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#1 Jeff in MI

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 08:43 PM

A new crew has been started in our area with some boys from our troop and girls from a local Girl Scout troop. Our troop committee chair got this going as a way to get the Girl Scout troop (which she's also involved in)out camping.

I think it's a great idea. The problem I see developing is that they essentially tag along on all of the Troop outings. I'm seeing some friction between the two groups. My question is, would I be out of line saying "if you want a venture crew that's great but I think it's time to start planning your own outings".

Thanks for your input.
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#2 Stosh

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 10:14 PM

I have been a strong advocate for troops NOT to start Venturing Crew for exactly this reason.  There should be two entirely separate groups or there will be more concerns like @Jeff in MI mentions here.

 

Separate the groups or learn to put up with this kind of programming it's not going to get better.  A person can't serve two masters at the same time   With a common adult corps of people, they are always going to favor one group over the other and the only ones that suffer from this political jockying around are the youth.

 

I'm thinking the GS leader should have just tried to do more camping programming than trying to work with the BSA on this issue.  The temptation is to go with the experience boys and all their equipment, but one has to pay the piper and sell your soul to do so.


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#3 Jeff in MI

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 06:07 AM

I'm working on planning a 50 miler for next summer for the troop. I'll have to make it clear that, if I'm going to plan it, this will be a Troop activity and not a Troop/Crew activity.
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#4 qwazse

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 07:35 AM

As a fella who "serves two masters" as @Stosh wishes to describe it ... some questions to provoke thought:

 

  • Have you talked to the lead scout whom you are advising in planning this trip? What does he think the minimum qualifications for anyone investing in this adventure should be?
    • What skills should they have demonstrated?
    • What age/fitness requirements?
    • How many conditioning/shakedown weekends?
    • What is the maximum contingent size? Can itineraries be developed for multiple contingents, and will each contingent be responsible for finding/developing its own leadership?
  • Have you encouraged the SPL and Crew President which events should be held in concert and which should be "troop only" and "crew only"?
  • Do your patrols camp 300 feet apart? I.e. does your crew have a good example of  working at a physical distance?
  • Do your older boys who are members of both units work out who will be responsible for what unit when? (E.g. if a PL would like to do something as a venturer, does he ask the ASPL to take of the boys in his stead?)
  • Do the youth see the friction? Are they willing to change to work it out?

 

These are key questions. What you think, or what any other scouter thinks, is secondary.

 

FWIW, our scouts are in the process of merging troops and the situation is hardly any different. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Listen to the youth. Respect the ones who are doing the work. Repeat.


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 08:36 AM

Do the boys boys in the Troop's various patrols camp with their patrols or do they camp with the Crew?  One or the other is going to get short changed.  As long as the Crew and Troop NEVER have an activity together, no one will ever have to make that choice. In the long run the youth will be "penalized" for their choices.  What happens if 3 of the 4 PL's are registered with the Crew?  If I'm with the Crew, how much involvement will I have with the patrol's planning for the event?  Okay know the adults make the rule that the dual registered youth must stay with their patrols.  That's gong to mean all the non-Troop members of the Crew will not have the help of anyone from the troop on the outing.  I see a lot of potential hard feelings here.

 

We faced that situation and the Crew I was with eventually never went to any camporees or scout activities.  We had too many Crew members that would have to choose between the Crew and their respective Troops and so that was the end of that.  Even the boys who were in OA had to choose between OA events and Crew events. 

 

This is but one hassle we faced and eventually we decided as a Crew that that the members who joined would need to prioritize the Crew first over their Troop activities.  Everyone who joined after that never again had a conflict with their Troops.  The SM's were really angry and petitioned the DE's and SE's (we were multiple council with our members) and on one occasion where the SM was adamant the boy dropped his registration with the Troop and went full time with the Crew.  Ultimatums don't work.

 

One simply cannot serve two masters at the same time.  Communicate it all one wishes, even on up to the SE level and it's not going to make a bit of difference, somewhere along the way someone's going to call "foul".

