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Troop program planning: how do you do it?

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  • Fred Goodwin, CMA
    The PLC of our allegedly boy-led troop has no idea how to plan monthly campout activities. I suspect two causes for this: (1) The adults have done (and
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 13, 2007
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      The PLC of our allegedly "boy-led" troop has no idea how to plan
      monthly campout activities. I suspect two causes for this:

      (1) The adults have done (and continue to do) all the planning; and
      (2) The boys have never been shown how to plan camping activities

      At the PLC last nite, the boys flopped around for almost an hour trying
      to come up with things to do on next month's campout. They spent far
      too much time talking about menus and far too little talking about
      activities.

      I know what the adults want them to do; I think the only reason the
      adults didn't take over was because I was sitting there watching both
      them and the boys to see what would happen (I've been a critic of too
      much adult involvement in running our so-called "boy-led" troop).

      I'm responsible for conducting Troop Leadership Training (TLT), but for
      those of you who've done it, you know TLT says next to nothing about
      practical skills like how to plan a campout, how to run a PLC meeting,
      or how to do annual program planning.

      I've proposed to our SM that the troop invest in a copy of the Troop
      Program Features books; then some of the adults will sit down with the
      PLC and show them how to plan a campout. We'll worry about planning
      the PLC next, and finally we'll train them on how to plan the annual
      program.

      The adults deny it, but I see the firm imprint of adult planning all
      over our annual calendar and our monthly campouts. The signs are that
      the boys complain about the activities, and the timing and location of
      our monthly campouts. When we ask them for alternatives, they have no
      idea what to offer.

      Now, I wasn't present at the last program planning meeting, so its not
      fair of me to blame all of our shortcomings on the adults. But I think
      to blame the boys then begs the question: who trained them (or not)?

      So how do your units handle monthly campout planning and annual program
      planning?

      How involved are the adults, really? Is there anyone out there willing
      to admit that the adults actually run their "boy-led" troop? No one in
      my troop is willing to say what is patently obvious to me.

      Fred Goodwin
      T515 Alamo Area Council
    • Ken Leja
      A boy-led troop is a joy to watch, but a bear to achieve. More adult hands and tongues have been ripped out because they lacked the patience to let the boys
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 13, 2007
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        A boy-led troop is a joy to watch, but a bear to achieve. More adult hands
        and tongues have been ripped out because they lacked the patience to let the
        boys harangue through their ideas at a Troop Leader Council.

        Boy Scouting is boy led... and adult guided! A good Scoutmaster is
        whispering in the ear of the senior patrol leader... the assistant SMs are
        whispering in the ears of patrol leaders. Not telling, but rather offering
        alternatives, suggestions, different considerations. It's their decisions,
        but we help guide the effort.

        I've actually seen TLCs temporarily adjourn and the boys meet with their
        respective mentors for some one-on-one coaching. That, of course, is what
        the adults are supposed to do BEFORE the meeting so that the youth are
        "prepared" -- not necessarily with the answers, but with the various
        "things" to consider.

        The role of any adult is (1) health and safety. After that, it's all a
        matter of mentoring -- age-appropriate and with TLC (care!) -- so that the
        youth learn, are challenged, and can plan their own program.

        Instead of roaring in a youth's ear (like a bear), we need to whisper... and
        with our hands in our pockets, so we don't get our hands dirty in the muck.

        It's very, VERY difficult to do... but the rewards are great. It takes a
        lot of time and patience, but it WILL happen.

        Ken
        "I used to be a Buffalo, and a good ol' Antelope, too!"

        _____

        From: scouter_t@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scouter_t@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        Of Fred Goodwin, CMA
        Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 1:36 PM
        To: Fred Goodwin
        Subject: [Scouter_T] Troop program planning: how do you do it?



        The PLC of our allegedly "boy-led" troop has no idea how to plan
        monthly campout activities. I suspect two causes for this:

        (1) The adults have done (and continue to do) all the planning; and
        (2) The boys have never been shown how to plan camping activities

        At the PLC last nite, the boys flopped around for almost an hour trying
        to come up with things to do on next month's campout. They spent far
        too much time talking about menus and far too little talking about
        activities.

        I know what the adults want them to do; I think the only reason the
        adults didn't take over was because I was sitting there watching both
        them and the boys to see what would happen (I've been a critic of too
        much adult involvement in running our so-called "boy-led" troop).

