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Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

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While Bob White is correct in that a dual registered Scout/Venturer or Scout/Sea Scout can have requirements for BS rank signed off doing crew/ship activities, unless the leaders of both groups are comfortable with this arrangement, there will be problems.


I'll give you an example of what one Troop/Crew combinations did. The older scouts and young leaders wanted a Venturing Crew instead of a Venture Patrol, because there were more opportunities to do things, i.e the bronze, gold, silver and ranger awards as well as scholarships/camperships for activities not available to scouts (at least at the time). The chief instigator was a hyperactive 18 y.o. ASM, who met with the DE to find out about it, come up with proposals, crew bylaws, etc. go the other Venturing age folks behind him, then presented it to the CR/CC.


Here is how they worked it out. The crew would be all male for a specified period of time in order to get it started and dual registered with the troop. It was encouraged that you wait until Star and held a troop POR before joining the crew. Since a lot of the Venturing awards required learning and teaching advance skill, the crew members would be responsible for teaching these skills to Scouts in the troop. Since the members were dual registered, they met every week with the troop. However since they tended to be older, when the troop broke into "patrol corners" that was when the crew met. They would meet outside of the troop as needed, about once a month, went camping with the troop every month, but had their own special trips they planned about once every three months, usually around the college holidays. When summer camp came around, most would work staff when we went in council. When the troop planned an OOC summer camp, both the troop's PLC and the Crew would work together to find a camp that offered both normal activities for the younger scouts and high adventure activities for the crew. Also the crew voted to keep the crew's necker as part of the uniform, with a Venturing centered on the troop's patch.


If this sounds very familiar to old timers, that's because the Venturing youth modeled how they wanted the crew to work on the old Leadership Corp program. The youth wanted this and the youth set it up with no pressure from the adults. In fact only one adult with any connection to the troop knew what they were up to, and that was me. And I was in another part of the country as a DE when they did this.


In reference to adult leadership, originally the SM was the CC of the crew, and troop's CR/CC took over as crew adviser. To be honest they didn't do much except sit back and watch these young men do their thing and make sure it was BSA compliant.


Venturing Crews can be a wonderful asset. You do need communicate with the other leaders and develope a relationship.


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  • 8 months later...
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I would like to know how this turned out for acco40.

It's worked okay for us. Three of about six of our Eagles who applied through the troop this year had their POR with our crew. That fraction is going to drop now that youth who were never in the troop (i.e., the young women) are crew officers.


We did have a bump when turning in the last application to council HQ. They were certain the boy had to have his POR through the unit he was filing his application. They said they never approved that sort of thing (even though they did twice already). I waited patiently while they called National to hear what I was told by my district advancement chair three years ago.


Bottom line:

Folks may try to do you the favor of making rules for you.

Repectfully decline. Stand by your boys. They'll do you good.

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  • 9 months later...

Let me add to this discussion. I think that the traditional Venture Patrol method has been WRONGLY deemphasized in favor of the politically correct Venture Crew concept.


I am a Troop CC, and I am now at serious odds with some of the other Leaders regarding our two year old attached Venture Crew. You read that correctly: Attached. I accepted the chair position shortly after the Crew was chartered.


While I am certainly not an advocate of the coed Venturing Program as a whole, I am not condemning it, either. I'm really not sure what constitutes a well-run crew and a healthy Troop/Crew relationship because I have never seen one. That sentence is self-explanatory, I do know what an unhealthy relationship is. I have some very big issues with the way this Crew relates to our Troop.


The mostly female Crew relies on the Troop for virtually all of its outdoor activities, and the very few indoor events that they have on their own explicitly exclude Scouts. They "hang out" at our Troop meetings, although they also have their own meeting on a different evening. I don't believe this is the way a Venturing Crew is supposed to operate. My belief was that a Crew is supposed to be a separate entity.


It appears to me that the Troop is furnishing the Crew with a program, and receiving nothing positive in return. In fact, I am finding that their presence is counter-productive. I have since learned that, prior to my sons joining the Troop, the original Scoutmaster resigned when a couple of the adults went ahead and chartered the Crew despite his opposition.


Another thing that I am having a big problem with is that some of our older boys, including the SPL (my older son), ASPL, and at least one of the PL's are naturally attracted to "hanging out" with the omnipresent Venture Crew, which is comprised of four teenaged girls and one occasional part-time older Scout, rather than doing what they are supposed to be doing within the Troop as Scouts and youth leaders.


The senior Crew Advisors remain active Troop leaders although their son aged out long ago, and one of our new ASM's also has his 14 year old daughter in the crew. My opinion about this entire arrangement is definitely in the minority. The Scoutmaster, quite unlike me, thinks that this arrangement somehow benefits our Troop program. It's very much a family-affair.