 

Oh, by the way, if the Troop insists on the Troop registered scouts stay with their patrols, it's only a matter of time before the Crew begins to suffer because the Crew only members will have to do all the heavy lifting without the Troop members and will eventually realize that they don't need them and will make plans on their own. They're doing all the planning anyway, who needs them tagging along when they just happen not to have a Troop activity conflict.


Edited by Stosh, 02 October 2015 - 08:39 AM.

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#6 Stosh

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 08:44 AM

I'm working on planning a 50 miler for next summer for the troop. I'll have to make it clear that, if I'm going to plan it, this will be a Troop activity and not a Troop/Crew activity.

 

:) Why are you planning and making the decisions for either of the groups?  Shouldn't this be their decisions?  Anyway, as I see it, if any of this "goes south" the only one holding the bag is you.... you planned it, you take the flack.  Seriously, this is one of the big reasons I am an advocate for boy/youth led organizations.  If something goes wrong, I step in a help clean up, but I never take the blame for other people's decisions.  :)


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Stosh

 

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#7 blw2

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 08:55 AM

In this situation

why not suggest that the boys set up a high adventure patrol, as opposed to a separate unit (as in Crew)?

 

oh never mind, the Girls.....


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#8 Eagledad

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 09:04 AM

I agree with Stosh. I've watched it over and over through the years. But there is other contributions to the problem along with the obvious conflicting programs that stosh is talking about. Most troops start a Crew to compensate for a weak older scout program and the irony is that the adults who lack the ability to develop a quality older scout troop program also lack the ability to develop a successful Crew program. That is why 7 out of 10 Crews fail in there first five years.

 

As a district committee member, I was approached by several troops to help them start a crew so they could hold on to their older scouts. I never told them not to start one, but I always first started by working on their older scout program. I told them the success of a scout troop is measured by the quality of the older scouts.

 

I also blame National on this because they are encouraging counsels to create Crews to help improve older youth numbers and the easiest place to start are troops. Our troop was approached because we had the largest group of 14 and older scouts in the state at the time. The DE told me that it was only natural for us to create a crew because we knew how to work with older scouts. I told him that the reason our older scout program was so successful is because of the troop program and splitting the scouts would defeat the intent and purpose of our program.

 

And that is not to say our scouts didn't also belong with other Crews, a few of them did because we do have some pretty cool crews in our area. But that is not the same as creating a new program within your program.

 

Barry 


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#9 Jeff in MI

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 04:41 PM

Our situation is more of a convenience thing for an adult leader who has 3 boys in the troop and a daughter in Girl Scouts. This way she can come along on the campouts with the "crew" which consists of about 4 boys and 3 girls. They camped separately on one outing. On another it was all together. My hope is that they end up planning and going on their own outings instead of tagging along to troop outings. There isn't the camaraderie amongst the scouts since some are bragging about being on crew and having meetings the others can't sit in on at outings.
Regarding the planning of the 50 miler. We usually have an adult present the idea to the leadership patrol and offer help in the planning. If we didn't do it this way the boys would do nothing but play capture the flag and football lol.
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#10 qwazse

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 11:22 PM

This is where, in the right configuration, a crew can be a game-changer. Venturers are youth who should like to be advised. So, the advisor says "who's up for hiking 50 miles? If someone will run point, I'll advise them as they plan it."

Your crew should be acting as a leadership corps, of sorts. Every couple of venturers taking on responsibility for a particular activity for the good of the group or scouting in general.

But, for that to happen, you have to be open to the notion that "the right stuff" for your particular adventure may be of the opposite sex.

And, yes, decisions about doing things with multiple units has to be out of consensus of the youth not convenience for the adult(s).

Edited by qwazse, 02 October 2015 - 11:28 PM.

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#11 Tom D

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 02:51 PM

First, this is the best Venturing thread so far! Wonderful ideas and questions here.

 

We need to remember that Venturing does IS YOUTH LED but really doesn't use the Patrol Method.  With a big emphasis on Mentoring.  This fundamental difference can lead to issues when the troop and crew are on an outing together.  It's also an issue with some leaders/parents of the troop not happy to have females on their camp outs.  

 

When the youth want to share a camping trip with the troop we often get low turnout from the troop.  

