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  • Starting a New Venturing Program

    Hello All;

    We are looking at starting a Venturing Crew in my city. We, to my knowledge have never had one, or it has been defunct since the days of Explorers, exclusively.

    I have a couple of questions which I would appreciate your input on.

    1. What are the bare minimums for getting a crew started?
    2. How much direction am I supposed to be giving, as opposed to allowing them the freedom to explore and grow this on their own.
    3. Is Venturing always geared toward "high-adventure?"
    4. Is the structure, administratively, close to a Boy Scout troop?
    5. What are the major advantages/disadvantages to having it be co-ed and what is your experience with co-ed Scouting?

    I know that these may seem like fairly simple questions, but I've done my research from the "official" Scouting end and it is something we'd like to move forward with, but I am also asking here, for some real world experiences.

    I have no preconceived ideas and I am looking for any and all views on this. Thanks so much, in advance. We are excited about this and I'm looking for a little more practical feedback to compliment the official feedback from the Council and National.

  • #2
    Let me try to answer your questions. Other may have a different take.

    1. What are the bare minimums for getting a crew started?

    You need 5 youth, 5 adults, and you need someone or some group to be your chartered organization. Some of the youth can be dual-enrolled (ie, they could also be Boy Scouts).

    2. How much direction am I supposed to be giving, as opposed to allowing them the freedom to explore and grow this on their own.

    More so then in Boy Scouts, Venturing is supposed to be youth-led and youth-run. You can give direction at the beginning to get things going, but the kids may want to take it in a different direction, and so you need to be open to that happening.

    The thing is the crew DOES need to have something to focus on. Their specialty. You may set it down, and this will attract kids who want to do that. But who knows where it takes you and them?

    3. Is Venturing always geared toward "high-adventure?"

    NOPE. Venturing crews will fall into one of 5 categories: outdoors, arts/hobbies, sports, youth ministries (basically church youth groups), or Sea Scouts. When one speaks of "high adventure", its usually some of the outdoor crews, maybe also Sea Scouts.

    Even then, the types of crews can be mindboggling to those not open to the possibilities. I know of role play game crews, anime crews, SAR crews, outdoor crews, scuba crews, sailing crews, music crews, soccer crews, church youth group crews, WWII re-enactment crews, Civil war re-enactment crews, mountainman/frontiersman crews and more.

    4. Is the structure, administratively, close to a Boy Scout troop?

    Not sure what you mean.

    A crew is organized like a club, so they have a president, 2 or more vice-presidents, secretary, treasurer and other officers that fits their needs. They have adults serve as advisor and associate advisor(s), plus a crew committee of adults overseeing and backing them up. the adult structure is similar to all scout units, but how the crew runs is NOT like a troop. There are nothing like a patrol in Venturing crews.

    5. What are the major advantages/disadvantages to having it be co-ed and what is your experience with co-ed Scouting?

    The major advantage of being co-ed is you have a MUCH larger group of potential members then if you limit it to just boys. Disadvantages is that you MUST have male and female leadership willing to attend meetings AND events to be successful, and you need to be mindful of the issues of having boys AND girls of that age together (dating and all that). Setting guidelines and boundaries (by the YOUTH, not you or other adults) is usually key here.

    I am used to co-ed scouting for years under the days of Exploring. I've dealt with it in forming VOAs. I also deal with something similar as an advisor to a co-ed college fraternity.

    Those who take issue with co-ed scouting/venturing are, IMO, being myopic.

    Comment


    • #3
      @emb021;

      Thanks, that does help. I think that as we get going, we want this to be focused on ministry, but we would like to be open to exposing them to more than just a church related experience. While that is the main focus, we'd like to see them grow in other areas as well. Is the built in flexibility able to accommodate something of that nature?

      In other words, is it possible to have them combine ministry and outdoors, if that is something that interests the group?

