SM Game Plan
When stepping down as SM, I was asked; “How did I do things?” Below is a breakdown of the strategy and game plan for how I ran the troop:
The year actually starts during the last two weeks of the prior year.
June – Last Troop Meeting – The SPL would gather the scouts and make a list of everything they wanted to do for next year.
June – Last PLC Meeting – The PLC would draft next year’s calendar. We would have the district calendar, school calendars and list of items scouts wanted to do from the last troop meeting. The PLC would then go through and figure out what they wanted to do. We found that they could be fairly accurate planning from September to January or February, out District’s “Klondike” event. The past few years, the PLC finishes planning the calendar at the November PLC meeting for the rest of the year.
July and August - Summer Camp Summer camp provides an opportunity for the scouts to lead. The most senior two or three scouts are the senior patrol. The next three to four senior scouts are the patrol leaders. The BLT thinking, behavior and execution are the same for summer camp as they are during the scouting year. The scouts work with the adult leaders to define the day's plan and then execute.
Early August – SM holds the first of two Half Year Planning Meetings This is where the PLC (Scout Leadership), Adult Leaders, Committee and anyone else from the troop are invited to review the calendar created by the PLC, finalize the event’s dates and plan by troop meeting what has to be accomplished to successfully support the events. We use the four troop meeting planning Outing Planning as a guideline.
Mid-Late August – SM facilitates a PLC BBQ where all the PLC (Scout Leaders) and their parents, Adult Leaders, Patrol Adult Advisors and Committee Members have an 1.5 hour leadership meeting to prepare for the year with an hour of social time. The goal of this meeting is to pass out the leadership tools for the patrol leadership, provide some basic leadership training, review responsibilities, review core planning processes which provides the foundation for the troop’s operations and defines the objectives for the first troop meeting. By this time popcorn sales are in full swing so we review popcorn sales efforts.
Early September – First Troop Meeting – This troop meeting is where the patrols will form up to create their flags, patrol yell and names. As SM, we would ask parents to attend this troop meeting. As the scouts went off into patrol corners and activities, adult leaders, advancement chair, popcorn kernal, training leader and others would meet with the parents, go over the next few months of events, our popcorn chair would review popcorn, our advancement chair would review advancement, our training chair would review adult and youth protection training opportunities, answer any questions and solicit for help and adult volunteers.
Late September – First Outing Event – Being an “outing” troop which camps four seasons, all year long in sun, rain and snow, we realized that we need to ensure that September and October outings need to be campouts so that our scouts can refresh their cooking, camping and fire building skills while it is warm. One year we did not do this. Our first campout was in December. The result was that the scouts were not proficient in working their cooking stove skills and we had issues. The cold weather added to the issues.
September to Klondike – The first part of the year is focused on practicing our core scouting skills and preparing for Klondike. The focus helps the scouts learn their leadership skills. One lesson learned is to not focus on advancements, save this for after Klondike. For more about the Klondike visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klondike_derby
Early January – SM holds the second of two Half Year Planning Meetings Taking the scout’s finalized calendar from the November PLC meeting, the SM facilitates a planning session that covers the rest of the scouting year, breaking down by troop meeting, what we have to do to be successful.
Klondike to Mid-May – This part of the year is focused on mentoring the scout leadership on leadership, communications, ethical decision making and team work skills. In March we start our Leadership Selection Process. Notice we did not use the word ”election.” This is by design. Please visit the Leadership Selection Process page for details. During this period of time, the SPL and his leadership team are evaluating the leadership capabilities and maturity of the scouts. March through May is when the new scout leaders are selected. May is when the scout leadership turns over.
Mid-May to June – There are two objectives. First is to have the new scout leaders take over running of the troop. One recommendation is to have a JLT (Junior Leader Training) with the new scout leaders and review their responsibilities, core processes and role play core leadership skills. In June we have our final campout which provides the new scout leaders an opportunity to experience the Outing Planning. Second is to prepare and plan for summer camp.
This completes the yearly cycle. You are ready to start preparing for the next year:
June – Last Troop Meeting – SPL gathers scout’s ideas for next year
June – Last PLC Meeting – PLC drafts next years’ calendar