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Jeff in MI

Venturing question

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A new crew has been started in our area with some boys from our troop and girls from a local Girl Scout troop. Our troop committee chair got this going as a way to get the Girl Scout troop (which she's also involved in)out camping.

 

I think it's a great idea. The problem I see developing is that they essentially tag along on all of the Troop outings. I'm seeing some friction between the two groups. My question is, would I be out of line saying "if you want a venture crew that's great but I think it's time to start planning your own outings".

 

Thanks for your input.

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I have been a strong advocate for troops NOT to start Venturing Crew for exactly this reason.  There should be two entirely separate groups or there will be more concerns like @@Jeff in MI mentions here.

 

Separate the groups or learn to put up with this kind of programming it's not going to get better.  A person can't serve two masters at the same time   With a common adult corps of people, they are always going to favor one group over the other and the only ones that suffer from this political jockying around are the youth.

 

I'm thinking the GS leader should have just tried to do more camping programming than trying to work with the BSA on this issue.  The temptation is to go with the experience boys and all their equipment, but one has to pay the piper and sell your soul to do so.

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I'm working on planning a 50 miler for next summer for the troop. I'll have to make it clear that, if I'm going to plan it, this will be a Troop activity and not a Troop/Crew activity.

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As a fella who "serves two masters" as @@Stosh wishes to describe it ... some questions to provoke thought:

 

  • Have you talked to the lead scout whom you are advising in planning this trip? What does he think the minimum qualifications for anyone investing in this adventure should be?
    • What skills should they have demonstrated?
    • What age/fitness requirements?
    • How many conditioning/shakedown weekends?
    • What is the maximum contingent size? Can itineraries be developed for multiple contingents, and will each contingent be responsible for finding/developing its own leadership?
  • Have you encouraged the SPL and Crew President which events should be held in concert and which should be "troop only" and "crew only"?
  • Do your patrols camp 300 feet apart? I.e. does your crew have a good example of  working at a physical distance?
  • Do your older boys who are members of both units work out who will be responsible for what unit when? (E.g. if a PL would like to do something as a venturer, does he ask the ASPL to take of the boys in his stead?)
  • Do the youth see the friction? Are they willing to change to work it out?

 

These are key questions. What you think, or what any other scouter thinks, is secondary.

 

FWIW, our scouts are in the process of merging troops and the situation is hardly any different. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Listen to the youth. Respect the ones who are doing the work. Repeat.

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Do the boys boys in the Troop's various patrols camp with their patrols or do they camp with the Crew?  One or the other is going to get short changed.  As long as the Crew and Troop NEVER have an activity together, no one will ever have to make that choice. In the long run the youth will be "penalized" for their choices.  What happens if 3 of the 4 PL's are registered with the Crew?  If I'm with the Crew, how much involvement will I have with the patrol's planning for the event?  Okay know the adults make the rule that the dual registered youth must stay with their patrols.  That's gong to mean all the non-Troop members of the Crew will not have the help of anyone from the troop on the outing.  I see a lot of potential hard feelings here.

 

We faced that situation and the Crew I was with eventually never went to any camporees or scout activities.  We had too many Crew members that would have to choose between the Crew and their respective Troops and so that was the end of that.  Even the boys who were in OA had to choose between OA events and Crew events. 

 

This is but one hassle we faced and eventually we decided as a Crew that that the members who joined would need to prioritize the Crew first over their Troop activities.  Everyone who joined after that never again had a conflict with their Troops.  The SM's were really angry and petitioned the DE's and SE's (we were multiple council with our members) and on one occasion where the SM was adamant the boy dropped his registration with the Troop and went full time with the Crew.  Ultimatums don't work.

 

One simply cannot serve two masters at the same time.  Communicate it all one wishes, even on up to the SE level and it's not going to make a bit of difference, somewhere along the way someone's going to call "foul".

 

Oh, by the way, if the Troop insists on the Troop registered scouts stay with their patrols, it's only a matter of time before the Crew begins to suffer because the Crew only members will have to do all the heavy lifting without the Troop members and will eventually realize that they don't need them and will make plans on their own. They're doing all the planning anyway, who needs them tagging along when they just happen not to have a Troop activity conflict.

Edited by Stosh

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I'm working on planning a 50 miler for next summer for the troop. I'll have to make it clear that, if I'm going to plan it, this will be a Troop activity and not a Troop/Crew activity.

 

:) Why are you planning and making the decisions for either of the groups?  Shouldn't this be their decisions?  Anyway, as I see it, if any of this "goes south" the only one holding the bag is you.... you planned it, you take the flack.  Seriously, this is one of the big reasons I am an advocate for boy/youth led organizations.  If something goes wrong, I step in a help clean up, but I never take the blame for other people's decisions.  :)

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In this situation

why not suggest that the boys set up a high adventure patrol, as opposed to a separate unit (as in Crew)?

 

oh never mind, the Girls.....

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I agree with Stosh. I've watched it over and over through the years. But there is other contributions to the problem along with the obvious conflicting programs that stosh is talking about. Most troops start a Crew to compensate for a weak older scout program and the irony is that the adults who lack the ability to develop a quality older scout troop program also lack the ability to develop a successful Crew program. That is why 7 out of 10 Crews fail in there first five years.

 

As a district committee member, I was approached by several troops to help them start a crew so they could hold on to their older scouts. I never told them not to start one, but I always first started by working on their older scout program. I told them the success of a scout troop is measured by the quality of the older scouts.

