Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Stoutwalker

Building Interest

Recommended Posts

I am in a new council (well, new to me, that is) that doesn't have a strong Venturing program. I spoke with the DE of my District, and he said they haven't been able to excite local kids about it.

 

I would like to help the council (my district in particular) to build the program here. It's a favorite program of mine, one I wish was around when I was a youth.

 

Any ideas on how to get kids interested and excited about Venturing? Kids who aren't Scouts already, perhaps?

 

Just out fishing for ideas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really wish that I was privy to the magic Venturing formula. Sad to report I'm not.

I have been guilty of blaming the Venturing Program for the failures we have seen in the District and have to admit that I'm way too much of an old traditional Scoutmaster to really embrace Venturing as it should be. Please don't beat on me for this!! I don't like peanut butter either!!

The Crews that we seen start in the District fell into two groups. One group was the one where we the District leaned on and pressured Boy Scout Troops to start a Crew. I like to think that we really did want the program to work, but I do see that little devil on my shoulder whispering the word "Quality" in my ear. The other group were Crews that sprung up thanks too unhappy ASM's. These guys didn't like what was going on in the Troop and thought that Venturing might somehow make them look cool. Cool only latest a little while and the Boy Scouts that signed up soon seen through the lack of activity and either drifted back into the Troop or just quit Scouting.

When it came to Venturing I was very much a merchant of doom and gloom. When four Crews didn't recharter this year my view of Venturing really went down the toilet.

However I wasn't paying attention.

Years ago by far the best Troop in the District was Troop 111, but they had fallen on hard times. First they lost the key adult who was the driving force of 111. Then the Pack went and slowly the Troop died a slow and painful death.Despite the best efforts of everyone we just couldn't find the leadership. However while looking for leaders for the Troop we talked to a fellow who had been an ASM in the days when 111 ruled. He said that he might be interested in starting a Crew.

He wanted to start small with no more than 20 members. Soon the Crew was "Full" and the members which was /is a mix of males and females were doing things. They were climbing and rappelling, hiking and camping and doing well. The Advisor is a teacher in a local high school and I think that maybe he may have handpicked the youth that joined the Crew when it started.

I talked to the Advisor at the Jamboree, he was working on the rappelling wall and he tells me that they are now ready to expand the Crew and will be going into the junior high this year.

While we as a Council do next to nothing to support Venturing and the Venturing programs. Making Venturing work is no different than Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting, stick in a good leader and provide a good program and the youth will come and stay.

Eamonn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep it interesting and let the youth run the crew. Have an open mind and a open heart and guide where you can. Venturing is different than Boy Scouts in that the youth are older. Venturing also is not as

regimented as a troop. The advisor is just that an advisor and advises

the crew youth leaders. If you have a co-ed crew then you will need co-ed leaders. To do that just invite the mothers along until you can

get female advisors.Hang on,if they like it they will make it go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's all about marketing. Just like everything else, our youth are very visually stimulated (video games, TV, DVDs, etc.)

 

I also think the best example of marketing for youth is the Mountain Dew commercials. They are high adventure, cool, edgy, and fun. If you market Venturing like this, you'd have lots of kids. If you market it like BSA, you won't have much, I don't believe. BSA just isn't "cool" enough for everyone, but Mountain Dew certainly is...........

 

Our crew is hobby specific, so we got our youth around that, but my son's friends are always wanting to do more edgy stuff. (like the commercials) I'd say have a recruitment in a local park or school lawn with a teenage rock band or rapper, have the Scouters dress like teens of today (no offense to the official green shirts, but just more informal, you know), rent a climbing wall, and above all.......DO the DEW! It's the Pepsi of this generation. (ha ha) Also, don't forget the college kids........Venturing does go up to age 21. What a good way to get new freshmen to know each other.

 

Just my humble opinion, but I think it's worth a shot.

 

MollieD.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A suggestion is to recruit the older boys who are into outdoor stuff then don't forget the girls. My daughter's last two years in GS, her previous leader who had always encouraged the girls to do things, took a couple of years off as a leader, and my daughter ended up in a "girley-girl" GS troop. She would have loved to be in a Crew. White water rafting, camping, hiking, etc were things she had done previously in GS, and would have loved to continue. Since GS tends to separate ages more, there are usually less troops for older girls to choose from (only 1 in town when my daugher was high school junior and senior). She only found out about Venturing when she was almost 20 and ready to go off to an out of town college. Here in South Ga, we have lots of girls that love to shoot, fish, and be outside. (In fact I am one too... just a little older)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I am in a new council (well, new to me, that is) that doesn't have a strong Venturing program. I spoke with the DE of my District, and he said they haven't been able to excite local kids about it."

