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Son and Friends Starting a New Venturing Crew


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#21 qwazse

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 09:32 AM

I'm very interested in this, and I'm wishing you well with it!  (I have two daughters coming up behind my scout son, and I'm also interested in the type of stuff that venturers would do.

 

our SM is forming a venture patrol in the troop.  He is opposed to a crew.  Says he experienced years earlier when he was scouting with an older son, that a crew will take the older boys away from the troop and hurt the troop.

 

I understand that logic, but it seems to me that maybe it just wasn't done right.  Seems like it could work.... and it also seems to me that even if it did happen like this, there's no reason the troop couldn't continue on just fine anyway!... if done right.....

 

Regardless, we are in Northern Florida, and not even close to mountains......and so the obvious venture stuff, such as great trails for distance hikes, climbing, rafting, and so on are out.... so I'm at a loss as to what a crew would do around here that isn't so different from what a troop can do already.... except the coed thing

A venture patrol is so much less administrative headache. I agree with your SM. Chances are, the culture that let things be done poorly before will let it happen again. Unless the CO or a couple of parents see the need for youth in the community who are not currently in the BSA, leave it at that.

 

If only you and your daughters see the need, start the crew with a different CO. That's one way to get yourself out of that treasurer's job!

 

As to what to do in North FL? Scuba, snorkel, kayaks/canoe trails, fishing, rodeos, the races ...


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#22 blw2

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 01:12 PM

yeah, I'm pretty ure this was a different CO in a different city even.... a long time ago....

regardless, you make a valid point.

 

Scuba, snorkel, kayaks/canoe trails, fishing though.... all things scouts can do anyway..... but I guess the point is they can focus more on it.


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#23 qwazse

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 04:06 PM

... Scuba, snorkel, kayaks/canoe trails, fishing though.... all things scouts can do anyway..... but I guess the point is they can focus more on it.

Yes! Think nationally recognized certifications instead of MBs.

Plus handguns.


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#24 qwazse

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:04 AM

....  Scuba, snorkel, kayaks/canoe trails, fishing though.... all things scouts can do anyway....

One more thought on this ... although these are all things that scouts can do ... they may not be the things that any given troop or even a venture patrol within a troop will do.

 

For example, my 2nd wave of venturers were fully committed to Council and Area gatherings (and shouting across the dark autumn ravine "Hey, Boy Scouts, you wanna play cards?") ... a complete sea change from the 1st wave who, when other scouts were in the vicinity, pitched camp as far from them as possible. Looking back, I think this was because the Boy and Girl scouts in the first wave had had their fill of Camporees, Klondike Derbies, and other meets of like Jambo or the HA bases. Even in their respective troops, they actually were opting not to participate in such things. The second wave, however, had fewer such opportunities (thanks to their seniors' programming decisions).

 

The third wave? Well I think the pendulum has swung back a little. They are also preferring to camp with friends who wont join the crew, which hurts our membership. The troop on the other hand ... well it is the result of boys from different troops preferring to camp with one another! They're having a great time. And although the older scouts talk about wanting to be in "the crew",  they seem quite content with just what their troop is doing. So, I am trying to figure out if a crew will have anything to offer this lot.


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#25 Hedgehog

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 06:04 PM

Then you'll find there's not much in the HBs that you haven't already consumed.

 

I would suggest that you and your son and his posse take this approach:

  • Note the strengths and interests of the adults.
  • Note the strengths and interests of the crew.
  • Each youth pick one activity they would like to do by the end of this year.
    • If they overlap with one another that's okay.
    • If an activity doesn't match anybody's strengths that's okay too.
  • Each adult determine if their is an activity that they could support a youth in implementing. (This might involve as little as providing the phone number of a consultant or as much as committing learn whatever.)
  • This information is all you need for the first open house. Which should be sort of like the AA meetings:
    • Hi, my name is ___ and I'm a {venturer/scouter}.
    • I can {insert strengths} I wish I could {insert interest}
    • Sometime in the next three months, I would like to {Insert activity}

From there, you get to say "And here's how we're gonna do that".

Exactly what you say next depends on your youth. If they are into bling, talk about ALPS; If they are into program, talk about the calendar; If they are into leadership training, talk about courses or clubs like Toastmasters. You won't be able to talk about it all (and you really shouldn't because you have 5 minutes max), so this part always ends with something like "And there's more, but all we need to know is if you want to be part of it (and can stand a little paperwork). Questions?"

