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What are the minimum requirements of a CO?

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To start off, my son has a group of youth, some young ladies, some young men who have aged out of his Troop, and himself (he's 16) who want to become a Venturing Crew. But they do not have a CO. They do have applications filled out from enough adult leaders (including my husband and me) so that when they find a CO they have everything ready to submit.


I was wondering whether anybody here knows much about what the minimum obligations of a CO might be for charting a venturing crew?


The reason I ask is because I have a possible CO in mind which may be interested, but they have very few resources. The organization (in a very loose definition of the word "organization") is a local consortium or committee of sorts of representatives of all the members of our church denomination in the Portland, OR are. The name of the organization is "Portland Area Friends" -- exciting, huh? LOL.


I represent my congregation on this committee. The committee has a "clerk" which functions more or less as a chairperson. We gather a couple of times a year to have a pot-luck meal and try to figure out how to get the "Area" to have more interest, activity, and community. Hardly anybody ever shows up. I talked to the Clerk about charting a co-ed venturing crew in the hopes that this might attract the Area's youth to get together and do stuff, and he seemed interested but fearful that they wouldn't be able to meet the requirements of the Crew or the Council.


My son already has half a dozen youth signed up for the crew, and sufficient adult leadership (at least on paper) to submit to the Council. My husband and I are both on board to be Advisors, and as members of the Portland Area Friends either one of us could function as a COR. The youth already plan to meet in homes, so providing a meeting space wouldn't be a problem. They are already planning their future, involvement in things like Campboree, their focus (visiting National parks, forests, and monuments), etc.. I don't think we'd have too much trouble getting the Area to sponsor the crew if they CAN, especially since it's basically run and managed by a group of very dedicated young men and women. But the Area has no budget, not even a treasurer, no building, and I'm not sure it even has any legal status as an organization. What we have is (on paper) about two dozen official representatives from the various churches, about six of whom (from three or four different churches) actually show up to meetings, another couple dozen people who show up for the meetings because they give a care, and a Clerk (chairperson), Recording Clerk (Secretary -- that's me, actually), and a couple of other "officers."


Is that enough to actually constitute a Chartering Organization? It would be beneficial for the Area, because it would give us something to basically "do" -- i.e. get some youth together to get to know each other and learn valuable things, and it would give the homeless Crew a CO so they could become official.(This message has been edited by liz)

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Yah, Liz, da Society of Friends sponsors a number of units across the country. What you're describing is perfectly fine, and I reckon your local council will be more than happy to add yeh to their numbers. ;)


Call your DE and set up a meeting.



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Hah... we'll see if the DE is even willing to talk to me. ;-)


I think I'll send my son to do it. He doesn't share my last name and I don't think they'll make the connection. ;-) Besides, this crew is HIS baby. We're just there to offer advice and a little supervision along the way to make sure they don't hurt themselves...

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This group is fine as a CO.. As long as the crew isn't looking for a CO that will give them a building or offer and type of funding.. They would be the ones with the demands, not the Council..


What you should be looking for in a CO is at least someone in the group being an ACTIVE COR.. Especially with the new training demands that they keep their Youth Protection up-to-date renewing every two years, and soon the demand that they need to take the COR course (I believe it is offered on-line for convience.)..


I do not think you can be COR and Advisor, You could double up positions and be COR and committee chair but not advisor.. So if the crew needs you as an Advisor I would suggest you look at your friend if she is agreeable to do it and be active..


Warning, the COR is the high boss, so make sure yourself, husband and she are able to work well together, and if she does need to pull the high boss card on you for something, you can accept that.


You will also need at least a Committee Chair and 2 other members in the committee so that you have a total of 3 in the Committee.. That is your base adult leadership 5-6 members. COR, 2 Advisors (co-ed if co-ed program), Committee Chair, and 2 committee members. (the COR & CC can double up if only can get 5)..


All need Youth protection NOW.. Advisors will need to take their position required training by recharter time of 2011.. Everyone will need their position required training by 2012.. But, I'd advise not to wait, the sooner you train the better quality program you can provide. Also you can try to pull away from the kaos of all the leaders who have been procrastinating on getting trained and now are forced to. Maybe a less crowded class, and people not grumpy about having to through training, and hopefully your training records have a better chance of being recorded accurately if you are not doing it during the time period when the Council registrar is pulling their hair out over trying to keep pace with the paperwork of thousands being trained during a short span of time.


Most training is on-line, Except for the Advisors specific training.

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Liz, I take it from your most recent post that you have some sort of "history" with the DE. It should not matter. DE's love helping new units be formed. It's what they live for. (Or perhaps, "live on" would be better, because it's pretty close to the literal truth.) He should roll out the red carpet, even if he has had (from his perspective) negative dealings with you in the past. And I think it should be you, or some other adult, and not your son. He can be the Crew President, sounds like he is well-suited to the job, but I think actually forming the unit is an adult responsibility.


