Unit Program Planning - The key to successful Scouting!

Why An Annual Plan?

Planning is the first step to a successful pack or troop program. "Planning" means that a group of people from your unit "think" about general flow, themes and activities before the start of the program year.

The two key factors are 1) involving the right individuals in the planning process (those who will be carrying out the activities) and 2) holding your annual unit planning meeting before the school year begins.

How To Plan

At your Annual Planning Meeting, your key leaders will want to follow the following format:

  • 1st - Consider the specific needs of your unit
  • 2nd - Review your resources
  • 3rd - Plan your own unit's calendar of events & activities

Consider Specific Needs Of Your Unit

Using a large piece of newsprint and felt pens (or a whiteboard), your adult committee needs to brainstorm and reach consensus on the following questions:

  1. What were the activities we did last year that we want to repeat? Why?
  2. What were some of the mistakes and problems from last year that we do not want to repeat?
  3. What new themes or activities do we want to incorporate into next year's program?
  4. What are the special needs of our pack or troop? Advancement? Fundraising? Membership? Tenure? Parental Help?
  5. How can we meet these needs?

Review Your Resources

Resources come in many forms. Listed below are resources available to every pack, troop, team, crew and post in our Council. They can help your unit accomplish the objectives you've established based on your needs. Many needs can be met with these resources. A few will require "creative resource search."

The Council Calendar!
The Council planning calendar is a great tool as you plan your own unit calendar. Look for district and council events, campouts, and activities that you can integrate into your successful program.

Fall and Spring Round-Up:
Your unit's membership chairman, with the assistance of your district executive and district volunteer leaders, recruits boys and adult membership out of the schools, churches and other boy centers in your area.

Training Courses:
A variety of high quality training courses are available to your adult leadership during the year. Basic training for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts is a must for all adult leadership. Additional courses such as Cub Scout Pow Wow and Wood Badge will help enhance your skill and improve your unit's program. Junior leader training for Boy Scouts will also help to build leadership in the troop and in the future.

District Roundtables:
Held once a month, the pack and troop leaders in your district gather to discuss the following month's Program Helps, share helpful ideas, and plan their own events and activities.

Council and District Activities:
Note the variety of activities your council and district organizes for you … District Camporees, Scouting for Food Drives, Scout Fair, Fun with Son, Family Camp, and Aquatics Clinics to name just a few. Work these events into your unit calendar.

All units must re-register their youth and adult membership at the end of the year. Rechartering workshops are in each district to assist you with these procedures.

Friends of Scouting Campaign (FOS):
Kicking off each fall, FOS provides the Council with the financial resources to provide Scouting to over 30,000 youth. The objective of the Family FOS Campaign is to give every family in Scouting the opportunity to make their commitment to our important programs through a financial gift.

Summer Camps:
Cub Day camp, Cub and Webelos Resident Camp, and Boy Scout summer camp provide a yearly highlight for many packs and troops and give Scouts the outdoor experience of a lifetime!

Council and District Dinners:
Recognize key leaders in units, district and the Council. These events help to say thank you to the many supporters of Scouting.

Program Helps:
This resource gives your unit ideas for monthly themes and activities (skills, games, crafts, and ceremonies).

Boy's Life Magazine:
This monthly resource is the best reading you and your Scouts could ask for at an unbeatable price. It supports unit programs in countless ways.

These two publications are filled with resources to develop a successful pack, troop, team and post program.

People - Your Most Valuable Asset!
Parents, neighbors, commissioners, the district committee and community leadership are your more valuable Scouting asset.

Plan Your Own Unit's Calendar

You've identified needs and reviewed resources that will help you fill those needs. Now, what do you want to do and when? Before completing this last step in the planning process, your group needs to feel comfortable with step #1 (the needs of your unit) and step #2 (resources available). Planning your calendar will be a natural result of going through these previous steps.

Materials You Will Need

  1. Planning kit materials (Council Calendar, Guide to Safe Scouting, Unit Program Planning Helps, Journey To Excellence Unit Application, Council Popcorn Sale Promotion and Commitment Card)
  2. Calendars of local activities (personal calendars, community calendars, school calendars, etc.)
  3. Supplies (large newsprint paper, felt-tip pens, blank paper, pens, masking tape)

The enthusiasm of key leaders, committee members and parents!