By Darryl Alder
Nov 15, 2014

Using the New “Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews”

troop-program-featuresWe have been waiting for many months now, but it’s here: Volume 1 of Program Features for troops, Teams and Crews—a Guide to Program Planning. This compilation  has sixteen program features divided into six program groups, including these subjects:

  • Outdoor Programs
    –  Camping
    –  Climbing and Rappelling
    –  Geocaching
    –  Hiking
    –  Outdoor Ethics
    –  Paddles Sports
    –  Pioneering
  • Sports Program
    –  Cycling
    –  Rifle Shooting
    –  Snowboarding and
  • Health and Safety Programs
    –  First Aid
    –  Safety
  • Citizenship and Personal Development
    –  Communication
  • Science, Technology,
    Engineering and Math (STEM)
    –  Science
  • Arts and Hobbies
    –  Spectator Sports

Each program feature in the book provides a month’s worth of program ideas troops, teams, crews, ships, or posts, with this content:

  • General Information about the topic
  • Related advancement requirements and awards
  • Games related to the topic (or that are just for fun)
  • Ideas for using EDGE method (Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable) to teach topics
  • Four weeks’ worth of meeting plans
  • Outlines of three main events, (outings that build in length and intensity
  • Print and on-line resources related to the topic, including a list of related program features.

When all three volumes of the program features are complete, there will be 48 covered, enough for four years of monthly programs. But the best part is that the new program features are flexible, and units can customize their own year from the 48 months of activity ideas. Selection is key as youth leaders plan the upcoming year.

There’s also customization within the program features themselves. That’s why meeting plans  come in three levels: green, blue, and black. Skills marked with green circles are essential, those with blue squares are challenging, and the ones with black diamonds are the most advanced.


Another change is the way the program features are divided by volume. Nobody creates a unit calendar alphabetically, but past program features volumes were organized that way. This time they’re mixed up, venturing levelsdeliberately combining outdoors, careers, and hobbies to make each volume more diverse.

Right now thumbing through my copy to understand how it fits into Venturing’s Tier I, II and III levels for the purpose of earning the Discovery and Pathfinder awards. This is what I see:

The green circle/essential fits tier one with its beginner level activities—mostly day long activities for novices.

Venturing’s Tier II matches the the blue square/Challenging level, At this level there is some planning and preparation. Most events will last less than 4 days and need youth to get some prior skill developementl—these activities will be beyond the standard range for most youth

Vol. 1 came out this fall, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 will be released in time for 2015 program planning. The hope is that each of the 48 program plans will be made available digitally so units can download only those they want to use. We will keep you informed once we learn more.

Are your curious what one of these program features will look like? Scouting Magazine offers you two full samples at the First Aid program feature, and the Science program feature (links open PDFs in a new window).

Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. B2Y by FOS FinalSome material in this article comes from BSA STEM Website and the Sam Houston Area Council. We invite you to get social with this article:





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6 thoughts on “Using the New “Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews”

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