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Jeff in MI

Venturing question

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My Venture Crew is lead by the same man that is the local troop's scout master.  The venture crew is usually part of boy scout troop activities and vise versa.  This is mainly because many of the boy scouts in the troop are part of the venture crew. This doesn't cause any trouble and has little to no issues. 

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My Venture Crew is lead by the same man that is the local troop's scout master.  The venture crew is usually part of boy scout troop activities and vise versa.  This is mainly because many of the boy scouts in the troop are part of the venture crew. This doesn't cause any trouble and has little to no issues. 

Thanks for reviving this @@Scourge, as we all benefit from the boots-on-the-ground perspective. So let's take a for-instance weekend where your crew is sharing an activity with the troop.

Does your troop operate in patrols? (Basically that would mean each patrol has their own campsite apart from the other adults. In a big open field there would be 300 feet of space between campsites.) If so:

Where does the crew camp relative to the patrols?

With whom do the dual venturers/boy scouts camp?

What trade-offs in time and responsibility do they make?

Are those of you who are only registered with the troop responsible for anything (e.g. a skit to the campfire, etc ...)?

Who decides when something is crew-only, troop-only, or crew-troop activity?

 

Lots of questions, but for readers who are trying to figure out how to make this work ... the answers may help them decide a course of action. Users may browse my replies to see how my crew worked, but generalizing from a sample of 1 is a bad idea.

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Thanks for reviving this @@Scourge, as we all benefit from the boots-on-the-ground perspective. So let's take a for-instance weekend where your crew is sharing an activity with the troop.

Does your troop operate in patrols? (Basically that would mean each patrol has their own campsite apart from the other adults. In a big open field there would be 300 feet of space between campsites.) If so:

Where does the crew camp relative to the patrols?

With whom do the dual venturers/boy scouts camp?

What trade-offs in time and responsibility do they make?

Are those of you who are only registered with the troop responsible for anything (e.g. a skit to the campfire, etc ...)?

Who decides when something is crew-only, troop-only, or crew-troop activity?

 

Lots of questions, but for readers who are trying to figure out how to make this work ... the answers may help them decide a course of action. Users may browse my replies to see how my crew worked, but generalizing from a sample of 1 is a bad idea.

Well first things first, this troop and crew operates from a smaller town.  So there's just one patrol.  On campouts a lot of the surrounding troops get together at a campsite and have a weekend to camp.  The troop and crew share the same campsite but with both genders having a separate area.  So those that are solely boy scouts and those that are boy scouts and venturers are mixed together.  So even though there are two separate programs we operate as one, sharing the same duties and camp responsibilities.  The troop however still manages under the Senior patrol leader and Scout Master, and since the Scout Master is also in charge of the crew we all work together as one.  I'm still new to scouting so I can't really go into a lot of detail about management and such but it's as if all of us are in one big scouting unit.  The Scout Master usually decides what event is what, since he leads both.  Most of the boy scouts are in the venture crew as well so sometimes he doesn't really need to clarify if it's a venture crew event or boy scouts event.  This hasn't caused any issues or troubles and we all work as one.    

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As a leader who has done both Troops and Crews, @@Scourge's "situation" sounds more like an adult-led combination of neither a troop nor a crew.  The hybrid results is just whatever the SM/CA decides it's going to be.  Just because it "works" doesn't mean it's a BSA program.  That setup described could also work for any community based youth program or church based youth program.

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As a leader who has done both Troops and Crews, @@Scourge's "situation" sounds more like an adult-led combination of neither a troop nor a crew.  The hybrid results is just whatever the SM/CA decides it's going to be.  Just because it "works" doesn't mean it's a BSA program.  That setup described could also work for any community based youth program or church based youth program.

Lacking prior information, we don't know how much this was originally a negotiation between the SM/CA and the founding members of the crew.

 

I've met several guys who wore both hats at the same time. From what I gathered, this was a strategy encouraged by the council (and no doubt from national) to "jump-start" crews. The thinking being that an SM would make the best advisor and could easily channel his outdoor enthusiasm to support his troop and a general interest crew this was true for one in three guys. The other guys I met were bitter about the process -- the one especially so because he could not get tiger-parents to stop helicoptering, and having his older scouts almost automatically registered with the crew mad things worse.

 

So if it works or not, it is an official BSA program in that it has been aggressively promoted by BSA professionals. Even now, every pro I know would endorse such a program were a COR to give him the charter applications. So, it continues to be a BSA program, even if the patrol method is set aside for the sake of free-wheeling teens.