As for whether your Friends group is a suitable CO, I think that's something you need to discuss with the DE.

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I don't even know who our DE is, but I also don't know how many people at the Council level are ticked off at me right now... if you want to know why, you'll have to go back and read the thread this was spun off of. All I know, or at least suspect, is that they've been intentionally avoiding my calls for the last 3 days because they lost some paperwork I submitted and I want them to help me solve the problem they created by doing so.


I already have current YPT and most of the other adults who have signed up do, too, although not all. Those who don't can take it online pretty easily. Actually, a chair and COR would be a better position for me I think than Advisor at this point in time, since an Advisor probably would be expected to attend most of the outings and for the next year I may be a little tied up with Scout Jr. who should be born sometime next month... All the adults left the "position" portions blank on their applications, so that we could fill them in once we find a CO -- since we know the CO (theoretically) chooses the Chair and the COR and that sort of thing and we figured whoever has the most connections with whoever eventually signs the charter would be "it" for Chair.


I think I'll take this back to the clerk of our area group and see if I can get some people together to decide "yay" or "nay" and then go to the DE to see whether we can get approved. That gives the Council a little time to forget what a pain in the side I can be...

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I can't speak about your council, but in mine we have several crews (and troops) who have COs like "Friends of Unit XXX" or "Parents of Unit YYY" and the sort. Some of our best and longest running units are so chartered. How organized are they (ie incorporated or the like?) I have no idea.



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Don't be worried about being a pain in the side.. As COR you get to be a pain in the side, and guess what, they will pick up thier ears, listen and say "Yes, Ma'am"..

AS COR if your husband can watch Junior for a few hours, go to the monthly Council meeting, few COR do, and the COR's have the power in the room, so you and the few COR's can voice needed changes to the Council. If you get with this group you might be able to meet the other COR's off to the side a few times, and discuss your fight for fair treatment for your son's disability and their total lack of consideration.. I would bet this group would be willing to back you in discussing change to their policy. After all if they don't have children with special dietary needs in their unit now, they may get them in the future. That might even open up some discussion from other COR's with any history of unfair treatment by the council of their scouts with maybe different types of special needs.. Some of these COR will have a long history with the Council, and an elephant's memory..


Forgot that your were expecting, "By the way, Congradulations".. So "yes" the Advisor position for you is not the best position.

If your Venture Crew is co-ed, is there a female adult leader that will have the desire to go on outings? You always need two deep leadership, but if co-ed one needs to be female or the girls can't go on the outings.


Actually I believe a Venture Crew probably can do better if with a CO not directly tied to a troop. Troops can feel threatened by Venture Crews. So if you distance yourself, but make yourself known to the troops in the area about who you are, what your group is about, how you can be reached etc. Offer the opportunity that if a boy has decided to quit the Troop, the Scoutmaster can suggest your group to the leaving boys.. Most Scoutmasters won't mind promoting your group to scouts they have lost, in a hopes to keep the boy in Scouting.. They do mind and or fear that their active scouts will be lured or recruited into your group.. The distance of not sharing a CO, gives them the space they need to relax.. The way you introduce yourselfs to neighboring troops will also go a long way in if you forge a working relationship with them.


They can be your best feeders for new crew members, if done right.

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Liz --


While you may have this covered already, make sure your advisors are taking both regular YPT and the Venturing YPT.


There has already been some conflict over which one is needed, and there is no reason to have things held up over an on-line class (if you know what I mean).


I can think of at least three "Friends of Baden Powell" that have sponsored units I have been associated with as a Commissioner ... so that is always an option.


Responsibilities of the Chartered Organization:



Take a look under "Civic Chartered Organization" at the #1 entry:



And if you have not seen this, it is the standard 12-step process to starting a new unit:



(Personally, new units that follow this process, from my personal experience, are far more likely to succeed long-term.)


And while I have only seen a few youth members actually receive the Wm Boyce Award, I hope your son does for all his hard work:



(This message has been edited by UCEagle72)

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I don't think you ought to worry about what "people at council" think about you right now. Who cares. Actually, by getting to know your DE, you may find you make better headway with your other problem related to summer camp - once somebody knows you as more than a name, and finds out you're a reasonable person, they may be more inclined to accept your feedback on the camp situation and actually do something about it! And I agree that this stage is an adult responsibility - not a youth one. You should call your DE, rather than having your son do it.


Fact is, a large part of any DE's annual evaluation is based on the number of new units he or she has started. Consequently, the DE is more than likely going to be thrilled to hear from you that you are ready and willing to start a new Crew, have a potential charter org identified, have a good handful of youth already recruited, and basically just need the DE to close the deal with the CO.