I have tried to push a more aggressive SCOUTING program (overnight hikes? Challenging day hikes?) similar to the Venture Patrol concept, but I sense resistance from most of the key leadership. The final straw is that my younger son (12) was "accidentally" punched in a sensitive area by the older male Scout/crew member that I mentioned earlier, during a recent joint cabin-camping trip (Troop and attached Crew) which I did not attend. I will add that I do not favor having four girls, aged 14-16, in a cabin with twenty boys, aged 12-14 and one surly 16 year old Venture, regardless of how many adults are present. Testosterone was in the air, and my little son was the recipient of the result. The adult leaders that were present did nothing, although he complained to the Crew advisor. In retrospect, I should not have allowed either of my sons to attend this event, but I let them since my older boy is the SPL. I was overlooking a lot of things regarding this Crew, but my son being assaulted really gels it for me. I will not repeat this mistake.


I feel that Im cornered and outnumbered here. I value and appreciate the commitment of these other adult leaders to the Scouting program, however much I may disagree with their methods, and I value their friendship. They are good people. I'm on the fence here for a few reasons. I can commit at least six more years to this Troop in any capacity, including Scoutmaster. I am fully trained (SAS/IOLST and Wood Badge); our current Scoutmaster's oldest son turns 18 this year and the man has a busy life; and altruism aside, the senior Crew Advisors really have no ties to the Troop, other than to recruit for the Crew. We have one relatively new Scout who told me that he "can't wait" to join the crew so that he can hang out and chill with the Crew, too.


I am on the verge of resigning as CC, disassociating myself with this Troop, and encouraging my two sons to look elsewhere for a more traditional Scouting program. When I reach that point, I will not take them out of their current Troop if they don't want to leave, barring another assault on any child at which point I will press charges.


If you choose to reply to me, please don't recite the virtues of the Venturing Program. If you do, you are entirely missing the point of my post. I do not believe that this particular arrangement is healthy, and I doubt that this Troop will survive if it continues. If I stay on and force my issue, it will get ugly and I might find myself as the only leader left. I have no doubt it will cause hard feelings.


Am I missing something here??

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Well, you are correct, this isn't the way to run a Crew. A Crew is supposed to have it's own calendar and own activities that the youth plan. Having them tag along with Troop activities undermines one of the basic tenents of Venturing, but you asked what could be done, or I think you did.


Anyway. While Advancement is not a Method of Venturing, it certainly can be a part of a Crews Program. In any of the recognitions that a Venturer can earn, whether its a Bronze in any interest area, a Ranger, Trust, Quest or well we will leave Sea Scouts out of this discussion, the youth has to do a presentation to a group of individuals. If the Venturign youth are going to be hanging out at the meeting, incorporate them into doing instruction. If they are going on a Troop Campout, have them do a cooking demonstration, such as how to cook without utensils, how to do Land navigation, etc.


You could look at it as having a large untapped resource to use.


What you desribe is not how Venturing is suppsoed to be done, thank you for realizing that up front

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Where to start.


Venturing is suppose to be a stand-alone program. However I do know of one instance where a troop's VENTURE CREW (this was when the Venture Patrols were called crews pre-1998), when they found out that no the VENTURING recognitions do NOT apply to them despite the similarity of name and unit designations, turned their Venture Crew into a VENTURING CREW, and began working on Venturing recognitions.


The Crew's by-laws, written by the members and prior to approaching the adult leadership for creation of the unit, specified that #1 it will be all male ,#2 all members would have to be duel registered in the troop as either youth or adults, #3 crew's primary resposnibility would be to support the troop as was done in the VENTURE CREW using the Leadership Corps model, #4 would plan 4 activities to be done on their own and #5 would coordinate with the PLC and SM the possibility of doign Crew activities during troop outings as long as it did not interfere with, or cause complications with troop operations.


In a nutshell what these guys did was turn the Venture Crew, which was run like the old Leadership Corps program anyway, into a Venturing Crew so that they can continue workign on recognition after earning Eagle. What really made it intersting was the SM of the troop became the COR/CC of the crew, and the COR/CC of the troop became the adviser of the crew (don't ask me how the church got multiple CORs, different story for a different day).


I know it was working out succesfully until Hurricane Katrina and the troop suffered severe losses with members moving out of state, and the crew folded. Unfortunatley from what I hear the troop is still suffereing a little.

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Thanks for your thoughts, and I understand what you're both saying. However, IMO the Crew has no skill set to offer the Scouts. As I said, they are there to "hang out." Maybe I'm an outdated relic, but I think the Venture Patrol concept, even if they did morph into a Vneture Crew, would be far more effective as a Troop resource. A bunch of girly-girls (our Crew) doesn't have much to offer a bunch of active pre-adolescent boys.

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  • 6 months later...

