The Patrol Leaders’ Council ( PLC ): Why it matters… Part 1 of 5

The Patrol Leaders’ Council or “PLC” is where decisions on the troop program are considered and made. When it’s said that scouts is a youth led organization this where it really is or can become youth led. It traditionally consists of the SPL, Patrol Leaders, Troop Guides, ASPL and his/her cabinet members. Assistant Patrol Leaders are welcome and should know what is required of the Patrol Leader at the PLC. Scoutmasters and assistants should provide consulting, advising roles at these meetings giving options or playing devil’s advocate.

The PLC is the core troop leadership unit made up of youth which should be planning out just about everything for the troop.

This would include annual and monthly objectives for meetings, campouts and events. As mentioned before, major decisions should be discussed here and implemented. A successful PLC has the following Goals:

  • Planned scouting skill education of the next 1.5 months of scout meetings
    • How will the skills be broken up between the different ranks/ages
    • Who will be doing the training
    • Review of the previous month’s training
    • Start, Stop, Continue for training
  • Accountability of each patrol
    • Gear needs
    • Attendance records
    • Issues
    • Performance review
    • Start, Stop, Continue for patrol management
  • Campouts
    • Theme planned
    • Camp duty rosters made at a high level
    • Lessons learned from last one.
    • Annual Event Planning
    • Start, Stop, Continue for campout and activities
  • Gives troop status report to monthly Troop Committee Meeting
    • Overview of the troop activities
    • Rank Advancement overview
    • General feel of the troop
    • Fundraising
    • Start, Stop, Continue for troop leadership

Notice any patterns here? For those who have been Wood Badge trained you will see it right off and know the importance of it. Those Start, Stop, Continue steps are vital to a PLC. It brings a lot into focus for this group of scouts. They have to come up with answers to these three questions for a lot of different things within the troop. “What do they need to start doing? What do they need to stop doing? What do they need to continue to do?” This helps them bring historical data into the present and it helps them think both strategic and tactical on what they should be doing to improve going forward.

As we will dive deeper each week into each of the major goals of the PLC listed above,  please keep the following aspects in your mind…

  • The PLC changes up every time there are SPL/Patrol Leader elections.
  • This group must have enough time to Form, Storm, Norm and then Perform as well as backslide here and there (4 stages of group development)
  • The scoutmaster must act as a guide in this making sure objectives and goals are clear and to give some direction when required.

By allowing for those 3 major considerations and setting the right goals, you will have a successful program with 5 scouts or 50. Unsuccessful PLCs generally lead to scoutmaster led organizations or vice versa. 🙂 As the scoutmaster for my troop, I am currently working through how to facilitate a better PLC so I am trying out a few options to see how it rolls.

I would welcome how other scoutmasters directed or guided their successful PLCs so feedback is welcome. I will then take that feedback and incorporate it into this series as we will work together to make an even better reading for all those involved.

Looking forward in this journey with all the readers here at Learnscoutsbsa.com

Good luck out there scouters!

Tony

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The author, Tony Zizak, is a long time scouter, Eagle Scout, and the scoutmaster of Troop 119 Ellettsville, IN. He has been to scout camps across the country and was a certified Program Director, Aquatics Director and a Scoutcraft Director. As a youth Tony received his Vigil Honor and served as a Lodge Chief for Tseyedin Lodge #65. Reach out to him for any questions you may have on this article.

#ScoutsBSA #PLC #Youth-Led

Members can download this article here: PLC 1 of 5 (6 downloads)