- Varsity Scouting, a Tool for the Quorum
- Aims of Scouting and the Varsity Scout Program
- The Captain and the Five Fields of Emphasis
- Making an Annual Plan
- Executing the Annual Plan
- Planning Team Meetings
- Planning Team Events
Team Planning Meetings and Team Meetings
The purpose of this session is to
- Understand the link between an LDS quorum presidency and the planning process
- Demonstrate the reporting and accountability process that takes place in a team planning meeting
- Discover the resource of Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews
- Learn how to help youth leaders present their plans to the group
Once you’ve made an Annual Plan, its easy to turn to any of the 10-12 monthly themes you picked from Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews to make good weekly meetings; these regular meetings are the glue that holds your team together.
The key for LDS units is the quorum presidency meeting, but you must hold them regularly. Presided over by the quorum president, these meetings are planned and directed by the captain. Include any program managers and squad leaders you have and the team’s coach. Make sure youth run the meetings themselves so they can develop leadership.
Build the Agenda and Execute the Planning Meeting With It
- Counsel with the quorum presidency to make sure activities you plan meet priesthood purposes (see Handbook 2 8.1.3). Be sure to consider Duty to God and the Come, Follow Me theme for each month as you discuss spiritual outcomes and reflections for these activities.
- To build the agenda for the monthly planning meetings, consult Program Features. For example:
- see COPE (p. 35-1) (BTW COPE is an acronym for Challenging Outdoor Physical Encounter, or ropes course)
- Use the suggested weekly meeting outlines and main event planner (pp. 35-7 to 35-10) to discover parts of the agenda your team should cover.
- Stick to blue (intermediate tracks) or black (advanced) to push youth beyond their comfort zones.
- This will help them grow through doing hard things, while keeping them interested in healthy, productive activities.
- In the planning meeting, assign all quorum members some part of the meeting or activity
- When planning, the advisor should ask:
- “What outcome do we need from this activity?
- What priesthood purpose can it meet?”
- IE. leadership skills, activation, fellowship, etc.
At weekly presidency meeting
- Refine the details for the next activity or meeting.
- Ask assigned quorum members to return and report progress
Hold the meeting or activity
Varsity Scout teams should get together every week for a meeting, an activity, or a combination of the two. Meetings should occur at the same time every week so that boys and their families can schedule efficiently; however, if a team has a campout or other weekend activity, the team leaders may sometimes decide to cancel a meeting that week or the next.
A team meeting consists of a business event and one or more elective events such as rock climbing, camping, and cross-country skiing. An exciting portion of each meeting is the skills instruction that prepares Varsity Scouts for challenging team activities based on a program feature.
- In the business portion, announcements are made and necessary information is gathered for planning by each of the program managers.
- Instruction that will help the team prepare for an upcoming activity, improve its skill levels, carry out safety training, or lead to advancement. Instruction can be carried out by program managers or specialists who have been invited to contribute their expertise.
- A contest or game (though not always the same one).
Youth leaders conduct team meetings, but the quorum presidency needs to preside. Quorum members take ownership and lead parts of the plan as assigned. A standard outline for most team meetings looks like this:
After the meeting or activity, review the meeting and reflect by asking:
- “What should we start doing that will make things better?
- “What should we stop doing because it isn’t helping?”
- “What is working well that we want to continue doing?”
- Did we meet the priesthood purpose and other objectives?
- Can we find meaning in this meeting or activity related to this month’s Come, Follow Me theme?
- Did we accomplish any parts of the Duty to God program for our quorum?
Implementing Leadership through Team Meetings
Team meetings serve many purposes, including the following:
- Motivating members
- Strengthening squads
- Exchanging information
- Promoting team spirit
- Learning and practicing Scouting skills
- Exercising leadership
However, of all the purposes, learning and practicing leadership should be foremost. Varsity Scouts should take major roles in planning, conducting, and assessing the success of team meetings. Leadership is a skill that Scouts can learn only by leading, and team meetings serve as regular occasions for that to happen.Except for the Coach’s Corner during the closing, each section of a team meeting is the responsibility of the Varsity Scouts themselves. With the guidance of the coach, team meetings are planned well in advance by the captain, the program managers, and squad leaders. The captain may assign squads or individuals to take care of various sections of a meeting, giving as many Scouts as possible the opportunity to contribute.The Varsity Scout Team Meeting Plan Worksheet provides the framework for efficient, well-run meetings. Well-run Varsity Scout business and activities meetings will keep your Varsity Scouts coming out every week. Learning to to use those activities to build leadership skills is part of our next post: Planning Events.
Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. He served as a Team Coach in the early days of Varsity Scouting.