Well, it's been seven months since I last posted on this issue, and a lot has happened. Not all good, unfortunately. The best advice I can give is that if you want to form a crew, have a SEPARATE plan and program for them and understand that it will be a SEPARATE unit.


This is especially true, in my opinion, if your crew is like the one I have had to deal with, which is entirely made up of teenaged girls. I am, or rather was, a Troop CC who crossed swords with other adults over the omnipresent venture crew a few too many times.


One boy decided to leave the Troop because, in his words, the "girls were annoying." I totally agree. Another new parent arrived to pick up his eleven year old son from a camping trip and asked me "what is this Bullsxxx, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts?" I just smiled and shrugged, but I felt like an idiot.


Our big Court of Honor in May was hijacked by the VC President, who took the mic without my permission and wanted everyone to go look at her project in the back of the room. I wouldn't have minded this, except that I spent a good deal of time scripting the BOY SCOUT program and producing a nice color booklet for it (again at my expense). Afterwards, I had to hear complaints from the adult crew advisers (her parents) that I did not include the Venture Crew in the presentation of the colors. Well, no I didn't...DUH! I'm the CC of a BOY SCOUT TROOP, and it was a BOY SCOUT TROOP Court of Honor. I still hold that the VC is a separate unit and should have its own program....somehwere else. The Ventures shouldn't have been there, in my opinion, but if their adult leaders wanted them to participate, the courtesy of letting me know in advance would have been appreciated, and I certainly would have included them. I thought it was discourteous behavior, at best.


I have been butting heads with this couple who run the VC and one of our Assistant Scoutmasters, whose daughter is in the Crew and also a girl scout, during all of this time. I recently coordinated a 9/11 remembrance, with an honor guard and readings, with the TROOP at our town memorial, and purchased a wreath (again at my own expense) for the Scouts to lay at the memorial. I did not invite the VC, because they are not my bailiwick and once again, it is a "Troop" event. However, they have invited themselves via their advisor, and they want to help lay the wreath and do the readings as well. Okay sure, what else could I say?


Way too much stress for me. Before things got personal between these adults and myself, I did the right thing and resigned as CC. Unfortunately, so has the Scoutmaster, who was caught in the middle. The ASM who has a daughter in the crew will be taking over as SM, and he can figure it out with the Venture couple. I'll stay on the Committee and support my sons. I don't have a good feeling about the pending outcome, but I will take on a passive role and see what happens. My sons are also disgusted and not happy with the new arrangement, so there is a possibility that we will change Troops.


I'll report back in another six months.

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Fox, this sounds like a crew of convenience -- the adults' convenience. Most start out that way, but after a while venturers become their own entity that operates independent of the troop. That doesn't mean they never share activities, but when they do it is by mutual agreement of the youth.


Our girls do not share sleeping facilities with the boys. Period. (Okay, there may be some bizzare exception if we are stranded in a snow storm on the side of a cliff and have to all dig into the one shelter before nightfall. But at every event, we PLAN for separate facilities and implent that plan even if it is inconvenient.) Even an all-boy crew should camp at some distance from the troop -- sort of the adult 300ft rule. The crew recognises the SPL must fulfill his duties (patrol assignments, bed checks, etc ...) before joining the crew for cracker-barrel, etc...


When it comes to courts of honor, our girls are welcome to attend. (They usually show up for Eagle COR's.) But unless the *boys* write them into the script, they sit as a group in a separate row from the troop and pack. The only official time our crew president share a mic with the SPL is on Scout Sunday when they give a report to the chartered organization. They each get about 3 minutes.


The crew officers are responsible for discipline, and in the situation you described I would have advised them to act by reprimanding the older boy and assigning him to KP or latrine duty for the weekend.


We jump through all those hoops to avoid the pitfalls you mention.


There are advantages to shared activities, I have seen some positive one-on-one interactions between a young lady and a younger scout that have made all my hassles worthwhile. But I won't bore you with those because you explicitly said you want to only hear negatives. Well yes, there's a fine line and when adult leaders refuse to walk it, when they don't listen to one another, more negatives than positives begin to appear.


I think you are wise to step aside as CC, because your vision conflicts with the new SM's and Advisor's. You don't need the headache. But, I would encourage you to interact with the venturers (especially the female officers). Maybe you have something (e.g., a "skill set") to offer them as individuals that you couldn't when your time was taken up as CC. Let's face it, it sounds like your sons are stuck with them until you find another troop. Might as well help shape them into women your sons can respect.

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When a Troop and a Venturing Crew share the same CO, harmony is realized when the two units are clearly distinct from each other in the way they function, and not just on paper. For example, they have different meeting dates, different leaders/advisors, different Committee Chair, and a different and distinctive program from the Troop. Too often, Venturing Crews are simply nothing more than Boy Scout Troops with forest green shirts.