 

@@Scourge, if you can spare the time, get your crew to take Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews and sign up for NYLT (and eventually NAYLE). Get the boys to take Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops.  It will give you a baseline with witch to judge how a crew should managed.

 

You wouldn't be the first youth/young adult to realize your unit could use an adjustment. @Sentinel's story is a good one to follow as to how he moved his troop towards better execution of the patrol method.

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I understand what the councils were doing to help get Venturing off the ground, but I have seen too many train wrecks along the way and what it ends up with is Venturing with a bad taste left in one's mouth.

 

I have always advocated a Venture Patrol within the troop for the older boys, definitely a BSA protocol and policy for troops.  Then work on Venturing as a stand-alone program, not an add on, add girls program auxiliary of the troop.  When I wear the SM hat and the CA hat at the same time, both units are a long way apart.  As a matter of fact, as it stands and as it has stood, my Troop and Crew have always been in two different DISTRICTS within the council.  The distance between my current troop and the crew I am starting is 25 miles apart.  I run two different programs for the units and I would find very little compatibility between the two that would necessitate the merging of the two for an activity.

 

I was CA for 14 years.  I found out this weekend it went defunct a year after I left.  The new Crew I am starting is in the town where the old Crew went defunct (I may be able to pick up the old CO in the deal).  The first Crew was Civil War reenactors, the second Crew sill be all High Adventure/Outdoors.  If one can't adapt, they can't survive.  Being tied to a Troop would leave me with the impression adaptability would be at a premium.

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Well the main reason the venture crew and troop are one is because venturing is not as nearly supported or known as boy scouts.  This gives us venturers a chance to do the activities we really want to do, but cannot do alone due to lack of support by the community or numbers.  There's no tension between crew and troop, and the troop still learns leadership in our present.  Last year I attended boy scout camp as a venturer and attended a high adventure out of bound program.  This didn't take anything away from the boy scouts and I got to learn and grow as well.  With anything new, problems arise.  But not every venture program disrupts or tears apart a troop.  

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Scourge,

 

In no way did I mean to imply that the Venturing program disrupts or tears apart a troop.  Usually what happens is they blend to the point where it is Boy Scouts for girls.  One cannot be a servant to two masters, one of the programs will suffer as they try to create their own identity.  If they blend then it's no big deal they just have co-ed Boy Scouts.  Otherwise one of the two programs will not receive the full attention of the leadership.

 

What I see happening in our area is the Venturing program takes off full bore and then dies on the vine.  The goal now is to develop super Crews instead of multiple under-supported Crews.  The Crew I am starting will encompass a very large area of a single district.  This might sound a bit difficult, but my other crew that I had great success with covered multiple Councils in multiple states and operated just fine.

 

We're planning on starting out the new Crew with 20-25 charter members.

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I wonder if you've read "Rocks in my backpack" by Tom Sholes?  It's been a while since I read it, but he was a Scoutmaster for a successful Troop that over time incorporated more of Venturing into the program.  Might be a good and enjoyable read for a Venture Crew Adviser.

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Nope, but I'll put it on my "to read" list.

 

I have found that by being a CA, it has done wonders with building leadership in the troop as well.  It's a bit easier to trust the decisions of Venturing youth than it is Boy Scout youth, but over the years I have loosened the reins in the troop and what I was finding in leadership in the crew was naturally developing in the troop then as well. 

 

With starting a new troop it is extremely important to develop leadership to boys as young as 11 years of age.  That's kinda dangerous, but if one gets over their own fears and lets the boys go, it's quite an enjoyable adventure to see it can be done.

 

It was kinda funny this past weekend with the AOL pre-cross-over Webelos boys.  One of the boys is on meds!  He interrupts, he's loud, he knows no social boundaries, he's perpetually moving, he gets up at 5:30 am and wants to start breakfast.  The adults were sitting around watching the boys pack up the camp on Sunday morning and it would seem that he consensus of them all wanted their boy to be more like this kid.  After all at any given time, there's at least one if not two other scouts in his wake.  If anyone wishes to know who's going to be the next natural leader for the troop, just sit back and watch.  :)

 

I had one Venturing boy that refused to accept any leadership in the crew.  Never ran for office, always turned it down if elected, fought me tooth and nail, even toe-to-toe.  Yet he begrudgingly wore the NCO rank of the crew and even took on a lieutenant position at a national event.  Went on to be squad leader in his ROTC group in college and is now a deputy with the county Sheriff's Department. 

 

One of the reasons after 45+ years I haven't burned out is because I am constantly renewed by people like this.  Shut up, sit back, watch and learn, these kids have taught me more than any BSA SM handbook ever could.  Too much leadership?  Yep, probably!  :)

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