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BSA Program Planning web article jumps the rails


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#1 TAHAWK

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 04:15 PM

In several publications, BSA states that annual program planning is to be accomplished by the PLC,  led by the SPL. The SM acts as a coach for the SPL and a resource.

 

In two publications that I can find, BSA says that the SPL presents the proposed annual plan to the Troop Committee, which is to remember that program is to be Scout-planned when considering whether the Troop has sufficient resources to support the proposed program.

 

These current BSA statements are consistent with BSA policy for over eighty-five years.

 

 

Inconsistent with those eighty-five years of statements is the current BSA web article entitled "Planning."  http://www.scouting....amPlanning.aspx

 

This web article says the following:

 

Step 1 —  [The Scoutmaster researches relevant facts.]

 

Step 2 —  [Scoutmaster, d]iscuss this process with your senior patrol leader, explaining the importance of this process and his role in it. Discuss your options for programs and activities and your troop goals. Share your draft outline for next year's program and ask him for his input and thoughts. Be flexible at this point. Review this presentation so he will understand the agenda and work ahead.

 

Step 3 — Your senior patrol leader shares the draft plan with patrol leaders, who then share it with Scouts to get their input and ideas. Patrol leaders schedule a meeting to gather information and ideas from the Scouts. Take good notes.

 

Step 4 — Invite the following people to attend the conference to maximize the efficiency of your planning.

1.                    Your troop's youth leaders

2.                    Troop committee members and other adult troop leaders

3.                    Chartered organization representative

4.                    Your unit commissioner (optional)

5.                    Anyone else who might be helpful, such as other parents

 

The Troop Annual Program Planning Conference

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what keeps Scouts in the program. They like to have fun, do really cool, challenging stuff, go places, and learn things, even though they might not want to admit it. That is what we call program, and it doesn't just happen by chance. It takes planning and preparations, starting with your patrol leaders' conference.

Use these ground rules while discussing ideas at your conference, and you can add your own rules, too:

            *    It is important to respect the views of each other.

            *    Listen and don't interrupt.

      *    Keep focused on your task to plan your annual program.

      *    Don't get sidetracked.

      *    Write out your ideas so everyone can see them.

      *    Be in agreement.

 

Step 1 — Your Scoutmaster leads a discussion on your troop's goals for the coming year. Write the goals on a flip chart or eraser board, and agree to a list of goals.

 

Step 2 — Share the draft printed calendar that shows the dates you researched with the rest of the meeting attendees. Ask if anyone has any other dates they need to add.

 

Step 3 — Take a few minutes to discuss these dates and events. Once you feel comfortable with this stage of the calendar, you might even take a vote to approve the dates you have so far.

 

Step 4 — Senior patrol leader shares updates from patrol leaders about what Scouts want to do. This can be the most challenging exercise in your program planning conference, so take as much time as you need. You could use the troop program features as a base for your Scouts' desired programs or themes. You might take it one month at a time. Don't forget to add in advancement opportunities. The flow of your troop's program is up to you and could be driven by your goals As an example, if one of your goals is for the troop to take a wilderness trip to Alaska, some of your programs could focus on traveling to Alaska, wilderness survival, trip planning, wilderness first aid, and van safety.

 

Again, as you agree on a monthly feature or program theme, write it on a flip chart or board and take a vote. Designate someone to write all this in a master calendar and take good notes!

 

Step 5 — Add other important dates such as:

1.                    Boards of review

2.                    Courts of honor

3.                    Troop open house

4.                    Service projects

5.                    Webelos-to-Scout transition ceremonies

6.                    Any other dates already planned this far in advance

At this point you should have a complete annual plan, a calendar, and a set of troop goals.

 

Step 6 — Hold a final discussion on the plan, calendar, and goals, and then take a vote for approval. Once you approve your annual plan, it will go to the troop committee for final approval.

 

 

Perhaps this is, in part, simply very poor writing.  But the error in stating that the Committee, COR, and UC (and other adults) are invitees is a clear violation of BSA policy. The presence of so many adults will change the process even if, as seems unlikely, they never open their mouths. And the stated claim that they need to be there for "efficiency" suggests that they are absolutely expected to participate.  For a typical troop, the Scouts present could be outnumbered two-to-one. -- or more.


