Saturday, 31 December 2011

Summer Camp Planning Series: Reviewing last years summer camp

Scouting Thought of the Day: Is it too early in the year to start thinking about summer camp plans?????

I personally believe that a month after you conducted summer camp for last summer you should at least at the very minimum do the following.

1. Adult camp leaders: Each adult fills out a evaluation on his performance and the performance of one other person. Scoutmaster or primary adult in charge should evaluate all leaders and see if there are leadership issues that need to be resolved or training be conducted to allow for continuous quality improvement.

2. Youth Leaders: Each youth should complete a evaluation for themselves, the senior patrol leader, and one other youth leader of there choosing. Also youth will have a discussion forum to see how other youth leaders did and what they thought about the adults for that particular week at camp.

3. Youth Participants: Evaluate the senior patrol leader, how they themselves did at summer camp, and if they have a patrol leader they will evaluate him also.

4. Scoutmaster: compiles all data from the adult evaluations, evaluates it by noticing patterns, change that need to be made or this that worked great at camp.

5. SPL: Compiles data gathered from the youth leaders evaluations and all information given out at the youth leadership forum.

6. Scribe: This is not the regular scribe it is the person appointed to fulfill these duties during that week of camp if there isnt enough people to have another boy fill this position this duty ultimately falls on the SPL to ensure its completion.

7. SPL and Scribe: Evaluate both of their data sets and prepare to present the information to the Scoutmaster and the Summer Camp Chair.

8. SM, SPL Summer Camp Chair, and Scribe: Determine the most important information that was collected to prepare for a presentation to the Troop Committee for them to see where the Committee should lead the troop during the next 12 to 18 months.

9. After all presentations are made all information is combined together even that, that wasnt presented to the Troop committee in the form of a evaluation paper and even review.

10. Start planning next years summer camp at the very minimum be at least 9 months out from the day you are going to camp.

Obviously this seems like a lot of work to do this process right but I can ensure you that if this process is followed or a similar process is used that is of equal caliber you will learn much about yourself, your Troop, peoples abilities, peoples limits, strengths, weaknesses, and areas that are working great or need to be worked on.

But lets just say that you dont have the time to complete a extended evaluation process like this, I think at the very least it would most definitely be appropriate at a Troop Meeting to conduct a evaluation and review process in these groups listed below: Adult summer camp leaders, youth summer camp leaders (Minus a ASPL or a Patrol leader for summer camp, he will lead the other youth), and the final group of people being the actual youth participants for that years summer camp. Dont set a agenda or make sure that you hit every point you want to, just let the review run itself by interfering as little as possible and only interfering in case people start the blame game, pointing fingers, become all negative about the experience, or get way off track.

obviously this is not a complete or perfect system that is guaranteed to work, completely evaluate the experience, or to guarantee a better summer camp program next year. The main idea behind this post is to get the gears flowing and point out several critical points that would help to create a beneficial and positive evaluation and review process.

Next up for this summer camp series will be discussing at what time you should ideally start planning, the norm for most troops, and finally the worse case scenario of not planning at all or waiting till it is so late that on the final day before camp you are trying to resolve hundreds of issues. My first post for this will start with forming a ideal planning situation(obviously I realize that the ideal situation is not a option but the idea is to get you to strive to have a better summer camp experience). After that post I will discuss observations and in my opinion(not guaranteed to be unbiased) what is the norms for most Boy Scout Troops and help to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of how it normally works. Finally I will lay down a guide that would be able to help you pull through and possibly get out of the worse case scenario situation.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West
Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1316, Troop 1616(aka 669), Troop 125
Tustumena District/ Denali District/ Eklutna District, Great Alaska Council 
NSJ '05 Youth Participant '10 Subcamp 7 Youth Staff '13 Subcamp Staff
WSJ '07 Youth Participant '11 International Service Team(IST)
Eagle Scout OA Brotherhood Member Big Horn Denver Area Council NYLT QM Philmont AA '08

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a Professional. If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer. If you pay to do Scouting, then you are called a Scouter.

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