Our CO also charters a Venturing Crew. The Venturing Crew has a distinctive equestian program of horseback riding. They have their own meeting schedule and program calendar seperate from our Troop. We rarely hear from them and unless we are in contact with their Advisor, we don't know what they are up to. They do extend invitations to the older boys in our Troop when they are planning a "high adventure" outing. They are an active Crew and are planning a Philmont trip for next summer.

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"Too often, Venturing Crews are simply nothing more than Boy Scout Troops with forest green shirts."


What see in my area are Crews that are pretty much nothing but a 'troop auxiliary'. Or crews in which all the boys are in the troop, so the crew seldom gets to do their own stuff, as when the troop is doing anything, that's were all the boys in the crew are.

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quazse, I appreciate your dead-on assessment of my dilemna, but I never said that I only wanted to hear negatives or that I would be bored by the positives. I understand Venturing and how it's supposed to work, so I don't need to be sold on its virtues. I have been branded by the Hybrid-coed Troop advocates as a "girl-hater" and "anti-Crew." So be it.


In less that a week, I have watched the Troop start to unravel. At the Town 9/11 event yesterday that I coordinated with the Troop, in my last official act as Committee Chair, one of the parents informed me that before I arrived and the event even started, the Troop's new Scoutmaster/Venture Advisor was criticizing the timing and location of the event and telling anyone who would listen what he would have done differently. Then he went and stood off by himself. Several parents have discreetly asked me what other Troops we were looking at.


With a childish ego like this at the helm, I'm sorry to say that I'm pessimistic over the future of both the Troop and the Crew.

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I know exactly where your coming from. Happened in my troop about 5 years back. Our outdoor coordinator had a teenage girl, and wanted to start a crew. It was to be all girls and be seprate from the troop, so there was no pre-communication between the units when she brought it up.


When she found she was not getting enough youth members or Adult help, she decide to open the doors to boys, but not any boys, she came into the troop and talked with the boys of age to get them to drop the boy scouts & join the Venturing progam. Girls, only two meetings a month, no young kids, no uniforms, you can still earn eagle there. No promise of a better program, just offering them all the plus's Venturing have that a troop could not change if they wanted to in order to compete with.




She was hoping if she got these boys their Adult parents would also move from the Troop to the Crew to support their children. The troop fought back both unfairly and fairly.. We were blindly attacked so to get any hope of winning the battle, There was alot of yelling, absolutely no adult leader would volunteer with the crew.. If there son wanted to go to those meetings they had to find their own ride, as they were not driving them. Then the scoutmaster researched the Venture Patrol, created one for the older boys, and gave them a better program and some seperation from the younger boys, and trips of their own.


On top of that being the outdoor coordinator of the troop, she felt planning two events too hard, so she kept trying to force her all girl ventureing patrol uninvited into the Troop events. She was told she and her crew were unwanted.


In the end, the Venture Patrol stayed small until the crew went off to college, then they folded. In a last ditch effort the lady who caused all the problems pleaded to save her crew by combining it with the troop. For some reason the SM told her if she could get the boys to agree, she could do so. She tried and the boys argued with some wanting it but the majority vote was no. I think the biggest thing with the boys were they were the "under-aged" scouts at the time she tried stealing all the older boys they idolized and enjoyed working with. They felt all the tension, and anger at that time, but were the group too young to be of intrest to her at the time, and felt "unwanted" by the older boys trying to leave their troop so they didn't have to deal with them anymore.


My son was one of the younger boys, to this day he has no liking for Venturing Crews.

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I bet a topic called "Pitfalls of Starting a Boy Led Troop" would draw similar discussions. When adult egos get in the way, it tarnishes the youth's view of the program. I certainly have had to apologise to youths more than once for things I've said.


Some adults in our troop voiced concerns about our crew (or, more accurately, about hypotheticals that were NOT happening), and the boys picked up on it. This made that group of officers unwilling to try ANY combined activities during thier tenure. It took a lot of effort to keep them from branding those adults inappropriately. When my son turned 18, we sat down and talked about these and other issues he observed. (Some basically good people had made a negative impression without even knowing it!) I made sure he went into adulthood with a positive attitude toward every leader who helped him on his way to Eagle.


So my point is: however you get branded -- try to grow a thick skin. Let the youth know that you want to help them have the best program and most postive experience the BSA can offer. (This includes the young women who signed on for this gig without much concern over the politics of the thing.)


Fox, looks like you and your son may have to vote with your feet. Just keep in mind that voting by staying (if he's okay with that) sends a very strong message.


MT, you might want to warn your son I was in a tight Leadership Corps (old school Venturing Patrol) and had no liking for Explorers (the Venturing equivalent in my day) -- until I had a daughter!


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