Annual Planning Conference: Step by Step

Step 1: The senior patrol leader leads a discussion on the unit’s goals for the coming year. Write the goals on a flip chart or eraser board, and agree to that list of goals.

Step 2: The senior patrol leader shares with the rest of the meeting attendees the printed draft of the calendar that shows the dates researched (or review the dates listed on poster-size calendars around the room) and events planned. They ask if anyone has other dates and events to add.

Step 3: A few minutes are taken to discuss these dates and events. Once all feel comfortable with this stage of the calendar, a vote might be taken to approve the dates and activities listed so far.

Step 4: The senior patrol leader shares updates from members about what they want to do. This exercise can be the most challenging in the program planning conference, so take as much time as is needed. The program features could be used as a foundation for the group’s desired programs or themes. You might take it one month at a time. Don’t forget to include advancement opportunities.

The flow of the program is up to you and could be driven by your goals. As an example, if one of your goals is for the troop to take a wilderness trip to Alaska, some of the programs could focus on traveling to Alaska, wilderness survival, trip planning, wilderness first aid, and van safety.

Again, as the group agrees on a monthly feature or program theme, write it on a flip chart or board and take a vote. Someone is designated to record all this on a master calendar, and take good notes!

Step 5: Add other important dates such as:

  • Unit meetings and leadership meetings
  • Boards of review
  • Courts of honor
  • Elections
  • Open house
  • Service projects
  • Webelos Scout joint outings and transition ceremonies
  • Any other activities that can be scheduled this far in advance (for example, fundraising events)

Step 6: Hold a final discussion on the plan, calendar, and goals, and then take a vote for approval. Once youth members approve the annual plan, it will go to the unit committee for final approval. Work with the chartered organization representative to make any facilities reservations at the chartered organization. As soon as possible, begin making campsite reservations for the dates and locations selected.

Step 7: To make this plan a truly valuable tool, it must be shared with each unit family, the chartered organization, and all other interested parties. The unit must follow its plan, share it with everyone, and review it regularly to see if modifications are needed.

After the Planning Conference

  • Prepare the calendar in an easy-to-use format for distribution. Here are some features to consider:
  • Include as much detail as possible, including meeting start and end times.
  • Indicate when regular meetings won’t be held or will be held at different times.
  • Color-code events for easy reference. For example, you might use blue for unit meetings and outings, green for meetings that don’t affect all members (such as patrol leaders’ council, unit committee, boards of review), red for special notices (such as meeting cancellations), and black for external events (such as national Scout jamborees, roundtables, and training courses).
  • Add a revision date at the bottom of every page. If the calendar must be updated later, change the revision date and highlight the changes.
  • Distribute copies of the final plan to youth members and their families, adult leaders, members of the unit committee, and representatives of the chartered organization. Be sure to include Cub Scout pack leaders, the unit commissioner and district executive, and the chartered organization’s leader, secretary, and facilities manager. Also be sure to post the calendar on the unit website and at the meeting place.

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Annual Planning PLC Meeting Meeting Agenda SPL/SM Conference Program Features