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I was talking to my older boys the other night. I've been having a lot of "hand holding" sessions with them lately, trying to get them to give more to the unit, be bigger, better, more appropriate leaders. I've got a group of young men that are 16 and 17 years old (7) and one 15 year old. All of the 17 year olds, and most of the 16 year olds are visibly disheveled at the end of the 90 minute meeting. I seem to remember being in their shoes when I was that age, completely done with younger kids, and unbelieving that I was ever that age.


I brought up the prospect of starting a Venturing Crew, a group outside the confines of the troop, and that they could set their own agenda, uniforming standards, focus, etc. I can't believe what a great response I got from them. All but the 15 year old were ready to sign up that night, their parents are emailing me and calling me wanting to know more and how they can help, they haven't seen their son so excited in Scouting since the day they joined the troop.


So apparently I'm going to be chartering a new Venturing Crew in the next couple of weeks. God help me. My sanity has already been called into question.


If any of you have any advice, I'd sure love to read it. What were/are your experiences with starting a new crew. How hands off can I be as an Advisor.



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I hope you've gotten your hands on the Venturing literature and educated yourself on what Venturing is (and isn't). At a minimum get the Venturing Leader Guide and Venturer Handbook.


Be sure you have the minimum number of youth to have a crew. CRITICAL is to have a 'focus' to your crew. What is it that defines your crew. A theme. Better defined your purpose it, the better it is the explain to others what your crew is/does and entice others to join. Having a theme in no way prevents you from doing other things. Being a high adventure crew, for instance, does not prevent your crew from going out for bowling one night.


I'm an advisor in Venturing, OA, and my Fraternity. I spent some time writting up some stuff on advising for what I hope will be a new revision of the Venturing adult training.


I always say that advisors advise, they do not lead (or run) things. When I work with the youth I do, I always try to make it clear that what I am giving them is advise, and they are free to use or not use the advise I give. The only exception to this is when I am not giving advise, but informing them of the policy/rules we must follow. I have found that too often the youth are not aware of the rules, and sometimes we as adults need to bring this to their attention. Always be able to back up what you tell them, in case they wonder if you are not just trying to get your way and claiming its the rules.


Just as leaders will moderate their involvement with their followers as the situational (and their level of development) determines it (this is known as 'situtational leadership'), so too must advisors moderate their involvement with their 'advisees'. There are extremes of being too involved (at worse you have ceased to be an advisor and are now running things) to being too uninvolved (at worse you aren't there to catch them when they fall and fall badly).


Its not an exact 'science'. One person's 'too involved' is another person's 'just right' and another's 'not enought'.


You MUST be willing to step back. Some advisors loose sight of this in being 'one of the gang'. There are times when we should be part of the gang, and times when we should let them do their thing with out us around.


At the begining, you may need to be more hands on, as you help the youth learn what they need to do. Then you need to start stepping back. During down times you can bring people aside to give advise, but try to stay in the back.


While its great to get to a point in which you can just sit in the back and give advise only when asked, you NEED to build a repour with the youth BEFORE they will be willing to ask for that advise. If you are NOT involved with the youth, they will not get to know you (or trust you) and they will not seek out your advise. This is only possible when you work alongside with them. I think some advisors loose sight of this.


hope this helps.


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Thanks, and yes the advise helps. I've got a great rapport with the youth that are starting the crew, they're all like sons to me already, so that's easy. I've ordered the venturing leader manual from our local scout shop, it should be in soon. I've gotten a ton of info from my DE with regards to recruiting and preparing for a new crew. She even gave me a charter application.


Thank you for the "focus" part, I wasn't exactly sure about this. We've got a few crews around that are very diverse. One does Red Cross training as a basis or focus, the other two do high adventure. One of them is very extreme, they went to Machu Pichu last summer, no telling where they're going this year. I know all 3 advisers and some of the crew members, so that's a great resource.


I'll put that question to the crew from the beginning. Other than the Red Cross ers and the High Adventure ers, what other focuses are there for Crews? This is interesting.


Thanks for your input.

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I'll endorse everything emb021 said.


My contributions:


ACTIVE LISTENING. Synthesizing from them what they want to do is your vital role. Don't assume because they were Boy Scouts that camping and hiking is all they want to do. Use the interest inventories. Find out where their heads are. If all your guys are varsity footballers, you may find they want to coach Pop Warner as part of the Sports Bronze!


Looking for resources: They're tech savvy kids, most likely... and they'll be able to find an array of Consultants, all on their own. What they may not be able to do is vet those consultants. You've probably used 3d party vendors in your day job, you can help them ask the right questions.


Moving the Core: If this Crew is built around these young men, then it will have a 3-5 year (max) shelf life. Your biggest single challenge is to help them design a plan for continuity. It may mean your crew focus changes over time!!!


Wish you great success in this!

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"Other than the Red Cross ers and the High Adventure ers, what other focuses are there for Crews? This is interesting. "


The options are big. The only area we don't get into is 'career stuff'. that's what Exploring is for.


Venturing Crews fall into one of the following groups:


* Outdoor

* Arts & Hobbies

* Sports

* Religious Life

* Sea Scouting


(you may notice we have 5 Bronze awards, each matching them, and that we have 'expert awards' built around 4 of them).


While Outdoor crews are the biggest group, within each area are a lot of options.


This is a list of specialty codes that Crews used to be registered under. It gives you can idea of the kind of specialty that most crews build themselves around. http://usscouts.org/venturing/specialcode.html


Adding to John-in-KC's comments. Don't allow this crew to be an exclusive club for this initial kids. Make sure they are bringing new people on board, otherwise the crew will die after they all age out.


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Wow, thanks for the list. What a great resource.


