I spoke to the Committee Chair about the annual planning meeting coming up for the pack and it looks like we are a little unprepared. I don’t know about other units out there, but it seems like there is a dearth of communication from the outgoing leader to the incoming leader and it is common in our district for each new leader to have to go through a period of “figuring it out”. Sure they go through the classes and online lessons, but there is so much information out there, that really what is needed is a “Pack Leader Handbook” that details out the administrative stuff that is unique to a particular unit.
So anyhow, we don’t have that, so we have to use what we have. My suggestion to him was to be familiar with the pertinent documents and have them on hand.
Cub Scout Leader Book – This a wealth of information that is rarely discovered because the book is a daunting 328 pages. But section 24-4 (pp 172 – 173) detail out a lot of what needs to be done for the Annual Planning.
The biggest problem with the planning conference is the preparation. Who has time? There’s a lot of scheduling and coordination needed to do this correctly, so really you have to start this early in the year, my suggestion is that next year we start looking at this after Blue and Gold.
Also, Boy’s Life publishes a bunch of planning tools that our Council doesn’t promote, but they can be a big help. I keep an eye on the www.scout-wire.org website, it tells me when the tools are available each year and then I note the item codes and order them through my Council service center.
The items that I find most valuable are:
Pack Program Planning Chart (331-017) – This is a great wall chart that you can have available as a visible. I have also created a spreadsheet with the same information so that I can keep everything organized. Custom Spreadsheet
Annual Planning Calendar(331-011) – You can purchase this or download it.
National Den Award This is just the form with the requirements for the form. Every den should aspire to reach these goals, so plan early to earn it.
National Summertime Pack Award– We don’t have a formal program during the summer, this helps keep the Pack organized.
Journey to Excellence Pack Award – We shoot for the Gold Award and plan accordingly.
Detailed Meeting Plans for Each Rank – What a great resource this is. We print out the Meeting Plan Worksheet for each rank for this meeting and each Den Leader has the detailed plans.
Go See Its – Every year a new Tiger Den Leader has to come up with ideas for the Go See Its, this year we are going to detail out the trips that have been successful in the past for the following Tiger Rank as well as the field trips that the Wolves and Bears take during the year.
Another great document to help understand this process is Annual Program Planning found on cubroundtable.com. It formalizes the process a great deal and provides a lot of insight.
Hopefully the growing pains that we experience this year will not be repeated next year. I have a plan anyways.