The troop’s plans for each month are reviewed and carried out by the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC).
The patrol leaders’ council plans the yearly troop program at the annual planning conference. It then meets monthly to fine-tune the plans for the upcoming month. The PLC is made up of the senior patrol leader, who presides over the meetings, the assistant senior patrol leader, all patrol leaders, and the troop guide. The troop scribe also attends to take notes and keep the minutes.
The PLC is the troop’s elected and duly appointed governing body. Resting on their shoulders is the planning, preparation, and presentation of the troop’s Scouting program. It’s up to them to see that the promise of Scouting is delivered. Though this might appear to be a daunting proposition, with the proper training, they can gain the required tools and skills needed to run things in a fashion that results in a thriving program benefitting all the members of their troop.
The first thing a really successful patrol leaders’ council needs is a shared vision of how the senior patrol leader and the entire PLC would like their troop to perform and function. How do they want the Scouts to feel and how do they want them to behave? What would this look like? Finally, what do they want to accomplish within the framework of the Scouting program? Once they have a well-defined picture, and how it translates into an ideal meeting, and for that matter, any troop gathering, they can use this as a point of reference to gauge how they are doing and towards what they might need to strive.
In Module 2 during Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST), the PLC explores the significance of communication, planning, and the EDGE method. These are three, essential troop leader tools and skill sets that are needed to ensure the troop runs well. When the PLC has a good handle on these, and a guiding vision on which to base their performance, they’re bound to experience success.
An old adage states,“nothing succeeds like success.” Well-presented and productive PLC meetings lead to positive results. When the troop’s population experiences organized, well-planned meetings and outings that are informative, engaging and fun, one of the outcomes will be a responsive enthusiasm. Born of this enthusiasm is what might appear to be a special magic! The patrol leaders’ council begins to take an enjoyable initiative in planning a Scouting program that rocks! At that juncture, the adult leaders can definitely stand aside and assume their rightful role— assuring the Scouts’ health and safety, and also their compliance with national Scouting guidelines.
In addition to making sure the rules of the BSA are followed and being a good mentor and positive role model, a key role of the Scoutmaster is to make sure the Patrol Leaders’ Council is equipped with the necessary tools and skills so they can run the troop. A strong, well-functioning troop is run by its youth members. In addition to yielding the highest rate of retention, this provides the most fertile grounds for personal growth and leadership development.
For additional information and a further perspective about the Patrol Leaders’ Council, refer to the TROOP LEADER GUIDEBOOK Vol. 1, Page 37