By Stewart Schow
Mar 23, 2017

Varsity Scout Leaders Day Book Day 21: The power of planning (Planning vs Execution)

TASK: Learn how to use planning as a leadership tool for your youth leaders so that you can let them lead


As an adult leader of youth, you need to understand why youth need to plan and execute that plan.   In article from the October 2015 New Era Mike Madsen wrote this:

“Did you know that youth your age have been called as leaders since the beginning of time? The scriptures are full of examples of the Lord trusting His sacred work to young people. He spoke to the boy Samuel (see 1 Samuel 3:11–14), and He strengthened David to accomplish mighty things while but “a youth” (1 Samuel 17:33). Mormon was only 10 when he was called upon to keep the sacred records of the Nephites, and he was 15 when asked to lead the Nephite armies (see Mormon 1:2–4; 2:1–2).

Mary, Esther, and Rebecca were all young when called by Heavenly Father to do great things. Joseph Smith was 14 when he received his call to restore the gospel once again on earth.

Just like those youth, you can do extraordinary things—and you have more potential than you might realize. Quorum presidents hold sacred priesthood keys. Both quorum presidencies and Young Women class presidencies exercise priesthood authority to fulfill the sacred duties of these callings.” (Madsen, 2015)

As a Coach you need to understand that it is the planning process leading up to an activity that produces the most value in training the youth to take charge of things. This makes the importance of seeing the activity as a means to the real goal of leadership growth is to be emphasized.  

While discussing this aspect of using planning as the training for leadership the following story came to light. “A Senior Patrol Leaders (Deacon’s Quorum President) had attend National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) during the summer. After returning to his home assignment he felt that he needed to do some work with his Troop (Quorum).   Working with his Scoutmaster (Quorum Advisor) a meeting time was schedule and plans were put in place for the Troop Leaders Council (Presidency Meeting). The day arrived and the appointed hour when the meeting was to start. The advisor was delayed in reaching the meeting place. The Senior Patrol understand his role began the meeting and pertinent discussion. He proceed with his authority and mantle clear in his mind. Sometime later when the Scoutmaster (Adult Advisor) arrived at the meeting site. He became upset that the meeting had proceed without him. He questioned “How could this happen without him?”

Adult leaders need to know how to teach and step aside when the youth are prepared. Adults need to know not to step in unless safety becomes an issue. Only make corrections after the activity is underway in private and let the youth come up with the time to make an adjustment.

Make sure and use the planning tools that are available to your unit. See the Appendix of the Varsity Scout Guide book pages A-3 and A-4. Use the Youth Activities Planner at www.lds.org/youth/activities. Take the time to be familiar with these tools. And look for ways to make sure that your youth are the actual leader at each activity.


This weekly blog series will help any new Varsity Scout leader get well trained in 90 days using this unique program that serves Teacher-aged young men:

MOnth one

Week 1 Week 2
Week 3  Week 4
  • Day 22: Stop-Start-Continue
  • Day 23: Information Resources
  • Day 24: Leave no Trace
  • Day 25: Safety Certifications
  • Day 26: The Yearly Planning Event
  • Day 27: Unfolding the Yearly Plan
  • Day 28: Whole System Review

Stewart Schow
Author: Stewart Schow  | Utah National Parks Council Varsity Scout Committee Chairman

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