      Thanks for the response. I look forward to more discussion and additional feedback.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds like you would be a good fit as a Youth Ministries Crew. One thing to always remember that even though you may be registered as a Youth Ministries, your youth members could strive for any of the Venuturing Acheivements be it a Gold, Silver, Ranger, Trust or Quest. This part of the program is truly dependent on the youth,

        I was with an Outdoor Crew that got in the habit of going from Eastern PA to the Virginia Shore each year as a Habitat for Humanity Crew. Were we Outdoors or Youth Ministries? Eating and Sleepin in a church for a week would lead you to think YOuth Minsitries, but when you spend 8 hours swinging a hammer, putting up drywall or framing a house it seems pretty outdoorsy.

        You need 5 youth, but you also need a critical mass of youth who will give you 5-6 youth at every event. How many that takes is up to the group. Sometimes it take 7 other time 20, depends on the composition to the group and how committed the youth are,

        All in all, most crews I know of are ecletic in nature branchinf out in many directions. Some do have a very focused interest such as re-enacting but that is up to the group

        Comment


        • #5
          "Thanks, that does help. I think that as we get going, we want this to be focused on ministry, but we would like to be open to exposing them to more than just a church related experience. While that is the main focus, we'd like to see them grow in other areas as well. Is the built in flexibility able to accommodate something of that nature?

          In other words, is it possible to have them combine ministry and outdoors, if that is something that interests the group?"


          YES, you can certain be a youth ministries crew that has a good outdoor orientation. Realize that you have both the religious life AND outdoor bronze awards your youth can work on, and they can then do the TRUST (religious life expert award), Ranger (outdoor expert award), as well as GOLD and Silver (highest Venturing award).

          Crews CAN (and should) be flexible with their program. We DO want their program to be well rounded (social, service, leadership, citizenship, etc, should ALL be part of the mix). The mistake some people make (mostly hard nosed adult) is putting the crew into a narrow box and refusing to allow them to go beyond that. Being a "scuba crew" does not prevent a crew from going out for an afternoon of shooting or going bowling, and doing so doesn't negate that their main focus is SCUBA.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks everyone! This is great information!!!

            As a matter of transparency, what we're looking at doing is this...I am part of my diocese's Catholic Committee on Scouting. We will be the chartered organization. What we'd like to do is get a group of our AAD (Ad Alatare Dei) and PPXII (Pope Pius XII) Scouts together and form a Venture Crew which will focus on serving Mass for the bishop and other bigger functions, as well as singing/chanting and eventually getting them to help with teaching catechism and assisting with review boards for our Catholic emblems. We at the CCS for our diocese believe that this is consistent with the Pope's call for a New Evangelization, so necessarily follows in a Catholic model.

            While we would like for this to be the focal points, we want the Scouts involved to be able to branch to other areas which will engage them in a way which is consistent with what they know to be Scouting.

            We live by the rule, "If it isn't good for the Scout, we won't do it." So, with that in mind, we want to make sure that we give them strong guidance on the ministry part, but give them the freedom to do 99% of the work. We also want them to have the freedom to do Kodiak and Kodiak X as well as other things such as Powder Horn, etc...

            This does bring me to another question though...while we would look at this being a predominantly Catholic endeavor, is there anything prohibiting that? If a Lutheran or a Baptist wanted to join and engage in what we are doing, I would be inclined to accept them, as the adult advisor, but the Scout would need to know that the crew has a Catholic bent to it. Is that something which would be feasable, or is it best to keep it Catholic?

            I'm not trying to play denominations off one another, but I'm trying to explore how to be inclusive. Or is being exclusive acceptable in a Venturing scenario?

            Comment


            • #7
              duplicate post...(This message has been edited by camilam42)

              Comment


              • #8
                I have never thought it was a good idea to turn away an interested youth, Baptist or otherwise. You tell them its Roman Catholic based and then if they want to join, they do. They won't get upset if you only have fish on Fridays in Lent or always go to mass on SUndays on outings. Its their choice to attend and your choice as the CO to have Mass as part of the program. You could say Catholics only, just as you could say males only or females only, thats up to you as the CO.

