In Scouting, failing to have a plan B is planning to fail

scoutcast-logo1As Scouts and Scouters, we’re prepared for the unexpected emergency during an event or activity. But what about the possibility that the event might not happen at all?

That’s why having a plan B (and even a C or D) is important. When you fail to have a plan B — well, you know the rest.

The importance of a backup plan was on the mind of Bill Adams when he joined us for the December 2015 ScoutCast.

In his 30 years as a Scouting volunteer in Michigan, Adams has had a plan A or two that didn’t turn out as designed. Go figure!

Adams offers this advice:

Why a plan B? Why not just give up?

Because we’re helping prepare them for real life, where things don’t always go as planned.

“As an adult leader in Scouting, that’s part of our responsibility to help these boys provide their own program,” he says. “So, we want them to have a plan B so they don’t get discouraged with it and just say, ‘Well, why bother?'”

How do you get Scouts to come up with their own backup plan?

“When they’re in their planning stages, that’s where we put on our facilitator hat, and we just throw out, ‘Hey, guys, what if … ?’ Adams says. “Just to get them thinking.”

Does the plan B have to be as ‘impressive’ as the plan A?

No way, Adams says.

“You could be planning a wilderness survival campout, and for a back-up, you go to a local museum instead that features outdoor displays,” he says.

What’s the adult leader’s role when plan A goes south?

“As the adult leaders we, basically, have to act as facilitators in that we don’t panic,” he says. “We don’t throw our hands up and say, ‘Well, fine, we’ll just call it quits on this one. Maybe we’ll do something later.’ We have to try our best as well to be prepared and make the boys prepared to continue with something, not just give up and be done with it.”

There’s more to the story

Listen to our full discussion with Bill Adams in the December 2015 edition of ScoutCast, available to hear here and read here.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.