How Far Ahead Should Units Plan Their Calendar

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stick_figure_cliff_vision_4133Most Units do what is required for the Journey to Excellence Award and create a plan for one year.  However, planning out more than one year may be to your advantage.

Boy Scout Troops, Varsity Teams and Venture Crews have the greatest need for planning further out than one year.  Many Boy Scout Units have already made the decision where they plan to go to Summer Camp in 2014.  However, most Units have not made a reservation for 2015.  The main reason I hear is Councils are not prepared to take a reservation further out than one year.  However, this does not mean that Units cannot think about this in advance.  Troop 214 in Anchorage, AK takes a trip to Hawaii for Summer Camp every 3-4 years.  Scouts in this Unit know this and plan to use proceeds from popcorn sales over two years in order to pay for this trip.

There are other Boy Scout Events that could use two years of fundraisers to collect all of the funds they need for the event.  In 2015, Scouts in the Order of the Arrow have the opportunity to participate in the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) at Michigan State University on August 3-8, 2015.  Just before this event the World Jamboree is happening July 28 – August 3, 2015 in Yamaguchi City, Japan.  Unfortunately, for most Councils, there is only one popcorn sale between now and when these events occur.

Units may want to go to Philmont, Summit Bechtel Reserve, Florida Sea Base or the Northern Tier High Adventure Base in the coming years.  These locations often require advance registration in order for your Unit to attend.  This often requires more planning than just one year.

Cub Scout Packs may have similar concerns.  Many Councils offer a Webelos Resident Camp in which the Scout and the adult attend.  This can be more than double the cost of Day Camp.  Parents that are not prepared may find they are taking money out of their own pocket to pay for this activity rather than teaching their sons the value of a dollar, setting goals and developing a plan to have popcorn pay for the whole thing. The final item to consider is planning the purchase of a large item.  Packs may want to purchase a new Pinewood Derby track with the electronic timing system.  I have noticed in my son’s Troop having a trailer to haul all of the patrol boxes and Scout gear would significantly reduce the amount of time it would take to pack up and go to an outing.  Sometimes this may take two or more years of fundraisers to gather the capital to purchase this item.

Having a longer range goal than one year is necessary and can benefit your Unit and Scouts exponentially.

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