        I'm responsible for conducting Troop Leadership Training (TLT), but for
        those of you who've done it, you know TLT says next to nothing about
        practical skills like how to plan a campout, how to run a PLC meeting,
        or how to do annual program planning.

        I've proposed to our SM that the troop invest in a copy of the Troop
        Program Features books; then some of the adults will sit down with the
        PLC and show them how to plan a campout. We'll worry about planning
        the PLC next, and finally we'll train them on how to plan the annual
        program.

        The adults deny it, but I see the firm imprint of adult planning all
        over our annual calendar and our monthly campouts. The signs are that
        the boys complain about the activities, and the timing and location of
        our monthly campouts. When we ask them for alternatives, they have no
        idea what to offer.

        Now, I wasn't present at the last program planning meeting, so its not
        fair of me to blame all of our shortcomings on the adults. But I think
        to blame the boys then begs the question: who trained them (or not)?

        So how do your units handle monthly campout planning and annual program
        planning?

        How involved are the adults, really? Is there anyone out there willing
        to admit that the adults actually run their "boy-led" troop? No one in
        my troop is willing to say what is patently obvious to me.

        Fred Goodwin
        T515 Alamo Area Council





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Connie Knie
        I attended my first planning meeting as I was the chaperone for the overnighter that was our Junior leader training. Anyway, all of the patrol leaders, the SPL
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 13, 2007
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          I attended my first planning meeting as I was the chaperone for the overnighter that was our Junior leader training. Anyway, all of the patrol leaders, the SPL and the venture leaders as well as the Scoutmaster and any interested adults were present and they started off with a brainstorming session about what they would like to do on outings. If we as adults had ideas then they wrote them down as well. Then the more outrageous ones were crossed off and they assigned months to the ones that would work best.
          I am not sure how each indiviual campout is planned but I know we (adults) have almost nothing to do with it

          "Fred Goodwin, CMA" <fgoodwin@...> wrote:
          The PLC of our allegedly "boy-led" troop has no idea how to plan
          monthly campout activities. I suspect two causes for this:



          connie

          SUPPORT OUR TROOPS WITH YOUR OLD BLUE JEANS!!
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/operationquietcomfort/

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • NeilLup@aol.com
          ... Ken, you wrote such a wise post. I would add only one item. A leader needs to have tattooed on the inside of his or her eyelids. It s not my troop,
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 13, 2007
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            In a message dated 2/13/07 4:21:06 PM, ken@... writes:


            > More adult hands
            > and tongues have been ripped out because they lacked the patience to let the
            > boys harangue through their ideas at a Troop Leader Council.
            >

            Ken, you wrote such a wise post. I would add only one item.

            A leader needs to have tattooed on the inside of his or her eyelids. "It's
            not my troop, it's THEIR troop. If an activity fails because of youth
            leadership or youth planning, it's not MY failure and it may not be a failure
            at all."

            And this may be incredibly difficult to remember when

            1) The leader's self worth is tied up with the unit
            2) The parents are screaming about disorganization, poor planning and
            -- worst of all -- INCONVENIENCE for them as a result of youth leadership.
            3) The younger Scouts are complaining and possibly voting with their feet
            because the meetings and activities are not as well organized, planned and
            "fun" relative to some adult led organizations they belong to. It's great to
            be a leader in a boy run organization. It's not necessarily so great to be
            a junior level follower. That can be a major challenge for the adult
            leaders.

            Best wishes,

            Neil Lupton


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • corinnajones@hotmail.com
            Neil, Well put. I will print this for the parents in my troop, if you don t mind. Thanks, Corinna ... From: NeilLup@aol.com To: ken@lejafamily.net ;
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 13, 2007
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              Neil,
              Well put. I will print this for the parents in my troop, if you don't mind.
              Thanks,
              Corinna

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: NeilLup@...
              To: ken@... ; scouter_t@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 5:13 PM
              Subject: Re: [Scouter_T] Troop program planning: how do you do it?



              In a message dated 2/13/07 4:21:06 PM, ken@... writes:

              > More adult hands
              > and tongues have been ripped out because they lacked the patience to let the
              > boys harangue through their ideas at a Troop Leader Council.
              >

              Ken, you wrote such a wise post. I would add only one item.

