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Venturing, Sports, and Cycling

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In 1979 I dove head first into the world of competitive cycling. Cycle racing pretty much consumed my life and was my passion for many many years. I met my wife cycling and my best man and I raced the day after my wedding. I haven't raced since 1999 but cycling is still a big part of what I am. I no longer ride as much, as far, or as long as I would like but I still ride frequently.


I don't know what the numbers are for registerd bicycle racers. I have a feeling that the numbers are dropping just like they appear to be in scouting. If they are not dropping, I think they are shifting to an older group of cyclists. Many of the local teams are masters teams (30 and over). Looking at the race results there are very few juniors racing (under 18). This certainly isn't healthy for cycling in the US.


So I was out riding a few weeks ago and a light bulb turned on. I was thinking of racing and how to get more juniors involved in the sport when the inspiration to combine my love for cycling and scouting into a Venturing Crew developed. Of course my thoughts immediately turned to the more romantic side of this like imagining the kit the crew would wear when they were cycling and travelling around the country flying the crew flag at cycle races, and the feeding crew wearing the Venturing uniform in the feed zones, but hey, it was fun!


I see a lot of advantages for a cycling team to also be a Venturing Crew. Besides the BSA mission and insurance, there is also all the youth protection rules that would need to be followed. I think a parent would be much more comfortable letting their sons and daughters travel following the BSA youth protection rules than otherwise.


In reality, I know this would be hard to pull off. Finding junior races is hard enough, let alone finding enough to start a crew. Then there's the mix of cycling genres - Road, Mountain, Cyclocross, Track, BMX - that further dilutes the equation.


I'm not sure if I really have a question or not. I'm going to mull this idea around for awhile; I really have no time to pursue it right now anyway as I'm busy being District Commissioner. I would love to hear your comments on how things have worked out with Crews that have a sports emphasis though. What sport it was, and how the crew participated/competed in that sport.




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Why not? We had a group of young Revolutionary War re-enactors who were persuaded to register as a crew. It sure helped them with insurance and it gives them more opportunities to show. I think several of them are working towards Ranger.


This is how Venturing is supposed to work. We give you some lumber and tools and you build your own house just the way you like it.


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Is there a central place in your district where young people from several high schools are pretty much equadistant? Unless you have BIG high schools, I'm not sure you'll get a crew from one pool of kids.


You're the DC. Send out an interest survey to the HSs. Find out if there are youth interested in cycling. If there are, maybe the secret is not the competitive events (use those as superactivities), but the basic road workouts all cyclists need to have great lower and upper body strength. Cardiovascular and strength conditioning is common to all cycling, as is field maintenance and repair.


I think you've got a good idea, but step back and look at it from a 100,000 foot view.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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I've been working at trying to put some different style Crews together in our District. A few in the area churches. One idea I had tossed around in my head, at least until Monday was a Shooting Crew. We have a range in town that seems to be doing quite well with new management. We also have a Black Powder Club that has their own outdoor range, as well as another sports club with a rifle and skeet range. I was thinking of approaching the indoor range about how many youth they have involved on teams at their facility, and whether they might be willing to discuss sponsoring a Crew. Now I'm not so sure, at least for now.

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Now I'm not so sure, at least for now.


Yah, why not?


Da Crews that tend to stay around are the ones that have a tighter focus, like Cycling or Shooting Sports. That helps 'em with the second ingredient - finding long-term, consistent adult support and CO sponsorship.


It's like Eamonn says about Sea Scouts, eh? Same thing. The tighter focus and longer term adult interest are key ingredients.


Go for it, both of you!




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