When I came to Elsie Roy, there wasn’t really a three year plan in place as the out going Akela didn’t know how long they would be able to stay as the Akela. They had a focus on Community and creating a culture while exploring the outdoors. Aside from that, I got to start from a clean slate.
Given this was my third time, I was hesitant on working on a path for the Cubs to venture on when I had only met them once and didn’t really have a feel for them or what their interests were. Alas, I had to get a few things prepared for the start of the year so I wouldn’t be showing up empty handed.
Enter Red Fang. They had completed their Islamic Religion in Life Award, the first badge I had the honour of presenting on the first night’s meeting! That got me thinking, continue with the theme of Community that the Cubs had been working on and mix in the Purple Star.
Not a hard combination and by far not a boring one. Throw in a few elements of camping, adventure and creativity and we were set!
From here, it was all about reviewing the Program Quality Standards and starting to write things out.
What was my three year plan? Have my first years all eligible to achieve their 6 Star Award (despite the Program Revitalization, there’s no concrete roll out date and not enough information for me to assess when the change over will happen. Till more information is available, this is my current 3 year plan).
What’s the year end goal? Have as many youth eligible for their Blue and Purple Star and related Awards. I also planned to have engaging events with the Vancouver Mounted Unit or Dog Squad, a trip to the University of British Columbia’s Longhouse and library, with hopes of also completing 3 camps.
What’s the 3 month plan? Well, you’d have to see my planning sheets(will not be shared because of Child and Youth Safety concerns) for that one.
Youth involvement? Six Council, regular inquiries and listening to what the Cubs are saying. During the first evening we compiled a list of activities the youth wanted to do and incorporated them accordingly.
Normally I print off the year’s calendar and fill it up with things I know are going to happen. Holidays, Pro-D days, Council events, Area events, group events, fundraisers, and other Scouting events like B-P Week. From there, I mark the half-way point in the program for when I should have completed at least 50% of my year’s goals with the Cubs.
On a separate sheet of paper, I write out program ideas and how to incorporate what the Cubs want to do. On the same sheet I scribble badges that can be married with the program ideas. Normally, I end up with 5 extra meetings following this method. The last and final step, is slotting the programs into meeting nights and camps, subject to be revised based upon new ideas or a different direction.
After planning and doing, it’s important to review how the night went with your leadership. Maybe you find that you need to do more burn-offs or that the Cubs didn’t quite get into your craft. Maybe when you were demonstrating knife safety, the Cubs weren’t fully engaged and not quite ready to try whittling yet. Making minor adjustments to your program keeps it fresh and fun for not just the Cubs, but also the Leadership.
Typically, I plan far out to make sure I get different people scheduled and can adjust accordingly if someone isn’t available. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a meeting and having 90 minutes of unplanned program to fill.
This is how I plan, and it’s not too far away from what a lot of other leadership teams do. However, it is only one way to plan with cubs, and there are literally millions of cub scouts out there in the world and they have different ideas, so I want to hear your ideas and suggestions!