Monday, February 28, 2011

Program Planning

My assistant and I put together our plan for the year over this last weekend. The process went incredibly smooth and I thought I'd share it with others; and also write it down before I forget.




  1. Start by creating a line item for each of your weekly meetings. You should have 52 lines. Just put the dates for now. The contents will come later.

  2. Block off holidays/spouse's birthday/anniversaries. Very important not to schedule something on your wife's birthday! Trust me... I know...

  3. Check the council and district calendars for special activities you wish to attend. Mark the dates.

  4. Insert line items for any campouts/Saturday activities. You should have a non-meeting activity of some sort every month. The only one I don't do is December just because it gets crazy to schedule something around that time.

  5. Block the two meetings prior to any campout for campout prep. This is how I use the two meetings.

    • Campout Prep (F4a, F4c, F4d)

    • Purchase food for campout (F4b)


    Yes, we go as a group to purchase food. I turn it into a learning experience and I verify that it's done properly.

  6. Slot in any special meetings that need to happen prior to a specific activity. For example, if you're going to go rock-climbing maybe you want to spend the preceeding meeting discussing safety procedures, commands, knots, etc.

  7. Determine your normal meeting rotation. This may take you some practice/experience to figure out, but document it once you have it. Here is mine, just for reference (or if you want to use it):

    • Scout Rank requirements (J4, J5, J6, J7, J8, T7)

    • Patrol officers election; Patrol flag creation; Fitness Test (T8, T10a)

    • Tenderfoot knots (T4a, T4b, T4c)

    • Hiking safety; Buddy system; Poisonous plants (T5, T9, T11)

    • Tenderfoot first aid (T12a, T12b)

    • Flag ceremonies; Flag etiquette; Fitness test (T6, T10b, S4)

    • Animal identification; Safe swim defense (S6, S8a)

    • Totin' Chip (S3c, S3d)

    • Basic orienteering; Map symbols (S1a)

    • Second Class first aid (S7a, S7b, S7c)

    • Fireman Chit; Leave No Trace (S2, S3e, S3f)

    • Personal safety and protection; Internet use and cyberbullies (S9b, F11)

    • Swimming Activity (S8b, S8c, F9b, F9c) - a Saturday activity

    • Direction finding; Compass course (F1, F2)

    • Plant identification; Safety afloat (F6, F9a)

    • First Class first aid (F8b, F8c, F8d)

    • Lashings (F7a, F7b, F8a)

    • Constitutional rights and obligations (F5)



  8. Start slotting in your standard meeting rotation into the open meeting slots.

  9. If you have a nice open block (frequently at the end of the year) put in something fun or different. For example, this time we had a four meeting block open at the end of the year. My assistant is going to come up with a list of appropriate merit badges he can teach and let the Scouts pick which one they want to do.

  10. Check the Ward and Stake calendars to make certain you aren't conflicting with a Ward or Stake event you or your Scouts are supposed to attend.

  11. Verify all special activity dates with your spouse to make certain you haven't double-booked with some family activity. Rework the calendar if you have. Family comes first.

  12. Print and distribute the final copy to all leaders and parents.


Following this method for planning made our planning session go the smoothest it ever has. We were both stoked at how quickly we were able to knock out a full year's plan. Now it's just time to execute!

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas, I really like the idea of printing out the calendar to give to the parents. That should help the kids who need help with specific requirements to show up when they need them.

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