It was a dark and stormy night.
OK, not really. It’s more like a dark and boring night.
It is a night for plotting and planning. Everyone has to have goals. Without some kind of plan a person will just randomly go from task to task and never get anything accomplished. Well that’s the way it works for me at least.
The same might be said for an organization.
Seeing as how I am up while most sane people are sleeping I figured I could entertain myself by coming up with a plan. Not a concrete order of things to do, more like a list of goals to work towards.
Will it provide me with focus and fill me with determination?
More likely it will be something to look back on in a couple months and mock myself for.
Be warned… after this line there be dragons.
Ok, actually there are no dragons, but there is a whole lot of me trying to organize my thoughts by writing them down. I am not going to attempt to be funny, I am not going to attempt to entertain, I am simply going to put down what I am thinking.
If it somehow does not ring true when I write it then I need to find the problem and fix it before it hurts someone.
If you just hit “mark as read” at this point I will totally understand.
Ok, back to the topic at hand.
I attended a ceremony over this past weekend that confirmed three of our most seasoned scouts with their Eagle Scout advancement. That was the last activity where I was an assistant, as of the next get together I will be taking the reins as Scoutmaster.
One of the things that I will be helping to do is to come up with a plan. Actually it is one of the most important things I will do.
Scouting not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
Never leave on a journey with an idea where your going, you’ll just end up lost.
Depending on just how detailed you want to be a plan can be anything from horribly confining rigid to more of a “lets wing it” type thing.
I have had some success with winging it over the years, however I think things would go a bit better with an actual plan. Yes it needs wiggle room, but just kinda winging it is unfair to the kids.
Actually I am thinking of having three plans, all interlocking at different times. Each individual scout should also have a plan. Nothing to detailed, but more of a to do list kind of thing.
Now I am really new to this. I have been a leader with the cub scouts for years, but it is an entirely different approach. Once they make the transition from Cub scouts to Boy scouts it becomes much more of a scout run organization. At any rate, no one can get anywhere if we don’t know where we are going.
Here is what I am thinking of bring up at the leaders meeting we are soon to have.
- Long term plan. Set a goal, a special trip of some sort that will require extra effort to attend. Set this for (based on the ages of the scouts we are working with) perhaps two to three years into the future.
There are many great opportunities within scouting that support this. For instance several years ago this same troop spent a week touring the Caribbean as crew members of a sailboat run by the BSA.
Something like this will give them (and the adult leaders) a framework to work within as we plan other activities. It would also teach the boys the value of planning, training, and working towards a long term goal. This is an especially important lesson in this day of instant gratification.
- Mid-range goals. Those are really what this meeting is about. Within the framework of the long term goal we will need to set up annual goals. There is a lot that goes on each and every year that needs to be planned for, while staying flexible enough to still be able to allow the boys to do a good bit of the planning.
This will be the real meat of the plan. Where do we want to be a year from now? What has to happen to get us there? How many trips can we reasonably take this year? What opportunities are available to us? We need to narrow some of this down so that we have something to present to the scouts and their parents when meetings start back up next month.
Yes, in an ideal world the scouts would be doing all (or most) of the planning themselves. However the three boys that I mentioned as getting Eagle Scout earlier on in this post area all now over eighteen and all are going away to college. We have two older boys that are coming back (14-15 year olds) and the bulk of our troop is made up of first and second year scouts.
That is one of the major reasons I am thinking of putting the long term special trip at two to three years out. It is still soon enough that the older scouts will be able to attend before becoming adults and losing their chance, while it also gives time for the younger boys to mature and develop the skills needed for something like this.
- Short term goals. What are we doing this month? This meeting? Is there something coming up that needs prepared for? Who is going to be doing what and when?
This is where having a mid-range plan comes in. Most of these questions will already be answered by it. This will boil down to the “what are we going to do today” type thing. Very flexible, but still a plan.
As I was writing this I realised that while there is most definitely a need to have an overall plan of where we want to go as an organization there is one more thing that need some planning not covered by them.
each of the boys is an individual, and as such deserves an individual plan. Particularly when it comes to working towards their merit badges and rank advancements. That however, is not something that I want to do more than touch on at the leaders meeting. That is something that we should work on with each scout as an individual.
So, there is my random stream of thoughts on the subject.
Four plans, all intertwined. All working together to aim the group towards a long term goal, while still maintaining the flexibility to be able to take advantages of opportunities as they occur.
Yes I would like them to learn as they make their trip through scouting.
Yes I would like it to be fun. After all, if it’s not fun no one will want to be there.
I suppose I’ll bounce this off the other leaders in a few weeks and see what their thoughts are.
If you have stuck this rambling wall ‘o text out to the end, thank you.
If you see any holes in what I am thinking, or you have any ideas that might help, please let me know. This post is more about trying to organize myself than it is a declaration of what must happen.
In a way I am trying to plan out the way to make the plan =)