I'm going to work with them to form the crew, get it out there to thier friends and hopefully get some young ladies involved as well. I saw some Venturers this last weekend on our Wood Badge course, they were attending a training for the weekend.


In the middle of this post, just talked to a friend that's big into Venturing, he and I will be riding together this weekend to a scouting event in Utah. I'll pick his brain for a couple hundred miles at any rate. Love carpooling.

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While I wish you nothing but the very best and really do hope things go well.

Here are a few of the problems that I have ran into.


If the Scouts opt to remain active in the Troop, the OA and other Boy Scout programs and events this does make life hard.

Youth of this age are very busy. This can make the term "Like Herding Cats" take on a real meaning.

At times it seems to me that even when they suggest or come up with an idea or event which they have planned and seem to want to do they will hold back on making a commitment until the very last minute. It's almost like they are waiting to see what happens or if a better offer will come along.

* Communication

We do use e-mails, a Yahoo Group page and do still use phones!! But even with all of this communication can still be a problem.

Many of our Sea Scouts have several e-mail addresses and they either don't check them or they don't work.

We still find the best method is a monthly News Letter, At times getting the people who are supposed to write it can be a real chore!!

I do copy parents on all events and do require a parent permission slip.Very often this doesn't see the light of day until we are loading the Scouts in the vehicles!


Many of these youth are involved in other activities which require them selling some kind of product. Many are not as "Cute" as they once were. So fund raising can be a problem. of course the other problems (Communication and planning problems)do come into play.

Boy Friend /Girl Friends.

This can at times be a problem, not so much when they are friends but when they have a falling out!!

As to how hands off you can be?

That depends on what training they have had up till now?

I work along the same lines as I did with a Boy Scout Troop:

Train them, Trust them, Let them lead.

Many of the Boy Scouts we have in the Ship have never been allowed to plan or do things which weren't pre-planned or needed little or no planning, so by expecting some kind of magical overnight transformation just because they are now in a program with a new name just isn't going to happen!


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Woohoo! I love to hear about new Crews getting started!


One thing I will caution you on is to not deplete your troop. I have talked to a few Scoutmasters who have complained to me that the older boys will start a crew, leaving the troop with just the younger kids with no older kids to help guide them. With out the older kids to be examples for the younger scouts, you get a troop that will have a hard time growing and sustaining.


Another issue I have heard with starting a Crew is that the scouts being so specific on who can join the crew, that they end up killing the crew. One troop started a crew with these parameters " Only Eagle Scouts, and they must be over 18". Well, their crew quickly fell apart when the members started going off to college and having full time jobs.


I help advise a co-ed crew and we have a great time! I am finding that the girls are great at organizing the camp outs and the meetings and the guys bring in all their scout knowledge that they have learned from their years in scouting. I haven't had a problem with hormones running a muck either!


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I'm interested in a Co-ed crew. My son is attending the World Jamboree with a Co-ed crew. He's really loving the experience so far. Regarding the depleting of the troop. I can see that happening and I'm trying to formulate a way to prevent that. I've not had my sit down and get it done session yet with the parents and the kids. I've got a Troop Guide presentation from the WB course I was just on. My friend and I were in charge of the Venturing section of the project, and quite coincidentally it's exactly the visual I need to talk about this program. Wooda thunk it.


At any rate, I had a chance to drive from So. Cal to Utah and back with a man that some say "invented" Venturing. He's a great guy and I got to pick his brain 6 hours each direction. Now I've got to set up the meet between me and the parents, then with the boys. Should be in the next week or so.



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Well, I had my first real information meeting with my soon to be crew and their parents.


Before all this happend, I was mentioning I'd be traveling with a top notch Venturing guru during Memorial Day Weekend. He was a great resource and gave me tons of advice and information. He also gave me some food for thought. He's been an advisor since 1991 and asked if I would be interested in taking over his crew (no bodies, just history, memories and insight), as he want's to back out and focus on region stuff. Interesting proposal and very tempting. His crew is in another city and council, but I'm sure that could all be worked out to our benefit.


At any rate, I took the question to the boys. Without hesitation they gave it a thumbs down. They want their own crew, same number as the troop. Sorry friend, I'll figure out some way to tell you about it later.


The boys, their parents and I talked about the crew and getting the ball rolling. I gave them each a pile if information on the advancement program, the list of specialties or focuses, and promo material to share with friends. I explained the role of the adults in the crew and the crew structure, meetings, outings, and uniforming.


I asked them to consider inviting young ladies to join us, and I wanted them to ask their scouting and non scouting friends to join us as well. I gave them the charge to perpetuate their crew, keep it going and growing, and include as many youth as possible. They all seemed positive to this info and advice.


We have our first official meeting set. They decided it was to be at my house, in my pool, while eating hot wings...


Why not. I hope they want to have fun with this...I sure do.



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Hey there!


Just one quick hint when talking to the youth about the co-ed part of the program. Our crew is a "No Purple" crew... we teach this to all of the new members.


What "no purple" means is..


Boys are blue

Girls are Pink


Pink + blue = purple


Crew is No purple!!!!


It's been an easy way to let the kids know what kind of behavior is expected from them during meetings and camp outs! If a guy and a gal start getting to cozy, a quick "no purpling!" reminder gets them back on track again.


Silly and fun! We have even adopted Purple as our unofficial color!

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LOL, that's funny, Our troop colors are purple and neon lime green. Kids picked that out 18 years ago based on the region's wine grape crops. The boys don't appreciate the color purple as I think they should.


I like that, thanks for the great idea. I hoope I get to use it. The boys weren't resistant to the idea of females in the unit, just not as excited as I'd hoped in the beginning.


I'll keep y'all posted.





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