Two thoughts on making this work in the somewhat longer term:


1. Line up more adult leaders ASAP. Don't let it be you and your husband. While adults play a signficantly scaled-back role in a Crew, you still don't want this to be a "one family show." Also don't be afraid to look outside of current boy scouting circles for these adults, because a lot of boy scout leader types have difficulty switching over to the style of a Crew, it seems.


2. "Parents of..." or "Friends of..." charter orgs have challenges. Not least, they seldom have any resources to provide to the unit, except what comes out of their own pockets. In comparison an established non-profit org, church, civic group, etc., may be able to help pay for charter fees, provide some equipment, offer camping scholarships to unit members in need, etc. Also, "parents/friends of..." units have a tendency to die off quickly, as soon as the kids age out or the families move away. Finally, you've probably seen that sometimes things happen that result in hurt feelings or lost friendships. If you have a "parents/friends of" group then you run the risk of losing your group/charter org if there were ever a serious disagreement among the adults in the group. Why test your friendships like that.


I know you said you are planning to move in a few years anyway, but wouldn't it be better to set up a Crew that has at least the potential to stay in operation long after you are gone, for the sake of other youth in the area who might enjoy it?



For those reasons, I'd say skip the "parents/friends of..." route unless it is an absolute last resort.



(Just to clarify, what you are describing as "Portland Area Friends" is a more structured and long-term group than what I was referring to. What I was talking about is a group of adults who get together for the sole purpose of sponsoring a unit with the expectation that their sons & daughters will be the members. Those types of "friends of..." groups seldom work out in the long run.)

(This message has been edited by lisabob)

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Thank you so much for your input, and yes there is so much to consider.


I think our Portland Area Friends group would be a good CO even though they don't really have financial resources available. We are essentially attempting to revive an old tradition of what used to be called "Quarterly Meetings" (many Friends groups still practice this tradition, but we've completely let it slide for the last 20 years). It would be nice to have something -- anything -- for us to rally around, especially something that would potentially give our young adults something to do (either as crew or advisors). Like all other church organizations in this country, keeping young adults active between the "youth" stage and the "adult" stage is a huge challenge.


We do have other female leaders but I think we will need more so that no two advisors are stuck supervising ALL the outings. But there probably won't be much in the way of serious outings until next year, so getting enough down on paper to be able to say "We have a Crew!!" is our starting point. Once we actually have a crew, then word can go out asking for more volunteers as well as more crew members.


Having it not be directly attached to any Boy Scout troop does make sense.


The kids will be home from Mexico shortly and I will talk it over with them and go from there.

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You should be aware that (at least according to some posters in this forum) some councils discourage, or even prohibit, a CO that is an organization that is created and exists solely to be a CO (such as Friends of Crew 123, Inc.) LisaBob has given some of the reasons.


I really think your next stop is the DE, even before you explore this further with the head of your Area group. One thing that may have to be cleared up before you go much further is the question you raised of whether your Area is legally an organization. That may be an issue. Among other things, the Crew will probably want to have a bank account, for which it needs to have a Federal Tax ID number, for which it needs to be some sort of legally recognized organization. (Unless things are different in your state.) But hopefully your DE, or someone available to him, has experience with these kinds of issues.


The DE may also have an organization already lined up that wishes to be a CO -- maybe one with a meeting place, storage space for equipment, financial assistance -- but has not found a unit leader. If that is the case, then you are in the driver's seat because you can choose from your available options.

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Liz is looking at a pre-existing Organization, not in creating a fictional organization for the sole purpose of being the CO to this Crew..


as she stated in the original post...


..I have a possible CO in mind which may be interested, but they have very few resources. The organization (in a very loose definition of the word "organization") is a local consortium or committee of sorts of representatives of all the members of our church denomination..


Liz this organization fine, but if you did want to try to make it a little bigger CO, you might be able to approach the church that the organizition is a committee for, and see if they wouldn't be the CO if your group took on the responsibility of overseeing the crew COR and any other concerns of the crew..


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Yes, I have thought about that. We could either go "smaller" and officially have just one of the Area churches on record as the CO, or we could go "bigger" and have the Yearly Meeting (made up of all the member churches in OR, WA, and ID) as the CO. It would be easier, politically speaking, to get Area approval because it's a smaller group, but the other options may work too.


You're probably right that a conversation with the DE is in order to find out whether we need to be a legal organization, or whether being essentially a sub-group of a larger organization would be good enough (because essentially that's what we are). Our larger organization is a pretty darn big and well-established organization that's been around in one form or another for over a hundred years. It's just the sub-group that's a struggling half-cocked group of people at the moment (but we're trying to change that!!).

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