By Utah National Parks Council
Nov 06, 2015

Scoutmaster Training Part 3: Annual Planning

This is session 3 of 6 in the Scoutmaster Training Course. This course was designed to guide you through your first several weeks of being a Scoutmaster and on to a successful and fulfilling time as an influential mentor of young men. After completing these 6 sessions and the Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Course, you will be considered a TRAINED leader.

Other sessions of this training include (please go in order):

Not new to Scouting? That’s okay, this course can be a great refresher for even a seasoned Scoutmaster. Let’s get started.

This third part of the scoutmaster training includes the following:

Annual Troop Program Planning (possibly text instead of video)

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

Troop Program Features

Program FeaturesThe BSA’s mission is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.” There is nothing in the mission statement about meetings, outings, and other activities. But without these activities and annual planning, Scouting could never accomplish its mission. The goal of Program Features for Troops, Teams, and Crews, a guide to Scouting activities, is to make that planning a little easier for you.

Each of the 48 program features in the three-volume guide gives suggestions for a month’s worth of activities. That’s four full years of suggested programming. While your unit may not use the material exactly as presented, it offers a launching point for you and your Scouts to plan exciting programs that will keep boys coming back, lead to advancement and personal growth, and help you achieve Scouting’s mission. You can find the program features manual at your local Scout shop or purchase it online.

The Program Features also offer a unique opportunity for you to incorporate religious principles and the Come, Follow Me curriculum into your Scouting activities. Like Come, Follow Me, these program features give you a theme for the entire month’s activities. As you plan each month’s meetings, think about how those activities can relate to, support, and illustrate the principles your boys are learning on Sundays. For some examples on how to do this in your troop, read our articles “Strengthen Your Troop, Strengthen Your Deacon Quorum” and “Using the New Program Features in Your Troop (and Deacons Quorum).” As you tie the program features and religious principles together, your boys will gain testimonies, fulfill their church callings, and prepare to be strong men, missionaries, and fathers.

How to Plan Your First Outing Part 1

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

How to Plan Your First Outing Part 2

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

Managing Communication With Parents/Leaders/Ward

One of the top issues that you will run into as a Scoutmaster is coordinating with everyone who may present a conflict in your Scouts’ schedule. The way to avoid these issues is simply prompt consistent communication.

parents and scoutingTimely and consistent communication will:

  • Increase involvement from parents and ward/stake leaders
  • Increase support for the Boy Scouting program in general
  • Increase number of Scouts participating
  • Decrease Scout absence from activities
  • Decrease issues with missing paperwork/equipment/proper planning
  • Decrease complaints from parents and ward/stake leaders
  • In short…Make your life easier!

Let’s start with parents. Parents, wherever they fall on the spectrum of involvement with their son’s Scouting, need to be upraised of everything and anything from event dates, required supplies, their Scout’s advancement requirements, their Scout’s behavior, etc. Here are a couple of ways you can communicate with parents.

NOTE: This sort of outside communication is something that could be delegated to the troop committee.

  • Parent’s Meeting: This is a once or twice year meeting, usually at the beginning of the calendar year or beginning of the summer, to discuss with parents your troop’s annual plan, answer questions, discuss needs, etc. You might also use this time to tell them about summer camp plans, or help them gain a testimony of Scouting, or perhaps talk with them individually about their son’s Scouting experience.
  • Troop Social Media Page or Website: Setting up a Troop Facebook page and inviting parents to it can be a great way of communicating with them quickly. Also It’s a great way of showing off what the Scouts have been doing so that the parent can encourage their son to attend. This site can be assigned to one of the Scouts to maintain and teach a valuable leadership skill.
  • Email: Make sure you have all the contact information for parents, especially their email. Monthly, or weekly updates can be helpful to keep parents in the loop.
  • Flyer/Sheet: While most parents of Scouts these days should be fairly used to working digitally, it may still be nice to have visual hard copies for parents to put on the fridge as reminders.

These same techniques can be used to communicate with ward and stake leaders. Some of these people you will need to communicate with are:

  • Other Ward Scout Leaders: The Cub Scouts, Varsity Scouts and Venturing Scouts should all know what your plans are for the year, you may also want to involve them in planning to do combined events.
  • Ward Young Women: Many times there are opportunities for combined activities with the young women. Make sure these are planned in advance together.
  • Bishop/COR: Both your bishop and COR will be concerned with the activities of your young men. By including him in your communications gives him more opportunity to be your advocate and support.
  • Stake Young Men Presidency (Unit Commissioner): These men are a part of your support team and part of Scouting leadership in the District. By communicating with them, they can be a better support and relay your needs to the District and Council.

The effort you take to communicate with all parties involved with Scouting will be enormously beneficial to you and your cause. Be open and share what your Scouts are doing!

Why Scouting Matters: Pillar 3 – Mission Prep

Pillar 3 – Be prepared to go on a mission and teach others by preparing through the Scouting program as the activity arm of the priesthood.

Watch the  following video centered on the third pillar – Mission Prep.

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

End of Session 3

Congratulations! You have completed the third session of the Scoutmaster Training Course.

Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions about this course.

Continue to the next session  → Continued Training and Safety

Review Previous Sessions:

Scoutmaster Training Part 1: Getting Started

Scoutmaster Training Part 2: The Patrol Method

PrintNOTE: This course was designed for volunteers in the Utah National Parks Council and is authorized as a substitute for the Scoutmaster Leader-specific Training requirement within it’s borders. Those outside of the Utah National Parks Council seeking to receive credit for this course should contact their local council service center.

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