When we think about a patrol leader’s council we form a picture of Scouts sitting around a table talking and making plans but what’s really going on?
The Senior patrol leader is in charge, the patrol leaders are assembled , the scribe is ready, the Scoutmaster is on hand to advise… what happens next? More importantly what’s happened before they all get to the table?
Here’s how you can show your senior patrol leader the planning part of his job – four steps and fifteen minutes of advising:
To make things happen for the troop you need to build four components – structure, content, planning and preparation.
Structure – The framework of your plan. This may be a schedule or something similar. The main framework is our schedule of meetings and outings; the dates and times. There are some sub-components of the framework too like individual meeting plans and the schedule you develop for our outings.
Content – What the Scouts will be doing. It may be cooking or pioneering or how to start a fire. The content fills the structure. Most of the content is pretty simple to find because it’s in the Scout handbook. If the patrol leader’s council want’s to do something new you’ll need to develop the content.
Planning – Once you have the structure and the content sorted out you plan by determining who is going to be responsible for making things happen. It’s a lot like who plays what position on a team.
Preparation – Once the plan is set whoever is responsible for a part of the plan needs to prepare. It’s not good enough to simply know who is going to do what, you also have to assure yourself that they are prepared to do it. Once you have the structure, the content and the plan it’s time to get up from the meeting and prepare.
Is it really that simple? Yes and no. Establishing the idea that there are four distinct components to the idea, that planning and preparation are different (Adults infer that preparation is a part of planning, Scouts don’t) is important. Naturally there are more details as you drill down into the preparation stage (where will this happen?, what will they need?, exactly what will they say and do?) but trying to work on every single detail of the plan at once can be distracting and discouraging for Scouts, step them through the process by asking questions, soon they’ll learn to ask the questions themselves.
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Patrol Leaders Council Infographic as a PDF file