Before You Start
Before you start, you want to be sure that your troop socializes at all levels what your members believe this will mean for the troop and how people believe they can support this way of operating the troop. Ask yourself:
To what degree will you be BLT? If your Troop has a set yearly program and the scouts want to do something different, will you support that? Example, I know of a troop who spent a lot of money to be a canoe trip troop. Anything involving canoeing, they were there in full action and very good. After several years, their population started a steady decline. The scouts wanted do activities not involving canoes.
Do you believe in the scout’s ability to lead the troop’s operations? I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent, adult leader or non scout person comment about the scout’s inability to form a leadership team and be able to lead the troop. At first, there is much skepticism and criticism as the scouts are learning about leadership, the leadership is being put into place and the troop adjusts to the scouts doing what adults had done in the past. During the initial year, it was not uncommon to have people anxious to pull the plug or deviate from the three year plan. As SM, when the scouts made a leadership mistake, I would have several adults come to me and point out their mistakes. My response would be; “Making mistakes is learning. How better an opportunity to learn leadership?”
3 years, 3 years, How many years… 3? For the troop’s culture and the role based leadership system to be implemented
Year 1 - The first year is when the Core Leadership Team will be rolling out the game plan and the focus will be to get the SPL and his Senior Patrol working with the PL’s to learn how to be a leadership team. During this time, the Troop’s operations will be evolved to work from a few core processes. By the end of the first year, the troop’s culture at the scout level has shifted to be BLT. Like a sled dog team having fun pulling the sled, the scouts are getting into the groove and starting to realize they are a team with unlimited potential.
Year 2 – This is when the culture shift will occur at the adult and parent level. The scouts will be fired up coming into the scouting year with ideas for how they want to do things. They will be empowered from year one and full of energy, not knowing what they do not know. This impact point becomes the adults and parents who are having to figure out how they are going to “mentor” and be an “advisor”, providing guidance and servant’s leadership from the background while the scouts are up front on center stage. As the scouts start to explore their leadership capabilities, you will have personality conflicts at all levels and emotions will rise. The key perspective for everyone to remember is that this is “all about the boys.” The scouts are the troop’s customer. As long as everyone stays focused on supporting the boys and what they want their program to be, things will work out. By the end of year two, the troop’s culture will have mostly changed over to BLT and realistic expectations are set at all levels for what to expect going into year three.
Don’t be surprised if members decide to reduce their involvement or leave the troop. Going through a culture change affects everyone differently. Be mindful that some of the motives for those stepping into the background or hanging out at a distance may be a wait and see agenda. They may be waiting to see if the scouts fail, they will come in and save the day. Our experience is that once the scouts are empowered and realize they are the actual leaders, they will not give this up this new found experience.
Year 3 – This is the baseline year where the troop’s culture, operational process, scout's leadership skills and the scout's maturity levels are aligned so that the troop is ready to evaluate what is working and what needs to be evolved. One of the largest objectives for year three is to have the scouts advancement, leadership positions and maturity aligned so that you have your stronger more mature leaders leading and helping mentor the next year’s batch of leaders. From our experience, it took three Leadership Selection Process cycles in order to have our scouts properly aligned to support and sustain the BLT model.