Scout Planning Worksheet is a new tool to help Scouts perfect planning skills

When planning an Eagle Scout service project, you have to identify a goal, recruit a team, plan transportation, purchase materials, consider safety and plot each step.

It’s a lot of work.

So much, in fact, that in an ideal world the Eagle project wouldn’t be a Scout’s first experience with formal, documented project planning.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the ideal world.

The BSA has released the Scout Planning Worksheet, a new tool that Scouts can use to plan patrol or troop activities. The goal is to build project-planning prowess that will benefit Scouts in their Eagle project, at school and in life.

The worksheet — created by volunteer Jeff Goldsmith, his professional counterpart Garfield Murden and other BSA volunteers — is available here as a free fillable PDF.

Why a Scout Planning Worksheet

A team of Boy Scout committee members agreed that it would be a good idea if a boy had some specific planning experience prior to his Eagle Scout service project.

After a comprehensive review of Boy Scout literature, the team realized that nothing already existed to fill this need.

The goal was to give a boy familiarity with the planning process throughout his Scouting experience.

And so the Scout Planning Worksheet (No. 512-505) was born. If used properly, planning a big project will be second nature by the time a boy reaches Life Scout.

The idea is that repetition is important to developing and honing any skills.

Project-planning skills will trickle up from the patrol to the troop. Eventually, a senior patrol leader could use the Scout Planning Worksheet to plan troop activities.

Soon it becomes second nature and thus, over time, standard practice for a Scout. The benefits reach beyond Scouting. The skill applies to school assignments, family events and careers.

Where to find the Scout Planning Worksheet

It’s available here as a free PDF.

It will be integrated into the updated Senior Patrol Leaders Handbook, out soon, and will be included in Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST) and other appropriate Boy Scout literature as those come up for review.

40 Comments

  1. I cannot believe that the most recent change to member ships is not being addressed. What I am extremely upset about is the lack of leadership from the National HQ over this.

    I have monitored the social media sites for the BSA and everytime a negative comment is posted it gets removed.

    Rather than allowing member to discuss the matter, a purposeful effort to censor any commentary on this matter..That is wrong and not the scout way..Trustworthy? Kind? Loyal?

  2. what is so unique about this “NEW PLANNING WORKSHEET” than those which proceeded it? I would be interested in hearing more about why this was created. thank you

    • @gardnerbuffalo: Today, some transparency on how our national organization works!

      The national office received some feedback from the field that we (the BSA) were not consistently, adequately preparing young men to “While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project …” with emphasis added on the last word — project. Specifically, the point was made that nowhere in any of our requirements prior to that one, did we make specific reference to managing any kind of project, or explicitly developing project management skills.

      A preliminary review by volunteers and staff advisors determined that this particular feedback warranted a thorough investigation.

      A volunteer chairman was appointed, and task force of volunteers was formed as part of one of the many national operating committees (program development, specifically Boy Scouts, in this case) and given a blank sheet of paper and a charter to go understand the problem and recommend an impactful response.

      They reviewed this feedback, and did a thorough review of existing BSA literature & resources on project management (including the NYLT form referenced in another comment, the Wood Badge presentation on Project Management, the Venturing Pathfinder Award requirement #2, and others). The process also included reaching back out to a few leaders in the field to understand if this really was an issue for them, and what they desired, if anything. The team was asked to consider a variety of solutions including revisions to requirements, development of support resources, as well as the possibility that no action was needed at all.

      After an exhaustive (and likely exhausting) analysis, the team determined that a need existed to have a more generally available, broadly applicable, and BSA-branded planning worksheet that any Scout or leader could use for planning just about anything as a project, and that visibility of that resource needed to be addressed. They also determined that no modification to existing requirements was needed.

      They developed this resource to be consistent with existing BSA literature. They identified other literature which could/should be impacted by the creation of this worksheet — where references should be added, as inquired about in another comment. They coordinated with other internal teams to secure a BIN # (that little form number in the bottom right) and other logistical details, They identified a launch plan which included, among other things, asking Bryan if he would blog about the new worksheet. (Thanks, Bryan!)

      This team did an outstanding job of modelling exactly the way the national organization should function, including the idea that essentially all of the real work to make something like this happen, happens in the background. In the spirit of servant leadership, the work and the workers are generally invisible with the expectation that their volunteer work will never be properly understood or appreciated.