 

 

 I like the introductions and will suggest.  My recommendation is to have the core group explain the program by focusing on the possibilities -- Adventure, Activities, Group Identity, Service, Advancement and Personal Growth.  Leaving the best for last - Leadership.  Then I will tell them the most important thing - they are in charge and the program is theirs to decide.


Edited by Hedgehog, 05 August 2016 - 06:05 PM.

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#26 Hedgehog

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 06:39 PM

I'm very interested in this, and I'm wishing you well with it!  (I have two daughters coming up behind my scout son, and I'm also interested in the type of stuff that venturers would do.

 

our SM is forming a venture patrol in the troop.  He is opposed to a crew.  Says he experienced years earlier when he was scouting with an older son, that a crew will take the older boys away from the troop and hurt the troop.

 

I understand that logic, but it seems to me that maybe it just wasn't done right.  Seems like it could work.... and it also seems to me that even if it did happen like this, there's no reason the troop couldn't continue on just fine anyway!... if done right.....

 

Regardless, we are in Northern Florida, and not even close to mountains......and so the obvious venture stuff, such as great trails for distance hikes, climbing, rafting, and so on are out.... so I'm at a loss as to what a crew would do around here that isn't so different from what a troop can do already.... except the coed thing

 

 

It doesn't sound like it was done right.  Our COR is truly behind this and he understands how the program operates and how it won't hurt the troop.  I'm going to be the Advisor and I"m the incoming SM for the Troop next June.  We have one SM of another neighboring Troop who has signed on as an Associate Advisor, the current SM of our Troop is likely to take an adult leadershp position and a current ASM of the troop as another Associate Advisor.  So many of the adults recognize the importance of having the older Scouts participate in the Troop.  As a result, this is being pitched as something in addition to the Troop.  The boys who are interersted are the ones that attend almost every outing and are looking for a reason to do more.  The idea of being a servant leader means that the boys will continue to serve and lead in the Troop.  Also, I've decided that Boy Scout advancement should be done through the Troop and not the Crew.

 

As I've mentioned before, our Troop has a great outdoor program with a lot of great activities -- rock climbing, canoing, horseback riding, beach camping, COPE, winter camping, backpacking and high adventure (50 miler / Sea Base).  The Venturing program will mirror a lot of those activities but the Venturers will decide what they want to do.  So the Venturing program isn't desinged to provide something that is missing -- just to provide something different.

 

We are up to 6 young woman and 5 young men interested in the Crew just by word of mouth.   The Crew's existence is being driven by what appears to be an untapped need in our community to provide adventure on a co-ed basis.  Although a lot of the potential Venturers don't know it, the program has a very different design than Boy Scouts and presents a lot of different challenges and opportunities.  It should be a very interesting year getting this Crew started.


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#27 Hedgehog

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:25 PM

Update: We are up to 7 young woman and 5 young men that are interested. We have two current scoutmasters, two assistant scoutmasters, and two committee members from two area troops volunteering along with two or three other adults for a total of 4 woman and 4 men. I'm meeting the CoR for coffee tomorrow to go over details and he has an appointment with the IH next week to sign the paperwork. Have the first meeting scheduled for late August. Should have a new Crew by September.
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#28 Lurking...

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 08:06 PM

I hope you do well.  I had similar numbers lined up and it ended up all smoke and no flame.  Hang in there, it's worth the risk getting started and don't be disappointed if there are bumps along the way.  I'm excited for you!


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#29 qwazse

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 08:24 PM

That sounds like a really nice depth chart. How many of your female adult leaders are back-country ready?
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#30 Hedgehog

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 06:05 AM

I hope you do well.  I had similar numbers lined up and it ended up all smoke and no flame.  Hang in there, it's worth the risk getting started and don't be disappointed if there are bumps along the way.  I'm excited for you!

 

I think there will be flames.  At least 7 of the youth are already in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts so they have an interest in scouting.  Most of the young women who are interested are REALLY interested in the focus on adventure and the guys are "hardcore" Boy Scouts who go on every adventure they can.  Also, the way this developed is that the core group are all friends.  I was laughing because four of them got together to watch the fifth perform in a play a couple of weeks back.

 

 

That sounds like a really nice depth chart. How many of your female adult leaders are back-country ready?