 

My experience is that if you spend the time promoting the program, you can find many kids who are excited about it. I have to wonder what they were doing that wasn't successful. Where they really promoting the Venturing program, or someone's incorrect perception of the program?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Crew was formed in June 2004. It start with two eagle scouts approaching my husband & I stating they were tried of being "Baby Sitters" for the troop and would like to be able to do the "High Adventure" stuff the troop had talked about but never did. Over the past year we went from 5 (three eagles scouts & 2 girls) to a active group of 12 to 15. We recently did a backpacking trip with 8 crew members and 6 advisors. The secret - be open minded to "Crew" activities and have an active calendar of events. We are chartered as a High Adventure / Outdoor Crew but not all our activities are "Outdoor" events. This was hard for some of the Advisors that felt that all activities needed to be "Outdoor" if we were chartered that way. Remember - we are there to advise not run the Crew. Some of the activities we have done: State Fair, Labor Day Fire Works, Rib-Fest, Pizza/Movie Night, assist as first aide at camporees, staff at camporees, Wilderness First Aide Survival training, etc. Upcoming events: Rib Fest (this was a hit last year), several day hikes, sledding, etc. We do have a meetings twice a month with one activity - which can be nothing more than pizza / movies at one the crew members home or Backpacking hikes to prepare for Philmont in 2006. This summer our Crew was the first to offically go to the local BSA Camp as a Venturing Crew. What great publicity for the Crew and the Venturing Program. When we lined up for meals - received a lot of questions - being a co-ed group, we stood out in line. I have also been working with council to redesign the Venturing material - and this past year we created a Recruitment Guide for Crew Members and Advisors along with re-designing the Venturing posters to show area kids doing events that kids in our area would be doing. Both were a hit at kick-off. The program has a lot of obsticles to overcome. A major one is Troops in general putting down the program with the "Your taking our older Scouts". This is not true - they are leaving on their own. Our Crew has asked that if a boy is a member of the troop to "multiple" troop and crew. We also made the decision not to work boys that would like to earn their Eagle in the Crew. We don't want to take that away from the Troop. You also need to find some Advisors that are working only with the Venturing program. Our Crew has a good mix. Generally that ASM that is also a Crew Advisor will generally choose the Troop over the Crew when it comes to events. Good Luck! It's a slow process - but remember Venturing is only 8 + yrs old where as Boy Scouts is 95 + yrs old. The program is still a "Baby".

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

addl info:

 

When it was decided to form a Venturing Crew - I also approached our distr DE who didn't have a clue what to do. It probably took several months of researching and driving 2 hrs + to another town where I located Venturing Leader training, to finally feel comfortable enough to start the Crew. It then took several addl months for the kids to feel comfortable with the program. What started with 5 is now almost 15 (several come - but haven't offically registr). Those fifteen are from 3 different schools in our district. Our first five members were frustrated BS and two girls who's mother had been in explorers and wanted her girls to have the fun she had. Slowly - we grew - mainly by word of mouth and because we're active. I also approached our DE and Commissioner - and started our District first Venturing Roundtable - January 2005. At first the only ones attending was our Crew Advisors - but by May we averaged 10 - 15 advisors / crew members and this coming year it was decide to have them each month (original plan every other month) with one month being a hands-on activity for all Crew Members, Leaders & Advisors and the opposite month an informational meeting for Crew Leaders and Advisors. Our September Roundtable will be "Leave No Trace" - everyone invited. They will learn how to make Coke Can Stoves and Poop Soup! We have also lined up speakers for Backpacking, Caving, Outdoor Cooking and Mapping. Our Informational meetings will be on the New Trust Award, Recharter, Recruitment, etc. Our District Roundtable appears on the Council Calendar as the official Venturing Roundtable. I have found, as the Volunteer Spokesperson for Venturing in the Council, there is a need for the program but few dedicated Advisors. Most advisors play duel roles with the Troop and Crew and usually the Troop will win over the Crew. You will also have the Scoutmasters that will bad mouth the program saying "Girls don't belong in Scouting - this only leds to Pregancy." Don't give up! Stick with it. I have found that by doing my homework, researching the internet, talking to others - we can make a difference and the program will work. In Scouting, like anything, it is easier to work / devote time to something that works (CS and BS) rather than a program that National, Council, District doesn't understand. Do your own homework and make it work. If you wait on District / Council - you may still be waiting. The kids do want the program - they just don't realize it exist! This year we are going to do our first official "Open House" in October. This is being advertised as a Family Night / Venturing Cook-out. You have to be creative and get away from the "School Night" recruitment approach - it doesn't work with High Schoolers. Another Venturing Crew in our area did a Scavenger Hunt as their Open House.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two comments.