 

I also blame National on this because they are encouraging counsels to create Crews to help improve older youth numbers and the easiest place to start are troops. Our troop was approached because we had the largest group of 14 and older scouts in the state at the time. The DE told me that it was only natural for us to create a crew because we knew how to work with older scouts. I told him that the reason our older scout program was so successful is because of the troop program and splitting the scouts would defeat the intent and purpose of our program.

 

And that is not to say our scouts didn't also belong with other Crews, a few of them did because we do have some pretty cool crews in our area. But that is not the same as creating a new program within your program.

 

Barry 

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Our situation is more of a convenience thing for an adult leader who has 3 boys in the troop and a daughter in Girl Scouts. This way she can come along on the campouts with the "crew" which consists of about 4 boys and 3 girls. They camped separately on one outing. On another it was all together. My hope is that they end up planning and going on their own outings instead of tagging along to troop outings. There isn't the camaraderie amongst the scouts since some are bragging about being on crew and having meetings the others can't sit in on at outings.

Regarding the planning of the 50 miler. We usually have an adult present the idea to the leadership patrol and offer help in the planning. If we didn't do it this way the boys would do nothing but play capture the flag and football lol.

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This is where, in the right configuration, a crew can be a game-changer. Venturers are youth who should like to be advised. So, the advisor says "who's up for hiking 50 miles? If someone will run point, I'll advise them as they plan it."

 

Your crew should be acting as a leadership corps, of sorts. Every couple of venturers taking on responsibility for a particular activity for the good of the group or scouting in general.

 

But, for that to happen, you have to be open to the notion that "the right stuff" for your particular adventure may be of the opposite sex.

 

And, yes, decisions about doing things with multiple units has to be out of consensus of the youth not convenience for the adult(s).

Edited by qwazse
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First, this is the best Venturing thread so far! Wonderful ideas and questions here.

 

We need to remember that Venturing does IS YOUTH LED but really doesn't use the Patrol Method.  With a big emphasis on Mentoring.  This fundamental difference can lead to issues when the troop and crew are on an outing together.  It's also an issue with some leaders/parents of the troop not happy to have females on their camp outs.  

 

When the youth want to share a camping trip with the troop we often get low turnout from the troop.  

 

I REALLY like the Leadership Corp analogy.  The leadership in a crew is always morphing and changing.  Every event has a different leader (Activity Chair) and this keeps the youth from burning out and leads to youth with rounder skill sets.   While the Officers guide the group through the program year; Outings, Service, Training and Crew development/promotion. 

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@@qwazse really hit this one on the head.

 

The two groups could cohesively work as one with the Venturing members being advisers as sorts for the boy scouts. They can set up their own trips, but tag along to the troop outings to provide support.

 

Looking forward to hearing how of if this model works for you.

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@@qwazse really hit this one on the head.

 

The two groups could cohesively work as one with the Venturing members being advisers as sorts for the boy scouts. They can set up their own trips, but tag along to the troop outings to provide support.

 

Looking forward to hearing how of if this model works for you.

 

Doesn't that take away the leadership development responsibility of the troop if the Venturing people do the leadership?  I'm thinking this is nothing more than an extension of leadership coming from something other than the boys themselves.  I wouldn't want a Venturing Crew involved with my troop in that fashion.

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Doesn't that take away the leadership development responsibility of the troop if the Venturing people do the leadership?  I'm thinking this is nothing more than an extension of leadership coming from something other than the boys themselves.  I wouldn't want a Venturing Crew involved with my troop in that fashion.

Patrol wants to find out about activity X. Asks SM about it.

He/she says "I don't know, but someone from the crew just came back from there."

PL talks to venturer.

He/she says "Yep, it was cool. Hears what we needed to do to get there."

PL gets idea in his little head. Gets his buddies to build skills and raise funds.

 

Other scenario: new leaders cross over who are Wevelos IiI types. Venturer devotes his/her time and talents to explaining youth leadership ... perhaps by holding special "parents only" discussions 300 feet away from little Johnny.

Parents get it into their head that they want the same for little Johnny.

SM drops by for coffee. Boys lead.

 

Other scenario: venturer masters a skill better than anyone in the community.

Troop would like the best possible person to present on that topic.

Venturer provides demonstration/counsels.

Boys learn.

Some other less skilled adult signs MB.paperwork.

 

Yep, I can see why an SM wouldn't want that for his/her troop. It just gets ideas in boys heads ...

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@@qwazse

 

And yet my boys don't have a Venturing Crew hanging around, but they are rather aggressive in talking with other scouts and leaders at camporees.  We have 3 districts in our council and my current boys have been to two different districts' camporees.  They are not bashful about asking what others are doing with their troops.  Being a new troop and the onus of leadership is on them, they do a lot of asking how other boys are making it work in their troops.  The new boys in my troop shared a site at summer camp with a troop from another council.  We are planning a major outing again this summer not at a summer camp.  

 

In my other troops I have worked with, two troops have combined on certain activities because one troop "wants to learn" how to do HA for their boys.  Everyone was on equal footing.  From the comments above, I was left with the impression that the Crew was going to mentor, advise, and basically show up for the leadership of the troop.  @@Tom D seemed to indicate that posed a rather negative reaction from the troop members and their participation dropped off when the Crew was on-hand.  If the Crew was available for consultation, that would be fine, but advising, mentoring, coaching and such really usurps the leadership of the boys.

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