              A leader needs to have tattooed on the inside of his or her eyelids. "It's
              not my troop, it's THEIR troop. If an activity fails because of youth
              leadership or youth planning, it's not MY failure and it may not be a failure
              at all."

              And this may be incredibly difficult to remember when

              1) The leader's self worth is tied up with the unit
              2) The parents are screaming about disorganization, poor planning and
              -- worst of all -- INCONVENIENCE for them as a result of youth leadership.
              3) The younger Scouts are complaining and possibly voting with their feet
              because the meetings and activities are not as well organized, planned and
              "fun" relative to some adult led organizations they belong to. It's great to
              be a leader in a boy run organization. It's not necessarily so great to be
              a junior level follower. That can be a major challenge for the adult
              leaders.

              Best wishes,

              Neil Lupton

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Frank Maynard
              ... I think this is symptomatic of having former Cub leaders come into your troop without a clear understanding of their role as adults in a troop. I see it
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 14, 2007
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                On Tue, 13 Feb 2007, Fred Goodwin, CMA wrote:

                > (1) The adults have done (and continue to do) all the planning

                I think this is symptomatic of having former Cub leaders come into your
                troop without a clear understanding of their role as adults in a troop.
                I see it mainly on an individual basis (the former den leader who
                "schedules" his son's requirements and merit badges) but I've seen it on
                the troop level as well, both in program planning and in running the troop
                meetings and activities. Naturally, I feel that training is the key to
                instilling the proper behavior in the adults so that the boys can run
                their program.

                One of the most difficult things we do as parents and as Scout leaders is
                to let our boys take the responsibility for their actions and activities.
                We hate to see our children fail, but we fail them by not allowing them to
                try, fail, learn, try again, and succeed.

                We must, as B-P said, train a boy to do a job, and then let him do it.

                --
                Yours in Scouting,
                Frank Maynard, NF8M
                CC, Troop 407; CR, Pack 54, Novi, Michigan
                Ottawa Dist. Cub Training Chair & Cub RT Staff, Clinton Valley Council
                Trustee, WB8BSA ...and a good old Bobwhite too! (C-23-04)
              • Garry McLeary
                As my ol friend Ken said, a boy run troop is a joy to watch but a real Antilope to acheive. It takes much patience and continued training and coaching for both
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 14, 2007
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                  As my ol friend Ken said, a boy run troop is a joy to watch but a real Antilope to acheive.
                  It takes much patience and continued training and coaching for both the Scouts and the adults. Please remember this is not a sink or swim situation, the boys plan and run the troop to the extent they are able, always setting the bar just a little higher than they think they can jump. Concider Troop Leader training and NYLT for the boys and Committee Challange, Scoutmaster Specific, OLS Woodbadge and the like for the adults along with a healthy portion of patience. Lots of wispering, coaching and mentoring.
                  Anyway thats how we work in the Troop I have the privalage to serve and it works for us.
                  yis
                  Garry

                  al.net> wrote:
                  The PLC of our allegedly "boy-led" troop has no idea how to plan
                  monthly campout activities. I suspect two causes for this:

                  (1) The adults have done (and continue to do) all the planning; and
                  (2) The boys have never been shown how to plan camping activities

                  At the PLC last nite, the boys flopped around for almost an hour trying
                  to come up with things to do on next month's campout. They spent far
                  too much time talking about menus and far too little talking about
                  activities.

                  I know what the adults want them to do; I think the only reason the
                  adults didn't take over was because I was sitting there watching both
                  them and the boys to see what would happen (I've been a critic of too
                  much adult involvement in running our so-called "boy-led" troop).

                  I'm responsible for conducting Troop Leadership Training (TLT), but for
                  those of you who've done it, you know TLT says next to nothing about
                  practical skills like how to plan a campout, how to run a PLC meeting,
                  or how to do annual program planning.

                  I've proposed to our SM that the troop invest in a copy of the Troop
                  Program Features books; then some of the adults will sit down with the
                  PLC and show them how to plan a campout. We'll worry about planning
                  the PLC next, and finally we'll train them on how to plan the annual
                  program.

                  The adults deny it, but I see the firm imprint of adult planning all
                  over our annual calendar and our monthly campouts. The signs are that
                  the boys complain about the activities, and the timing and location of
                  our monthly campouts. When we ask them for alternatives, they have no
                  idea what to offer.

