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.