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#2 Lurking...

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 05:28 PM

I can lose that whole article in a heartbeat.   Boys will never find it on the internet and all this troop planning will ultimately get lost in the discussion of patrol planning and coordination between patrols.  The adults will never outnumber the boys because we only have the SM and the ASM and they are always off jaw-jacking while these kinds of calendar discussions are being held.

 

BOR's?  Whenever necessary.

COH's 5th meeting of the month

Troop Open House - when the Webelos show up.

Service Projects - as needed, scouting for food, neighborhood clean up - spring and fall, etc.

Cross-overs - Last week in June

Summer camp we set, district sets camporees, etc. and the monthly outings are whenever the boys can get away.  two this month, maybe none next.

 

This process usually takes us about 10 minutes every year to set up.  All the rest of the plans are done on a patrol basis.  The boys plan it and the adults get to go along for fun. 

 

My boys seem quite please with the way things seem to be working out.  Spring hike coming up next month along with a Webelos outing next month, maybe some hiking thing the following month Summer camp after that.  Jury is still out on that, only a couple of experienced boys the rest will be Webelos cross-overs and we may need to lean heavily on a mess hall camp this year.  Boys haven't confirmed what they want yet.


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#3 Sentinel947

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 06:52 PM

Interesting post I think on the subject over at Ask Andy

 

http://netcommission...2-april-7-2016/


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#4 MattR

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 07:28 PM

New term, adult creep.

One thing I don't like about all the training is that they never really describe what should not be done. They say what should be done, and that's important, but the counter example would make it so much clearer. Yes, the scouts should come up with ideas and the adults should support them, but there are plenty of things the adults should not do in this process. By not making this explicit the boundary between the Scout's decisions and adult's get's fuzzy and the adults slowly squeaze in and the scouts slowly squeaze out. That's adult creep. In this case it's more like national creep but sentinel's reference is more committee creep.
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#5 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 09:06 PM

Interesting. I admit I've skipped over the "how to do program planning" portion of the troop program features, and always go straight to the different plans.  The process listed in the link is very similar to the one in the Troop Program features, and to quote the Second Doctor, "You changed it. HHMMM I don't like it."

 

My question is this: who the heck wrote this information? was it anyoen with real experience in Scouting as a youth, or some "expert" who used research to come up with garbage?

 

Sorry, i'm going to stick with the way I was taught way back in the day at Troop Leader Training ( or whatever the heck it was called), and Brownsea 22, and what I taught at JLTC. Adult creep indeed!


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#6 T2Eagle

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 09:55 PM

I've spent 7 years training my scouts that this is their process: their privilege and their responsibility.  The first time we took this away from the adults and gave it to the scouts was difficult, but they've gotten better with each year.  We do the planning on an early winter campout.  This year I asked them if they needed me, they said probably not, but we'll come get you if we do. A couple hours later they came to get me to tell me what we were doing for the year.

 

I guess I could try to take it back over, but I'm not sure they'd go along with it.


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#7 TAHAWK

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 10:51 PM

New term, adult creep.

One thing I don't like about all the training is that they never really describe what should not be done. They say what should be done, and that's important, but the counter example would make it so much clearer. Yes, the scouts should come up with ideas and the adults should support them, but there are plenty of things the adults should not do in this process. By not making this explicit the boundary between the Scout's decisions and adult's get's fuzzy and the adults slowly squeaze in and the scouts slowly squeaze out. That's adult creep. In this case it's more like national creep but sentinel's reference is more committee creep.

Scouting, by deliberate choice, has always selected affirmative guidance over "thou shalt not."

 

If you are told that the SPL runs the PLC and you have someone else do it, would a rule "Someone other than the SPL shall not run the PLC" really change your behavior?

 

But since you asked: "Never do for a Scout what he can do for himself.” 

 

Sentinel947, it was Andy's blog that got me looking.

 

Eagle 94-A1, I am trying to get the answer.  I suspect it's another example of Hanlon's Razor in action.


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#8 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:33 AM

This discussion reminds me of how one troop I encountered handled the annual planning conference and changing of PLCs. Only adult involvement was them picking up the tab.

 

Scottish troop did the  troop elections and annual planning during their summer camp. I want to say they spent an entire day doing this. After that, the outgoing and incoming PLCs dressed in full kit, and had a formal dinner.