      … and *poof* the new Scout Planning Worksheet was born.

  3. Regarding the planning sheet, why isn’t traditional Scouting language, specifically the word PATROL (emphasis) used? Also why is this even a big deal since planning paperwork has been around since I was a Scout in the 1980s.

    • Nahila: It is as in all bureaucracies, the invention of a new wheel goes along with the insertion (?) of new bosses and members. . Why do we have new Handbooks when the necessities of outdoor living haven’t changed? Need to consider the new technologies and interests of the modern boy, of course, but if you want the “traditional” Scout stuff, the new books will not supplant the old.
      The above form is good, helps the new Scout think things thru, utilizes the EDGE stuff, but , as has been said, it has been done before.
      I like to remind Scouts to play the “What If” game. What if this happens, what if I want this to happen? That is what this form is all about, really, and what sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, the ability to see “what if” into the future.
      As for the Patrol idea, this isn’t really about the Patrol, unless the project involved is a “PATROL” project. When was the last time you heard of that? A Patrol service project? Back when I was a Scout, our Troops Patrols took turns mowing the church’s lawn and other chores around our CO (didn’t know that was what the church was. Scout Parlance).

      See you on the trail…. Good Jambo !

    • Nahila asks “Regarding the planning sheet, why isn’t traditional Scouting language, specifically the word PATROL (emphasis) used?”

      I think the intent is that the form that could be used by a troop, crew, ship, patrol, team, pack, den and by ad hoc “teams” like those recruited for an Eagle service project.

    • I hope my Explorer Post will benefit from something like this. We don’t have organizations like Patrols. Let’s not just assume all users will be patrols in troops.

    • Well the form is called “SCOUT PLANNING WORKSHEET.” That’s why I asked about using traditional Scouting terminology, i.e. patrols.

      Can Ships, Crews, and Posts use it? Sure. But the name needs to be changed IMHO.

      • Nahila,

        Respectfully, My Daughter is a Scout (Venturing Crew 462). Crews don’t have Patrols. You don’t have to be in a Troop to be a Scout, you don’t even have to be a Boy. This tool applies to all Programs in the Boy Scouts of America, and I believe that it is appropriate that the language reflect that reality.

  4. Love it, closes a gap I have experienced. Our troop just did ILST and this fits in perfectly.

    Curious, did you consider including “Vision” before “goals” to align with ILST?

    Bryan, +1 on blogging on the transgender topic. 🙂

  5. Why is this form any better than the Planning Sheets found in the National Youth Leadership Training syllabus (511-490)? And I agree with Nahila Nakne’s points.

  6. This is an ACTIVITY planning sheet. In addition to defining relevant aspects of a special activity, it provides a basis for addressing various “what-ifs?” that might not have been considered without the required forethought. IMO it provides a useful point of reference and tool for the PLC (planning “team”) as they proceed to organize and prepare.

  7. Could we get an example of a completely filled out form as well? It would be helpful if we could show our Scouts what the whole thing looks like as part of introducing/teaching it to them.

  8. Has this been added to junior leader training: IE ILST, NYLT? Has this been added to the Unit Leader Guidebook vols 1 or 2 (which was printed out of date)? Is this included with the Senior Patrol Leaders Handbook and/or the Patrol Leaders Handbook? Is this included with the SM/ASM Leader Specific training? I’m taking this dumping of information as written at this time as a diversion to the Elephant in the Room.

    • Generally, the answer to your question is — this will be referenced in next printings of the above referenced items. It is referenced in the upcoming SPL and PL handbooks in progress.

      With respect to the elephant in the room, the volunteer committee responsible for this effort found out when you found out — and nothing whatsoever to do with the timing of this effort. The vast majority of national volunteers, myself included, have nothing to do with elephant wrangling — we do what we do, when we can do it, and elephants come and go on their own timetable.

  9. For once, I applaud the introduction of this new planning tool. Previous attempts at this kind of thing, while good to a degree, pale in comparison to the flexibility and thoroughness of this document. I would also note that there are useful suggestions in the previous comments.

    Good job, everyone!

  10. Nice planning tool. Might I suggest it can be used by others, say, for communicating major policy changes that might leave volunteer leaders totally uninformed, while being barraged with questions from various stakeholders, such as parents and chartering organizations?

    • While intended to be consistent with the Eagle Workbook — part of the motivation here was to make that kind of planning tool accessible to Scouts _before_ they are working on their Eagle project — in essence, to facilitate better preparation for their Eagle Scout Service Project experience.

