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Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

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  • Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

    Two adults in our troop have recently butted heads with me (Scoutmaster) on various issues. The committee chair and I are on the same page and I don't let the issues they bring up bother me. Well, they now want to start a Venture Crew and I essentially said "go for it" but as for myself, I'm already involved enough in Scouting so don't include me as an advisor. Well, it has been over a year since they said they were going to start up a crew and still no concrete action on their part. Last week they addressed the committee (I was not present) and a couple of things irked me. They wanted to meet the same time the Troop met so the boys who want to dual register won't have to add another meeting night. They also wanted to share the current existing troop equipment. Also, they had not yet talked to the IH or COR about their desires. They are even contemplating a different CO (but meet in the same place!)

    I've kept quiet but I'm going to share the following concerns with the CC. 1) I prefer that the Venture Crew meet on a different evening. The Crew and the Troop are two different units and if a Scout wants to belong to both that's fine, but don't combine the meetings. 2) Equipment was bought and paid for by the troop. Yes, the troop doesn't own it, the CO does, I know that. 3) The potential Venture crew advisor (adult) stated to the parents (one of which was my wife) that advancement will count for both. How, as a Scoutmaster not involved in the crew, would I be able to sign off on a POR (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, etc.) for the Crew? I know it is allowed but from a practical standpoint does anyone have pointers in this area?

    Also, does anyone have any general advice on other issues that may arise when a Venture Crew is started?

  • #2
    Acco, I recommend you contact your district membership chair and your DE to let them know of your concerns, and the conditions under which you think it would work better to start a new crew.

    In my (nearby) council there is currently a renewed focus on starting venturing crews, and as membership chair for my district I'm supportive of that. However, I would try to talk down any group that was attempting what you describe, and I would ask my DE to do the same. What you are describing is highly likely to result in conflict between 2 scouting units to the detriment of both. Even purely from a membership perspective, that is not desirable.

    Regarding advancement, my understanding (though I freely admit I'm not an expert in this and am open to correction) is that while Boy Scout advancement may be signed off within the Crew (for boys 1st Cl and above), I have never heard that Venturing recognitions may be signed off by troop SMs. Of course you probably also know that advancement is not one of the methods of venturing.


    • #3
      I'm trying to resurrect a near dead Venturing Crew. They typically met only once a month and on a different night than our troop. It has been suggested to me from a few parents that I hold the Venture meeting the same night as the troop but before the troop meeting so the scout only has to commit to one night a week to scouting. That may be a solution to you, meet the same night, but either before or after the troop meeting.


      • #4
        Sounds to me like the cart is before the horse.

        Has anyone done an interest inventory of potential youth? What are the youth interested in doing? Venturing isn't just simply more camping and backpacking. It has multiple tracks based on the interests of the target population.

        Been there, done that on meeting concurrently. Doesn't work well.

        What is the Chartered Partner's vision for serving older teens? Co-ed? Single gender? Girls only? Someone needs to be talking to the IH and the COR.

        Someone does need to tell the "organizers" that if equipment is going to be shared, then there will be an inter-unit scheduling meeting, so that events are deconflicted.

        Sounds to me like smoke and mirrors to rile you, acco. I'd have a friendly cup of coffee with your COR, UC, and DE to share your concerns. This feels like someone (not you) is planning to fail.


        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback everyone. Lisabob, I didn't explain myself very well on the advancement topic. My concerns are that the Venture Crew would be signing off on Boy Scout PORs for Star, Life and Eagle. Can anyone share light on how this works?


          • #6
            Yes, it is true that Venturers under the age of 18 can continue to work to earn their Eagle.


            • #7
              Hello acco,

              My understanding is that if a boy has completed First Class Scout in a Boy Scout Troop, he can then earn Star, Life and Eagle Scout and Eagle palms as a member of a Venturing Crew. This does not mean that the Scout is, for example, completing his Position of Responsibility as a Crew Member and then having Scoutmaster's Conference, Board of Review, etc. in the Troop although that is a possibility. Rather, it means that the earning of the ranks is done in the Crew. The Scoutmaster's Conference is with the Crew Advisor. The Board of Review is held (if your District/Council does it this way) with the Crew Committee. Six months active service as a Venturer could be required although I would imagine that six months service as a Boy Scout would count for the requirement also.

              I would say that you have the option of accepting the Venturer Position of Responsibility but would not be required to do so. I would think that you are in your rights to say that if he wants to use a Venturer Position of Responsibility, he should go for Eagle in the Crew which he can do. After all, if he did six months as Crew Officer, he also was active for six months in the Crew.

              It might get a bit tricky if the relationship were somewhat hostile and he wanted to use three months as a Troop Officer and three months as a Crew Officer but even that would, in my opinion, meet the requirement. It would need to be worked out in a courteous, friendly and kind manner.


              • #8
                It sounds as if the problem isn't that a Venturing program is being started within the CO but that it is being started badly. It also sounds like the adults invoplved in starting the crew do not play well together with the adults in the troop.