                You realize Powderhorn is usually a Council or larger (such as Area) activity and most times open to any one who wishes to attend, youth or adult. If you are going to tailor it Catholic, say so up front and have at it. I think a Crew doing the Gregorian Chant at Easter Midnight Mass would be quite the thing. It would be fun to have the Crew Uniform a hooded cassock, but that may border on the Jedi Knightish

                Comment


                • #9
                  First off, keep in mind it a "Venturing Crew", not a "venture crew". the terms are not interchangable.

                  "This does bring me to another question though...while we would look at this being a predominantly Catholic endeavor, is there anything prohibiting that? If a Lutheran or a Baptist wanted to join and engage in what we are doing, I would be inclined to accept them, as the adult advisor, but the Scout would need to know that the crew has a Catholic bent to it. Is that something which would be feasable, or is it best to keep it Catholic?"

                  The Crew is owned by the Charter Org. There is NOTHING wrong with the CO forming a Catholic youth ministries Venturing Crew, with a 'Catholic bent'. And nothing wrong with telling people who want to join that that is the way it is, and they are free to join or not. The same would be true of a church youth group. While most would think the church youth group may be exclusive to the church's youth membership, such groups could attract the friends of the church's youth, who may not be part of the denomination. They may feel that being with their friends is more important then the fact its a different denomination. And, who knows, the kids may convert. Or not. So you might want to have some discussions with your CO leadership, to see if they are open to a crew that may be predominately Catholic, but that may attract youth who aren't Catholic, and would they have an issue with that, and with not being too pushy about it.

                  I don't think you should have too much of a problem as I know that troops chartered to Catholic churches are not exclusively Catholic, and I know of such troops being lead by non-Catholic leaders. And I know that the Nat Committee on Catholic Scouting (or whatever its called) has actually created some religious awards that can be earned by non-Catholic youth, so am sure they are open to the idea that their troops (and crews) can have non-Catholic youth.

                  As an example, my family is Methodist, but me and my brothers never really got into our churches youth group. We mainly got involved with youth groups with our friends churches, with were Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc, and there were no issues with that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    @ OGE,

                    That is hilarious! I was thinking more of just having them wear open fronted cassocks, kinda like Neo in the Matrix, but your idea is good too!!!! LOL!!!

                    Seriously, though, thanks. I didn't know if being exclusive was going against the grain, in too big of a way. Obviously, I'm only one voice in the CO, so it wouldn't really be up to me.

                    As for teaching them to chant, I have been chanting for years and years, since I was in my early 20s. I'm 39 now, so I have a pretty good handle on it. What I'd really like to do is promote that they learn to chant in both Latin and English.

                    Also, I would like to teach them to serve both forms of Holy Mass, so they could be truly universal. But again, that would partly depend on the level of interest from the Scouts.

                    This brings up another question. I would really like to have it be co-ed. But, certain aspects are male only (such as serving the extra ordinary form). Are there ways to specialize, such as having a mixed schola, made up of male and female Scouts, while reserving serving to the male Scouts only? And if that is too tough, then would it be better to talk to the CO about it being a male only Crew?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      @emb021;

                      Thanks for the correction. I am still pretty new to this aspect and I think of it in older terms. I will be more diligent.

                      Thanks for the insight too. I guess that it comes down to the Venturing Crew being pretty specialized, in certain cases.