                  Now, I wasn't present at the last program planning meeting, so its not
                  fair of me to blame all of our shortcomings on the adults. But I think
                  to blame the boys then begs the question: who trained them (or not)?

                  So how do your units handle monthly campout planning and annual program
                  planning?

                  How involved are the adults, really? Is there anyone out there willing
                  to admit that the adults actually run their "boy-led" troop? No one in
                  my troop is willing to say what is patently obvious to me.

                  Fred Goodwin
                  T515 Alamo Area Council





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Peter Mullaney
                  Sandwich Principle from the Sweet 16 - Supervision and Discipline. Which covers health and safety, but I think goes a little deeper. Not withstanding I ve
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 14, 2007
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                    Sandwich Principle from the 'Sweet 16' - Supervision and Discipline.
                    Which covers health and safety, but I think goes a little deeper.
                    Not withstanding I've always told my troops - JLTC/NYLT, T-67 and
                    parents that the reason I'm there is for health and safety. Usually
                    after I say it I try to think if that covers all of the Sandwich
                    Principle.

                    Ramble off,

                    Pete Mullaney

                    On 2/13/07, Ken Leja <ken@...> wrote:

                    <Snip> The role of any adult is (1) health and safety. After that, it's all a
                    > matter of mentoring -- age-appropriate and with TLC (care!) -- so that the
                    > youth learn, are challenged, and can plan their own program.
                    >
                    <Snip>

                    Ken
                    > "I used to be a Buffalo, and a good ol' Antelope, too!"
                  • Brant Lippincott
                    ... Exactly!! I talk about this when we chat about the Webelos to Scout part of OWL... I say that the hardest thing to do as a new BS parent/Leader is to
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 15, 2007
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                      Frank noted:

                      >>I think this is symptomatic of having former Cub leaders come into your
                      >>troop without a clear understanding of their role as adults in a troop.

                      Exactly!! I talk about this when we chat about the Webelos to Scout part of OWL... I say that the hardest thing to do as a new BS parent/Leader is to "sit on your hands". But, it is the absolutely necessary - except in cases of danger.

                      One thought about training a boy how to do it... You can offer them choices of actions... Like when you are taking your spouse out to dinner. Do you want to go to (a) or (b)?? As opposed to "where do you want to go to dinner?" With the boys, you can give them more choices... Once they understand the process, you can let the process be a LOT more open-ended.

                      For the Boys,
                      Brant


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Jeff Blakemore
                      One thought about training a boy how to do it... You can offer them choices of actions... Like when you are taking your spouse out to dinner. Do you want
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 16, 2007
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                        <snip>One thought about training a boy how to do it... You can offer them
                        choices of actions... Like when you are taking your spouse out to dinner. Do
                        you want to go to (a) or (b)?? As opposed to "where do you want to go to
                        dinner?" With the boys, you can give them more choices... Once they
                        understand the process, you can let the process be a LOT more
                        open-ended.</snip>



                        I agree with this for the most part. The only exception is that my wife is
                        able to realize that while I offered 'a' or 'b', she can choose 'c' as well.
                        The scouts are not as likely to think past what is suggested, unless
                        prompted. So for me anyway, the last choice is "something else."



                        YiS,

                        ~Jeff



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Fred Goodwin, CMA
                        ... Agreed -- I d like to show them the Troop Program Features and show them how they can use them to plan camping activities. I would never expect a boy to
                        Message 11 of 11 , Feb 18, 2007
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                          > Posted by: "Jeff Blakemore" jeff@...
                          > Date: Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:16 am ((PST))
                          >
                          > I agree with this for the most part. The only exception is that my
                          > wife is able to realize that while I offered 'a' or 'b', she can
                          > choose 'c' as well. The scouts are not as likely to think past what
                          > is suggested, unless prompted. So for me anyway, the last choice
                          > is "something else."

                          Agreed -- I'd like to show them the Troop Program Features and show
                          them how they can use them to plan camping activities. I would never
                          expect a boy to come up with progam ideas if they've never been asked
                          to do it before.

                          As far as I can tell, the adults have always done the monthly campout
                          planning (other than patrol menus), thus effectively crippling any
                          ability of the boys to do such planning on their own. Worse yet, the
                          adults then criticize the boys for not knowing how to plan a campout!

                          Fred Goodwin
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