 

 

We have one female leader who is very experienced in backpacking and one who is comfortable hiking, boating and camping.  The other female leaders are willing to do day adventures - biking and hiking but I"m not sure about camping.  Three of the female leaders are the wives of the SMs or ASMs from the Troops.  I think we should be fine with two co-ed deep on adventures.


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#31 qwazse

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 08:43 AM

I think there will be flames.  At least 7 of the youth are already in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts so they have an interest in scouting.  Most of the young women who are interested are REALLY interested in the focus on adventure and the guys are "hardcore" Boy Scouts who go on every adventure they can.  Also, the way this developed is that the core group are all friends.  I was laughing because four of them got together to watch the fifth perform in a play a couple of weeks back.

 

 

 

 

We have one female leader who is very experienced in backpacking and one who is comfortable hiking, boating and camping.  The other female leaders are willing to do day adventures - biking and hiking but I"m not sure about camping.  Three of the female leaders are the wives of the SMs or ASMs from the Troops.  I think we should be fine with two co-ed deep on adventures.

 

Keep building your depth chart.  That may mean nudging the "day" moms a little into enduring some challenges. That may also mean getting to know other crews in your area, or recruiting other women you trust. Get to know the advisors of your council/district VOA.

 

Think back on how many times a given SM/ASM was not available for a troop overnight, perhaps one or two of those times were last minute decisions, but at least someone was there to step into the gap.

 

Add to it: two-deep is a minimum standard. Think of scenarios where you may have to split the group (e.g. back-country contingent size limits), in those cases you need four leaders.

 

It is just a really rotten feeling to tell a group of girls that they can't join a contingent because of leadership shortages.


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#32 Hedgehog

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:25 PM

Keep building your depth chart.  That may mean nudging the "day" moms a little into enduring some challenges. That may also mean getting to know other crews in your area, or recruiting other women you trust. Get to know the advisors of your council/district VOA.

 

Agreed. My other concern is the long term viability of the crew. The backcountry-experienced mom has a daughter in 10th grade.  In three years, the daughter will be off to college and we may lose the mom.  Finding a backountry experienced mom of a younger Venturer this year or next would be great.  But so far, off to a good start.


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#33 qwazse

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 09:39 PM

Agreed. My other concern is the long term viability of the crew. The backcountry-experienced mom has a daughter in 10th grade. In three years, the daughter will be off to college and we may lose the mom. Finding a backountry experienced mom of a younger Venturer this year or next would be great. But so far, off to a good start.

Ideally you'll press this urgency upon yout CC and COR, and they'll be your recruiters. Advisors wind up pretty much in the moment. It's certainly a one "class" at a time gig.

Edited by qwazse, 12 August 2016 - 09:48 PM.

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#34 Hedgehog

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 06:00 AM

UPDATE:

 

We had our Crew's organizational meeting on Sunday night in my backyard.  We had 4 young woman and 3 young men at the meeting.  Each of them talked about part of the Venturing program - Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth and Service. They also covered introductions, recognition, officer positions, the Scout Oath and Law, etc. 

 

We also had 10 adults at the meeting to help in various capacities (including the COR and DE).  It was neat to see the adults sit back as the youths explained the program.  

 

There are two other young women and two other young men that expressed interest in joining the crew but couldn't make the meeting. Additionally, everyone there had ideas of other friends that they though would be interested.  My sense is that we will end up with a crew of around 12.

 

As the youths did their introduction, they stated the main reason they were interested in Venturing - the two reasons cited were having adventures and being with friends.

 

The meeting ended with a fire in the fire pit, marshmallows and two dump cakes.


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#35 blw2

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 07:00 AM

..... It was neat to see the adults sit back as the youths explained the program.  .....

 

were there harps playing in the background, and a nice white clouded fog surrounding but not in your yard?

 

I've never seen this vision before.... so I can only imagine it as a dreamlike state....


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#36 qwazse

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 07:50 AM

were there harps playing in the background, and a nice white clouded fog surrounding but not in your yard?

 

I've never seen this vision before.... so I can only imagine it as a dreamlike state....

I dropped in on the troop meeting, and the troop guides were explaining positions of responsibility to the boys. Adults were quietly in the back of the room. There's a lot that that unit could be doing better, but they are good at giving the boys the podium.


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#37 Hedgehog

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 05:55 PM

were there harps playing in the background, and a nice white clouded fog surrounding but not in your yard?

 

 

Our dog was howling and there was smoke from the charcoal from the Dutch ovens... does that work?