  11. Not exactly on this particular subject, but why are all the required Scout uniforms made in China? I’d very much prefer to see a Made in America tag Thank you.
    A Scout Mom

    • Off topic, but an interesting observation that has surfaced in this blog from time to time. I think the answer is that BSA is trying to keep the cost of uniforming low so to maximize the wearing of it. Note the subtle decision to NOT have the international scouting symbol already sewed onto the shirt. Doing so would add a buck or two to the cost of the shirt (in addition to the cost of the patch). I for one applaud all reasonable efforts to reduce the barriers to full participation in Scouting.

  12. Great idea … and it would be even better if the “Plan on a page” mapped (even more) directly to what is needed for Personal Management merit badge requirement # 9:
    “9.Prepare a written project plan demonstrating the steps below, including the desired outcome. This is a project on paper, not a real-life project. Examples could include planning a camping trip, developing a community service project or a school or religious event, or creating an annual patrol plan with additional activities not already included in the troop annual plan. Discuss your completed project plan with your merit badge counselor.a.Define the project.
    a.What is your goal? – MATCH
    b.Develop a timeline for your project that shows the steps you must take from beginning to completion. – Not quite a match
    c.Describe your project. – MATCH
    d.Develop a list of resources. Identify how these resources will help you achieve your goal. – Not quite match
    e.Develop a budget for your project.” – Not quite a match

    I will almost certainly have Scouts use it anyway.
    Thanks

  13. Great comments so far on the SCOUT PLANNING WORKSHEET (“Plan on a Page”)!

    Please continue to add thoughts and ideas. Thank you for the gift of feedback!

  14. Any Planning sheets for “Running a Meeting” or “Planning a Meal” or “Planning a Patrol Service Project” or “Plan a CampFire” are welcome here also. I do have a pdf of a meeting plan to share. I’ll bet some fellow Wood Badge tickets have been to create some of these handy planning one page sheets.

  15. One of my fellow Scouters posted this on his FB page. This planning sheet dates back to when I was a Scout (patrol leader and SPL) and is great for helping pull everyone together. I specifically remember my SM pulling out a stack of these at our TLC meeting and giving one to each boy present and it was the job of the SPL to have everyone write down what was going on, and who was responsible. We all left with that month’s plan. The SPL would then confirm before the meeting to make sure everyone was on target.
    Fast forward 30+ years. While the concept is the same, the execution is not. Have you seen the way boys write and take notes these days…….awful. While this should not be an excuse, it is a reality. Rarely to I see a boy carrying a notebook that he actually uses.

  16. In response to your comments on the SCOUT PLANNING WORKSHEET (“Plan on a Page”), it is now an Adobe PDF writable document so it can be filled in on-line.

    Please continue to add thoughts and ideas. Thank you again for the gift of feedback!

  17. As a long time Eagle Coach & Counselor, I’ve seen a lot of different planning forms that are designed to help the scout during their project. Yet we’ve not really addressed the need for effectively teaching the scouts about time management and methods of project management. Using Gantt charts, time and work flow methods, calendar tracking tools, simple step 1, step 2, and even creating simple lists are some common methods that are sometimes taught in schools to help in managing simple and complex projects. Yet, in over thirty years of Scouting, except for when I offer these tools to my scouts, I have not heard nor seen any formal programming offered. We need to help the scouts develop methods for formal thinking when it comes to doing or creating something.

    Perhaps, just as we have a Personal Management merit badge, we might consider getting some of our business minds together and create something such as a Project Management merit badge or at least design a program that shows the scouts how to formulate the steps and use the methods of project management needed to do not just an Eagle project but any project they may be confronted with in their future. We need to show them the basics and let them run with their thoughts and create their ideas. It doesn’t have to be complicated though I’ve had kids that thrived on discovering these tools.

    These kids have projects to do for school, college, business, community and even their homes. I believe in giving them the tools that will help them do better in all facets of their lives.

    Just something to consider. Thanks

  18. Here’s a quote on planning from a famous American logistician:

    “The plan itself means nothing; having done the planning means everything.” Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

    … and its “don’t over-plan” corollary from an equally famous soldier:

    “A good plan, spiritedly executed today, beats a perfect plan flawlessly executed tomorrow.” Gen. George S. Patton (paraphrased)

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