scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Yearly Calendar Planning
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Thu Mar 30 2000 - 18:45:04 CST
On Mon, 27 Mar 2000, Bill Nelson wrote:
> I would like to present some ideas to the local troops on annual
> calendar planning. Any outlines out there?
Our troop does a weekend PLC Retreat. This weekend event takes place at a
popular location where we rent a cabin. It is part fun/part work. Our
hope is that in addition to planning the year it also serves as a team
building activity for the PLC. This weekend is free to the boys, the
troop picks up the tab for any and all costs.
In advance of the retreat we put together a calendar of significant
dates, as has been discussed in other posts, we list school dates, charter
partner dates, district events, etc., etc.
We also have each patrol do a mini-conference at one of our troop meetings
in advance of the weekend. Each patrol brainstorms ideas of what the boys
would like to do in the coming year. Each Patrol Leader is charged with
the responsibility of coming to the PLC Retreat with his patrol's plan for
the coming year.
We use a "Trip Proposal Form", which anyone can submit. It outlines a
proposed activity to be considered at the PLC retreat. Scouts, parents,
committee members, SM, and ASMs all can submit trip proposals. Only the
Scouts on the PLC can review them and vote upon them.
The trip proposal form includes information on the nature of the trip,
proposed location, activities, cost, best season of the year, training
needs, ability/age restrictions, special equipment needs, etc.
The weekend usually has a minimum of adults, with a full compliment of
Patrol Leaders, SPL, ASPL, JASMs, QM, Scribe, OA Rep, Chaplain Aide, and
The weekend Planning Conference:
We have a chili cook-off, Scoutmaster vs JASMs. JASMs always win. This
takes care of dinner in a deliscious and fun way. The remainder of
Friday night is devoted to informal activity. Games are played, usually
Monopoly, Scrabble, Stratego, Risk, or whatever people bring. Trip
proposal forms are completed, reviewed, informally discussed. This is a
fun time. Also people who had other committments such as sports, etc.,
gather later as the evening goes on.
We all get up and go to a popular "greasy spoon" restaurant for breakfast.
After ordering food we pass around all the trip proposal forms for
individuals to review.
We enjoy a full hot breakfast.
We return to the cabin, Before we get started on the big plan, I remind
them of the "Aims of Scouting" and the "Methods of Scouting". I give them
the charge of planning our program for the year, and remind them of the
importance of their task. I ask them to establish their goals for the
year and their priorities for achieving those goals. I tell them this is
their time to define their dreams for the year. That's my big input. From
there, I basically stand aside and watch in amazement.
They start with major trips. These are our big blocks of time.
They go through the pile of trip proposals and the boys debate on the
merits of each. The Patrol Leaders also review their Patrol's proposals
for the coming year.
Some major programs might have to be planned for a future year if we feel
it is something beyond what we can prepare for in a single year.
This will continue through the morning.
We have a simple lunch, usually soup and sandwich. Informal program
discussion usually takes place during the meal.
We now establish our main high adventure/summer camp programs. This is
done by consensus or vote if it's close. We now input training and
conditioning activities in support of those major trips. A high adventure
program is never a single activity, but the culmination of a series of
events leading up to a super-activity.
The weekend programs and day trips usually come in next. This will
consume the remainder of the weekend.
Fundraisers are pre-determined by the adult committee, but the boys can
make recommendations for alterations.
A few basic guidelines are maintained.
-- Each month at least one event must be FREE of charge.
-- Each month at least one event must be age appropriate for the newest
Scouts and the oldest most experienced ones.
-- At least one high adventure program must be offered comparable or
cheaper in price to summer camp.
-- We must balance each fundraiser with at least one service project.
For dinner we order carry-out pizza which we eat at the cabin. The boys
usually take a game break at some point during Saturday. Last year we
suspended planning during part of the afternoon to work at a service
project rebuilding a section of trail.
We might have a hike to break things up.
We go to bed late Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Sunday morning is a continuation of planning from Saturday.
For the plan to be complete...
These people must sign off (listed in reverse order)
-- Scoutmaster signs off, agreeing the plan serves to achieve
the Aims of Scouting.
-- Senior Patrol Leader signs off, agreeing it is a workable plan.
-- Troop Guide signs off, certifying "his new guys" are served
through the plan.
-- OA Representative certifies that OA Opportunities are included.
-- Chaplain Aide certifies that our plans do not violate anyone's
Breakfast is prepared at the cabin. It is usually a simple no-cook meal
that is quick to prepare and easy to clean up.
We do not have a detailed outline for the weeknd, it is very flexible and
the SPL is free to adjust the schedule based on the needs or moods of the
boys. Sometimes things can get heated, and they need to unwind or take a
break. Sometimes things get too loose and they need to be reminded of the
job and get re-focused.
The adults are mostly there as an audience and to answer technical
questions or give limited advice. Sometimes we will ask a question if
something we see isn't being addressed that we feel should be.
The boys are very serious about this project and can spend hours
discussing the merits of some programs.
Our monthly themes and troop meetings will be discussed and planned by the
boys at a separate meeting(s) and will be based upon the annual plan we
developed at the PLC Retreat.
Our Annual PLC Retreat is very popular among the boys. It is something
that sets the boy leaders apart, a special privilage and responsibility
above anything else in the troop. We try to make it fun. It is their
time to create their very own program. It gives them ownership of the
The annual program is approved later by the Troop Committee. We've never
had a plan that has not been approved.
We see the annual plan this way, the boys define their dreams, the adults
support those dreams and help the boys turn them into a reality.
We do a quarterly review to adjust things here and there.
I know it's not perfect, but it works for us.
Scoutmaster Troop 33