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  • Starting a Crew - How Much Adult Intervention?

    BasementDweller raises a point in the parent thread, how much adult planning should go into a new Venturing Crew as we all know its supposed to be a Youth Run Organization

    We have had members on the forum that had Re-Enactoring Crews, now I am pretty sure a bunch of youth didnt contact the advisor and say, hey we want to do this Civil War re-enacting and will you be the leader? The BSA markets the Venturing Program to many venues, especially Churches with its Youth Ministries branch of Venturing and its a rare group of teen agers that would go to their pastor and ask to form a Youth Church Group. Not saying it never happened or couldn't just saying its not the norm. So, adults have to get the ball rolling and plan a few activities to atract youth and see what type of response that will occur. If its meets a need in the community, the Crew grows, if not, it whithers quickly.

    Leastwise thats my thoughts. What do you think? The goal of any Venturing Crew should be that the adults show up to provide credit cards for reservations and required two deep leadership as everything else has been taken care of.

    But thats just me, how much adult intervention should be allowed in a Crew?

  • #2
    As little as possible. Print up the first few flyers inviting kids to meetings. Do those interest surveys and capability inventories or otherwise brainstorm. Next meeting leave the room while they elect officers and maybe appoint chairmen for the first few activities. Coach the chairs of those activities on how to plan, get the word out, etc... Call your president weekly. Buy your officers lunch sometime. Evaluate.

    Yes, you have to adjust to the age of the youth, but not by much.

    My crew was helicoptered the first few outings. (By folks who in a troop would rant incessantly about the beauty of the patrol method!) They saw it as making sure everyone had a good time. I saw it as leadership opportunities squandered. I butted heads about how things were going to be.

    I finally started to regularly attend my council VOA and venturing committee and ask "Am I crazy?"
    To which they would reply "Yes, but you're also right."

    It's a wild ride, fraught with failure sometimes. (If a youth doesn't call the whitewater outfitter, we ain't raftin!) But it's fun.

    And now, I absolutely love when my youth plan the cooking! Never ate better!


    • #3
      What qwazse says. It can be hard.

      While I don't advise Venturing crews anymore, I have/do advise VOAs and an APO chapter. Sometimes you have to be more involved at the beginning, and then step back. When my chapter had membership issues, I was more involved (more because they just needed more manpower), now I mainly sit in the back of meetings, give input as needed. If I see that I need to be more involved, I don't take over, I instead engage with the appropriate officers, work with them to get matters addressed.

      Those who too often come from a Cub Scout or Boy Scout background don't get that, I've found. This leads to the crews who seem more like "advanced boy scout groups with girls", if you will, with the advisors running the show.


      • #4
        My thoughts pretty much echo the others. Our plans are to start it, give them the vision and the basics of what the Crew is about, have them take the surveys. Have the leaders, parents and others take the inventories and then we are going to let them develop it.

        We're not going to run the program, but we are going to give them guidance. That is the important thing, I think.


        • #5
          Yah, I reckon it depends.

          I'm more with OGE on this than the more hands-off folks.

          I think yeh view this stuff more as apprenticeship than sink-or-swim. Yeh don't work for kids, nor do yeh just make kids work. Yeh work with them. Wherever they have the background and skills to be swimming on their own, yeh let 'em swim. Wherever they're close, yeh encourage 'em and let 'em swim.

          Some other times, yeh need to swim a bit with 'em. Yah, sure, pretty soon they'll be leavin' yeh behind, but that's as it should be.

          Some other times, especially when yeh may have naught but a group of beginners or advanced beginners, yeh have to demo some stuff and be a bit more hands-on with your coaching. They still need to be puttin' in some swimming time on their own, but perhaps not as far and in shorter bursts.

          It's a progression, eh? Keep the goal in mind, but keep one eye on where the kids are at right now and give 'em what they need to take the next steps toward the goal.



          • #6
            Obviously adults come with experience to evaluate if a program is needed and if Venturing meets that need or if something else is in order.

