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Building the Council Annual Plan

The annual council/district/unit planning calendar for 2019-2020 is expected to be out soon (in my council), if your unit does not have it already It is first released as a paper publication before it is posted online. Extracts from last year’s planning calendar is available online pertaining to annual planning follows.

Steps in Building the Council Annual Plan

The Council Strategic Plan and JTE Begin by reviewing the metrics defined in the council strategic plan and the Journey to Excellence (JTE) requirements for the unit, district, and council. This groundwork should influence and inspire the subsequent steps in making the council annual plan.

The process of building the annual plan should begin well in advance of the quarter in which the plan will take effect. Starting early allows the logical steps to be taken in order, makes it possible to involve many people in unhurried deliberation, and permits basing the annual budget on the resulting plan.

Steps in building an annual plan vary somewhat with different councils. Flexibility is fine as long as the basic principles are thoroughly respected:

  1. The planning process is begun early.
  2. All key leaders are involved.
  3. The council makes one united plan—‘‘all for one and one for all’’— in which each district has its share.
  4. The plan is complete in all its parts: objectives, program, calendar, work schedule. In general, the steps in building an annual plan are as follows.

See for unit annual program planning guides as a resource.


  • Staff Planning Conference (creates council “pencil draft”)
  • District Officers’ Conferences
  • Council Planning Conference
  • The Districts Detail and Define Their Share
  • Unit Planning Conference
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Steps in Building the Council Annual Plan - District and Council

Boys’ Life Planning Calendar - 2018–2019

Staff Planning Conference

The professional staff develops a proposed plan. This is called a ‘‘pencil draft’’ to emphasize the fact that while the staff suggests, the volunteers make the final decision. This planning should be based on a thorough knowledge of unit needs, district needs, and the desires of volunteer groups. Having the pencil draft prepared in advance conserves the time of many volunteers and provides them with a good starting point.

District Officers’ Conferences

A series of informal conferences follows the staff planning conference. The meeting of district officers, or the district executive committee, is to review the pencil draft and make any changes that seem desirable. The important thing is that this process gives each of these key leaders an opportunity to share in the thinking and to be prepared for the council planning conference that is to follow.

Council Planning Conference

This meeting, involving the key leaders of the council and its districts, is best held on an afternoon and an evening. The first part is devoted to group meetings that consider the plan for each operating committee. When this has been completed, the groups join to hear the presentation of each committee’s plans. The plan refined in this meeting goes to the council executive board for its adoption.

The Districts Detail and Define Their Share

At the next regular meeting of the districts, the council’s plan and the districts’ shares in it are reviewed. Each committee details and defines its program and calendar.

The council program is broad and general, as it affects the program of the various functions. It may include a ‘‘ camporee in every district,’’ but it does not specify either the date or the place. The council has established new-unit objectives, but it does not specify where or when these are to be organized. Thus, there remains to each district and each committee a considerable task of putting in the specifics and details.

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Council Cub Scouting Annual Planning

Does your pack have recurring annual service projects, recruiting events like a community parade, or other recurring event that other units and/or the public are invited to? Let you district calendar coordinator, district program chair or other appropriate district operations chair know.

Note: Calendar coordinators often need start and stop times, not just the planned dates. A short description of the event is a plus. They also need to know if contact information can be released to the public. BSA also requires photo releases for images and videos posted on BSA council/district websites and social media.

Pack Annual Planning

For some extracts from the Cub Scout Leader Book, 33221, Copyright 2018 Boy Scouts of America, 2018 printing, pp. 54ff, see

Posted: 20190831
More to come

District / Council Calendar Current?

Reminder: Does your unit have an event that needs to be on a district or council?

Unit, District and Council Planning

Some observations and personal opinion

  • We need to remember what the aims of Scouting are when doing annual planning
  • The professional staff focus currently is on increasing membership and raising money. I understand that is what district executives are first taught how to do that.
  • Chartered organization representatives need to be more involved at the unit, district and council level. Chartered organization representatives have a role in online registration which requires having internet communication skills.
  • For planning to be effective unit committee members also need to be involved at the district level.
  • The district operating committees chairs need to be involved at both the council and district levels.
  • Units need to communicate what their needs are to the district volunteer staff.
  • Being able to communicate via the internet and leaning how to use online tools has become a job requirement for many volunteer leadership roles in Scouting and Exploring.

Anyone know where the Venturing crew annual planning guidelines can be found?

Is this what you’re looking for, @Bill_W?

Unit Annual Program Plan

Boys’ Life Planning Calendar - 2018–2019

Unit Planning Conference

After the commissioner staff reviews the (council/district) plan and its part in it, the council prepares an annual program planning kit for each unit. The kits are distributed as part of a councilwide program kickoff or at a unit planning conference in each district. Unit program planning kits may be printed or provided in electronic format, or both. The goal should be for every unit to have an annual program plan.


Some national forms

Cub Scouting

  • Cub Scout Leader Book , 33221, Copyright 2018 Boy Scouts of America, 2018 printing, pp. 54ff, SKU 646725

Scouts BSA

Venturing BSA

Sea Scouts BSA

Yes. Thank you for the Venturing link.