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#9 Krampus

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:14 AM

This discussion reminds me of how one troop I encountered handled the annual planning conference and changing of PLCs. Only adult involvement was them picking up the tab.

 

Scottish troop did the  troop elections and annual planning during their summer camp. I want to say they spent an entire day doing this. After that, the outgoing and incoming PLCs dressed in full kit, and had a formal dinner.

 

We do it in June and July. June is prep month. The PLC meets to review the elements of the program plan and we give the patrols 3-4 weeks to hunt around for ideas to bring to the planning meeting. At that meeting ideas are thrown in to the circle and we build the straw man. After that meeting the PLC whittles down the ideas in to the program plan. It is finalized by the PLC and presented to the TC for review and approval. Oh, a proposed budget is also attached.

 

Adults are involved to help keep the wheels on the track. For example, when one patrol REALLY wants to camp at Big Bend on a normal weekend, well, that would require altering the laws of physics to make it there and back in a Fri-Sun weekend. So the adults drop the pearl of wisdom that saving that for spring break might be best. We may also mention during the information gathering phase any fun camps we've heard of from sources such as this forum; they do the leg work, That's the extent of adult involvement.

 

The TC "review and approval" is always perfunctory. Have never seen them kick back anything in 12 years. They had questions, but never any rejections.


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#10 MattR

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:50 AM

Scouting, by deliberate choice, has always selected affirmative guidance over "thou shalt not."

 

But since you asked: Never do for a Scout what he can do for himself.” 

So why isn't thou shall not do for a scout what he can do for himself in the training? It's concise.


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#11 Lurking...

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 02:55 PM

Because it's easier and quicker for the adults to just do it rather than take the time to teach the boys how to do it and then be patient enough to wait for it to sink in.


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#12 TAHAWK

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 03:44 PM

Beyond the adult tendency to take charge, BSA presently has no training that discusses even half of the Patrol Method or has as its objective that the trainee learn what makes up the Patrol Method.  The results are hardly surprising.  

 

However, there are people in the upper echelons of BSA who are advocating for the Patrol Method and for training in the Patrol Method.  


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#13 Krampus

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:09 PM

Because it's easier and quicker for the adults to just do it rather than take the time to teach the boys how to do it and then be patient enough to wait for it to sink in.

 

Oh I don't know @Stosh. I know a great many adults who would have MORE problems doing the long-term planning than me sitting down and teaching the boys to do it. ;)


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#14 Lurking...

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:14 PM

Of course, @Krampus, all you need to do is sit down, tell the boys to plan out the year and then have them submit the report to the committee.  How hard is that?  :)

 

I just sent out a shotgun blast of canoeing/kayaking, hiking, camping, biking stuff going on in our state to the new crew kids.  They're already complaining they don't have enough weekends to get it all in!  :) 


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#15 TAHAWK

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:20 PM

An thus an opportunity to learn about having to make choices.   :)

 

As opposed to having the adults make the choices for them in the name of "efficiency."


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#16 SSScout

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:09 PM

The problem boils down to the need of (many) adults to "Get Things Done".  There are some who have no patience in letting kids /Scouts get things done in their own time and way.  How, exactly , did the ADULTS learn to do it?

 

I will refer you to our well known training consultants, Mssrs. Bob and Ray:    "Wait for it".    https://www.youtube....h?v=ktYwuw9Mnjo


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#17 TAHAWK

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:56 PM

Wait .................................................for .....................................................it.


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#18 TAHAWK

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 10:21 AM

I am informed that the problems with the website article on programming will be corrected.


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#19 chrisking0997

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 07:32 AM

Beyond the adult tendency to take charge, BSA presently has no training that discusses even half of the Patrol Method or has as its objective that the trainee learn what makes up the Patrol Method.  The results are hardly surprising.  

 

However, there are people in the upper echelons of BSA who are advocating for the Patrol Method and for training in the Patrol Method.  

 

agreed.  Maybe national could find the time to create meaningful online training for the boys instead of seeing how convoluted they can make adult training.   And no, I did not manage to type that out with a straight face


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#20 RichardB

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 11:19 AM

Just an FYI - the material is being revised to reflect the updated SPL handbook.  'tis a work in progress to sync up all the materials.    


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