 

I REALLY like the Leadership Corp analogy.  The leadership in a crew is always morphing and changing.  Every event has a different leader (Activity Chair) and this keeps the youth from burning out and leads to youth with rounder skill sets.   While the Officers guide the group through the program year; Outings, Service, Training and Crew development/promotion. 


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#12 ProScouter06

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 08:18 AM

@qwazse really hit this one on the head.

 

The two groups could cohesively work as one with the Venturing members being advisers as sorts for the boy scouts. They can set up their own trips, but tag along to the troop outings to provide support.

 

Looking forward to hearing how of if this model works for you.


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#13 Stosh

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 12:27 PM

@qwazse really hit this one on the head.

 

The two groups could cohesively work as one with the Venturing members being advisers as sorts for the boy scouts. They can set up their own trips, but tag along to the troop outings to provide support.

 

Looking forward to hearing how of if this model works for you.

 

Doesn't that take away the leadership development responsibility of the troop if the Venturing people do the leadership?  I'm thinking this is nothing more than an extension of leadership coming from something other than the boys themselves.  I wouldn't want a Venturing Crew involved with my troop in that fashion.


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Stosh

 

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#14 qwazse

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 05:31 AM

Doesn't that take away the leadership development responsibility of the troop if the Venturing people do the leadership?  I'm thinking this is nothing more than an extension of leadership coming from something other than the boys themselves.  I wouldn't want a Venturing Crew involved with my troop in that fashion.

Patrol wants to find out about activity X. Asks SM about it.
He/she says "I don't know, but someone from the crew just came back from there."
PL talks to venturer.
He/she says "Yep, it was cool. Hears what we needed to do to get there."
PL gets idea in his little head. Gets his buddies to build skills and raise funds.

Other scenario: new leaders cross over who are Wevelos IiI types. Venturer devotes his/her time and talents to explaining youth leadership ... perhaps by holding special "parents only" discussions 300 feet away from little Johnny.
Parents get it into their head that they want the same for little Johnny.
SM drops by for coffee. Boys lead.

Other scenario: venturer masters a skill better than anyone in the community.
Troop would like the best possible person to present on that topic.
Venturer provides demonstration/counsels.
Boys learn.
Some other less skilled adult signs MB.paperwork.

Yep, I can see why an SM wouldn't want that for his/her troop. It just gets ideas in boys heads ...
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#15 Stosh

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 08:19 AM

@qwazse

 

And yet my boys don't have a Venturing Crew hanging around, but they are rather aggressive in talking with other scouts and leaders at camporees.  We have 3 districts in our council and my current boys have been to two different districts' camporees.  They are not bashful about asking what others are doing with their troops.  Being a new troop and the onus of leadership is on them, they do a lot of asking how other boys are making it work in their troops.  The new boys in my troop shared a site at summer camp with a troop from another council.  We are planning a major outing again this summer not at a summer camp.  

 

In my other troops I have worked with, two troops have combined on certain activities because one troop "wants to learn" how to do HA for their boys.  Everyone was on equal footing.  From the comments above, I was left with the impression that the Crew was going to mentor, advise, and basically show up for the leadership of the troop.  @Tom D seemed to indicate that posed a rather negative reaction from the troop members and their participation dropped off when the Crew was on-hand.  If the Crew was available for consultation, that would be fine, but advising, mentoring, coaching and such really usurps the leadership of the boys.


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#16 Scourge

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 11:28 AM

My Venture Crew is lead by the same man that is the local troop's scout master.  The venture crew is usually part of boy scout troop activities and vise versa.  This is mainly because many of the boy scouts in the troop are part of the venture crew. This doesn't cause any trouble and has little to no issues. 


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#17 qwazse

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 05:49 PM

My Venture Crew is lead by the same man that is the local troop's scout master.  The venture crew is usually part of boy scout troop activities and vise versa.  This is mainly because many of the boy scouts in the troop are part of the venture crew. This doesn't cause any trouble and has little to no issues. 

Thanks for reviving this @Scourge, as we all benefit from the boots-on-the-ground perspective. So let's take a for-instance weekend where your crew is sharing an activity with the troop.

Does your troop operate in patrols? (Basically that would mean each patrol has their own campsite apart from the other adults. In a big open field there would be 300 feet of space between campsites.) If so:

Where does the crew camp relative to the patrols?

