YearLY program pLannIng
A successful troop meeting begins with advance plan-ning. In recent research, the Boy Scouts of Americadetermined that inadequately planned and executedtroop meetings were the number one cause of boysleaving Scouting.Troop meetings should focus on a monthly programfeature, be fast-moving, and start and end on time. Theprogram feature should be interwoven with the programat all experience levels: the new-Scout patrol, experi-enced patrols, and the Venture patrol.Planning a troop program on an annual and amonthly basis is a new task for many leaders. Goodplanning and execution depend on (1) a Scoutmasterwho understands the process, (2) trained youth leaderswho can plan meetings and successfully execute them,(3) sufficient personnel in the form of assistant Scout-masters and troop committee members, and (4) parentswho are knowledgeable and informed.Your first step in planning is to utilize the resourcesavailable to set goals for the troop. The next step is totrain your youth leaders in the planning process. Thengive them the responsibility and authority to plan andimplement the troop program. The final step is to getyour troop committee and parents to “buy in” to sup-port this “Scout-planned” program.The program planning guide in chapter 8 of the
will guide you through thebasics of planning, from doing your homework tosecuring parental support for your program. Themonthly troop program features found in
magazine are the other principal resources needed torun the program planning workshop.In addition, enhance the troop meeting by usinggames, Scoutmaster’s Minutes, ceremonies, and othersupport materials from the
Troop Program Resources for Scout Troops and Varsity Teams,
The annuaL pLannIng process
The Scouting program year begins in September, so youshould start troop planning during the summer. Thereare five basic steps in the annual process.
sTep 1: Do Your homework
As Scoutmaster, you serve as the “advance” person. Youcheck out and pull together certain things before yourtroop’s annual planning conference. Neither difficultnor time-consuming, the tasks listed below make a lotof sense because they pay off in a smoother, more effec-tive conference, and they result in a better annual plan.
1. Gather district, council, community, andchartered organization dates for events that willaffect the troop.
Begin by picking up a calendar of key school dates fromthe local school. Check with the local chamber of com-merce for dates of community activities. Don’t forget to