BOOK SUMMARY: What initially sounds like a boring subject, Planning is actually the most urgent and vital need of every Scouting unit in the Church and across America and the World. With planning, every activity and program can be a grand success. Without it, units revert to the default of basketball or worse. This how-to guide will teach you in easy steps how to plan a program that the boys will love and which will build men of character.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Scouting units everywhere fail because they fail to plan effective programs. Everywhere in the Church we hear the cry of "This is not a good program" or "That older-boy program of the BSA won't work for us!" The programs are the greatest - Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting and Venturing - but we need to PLAN in order to make them happen and to function as they are designed. Program planning is the greatest need in the Church youth programs everywhere.

The book includes an extensive Appendix with several sections. While this looks boring and perhaps unneeded, it is, in fact, a very vital part of this "how-to" book. The Appendix sections could actually be published in a larger format - and perhaps as a separate book - that would allow each page to be a printing "master" for duplication and greater use by Scouting units everywhere.

WHY THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN: This is a "how-to" book which simplifies the Program Planning Process. It is hoped that all Scouting leaders everywhere will use this book to plan effective and quality programs that will touch lives and make a difference for our youth throughout the Church.


A handy reference guide with everything
Scouting leaders need to plan quality programs.

[We don’t need to reinvent the wheel …
We only need to plan the program that we have been given]

By Kevin V. Hunt

Copyright 1991 and 2007
Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Trails




1 Introduction to Planning 5

2 Getting Started on the Plan 37

3 The Annual Program Planning 63

4 Sharing the Plan 89

5 Making it Happen 111


A The Program Planning Process (Summary)

B The Annual Program Planning Conference

C Boy Interests and Needs

D Knowing and Using Your Resources

E Sample Program Calendars

F The 3-Month Planning Process

G Monthly Program Planning

H Parents Meetings Agendas

I Program Evaluation and Goal Setting

J Historical Records of Past Programs



Soon after I earned my Eagle Scout Award I became a part of an Explorer Post. The structure of our chartered organization sort of expected me to "progress into Exploring". This was a general interest post that had the option to explore a variety of interests. I quickly discovered, however, that the post wasn't meeting my interests or needs. The leader tried very hard but he had difficulty keeping a varied program.

Auto mechanics became the focus for a short time as the group explored the world of dune buggies. I could handle that for a while but when the focus shifted to a constant diet of basketball I lost interest completely. Since I was the fat kid I had no talent in basketball and hence no interest in the game. I got tired of having this activity week after week.

We had some grandiose plans to make a super activity trip to Hawaii. (Unrealistic ... but it sounded great.) We tried a few fund raising activities that all seemed to fail. In the end, we didn't even make it to the grand metropolis of Sunflower, Arizona - about forty miles away - let alone Hawaii. At that time it would have been easy for me to have dropped out of Scouting altogether. I had become somewhat disIllusioned. I vowed never to return to the post and could have ended my entire Scouting career with a very negative attitude. Luckily, however, I decided instead to return to the Scout troop. I remained there until I left for college.
As I now analyze our post, I realize that we failed to develop a master plan. We didn't have a plan to get us to Hawaii (as we had hoped) - or any place else. Oh, we did have a few plans but we didn't follow through to the point that anything happened and our program really suffered. The program bottomed out and the post lost membership as the program died.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Contrasted with this experience is that of our troop's National Jamboree experience that came after I returned to the troop. We had long and short range plans which ultimately provided a fabulous growth opportunity for all members of the troop.
I had always wanted to attend a National Jamboree. I had heard and read of them for years but because of cost and other factors, I had never had the opportunity to go to one. Then when I was about sixteen I read in either Boy's Life or the Scouting Magazine that for the first time, the 1973 National Jamboree would be opened to regular hometown chartered troops (not just for the traditional council contingency troops).

At that time I was a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. I became excited and knew immediately that this would be a way that I could attend a Jamboree. I dashed over to see Scoutmaster Jim. I excitedly asked him if we could take the entire troop to the Jamboree. He soon became as excited about it as I was. We set a goal then and there to be at the Jamboree two years hence.

We learned all that we could about the pending Jamboree. We learned about the Jamboree calendar, the costs involved, the equipment to be acquired and other necessary preparations to attend. As soon as we knew the basics we set to work. We made a list of all that we'd need to do to prepare. Then we put the elements of that list to specific dates on the calendar.

We knew it would cost us about $3500 to take our entire troop of thirteen boys, Jim and me to the Jamboree and we started to think of ways that we could earn the necessary dollars.

We had a parents meeting and explained our dream to everyone. With parent support we forged ahead. They each agreed to have their son raise part of the Jamboree fee. They had plenty of time to get the money together.

We made rank advancement one requirement for attendance at the Jamboree. We met with all the boys to help them set realistic goals so that they could each be a part of our Jamboree experience.

We also needed many new tents and additional troop equipment for the trip. The fund raising activities provided necessary money for the equipment or materials by which we could make it. We built much of the equipment ourselves: We built the patrol boxes, the gateway to the campsite, patrol name signs, and name markers for each patrol member. We purchased tents and cooking equipment.

We held many hikes and troop meetings to prepare for the Jamboree. We learned about charcoal stove cooking (since that was the Jamboree standard), first aid, hike and camp preparation and many other necessary skills. We had hikes and leadership training sessions to help us prepare.

Over that two year period, our troop made some great progress and it was exciting to be a part of it. Jim and I had some grand times together as we built patrol boxes, made a campsite gateway, ordered tents and other supplies, and as we trained our Scouts for the upcoming experience of a lifetime.

We had only a mediocre troop prior to deciding to attend the Jamboree. Using the Jamboree as a means, and not an end, we became a fabulous troop. By having the Jamboree as a goal we built a terrific program over the two year period.
The momentum we created with this one high adventure program carried through the troop for eight to ten years after our trip to the Jamboree. And believe it or not, this all happened just because we planned our program calendar!

As we planned to go to the Jamboree we set a goal or objective. We established a plan and detailed all of the steps necessary to implement the plan. We worked hard to carry out the plan. We went to the Jamboree and had a grand time.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

As you can see, your program calendar can be one of your greatest resources as you build your boy team and implement exciting programs for them. The program calendar can be one of the greatest keys to your success in Scouting.
Generally, a Scouting calendar is built in July or August for the program year to begin in September and running through the next August. It can also work well to plan the calendar (for the same calendar year) in the spring - so that it is ready to implement in the fall. (In the rush of the summer program it is sometimes difficult to manage everything

To obtain a full download copy of this book, contact: Kevin V. Hunt:, (480) 833-4867, or write: Kevin V. Hunt, PO Box 8795, Mesa, AZ 85214