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EstesCrew

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    Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

    Hi Fox 76, I am the Crew Advisor for a new Venture Crew in Estes Park, CO (http://crew10.venturing.us) and I found it very instructive to read through your experiences. I am so thankful that we do not have any of those issues with our crew. Your old troop's situation sounds like the absolute worst way to begin and run a crew, but reading about it has opened my eyes to many things to be careful of in the future. While our crew does have boys from the two troops in town, it has become a bridge between the troops that did not exist before. Ours is a co-ed crew with many girls who had fizzled out as girl scouts. Our crew is growing quickly, mostly by drawing on youth who had either left scouting or were never scouts before. The end result has been a greater enthusiasm for scouting in our community and even within the Boy Scout troops. We have had an AMAZING first year, have a full calendar for next year, and are close to doubling in size from our initial 12 scouts. I wanted to write because I think the co-ed Venturing program is a fantastic and exciting part of scouting with incredible potential to develop leadership skills. After reading your horror story, I wanted to share a success story! I think the keys to our success have been: 1. Starting with the VLST training to get an idea of what is possible and how it can work 2. Having a *clearly defined* focus for the existence of the Crew. Venture Crew 10 began around our town's sister city relationship with Monteverde, Costa Rica. The scouts there approached us about starting a scouting exchange within that relationship. Since their scouting program is co-ed at all levels, a Venture Crew made sense. But the end result is that the Crew always has a base purpose and so is less likely to drift to just "hanging out." Our youth have planned and done many other things besides the exchange, but we always know why we exist and that is the core of the program. It seems to me that starting a crew out of a dive shop, or a theater stage, or some other well-defined purpose would be the best way to achieve strong focus. Starting a crew so that the sisters of the scouts can do scouting activities seems like a very weak foundation. Along the same lines, to start a crew just to provide something for older scouts who are losing interest, also seems like a weak foundation. In our case, we have something completely different from the other scouting units in town, and so we appeal to the broader community of youth, both scouts and non-scouts. If our program is compelling enough to youth, even to those losing interest in scouting, they join! And many have. 3. Being a separate unit. Our crew is composed of scouts from both our town's troops and from former girl scouts, so it is not an appendage of any one scouting unit. Although our CO is the same as one of the troops', we have a *separate* meeting night, and a completely separate calendar. We have from time to time, been invited to join troop activities, such as a COH. But we typically do not camp with the Boy Scouts (except for the recent Council-wide Camp-O-Ree). When we had Costa Rican scouts here for a 10-day exchange, our Crew hosted a BBQ for all scouts in the area. 4. Having good chemistry amongst the adult leaders. For this I can only be thankful. We have very strong support from our scout parents resulting in seven Associate Advisors and a strong committee. Although we have had some minor conflicts, we generally cooperate really well. To the one who posted about starting a Crew in the midst of conflicting personalities, I can't imagine how it could work out. Amen to the scouter who described the need for adults to be Trustworthy, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind. 5. Having strong youth leaders and getting out of the way so they can run the show, and learn from their sucesses and failures. The person who wrote about "Pitfalls of Starting a Boy Led Troop" is spot on.
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