 

" The secret - be open minded to "Crew" activities and have an active calendar of events. We are chartered as a High Adventure / Outdoor Crew but not all our activities are "Outdoor" events. This was hard for some of the Advisors that felt that all activities needed to be "Outdoor" if we were chartered that way. "

 

The specialty is just your 'main focus', not a restriction on what you do. There is nothing wrong with a HA/Outdoor Crew doing the occasional social event, fundraiser, service project. It only because a problem if you become a purely social group when you're supposed to be a HA/Outdoor crew.

 

"stealing boys"

 

Many of the venturing leaders I know say that they ask scoutmasters for the boys that dropped out (or have not been around alot). Thus they aren't stealing any boys, just bringing back to scouting those who left. Same thing works to recruiting girls lost to girl scouts.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that you are approaching the problem backwards.

You asked "Any ideas on how to get kids interested and excited about Venturing? and the fact is....you can't. At least not until you first develop an exciting and interesting Venturing unit.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Venturing is a diverse creature at best, if you are too specialized you will appeal only to those teens interested in that specialization and if you are too generalized your crew will lack focus. The best idea is to start with a few different activities like an outdoor adventure, (rafting, kayaking, camping), then maybe an excursion to something like an amusement park, water park, etc., then try a beach party and picnic or have the crew host a dance party. That is usually enough of a diverse start to attract a wide range of teens,and will give them training in leadership and organizational skills. Then they are ready to develop a year long program of activities that they know the rest of the crew will enjoy. Keep it simple and easy to start then just keep building up as time goes on, by the second year you will have a solid crew and trained officers then watch out, they will pleasantly surprise you, I have seen it firsthand with my crew. Good Luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

General Interest crews where a crew can do the outdoor program as well as do an arts and hobby thing like produce and act in plays or if they do it in school they can get the credit to earn the Bronze award in Arts and Hobbies. Sailing, scuba, urban adventure visit a large city. Service projects in the community,Out to dinner a Venturing Crew can do mostly anything they want to. Even if they are

in a specialty area in a certain cluster that does not prohibit them

from doing different things. The idea is keep the youth interested and

active. Too many people put Venturing in the traditional High Adventure Box there are 5 clusters and many different specialties within each cluster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My name is Madkins and I am Venture ignorant.

 

As a unit leader, I have NO idea what it can do for our unit, other than the little bit I heard about in training.

 

Since I don't know about it, I can't really promote it within my unit, or at Roundtable, etc.

 

What I'd really like, however, is SOME tool to help recapture Scouting excitment in my older Scouts- maybe even my drop outs or that group that just hangs out in the corner.

 

I'd LOVE to see a high-energy program offered to my unit- a short, powerful (DEW-like) 'commercial', some hands-on stuff, a few Venture Scouts in uniform pumped up with energy, etc. The presentation should appeal to leaders, Scouts, and parents and be cool enough that the flyer itself drags rarely seen guys back to the meeting.

 

Man, if I saw something like that, I'd brag it up to the CO and get them to show it to THEIR Venture-age youth and I bet I'd have a leader or two begging to be Advisors, etc. when (not if- if the program worked) we start our own crew.

 

Hopefully, one of the presentors would be willing and able to help us through the first wobbling steps.

 

 

 

Gee, how would I find out about such a program? Maybe I'd notice it at a Roundtable- either given as a demo program there, or as a couple of Venture members work a high-energy 'sign up for info' table.

 

Yeah, they could offer some sort of informational open house or something, and I might make it.. if it is not Popcorn night or my time to buy groceries for the campout... or my night to watch my 1 hour a week of TV (which is what they REALLY mean by the 'only 1 hour a week' bit!)

 

Another place I might notice it is as flyers posted in every outdoor store in town- every place related to boating, hiking, canoeing, skiing, etc. If I noticed it here, I might be moved to attend one of the 'open house socials' or other listed events. I might even notice it if there was a booth or table outside one of these stores on a busy weekend being manned by an enthusiatic young person, maybe running a 'try it yourself' game or two related to their crew.

 

 

Hmmm... don't really have a full, working, strong Venture program yet? How would I know from the presentation? If it is implied that this is a strong, vibrant program and I am being encouraged to start my own crew, how would I know if I am seeing the ONLY other Venture Scouts in the council?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Madkins- LOVE your enthusiasm, but please use the correct terms.

 

This is the Venturing program, not the venture program. Youth in Venturing are Venturers, not Venture Scouts.

 

Not sure what you mean by "I have NO idea what it can do for our unit". Venturing Crews are separate units from Boy Scout Troop, or Packs or Teams. Its not a part of Boy Scout Troop, but a separate group. What they can do its keep your older youth IN Scouting, if not in your troop, and these older youth can return and help out your unit, but on their terms, not yours.

 

Please check out the Venturing section of the National website. Are there no Venturing Crews in your council you can speak with, or being involved in Venturing at the district/council levels?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×