With whom do the dual venturers/boy scouts camp?

What trade-offs in time and responsibility do they make?

Are those of you who are only registered with the troop responsible for anything (e.g. a skit to the campfire, etc ...)?

Who decides when something is crew-only, troop-only, or crew-troop activity?

 

Lots of questions, but for readers who are trying to figure out how to make this work ... the answers may help them decide a course of action. Users may browse my replies to see how my crew worked, but generalizing from a sample of 1 is a bad idea.


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#18 Scourge

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 06:36 PM

Thanks for reviving this @Scourge, as we all benefit from the boots-on-the-ground perspective. So let's take a for-instance weekend where your crew is sharing an activity with the troop.

Does your troop operate in patrols? (Basically that would mean each patrol has their own campsite apart from the other adults. In a big open field there would be 300 feet of space between campsites.) If so:

Where does the crew camp relative to the patrols?

With whom do the dual venturers/boy scouts camp?

What trade-offs in time and responsibility do they make?

Are those of you who are only registered with the troop responsible for anything (e.g. a skit to the campfire, etc ...)?

Who decides when something is crew-only, troop-only, or crew-troop activity?

 

Lots of questions, but for readers who are trying to figure out how to make this work ... the answers may help them decide a course of action. Users may browse my replies to see how my crew worked, but generalizing from a sample of 1 is a bad idea.

Well first things first, this troop and crew operates from a smaller town.  So there's just one patrol.  On campouts a lot of the surrounding troops get together at a campsite and have a weekend to camp.  The troop and crew share the same campsite but with both genders having a separate area.  So those that are solely boy scouts and those that are boy scouts and venturers are mixed together.  So even though there are two separate programs we operate as one, sharing the same duties and camp responsibilities.  The troop however still manages under the Senior patrol leader and Scout Master, and since the Scout Master is also in charge of the crew we all work together as one.  I'm still new to scouting so I can't really go into a lot of detail about management and such but it's as if all of us are in one big scouting unit.  The Scout Master usually decides what event is what, since he leads both.  Most of the boy scouts are in the venture crew as well so sometimes he doesn't really need to clarify if it's a venture crew event or boy scouts event.  This hasn't caused any issues or troubles and we all work as one.    


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#19 Stosh

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 10:06 PM

As a leader who has done both Troops and Crews, @Scourge's "situation" sounds more like an adult-led combination of neither a troop nor a crew.  The hybrid results is just whatever the SM/CA decides it's going to be.  Just because it "works" doesn't mean it's a BSA program.  That setup described could also work for any community based youth program or church based youth program.


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#20 qwazse

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 09:37 AM

As a leader who has done both Troops and Crews, @Scourge's "situation" sounds more like an adult-led combination of neither a troop nor a crew.  The hybrid results is just whatever the SM/CA decides it's going to be.  Just because it "works" doesn't mean it's a BSA program.  That setup described could also work for any community based youth program or church based youth program.

Lacking prior information, we don't know how much this was originally a negotiation between the SM/CA and the founding members of the crew.

 

I've met several guys who wore both hats at the same time. From what I gathered, this was a strategy encouraged by the council (and no doubt from national) to "jump-start" crews. The thinking being that an SM would make the best advisor and could easily channel his outdoor enthusiasm to support his troop and a general interest crew this was true for one in three guys. The other guys I met were bitter about the process -- the one especially so because he could not get tiger-parents to stop helicoptering, and having his older scouts almost automatically registered with the crew mad things worse.

 

So if it works or not, it is an official BSA program in that it has been aggressively promoted by BSA professionals. Even now, every pro I know would endorse such a program were a COR to give him the charter applications. So, it continues to be a BSA program, even if the patrol method is set aside for the sake of free-wheeling teens.

 

@Scourge, if you can spare the time, get your crew to take Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews and sign up for NYLT (and eventually NAYLE). Get the boys to take Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops.  It will give you a baseline with witch to judge how a crew should managed.

 

You wouldn't be the first youth/young adult to realize your unit could use an adjustment. @Sentinel's story is a good one to follow as to how he moved his troop towards better execution of the patrol method.


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