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Standing up a new Venture Crew

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  • Standing up a new Venture Crew

    This week, a colleague and myself will be standing up a brand new Venture Crew. This will be the first meeting and we will have both parents and youth there. We have laid out an agenda but having never done this before, I would like to elicit wisdom from those wwho have done so before. What worked and what did not. Did you keep parents and youth separate the entire meeting, together the entire meeting, or a combination? Did you try to have Crew elections or put that off until the next meeting? What worked and what did not? What were the topics that you covered.

    Thanks in advance for assistance.

  • #2
    Are you meeting with boys who are all ready to go (know each other, have critical mass) or do you expect your first meeting to be an "This is what Venturing is all about and who would like to join" type meeting?

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    • #3
      vol,

      First, thank you for your cheerful service. You're in for a wild ride. (That includes, among other things, getting niggled until you call it a "Venturing" crew.)

      I introduced myself to my youth at their inaugural meeting as "the first crew advisor I ever met" and promised that my co-advisor and I would try to correct that (by taking Venturing Leader Specific Training) before they met again. Being humble at the start helped a little. Also, I think it made the kids realize they were starting something new. Time for them will go by so fast, so you don't want to squander any leadership opportunities.

      If I had it to do over again ...
      The advisor would start with elections at this first meeting. The way I do it ...
      - Introduce the program for about 5-10 minutes.
      - Then, describe the officers you need. (Some crews feel the need Quatermaster, Historian, and Guide while others do without.) Give them an index card with the title, "Crew ###, 2011-2012 Officers" and the positions down the left hand side. Give them a pen. Say, "You have 15 minutes when I come back, I expect you have selected the right people and put their names beside the office you've elected them to."
      - Leave the room and take any parents with you.

      I would take all adults to the other room and explain that while the kids are electing their leaders you need them to organize in two ways:
      - Decide how the committee chair should organize and schedule committee meetings. (My one requirement is that no committee meeting is held in the absence of the crew president.)
      - Complete a program capability inventory (forms for these are in the leader's manual, but you can get them online.)
      - Remind parents that they need to complete youth protection if they want to officially register with the crew.
      - Advisor emphasizes that we don't produce *any* program unless the youth initiate it. Parents who insist on doing too much for the kids will be remanded to VLST. (And deprived of caffeine and chocolate if necessary.)
      - Advisor reminds them that female adult leaders are precious in the eyes of many in venturing. If there is a mom or older sibling willing to camp and hike wherever with the young women in your crew, you may not be able to guarantee her much besides the admiration of young people who will be thankful for that woman's availability.

      While adults stay and cogitate, advisor returns to the youth and thanks the newly elected officers for their ensuing year of service. Say, "I'm sure you'll do an excellent job. Officers we need to figure out some times for us to meet at length. But, let's use the remainder of our time to brainstorm about activities you all want to make happen in the next year or two."

      You can hand out the activity interest survey, or lead a brainstorming session. Your newly elected secretary can record results. (Take that paper home, it will be your compass when you do meet with the officers.)

      Bring everyone together. Introduce the officers for the upcoming year. Let them know that the adults before them will be available at the youths' request. Look forward to the next meeting.

      Anyway, that will make for a busy meeting. But, it will give you an idea of what's really important for the kids and enable you to set your compass. There will be plenty of other meetings where you can discuss the nitty-gritty like by-laws, uniforms, public displays of affection, chairmen-of-which activity.

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      • #4
        acco,

        Thanks for the response. We have signed up ~20 young men and women (~50/50) but there was no meeting. So this will be the very first real meeting. The young men and women will be there with their parents.

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