Why do we have to plan and report?
Planning prevents poor performance
Planning and reporting is how you run successful activities in scouts and how you improvise a successful one to be more successful or find out what went wrong with an unsuccessful one. The process of putting your plan and report on paper gives you time to reflect and encourages logical thinking about your activity. Although scouts allows verbal reports in most cases, in 1st Claremont, we require written reports in some instances.
Choose a date
The very first step is to choose a date for your activity. Choose one which is far away enough that your participants will be able to attend. The whole object of running an activity is to get participants. Treat them as the most important part of your activity – because they are. In choosing a date take into account things like weather, exams and other scout activities.
Once you have a date confirm it with your Troop Scouter. There are lots of scout activities happening and you will not know about them all. So your first step is to confirm with your Troop Scouter that the activity can be run when you want to.
Communication is an incredibly vital part of your planning. Without communication you will not get other scouts to join you in your activity. Your examiner will not know what is going on with your proposed activity. So, communicate! We have applications such as Whatsapp and Signal. Use them!
Your first communication with your patrol is to send an email using the official email system of the troop. The reason for this is that the emails reach all parents. It is of key importance that parents are informed – all too often a scout says they will attend only for a parent to say they cannot at the last minute. Parents are a key part of the success of your activity – keep them informed. An activity ALWAYS begins with an official email – thereafter you can revert to Whatsapp.
Whatsapp communication can take place on the patrol group or you can set up a special temporary group. Temporary groups have the following rules:
- A scouter MUST be on the group (all scout groups are required to have a scouter on the group);
- You must dissolve the group afterwards.
Keep your participants informed at all times. Reminders, changes, kit lists, costs, etc should be communicated to scouts.
More activities fail due to lack of participants than any other reasons. The following points are very important to getting participants:
- Get participation early. Start getting commitment at least 3 weeks beforehand;
- Finalise your participation early. Your participants should be be finalised at least 1 week before and preferably 2 weeks before;
- Make sure parents are informed;
- Harass your scouts to commit – get each one of them to say yes or no. If they haven’t responded to your initial email (mostly they will not), talk to them at the next meeting and send them a Whatsapp on the Patrol Group (address them by name);
- Anticipate some drop outs – whether for sickness or other reasons, dropouts are a fact of life at scouts. Make sure you have enough participants to carry on.
- Make sure you have the required minimum number of participants (e.g. 4 for hikes).
- Make sure you have consent forms for everyone. We accept emailed forms which have been signed electronically.
For most activities there is a cost and that cost is recovered from the participants. You are responsible for ensuring that the money is spent as intended and you must be able to show that it was spent properly.
In your plan
In your plan you will be required to work out your budget (food, permits, accommodation, etc). It is strongly recommended that you always over budget by a small amount to ensure that you have some money for unexpected costs and also to cover the costs for the troop (e.g. gas refills).
When you ask parents to pay in the costs, they must pay it to the troop account. You do not handle money yourself. For example each scout pays R300. If you have 5 scouts the troop receives R1 500 in the account. You can use this R1500 to pay for the expenses on the activity.
Paying for expenses
You can pay for expenses in two ways:
- Ask the troop to EFT the payment e.g. pay to CapeNature. This amount will need to in your plan as an expense. For example, the troop pays Cape Nature R750 for permits and accommodation. This leaves R750 for you to spend on food and other costs; or
- Pay it yourself and reclaim the cost from the troop. To recover the cost you will need to submit a specific form to the Treasurer so that the Treasurer can make the payments. For example, your parents pay R750 to Cape Nature and R600 for food. Your plan provides for R100 for petrol. You can recover this amount from the troop (R1 450) by submitting the correct form to the Treasurer. You cannot claim back more than the amount paid by scouts without approval from the Troop Scouter and you will not be paid unless you can explain what the money is for (which you do by completing the form. The form looks like this:
This form is for the Treasurer to make payments. This form is on the Google Drive. Ask the Troop Scouter for access.
Your report must include a detailed comparison of the budget against the actual expenses. This detailed expenditure in the budget must obviously have totals equal to the form submitted to the Treasurer. In other words it is a detailed breakdown of the Scout Activity Accounting Form above.
Any excess amounts (you should have an excess) are retained by the troop.