            But we started because a bunch of GS came up to us and said "Hey, we want to go to Seabase too!". My best recruiter was one young lady who rallied our friends with the line "come on, it'll be fun!". She refused to hold an office, but she drove the program for the first couple of years. She made flyers, collected fees for the treasurer, distributed paperwork for the VP-admin. My hardest job was keeping adults off her back!

            My point is an adult (every adult) in a crew should come prepared to pass their tasks to a youth in a group from day 1. Some things, like finance and tour plans, may always require an adult signature, but the handiwork should eventually routinely be the youth's. and by eventually, I mean no time like the present.

            In c42's case for example, he's coming in with a list of program opportunities in the Catholic church. Sounds like some of them may attract non-believers as well. He even has fodder for some ethical controversies (e.g., gender based roles in worship). So he may have a dozen options to offer the advisor- probably along the lines of the youth ministries bronze award and maybe the Trust award, other adults may have other skills (or primo camping spots - hint hint), so from the open house, his advisor presents the youth a menu of what the crew can do starting now, and then maybe a list of what they can do once officers are in place.

            Eventually, you'll have a youth-built list longer than you could imagine, and your offices wil be sorting between "must do" and "can do" activities.


            • #7

              Considering I am going to be the advisor, the options are pretty well thought out. Like I've said on both threads, I want to get the ball rolling, by bringing in a Catholic bent, but the Scouts will bring the rest and run with it.

              As for "controversies," they definitely are that and I do have my own views regarding them. I will offer my point of view, if asked, but otherwise I will let them work through the issues themselves. I do have the resources available to research and to help them make informed, more adult decisions.

              As for the expansion of the group into other areas, that will be a collaboration between the Crew and their officers. At no time, though do we want them to lose their Catholic base. So, if they go to Kodiak or if they go to VLSC or whatever, we want them to come back and look at it from a Catholic point of view and see how they can apply it to their daily lives and how can they involve the principles they've learned into the Church and how can they involve the Church into those principles.

              Bottom line, I don't want this to just be a "ministry group" unless that is the direction the Crew wants to go. If they want to pursue it that way, fine. But if they want to be more integrated with some other aspects of Venturing, that is perfectly fine too!

              These are exciting times for our Scouts, because we've never done anything like this before, in my city.


              • #8
                Oh. I thought you were going to be the COR! Two words: brace yourself.

                "Ethical controversies" are a hallmark of a highly functional crew. They are part of the requirements for earning awards. I'm just saying you already come with couple of topics that may or may not be of interest to the youth. It sounds like you have a good plan for working them out. Since it's taken me six years to find a youth willing to host one, I'll let other advisors comment on how they made this part of the program work.

                There's absolutely no reason why you can't be a ministry group that does a truckload of outdoor stuff. Or an outdoor group that encourages ministry. I'm more of the bent that we figure that out as we go along, and if we start that figuring with the youth from the outset, we set the tone that they are in charge of their destiny.

                Oh, by way of full disclosure (and maybe this supports OGE's point), if there's a hike to be had and a youth drops the ball, I'm in there taking up the slack. But that's because I love backpacking!


                • #9
                  I'm also saying "It depends." My observations about all of the crews I've seen that thrive is that they have a pretty active adult leader who has a vision for the crew and keeps it focused.

                  So how much? As much as you want/need.


                  • #10
                    OGE and Fellow Scouters,


                    Skimming over this post, I agree.

                    Ideally the youth will begin to demonstrate leadership and eventually state what their goals are. But it will probably be a community based organization, social club, professional association, or church, that will see a need for Scouting within their community.

                    As smart and bright as some 14 year olds are; I just don't see them meeting in the park after school and formulating a plan to approach the Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club, Pathfinders, Campfire USA, 4H, Future Farmers of America, or the Boy Scouts of America and shopping for which program will satisfy their educational needs and moments of boredom.

                    I do envision a few parents of teenagers; gathering, comparing and shopping for a sports, recreation or educational program that will challenge their teenaged children.

                    I do envision a few community based institutions, identifying the same outreach opportunity.

