How does your troop program planning go?
Some troops take last year’s calendar and just copy it, doing the same things each month. Others get together, rack their brains to think of new things to do but generally keep some key activities from year to year and rotate a couple other activities in and out. But a troop that keeps and holds the interest and involvement of the youth is one that plans a variety of things at troop meetings and on monthly campouts.
In participating in boards of review over the years, one of the things I heard most often is that the program is stale and boring, and this was borne out by attendance and participation levels. Sure, the Scouts have their favorite activities, but when they go to the effort to try something new and different, the tables turn and the Scouts are interested again.
The Boy Scouts of America has provided troops with planning tools for many years. More-experienced Scouters will remember Woods Wisdom, a collection of program plans for Scoutmasters to use in helping their Scouts plan their program. The one we’ve been using for several years now is Troop Program Features, which had 36 monthly plans.
With next year’s changes to the program coming, the Member Experience team felt it was time for an overhaul, so the latest series is rolling out starting this month. Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews was written with the youth in mind. It’s meant for the Scouts – not the Scoutmaster – to use. Each of the three planned volumes (the first is out now) has sixteen themes across six broad categories, so troops can start using them immediately. You can read more in this blog post at Scouting Magazine.
Going it alone when planning a troop program risks losing the interest and involvement of the youth, drifting away from Scouting’s ideals and impeding advancement and enjoyment. Using a resource like Program Features is one way for your Scouts to guide their program onto the right track and maximize fun and engagement.