My son JD is the new Senior Patrol Leader for our troop. He is currently putting his leadership team together. Then they will have to dive right into program planning. One thing which can help with this is the BSA troop program features.
If the youth leadership for your Scouts BSA Troop hasn’t looked into these, I suggest you make them aware of them. You can find the program helps for these features on the BSA website.
Volume 1 starts out with a section about program planning which is very helpful and is geared to the Scoutmaster and the youth leadership, to teach them how the planning process is supposed to work. I think some people might say that Step 1 should be more carried out by the SPL than the Scoutmaster, but this is straight from BSA.
Want to learn more about working with youth leadership? This is a great book to help:
A Scout Leader’s Guide to Youth Leadership Training: Working the Patrol Method
Read My Review of this book
This first section breaks the planning process into several steps :
Do your homework – The Scoutmaster finds out about important council and district calendar dates, making a list of available resources, reviewing scout advancement, making a list of possible goals, and thinking about what program features the troop could feasibly do. The Scoutmaster is then supposed to go to the troop committee to review what he or she has put together. Then the Scoutmaster meets with the SPL and ASPL to communicate the information he or she has gathered.
Get Patrol Input – The SPL and ASPL take charge of planning with the patrol leaders.
Annual Program Planning Conference – The SPL and ASPL, under the guidance of the Scoutmaster, lay out a long term plan for the troop. The BSA document includes a sample agenda and some forms to help out. So if the Scouters and youth leadership in your troop are not familiar with these documents, I suggest you check them out.