                    Maybe the best answer might be Venturing BSA, maybe not.

                    As far as how much adult intervention should be allowed? That is a conversion over a cup of coffee. It may take a while.

                    Scouting Forever and Venture On!
                    Crew21 Adv


                    • #11
                      "OGE and Fellow Scouters,"

                      Wow, not even regarded as a fellow scouter... Whatever I did I apologize


                      • #12

                        Most of the members in our crew are in the 16-20 year old range and are VERY capable of organizing and carrying out crew activities. Yea, once in a while they may get a little off course and thats when the adult advisors provide some guidance. It is a rare occasion rather than a regular one however when adult intervention is required.


                        • #13
                          BadenP and Fellow Scouters,


                          It wasn't my intention to imply that your Venturers or all Venturers needed hours of intense of Adult Intervention.

                          The agenda of my post was; when a Crew is started or before a Crew is started, it is usually community adults that decide to start a crew, not teenagers that do not know about Scouting/Venturing yet. The Previous post before this thread was inquiring about a Chartering Organization starting a Venturing Crew and attracting teenagers from the community.

                          Basement seemed to comment about a Chartering Organization starting a Crew,
                          Is this the youths idea or an adult??????
                          If it is something that the youth buy into and are excited about then pursue it...

                          Certainly a teenager has to become interested in Venturing to join a Crew, but as it was asked earlier. What does it take to start a Crew? I believe it is more than teenagers approaching and adult asking an adult to be their Advisor and going to a local institution and asking that institution to be a Chartering Organization so the teenager can become Venturers. I believe parents approach an institution, create a crew, then attract teenagers into a program.

                          Regarding Adult Intervention.
                          My Venturers are great teenagers. Mine are 14-17. Most are not Boy Scouts, most have not attended any other leadership forum. They are very willing to attend, work, and learn. But they are very reluctant to assume leadership.

                          Year after year, my crew seems to have alot of followers, and maybe on occasion a stand out leader. But when I ask "What do you want to do?", the response I seriously receive is; "I don't know", "Anythings fine", and "What did we do last year?".

                          Again, mine are good teens, the seem to follow or go any where, but when I ask, "Can one of you assume the lead?" I seem to receive alot of silence. My Crew is overseas, and not in the convenience of an American big city or average suburb. Some Scouting event which would be considered easy projects, can be a little more challenging or more costly to coordinate.

                          Even recently, our President and Vice President Program have assigned Activity chairs for events on the calendar. Humorously, that seems to be when parents email stating their child has too much homework and cannot lead or attend an event the President or VP Program assigns them.

                          So I did not mean to offend or create a blanket statement about your Venturers or all Venturers. I hope my Venturers were as mature and ready to lead as many of my Venturing Advisor colleagues here on the forum. I just wished my own Venturers would take the lead away from me and my Associate Advisors.

                          As I said, boy it would take a cup of coffee or two, to explain the amount of times I've ask them to assume leadership, for a "drop-off" parent out of nowhere to cancel an event just hours before go time.

                          On the positive, since NYLT opened up to Venturers, my Crew has a Scoutership for a Venturers to attend NYLT and develop leadership techniques to bring back to our Crew.
                          On the downside, the Venturer (my former VP Program 2010) which took the Scoutership and went to NYLT, quit a month after attending the 2011 NYLT course.

                          Scouting Forever and Venture On!
                          Crew21 Adv(This message has been edited by Crew21_Adv)


                          • #14
                            I'm in the same boat. we're in the "muddle through" stage between old and new officers.
                            In this situation, I pick the bare minimum that I can contribute, ask my co-advisors to do the same, and that becomes our program skeleton.


                            • #15

                              I understand what you are saying, however our teens continue to surprise us with their organizational abilities. About half of our coed group were former boy or girl scouts so that might account for some of the dynamics in the group. In fact it is usually the girls who manage to keep the boys focused and on task. Still IMO Venturing is a great program, our crew keeps growing, and we are doing more activities each year. Good Luck with your own crew and keep up the good work your teens I am sure will surprise you.