meeting last night, I had the Scouts who showed up to begin to
>plan the year and tell me where they want to go camping, hikinh
>etc. I received some good ideas but the Scouts were reluctant to
First, congrats on moving your Troop toward what Scouting should be
all about: youth planning, directing and implementing their own
program with adult supervision and guidance.
Your question's a SUPER question and I'm sure that there's about
ten or more of you back there getting your printers ready and your
mice energized to cut and paste. So, here goes....
*ANNOUNCE YOUR INTENTIONS TO THE ENTIRE TROOP. You must be willing
to tell the Troop's membership that starting NOW, that *they* are
the "masters of their own destiny". They need to know that this is
not a trick, nor is it a "test" to see how well they will do. Your
adults need to know that THEY are NO LONGER in charge of the
Troop's programming....that this has been given to the youth
officers and the Senior Patrol Leader in particular to do.
*GET YOUR YOUTH LEADERS TRAINED. You as the Scoutmaster (by the
way, the abbreviation for Scoutmaster is SM, not SCM) have the
responsibility of training and coaching your youth officers so that
they can turn around and train and coach younger officers. The
Troop Operations Workshop is a good first start, and it's right in
the Scoutmasters' Handbook. Try to get your District to do a
Junior Leader Training Workshop on a weekend after the schools
start up. Don't have them to tell you to "wait until spring" or
"until we get a lot of Troops reorganized". Your Troop need the
training NOW, and I'm POSITIVE that there's some Wood Badger in
your District that along with the Training team or crew can assist
you in doing the JLTW over a weekend.
Don't confuse the JLTW with the Council's Troop Leadership
Conference or Junior Leaders Training Conference done in the late
spring or early summer. That training is ideally for your Senior
Patrol Leader and Assistant and for older youth that need to be
exposed to increasingly levels of training. Your District can
conduct a weekend Junior Leader Training Workshop for youth and
adults in a section or the entire District. This training is
designed for all of your Troop officers and bridges the gap between
the Council-level training and your own Troop training.
*LET THEM FLY OR FALL ON THEIR OWN. This is the *hardest part* of
the entire experience, and as I've wrote here several times in the
past, EVERY Scoutmaster and EVERY parent wants to "protect their
youth" from failure. But that's NOT the Scouting way. Youth
leaders will learn from failure. It's not pretty, and sometimes you
will have to meet with individual leaders and boost their personal
confidence and morale up after such failures. But how would they
know otherwise "what makes a good meeting go?" They won't learn
from you (or other adults) coming into the rescue over and over and
over again... what they'll learn is that they will fall to a point
and "Mr. Walton" will rescue or get them back on track.
*TELL THOSE OTHER ADULTS TO MIND THEIR BEESWAX! This also is a
hard thing to do, especially when parents have kids in the Troop.
Like I said, EVERY PARENT wants to see their kid "do the best job".
Let them alone and let them do what they have been trained and
coached to do.....If Mom or Dad want to help during the Troop
meetings, let it be AFTER the PLC ASKS them to do so and only as a
PART of the program, never as the "complete program" for that
*THESE SAME RULES APPLY WITH WEEKEND CAMPOUTS AND CAMPOREES. Don't
give them "confusing signals" and tell them "I'll get everything
together for the Camporee or campouts...and you can handle the
Troop meetings." Bad move. Scouting's "application of training
and experience" happens OUTSIDE, OUTDOORS and AWAY from the Troop
meeting house. Again, let *them* plan the menus, the program, and
support. Only offer to assist them with support stuff, like
transportation or special requirements. If your youth see that
you're trying to "regain control", they will quickly take their
hands off of the program, give it back to you, and won't try to do
*GO SLOW. EXPECT A LOT OF DEAD TIME AND SLOW PROGRAMMING. A lot
of Scoutmasters attend Scoutmaster Fundamentals, get the "trained"
strip, go back to their Troop, conduct the Troop Operations
Workshop and then think that "overnight" that the Troop will be
transformed into some BSA video example of the "ideal or perfect"
Troop. This stuff will take TIME. Why?? Because your youth will
try to test you and see if you're serious about this "letting us
lead" business. You need to assert yourself and let them know that
this isn't a blank check for doing ANYTHING....they have to have a
program, that program has to be cleared by you AND the Senior
Patrol Leader and if it involves movement of Scouts, the SPL (not
you!!) goes before the Troop Committee and ASK for their help and
This takes time. Expect that several meetings will fold before the
time to go home is up. Expect that Scouts will forget to bring
their stuff for their program. Expect that Scouters will want to
"save the day" by something they heard or seen and "want to do this
week's meeting". Remember that the WHOLE IDEA is to get the
leaders to run and manage THEIR program and THEIR meetings.
*KEEP YOUR WORD. You will have a GREAT tendancy to go in there,
and say "I can do it this week and next week you can do it..."
Don't let them have the impression that you're going to come to
their aid each week, or else all you're doing is delaying the
return to adult programming control. If you find yourself wanting
to go in and "run things", take a walk outside. Drink some coffee.
Get into your car and turn the radio on. Remember that you are
there to do two things: keep them from hacking off each other's
fingers and toes and to keep things safe; and to train and coach
your youth leaders.
*FINALLY, FIND A SCOUTER THAT YOU CAN FREELY AND OPENLY TALK WITH
ABOUT YOUR TROOP'S PROGRAM OR LACK THEREOF. Your Commissioner is
the best person, because he or she can offer some suggestions to
help out with. This list -- the Scouts-L list -- is great to offer
you some moral support, and we'll be here for you...believe me!!
But you need to be able to talk over all of this stuff with someone
that understands your *local problems* and can offer solutions. A
lot of Scoutmasters leave our program because they feel that they
are "lone rangers" sitting out there with nobody to even ask "I'm
on track, right?" Go to other Troop meetings and see how THEY
handle their youth's leadership. Go to Roundtable and find out how
other Scoutmasters and Assistants work with their Troops.
>The former Scoutmaster pretty much did the planning all by
Getting your youth to accept the fact that they are "masters of
their own domain" instead of "students in a special evening
classroom" is hard to do. Everyone will be on edge at first, and
you will need to be in the room and convince your youth leadership
that yeah, they can do this.
I and others have posted lots of additional information about
"Letting them Fly or Fall" on various Internet Web Sites. Take a
look at that additional information from us and use it along with
your own local resources to move your Scouts from being passive
participants to active leaders in your Troop!
You might want to also talk with Scouters here online like "Dr.
Steve" Myers that have done similiar moves from Troops that were
ran by adults to the Patrol System. Dr. Steve received a lot of
advice and information from this list combined with Scouters in the
Akron area that helped him to turn his Troop 1 from a slow unit to
one of the most energized units in his Council. It takes time and
consistancy and confidence in your youth leaders.
Hope this all helps...and please let us know your progress and the
good and bad parts about going about this!!
(c) 1998 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 email@example.com
(note that these addresses will expire on 1 October 1998)
privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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