                What is need here is some communication and some gropundrules. There is nothing wrong with a CO using more than one of the Scouting programs, but they should be set up as mutually beneficial not as prgram competitors. I ahve a suspicion that the adults trying to start the Crew do not feel that the older scouts in the troop are satisified with the program that is currently offered through the troop and are looking to be able to offer them a higher activity level.

                If this is true then a little communication and some alteration of the Troop program might be enough to improve the situation and the neeed for the crew would go away.

                As for the advancement there are no ranks in Venturing in a Crew program which is why advancement is not a Method in that program.

                But a Scout who is First Class at the time he enters Venturing maty continue his advancement to Eagle as a dual registered scout OR only registered in Venturing, If dual registered the Crew Advisor and the SCoutmaster need to be in communication so to avaid personal conflicts that could affect the scouts efforts in a negative way.

                What is important is what the scout learns and not who gets the credit for signing the advancement. Remember that when a scout advances (no matter what the rank) it is not to the unit's credit that he did so, it is to the youths credit. The advancement belongs to thm and not to anyone else.


                • #9

                  Neil is right, see ACP&P #33088. Once a Scout has reached First Class, he may opt to transfer to a Crew and continue his advancement in Boy Scouting there.

                  I would say to you if he does, fine. Just set a clear expectation that the Troop will not provide Committee folk for BORs, and you will not be available for their SM conferences, should a Crew organize.


                  • #10
                    Hi Acco

                    Neil explained the advancement pretty good. You deal with the scouts who advance in the troop program, the Venture leaders deal with the scouts who advance in their program. I also very much agree with Neils comment: It might get a bit tricky if the relationship were somewhat hostile and he wanted to use three months as a Troop Officer and three months as a Crew Officer but even that would, in my opinion, meet the requirement. It would need to be worked out in a courteous, friendly and kind manner.

                    I have watch the Venture crews and Venturing Patrol programs in our council pretty closely and I think 8 out of 10 of them die in five years. It is even worse odds when the Crew expects a Troop to be the feeder and the SM isnt going along. You havent given the reason these guys are doing this, but typically it is something to the effect that the older scouts are bored and they need more adventure to keep them in the program, bla, bla, bla. In truth, these adults want something different and their desire is driving the whole thing.

                    To a large degree your hands are tied. I agree with Lisabob and John that you need to get District and Council involved because this is going to keep you up at nights for a while. While it always looks like a Scout issue of improving the program, it is in fact an adult issue that will likely get a lot worse.

                    Scouting is a wonderful program until the adults get involved.

                    Good luck, I hate these things.



                    • #11
                      There is nothing requiring the scouts to advance in one program or the other. A scout who is dusal registered can use the activities of each program toward his advancement. The key word is "his". it is the Scouts advancement not the troop, crew, or ships advancement.

                      The way the advancement program is currently set-up a scout can advance in Boy Scout Ranks as a Sea Scout, But cannot advance in his Sea Scout Ranks through a Troop. He can however use his skills activity in a troop toward his Sea Scout Ranks.

                      Here is what I mean. A dual registered scout in a troop and crew can use his leadership office in the crew toward his Boy Scout Rank advancement as a Venturer or as a Boy Scout/Venturer dual membership. A s a dual membership he can go before a Troop board of review and use his Venturing leadership toward his rank. Or he can go before a board at the Crew level and use his time as an SPL in the troop for his Boy Scout Rank.

                      Nothing requires that he do all the advancement through one program or another. That's why a higher level of communication is need between the advisor and the SM in these cases.


                      • #12
                        Bob, I don't dispute what you said but I'm a little gun shy about signing off on requirements that I have no idea about. If a Scout is dual registered and wants to have his time as a Crew Treasurer, for example, be used for his POR for Life Rank who signs off? A leader of the troop or of the Crew?


                        • #13

                          It comes from grownups playing nice, thus being able to trust each other.

                          If you do not assess the Advisor as being Trustworthy, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind, or if you suspect the Crew will be an Eagle Mill, have a friendly call with your own District Advancement Chair. Let him give you what your District will/won't enforce.


                          • #14
                            Since the activity took place at the crew level the Crew President or Advisor would be the most likely to sign it.

                            In the Ship I serve the Skipper or select Mates sign the Boy Scout advancement requirements that Scout completes during ship activities.

                            Remember that the Scout must be 1st Class before doing this, So most the requirements from Star, Life, and eagle are merit badges related and ared signed by an approved and registered counselor and not by the Troop, Crew, or Ship.

                            The balance certifies there leadership role, their membership activity, and their personal growth and either unit can sign those off. Since the Eagle project approved by the District, and is not a unit activity, it does not matter which unit the scout has the approval done through.


                            • #15
                              So, if I'm understanding your post correctly, you believe that that if a Scout is dual registered, he may get all of his Boy Scout advancement signed off via the Crew leadership or all by the troop leadership or some combination of the two.