Avoiding planned-in conflicts

One of my jobs as a unit commissioner is to keep the leadership of my troops and packs informed about happenings around our council. Most events are pretty well publicized and advertised in newsletters and at Roundtable, but we often get inside information at commissioner meetings that can help our units when it comes to planning their activities.

However, it frequently happens that a pack plans its winter sleepover on the same date as another council event, or a troop camps the same weekend as the required adult leader training course that their new Scoutmaster needs to take. Some plan their meetings on the same night as Roundtable.

Recently, one of my units planned a terrific activity for the same weekend our council held its biennial University of Scouting day of training. This unit does a great job of program planning, and the date for the event was set far in advance – possibly before the council firmed up the date for its day of supplemental training – but the value of attending University of Scouting needs to be balanced against the consequences of changing a planned unit activity.

These conflicts in planning might not affect Scouts directly, but they can affect their overall experience. if a campout prevents an adult leader from receiving training, or the pack plans to do something on their own the same weekend as a big district Cub Scouting event, our boys risk not getting the most out of Scouting.

How do you avoid these planned-in conflicts? There are several considerations.

  • Check the council calendar. When holding an annual or periodic planning meeting, compare the events you’re planning in a given month against the council’s calendar. Sometimes you’ll find a district or council event that your unit can participate in. Other times, you’ll find out about activities for adult volunteers – training, for example, or the district volunteer recognition dinner for another. By being aware of council and district events, you can avoid planning conflicting activities.
  • Check the school calendar. Most school districts put their calendars out well in advance. Make sure you aren’t planning a campout for Homecoming weekend, or the Saturday of college entrance exam testing. If you have Scouts who also participate in music, drama or sports, check those calendars to see what the impact might be. School, church and extracurriculars are usually higher priority than Scouting, so we must adapt and schedule our events around school commitments.
  • Be aware of holidays. Our communities, and therefore our Scouting units, are becoming more diverse in religious and national origin, and we need to be aware of holidays and other events that are important to faiths and nationalities other than our own. For example, if your pack has a lot of boys of Indian origin, you may want to take into consideration celebrations like Diwali or other Hindu festivals.

Proper planning to avoid conflicts with dates that our families place importance on can go a long way to increase attendance at unit activities and help to integrate our families into the Scouting family.


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3 Replies to “Avoiding planned-in conflicts”

  1. Every unit Ive been in plans our annual events long before the council publishes their calendar.

  2. Prior to out troops annual PLC calendar planning retreat I create a calendar, using excel, and send to a local printer for them print in booklet form. These are then handed out to the youth leaders during the retreat to help them with the troops calendar planning. We have scouts that attend two different school districts so I get the calendars from both school districts, our district and council and OA lodge. All of the relevant dates are added to the excel calendar, prior to printing, so that when the PLC is looking at dates for various troop activities they have the other information in front of them. Sometimes conflicts cannot be reconciled between all of them but at least the PLC has the information and can make informed decisions. We might not know the exact date of some of the council/district/OA events but they usually happen the same time each year so the PLC can decide if they want to attend or not and just pencil it in for that month. Teaches them that their schedules are not the only ones to consider. The excel template I found also automatically adds national and religious holidays for each year. In addition, the other members of the troop are handed the calendars, at the next troop meeting, and the patrol leaders give them the troop activities the PLC decided on for the next 14 months. Now all the youth have their own calendars that they can use to keep up with troop activities. No more excuse of “I did not know” or “I did not hear”. Also you can say with confidence, to the parents, that they need to talk to their scout as he as all the information concerning the dates of the troops activities.

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