 

My mantra has been "start as you intend to continue."  As the Advisor, I'm asking myself at every point is that something a youth could do?  The answer usually is yes.


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#38 Hedgehog

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 04:00 PM

We had our second meeting on Sunday. We had six youth (3 male / 3 female) turn in their forms with two more (1 male and 1 female) expected to turn them in next month. Before the meeting had started they had already completely organized a 10 mile bike ride for September. We have an Advisor (me) and 4 Associate Advisors and a 3 member Committee. Paperwork was submitted on Monday.

We were supposed to have elections but the youth all wanted different positions. After running the nonexistent election, I turned it over to the Crew President. She ran with my agenda - having the crew decide on the October (backpacking) and November (COPE and rock climbing on a real rock face) outings. After 2 hours, nobody wanted it to end.

The best part was going around the table and hearing the level of experience of the youth and adults. The adults are 4 or 5 deep in hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, canoeing and other skills. The 14 and 15 year old Venturers all had impressive outdoor skills. Four crew members have done backpacking treks longer than 50 miles. This is a pretty awesome group.

It's been a flurry of emails and activity among advisors to get the adult protocols in place (permission slips, medical forms, training, etc. ). We are fortunate because we have access to the gear and equipment from 2 Troops because their Scoutmasters are also serving as Crew Associate advisors.

We are also fortunate that all of the advisors are VERY committed to youth-led.

This is going to be a lot of fun.
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#39 Hedgehog

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 07:22 PM

This weekend was the Crew's first overnight camping trip.  The crew did a 10 mile bike ride in September.  In October, we did a shakedown hike for a planned AT backpacking trip.  Unfortunately, the trip had to be cancelled because several of crew members who panned to go couldn't make it for valid reasons (severe cold, death of relative, injury on a 50 mile bike ride the weekend before, etc.) and the weather looked awful (40s and raining all weekend).

 

So our November trip was going to our council camp and doing the COPE course.  We only had 5 out of the 9 crew members but it was great.  The first morning was a little bit of chaos because they woke up late and weren't working together to get breakfast ready.  They ended being around 20 minutes late for the start.  A good lesson that the adults will not step in to wake up the venturers or to tell them how to do things.  

 

The COPE course got them working together as a team and really taught some good lessons -- listen to everyone / speak up if you have an idea, the adults will not tell you what to do and will let them fail, you suceed when you work together, best to plan, evaluate and then execute.  It was interesting to see when our Crew of 5 got paired with another larger combined Crew / Troop for the last activity that our Crew's leaders just took charge.  One of the things I said at our meetings and on the COPE course seems to have stuck because I heard one of the Ventures saiy it to the group.... "In Venturing, you all are leaders."

 

 As they moved to the High Cope (ropes) course, it was amazing to see their scout spirit.  Our president went first up one of the courses but there was a younger scout going at the same time.  Our President was to the top of the first element in seconds but she came back down to help the other scout up -- almost lifting up some rungs and letting him use her knee to get up others all while encouraging him.  My son did something similar when the person he was climbing with couldn't make the last rung.  The Crew members were the only group that didn't have people standing around -- when they weren't on the course they were belaying.  

 

When they got back to camp, they worked as a team to get firewood, get water, cook dinner, make a fire and wash dishes.  Although there was a little issue with the fire taking too long to start (how many Venturers does it take to start a fire?) while the other two were stuck doing all the dishes, they managed to handle the situation pretty well.  You could tell that by the end of the night, they had bonded as a crew.  They were all asleep by 9:30.

 

Sunday morning was clear and sunny and the Great Master of All Scouts was smiling on the Crew.  They woke up, had hot chocolate and coffee sitting at a picnic table.  Two of them cooked the sausage while the other three packed their gear and then the other tree cooked the french toast while the other two packed the gear.  They ate breakfast sitting together at the table (wait, scouts actually can do that ?)), set a record for doing dishes (12 minutes) and were packed up and read to go.  The whole crew went together to get the campmaster to inspect the camp.

 

In our After Action Review, they talked about what went wrong on Saturday morning and with the dishes on Saturday night and how thing went right on Sunday.  The best comment was, "I wish the rest of the Crew was here, we really learned a lot this weekend."  

 

Looking forward to December's trip.


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#40 qwazse

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 07:33 PM

Next step: buzz. Word has to get out to their friends about what went on (good, bad, and just plain silly).
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