We’ve started planning in August, with Brigade starting in September after Labor Day. When we’ve tried to plan earlier than that, there hasn’t been enough urgency to keep everyone sufficiently motivated.
We do like to have a “debriefing” of some sort at the end of the year, including a soft commitment for who is returning in the fall.
It is always good to evaluate the successes and weaknesses of your year when it is fresh. Go back to the core objectives of Battalion (see “Building Men”) and assess how well they were accomplished in each area. After assessing the strengths and weaknesses, brainstorm on how to improve your next season. Be intentional and calculated. You usually should not make wholesale changes, but adjust in ways that you can evaluate what is making differences in your ministry. Intentionality in engaging activities and achievement that builds relationship for the purpose of discipleship is the key to all areas of Battalion.
Do not forget the personal aspect of this process. As men, it might be easy to focus on the mechanics of the program. However, Battalion is all about building into the lives of young men, as well as the adult men. Real improvement in ministry takes place by investing in individuals (one another) and helping each person (one another) develop their gifts through the Battalion process.