                      Knowing that there are not "ranks," but rather there is a more graduated way of advancement, is it possible, that a Life Scout could be President and an Eagle could be nothing at all? Or is there deference paid to the ranks, from Boy Scouts? I know that most Eagles are more mature and are more leader oriented, but does that matter with Venturers or cause friction? I tend to think not, but I would like to hear how that has worked too...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "Knowing that there are not "ranks," but rather there is a more graduated way of advancement, is it possible, that a Life Scout could be President and an Eagle could be nothing at all? Or is there deference paid to the ranks, from Boy Scouts? I know that most Eagles are more mature and are more leader oriented, but does that matter with Venturers or cause friction? I tend to think not, but I would like to hear how that has worked too... "

                        In Venturing, we have advancement, but we DON'T have ranks.

                        The idea is that a Venturer who has a venturing award (whether its Bronze, Gold or Silver) is NO WAY 'out ranks' a Venturer who doesn't have an award. So eligibility to hold an office in the crew should NOT be tied to advancement, and certainly NOT Boy Scout advancement.

                        "This brings up another question. I would really like to have it be co-ed. But, certain aspects are male only (such as serving the extra ordinary form). Are there ways to specialize, such as having a mixed schola, made up of male and female Scouts, while reserving serving to the male Scouts only? And if that is too tough, then would it be better to talk to the CO about it being a male only Crew? "

                        Best way, I think, to handle that is that make this serving stuff NOT be tied directly to the crew. Make it an extra thing that SOME in the crew COULD do, if they met the requirements (which could include things like being male, being Catholic). That can help with making the crew co-ed and open to non-Catholics, if that's what you'd like.

                        For me, this was actually one of the turn off of my church's youth group. They tried to ALSO treat the whole youth group as ALSO being the youth choir, rather then something extra & separate. As me and my brothers had NO interest in being in the youth choir, that was one of the reasons we gravitated to youth groups at our friends' churches (none of which did this).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Is this the youths idea or an adult??????

                          If it is something that the youth buy into and are excited about then pursue it...


                          Sounds like an adult idea.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            C42,

                            Sounds like you have a great vision. In broad strokes, you are offering a youth program with unique opportunities for religious service in the Catholic church. Venturing provides the structure which will allow your youth to set goals and make the most of those opportunities.

                            The greatest challenge I find with a co-Ed crew is sufficient female adult leadership. Moms willing to hike into a wilderness area ( or spend a week in the Bahamas without a shower) are hard to find! But then challenging outdoor activities are important to my youth, and this is a significant shift from what women in our community used to ask for.

                            If you have capable female and male leaders, you should definitely leverage those talents.

                            Getting in touch with other crew advisors, and getting your advisors and committee to Venturing Leader Specifiic Training would be a good next step.



                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm curious - you say "we" are the CO, but have not said who "we" is. Are you speaking of a church? A group of Catholic Scouters?

                              Personally, I would recommend a male-only crew, since it sounds like serving at Mass and the like are going to be an integral part of the program. I would think that would not be very attractive from a program standpoint to young women. I also would open it up to non-Catholics if they're interested in hanging out with their friends, but I wouldn't expect many. It sounds like the core program is going to be very specific and focused on Catholicism, and that's just not going to attract many people beyond the Church.

                              You also should be considering the geographic reach of your crew. Are you going to be council-wide, or just focus on the city or area where your diocese is headquartered? A council-wide crew will be difficult logistically, and may spark some negative feedback from other crews or troops chartered to Catholic churches. (Just thinking out loud - I obviously don't know the dynamics there.)

                              If you're concentrated in one city, you really need to take a look at your pool of potential members in that area. How many AAD and PPXII Scouts are there in your area? If you only get five percent of that group, will it be enough to sustain a crew over the long term?

                              Before you get started, you should also plan to survey your potential pool of members to see if there's any interest in the program you propose. I'd be curious why your AAD and PPXII Scouts haven't themselves already taken an interest in serving Mass and such already - that could be a question to ask. BSA also recommends that crews use an interest survey to develop their programs (http://www.tidewaterbsa.com/forms/venture_interest_survey.pdf). It was obviously created by an adult for as broad an audience as possible, but it might be a good way to gauge interest in other, non-church activities as well.

                              Comment

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