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LeCastor

Sudden Push for Venturing

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As the outgoing District Vice-Chair of Membership and the incoming District Commissioner, I helped get six new Crews started as we moved into the rechartering season and now am hoping to make sure these new Crews get all the support they need to be successful.  

This evening I hosted the first Venturing-specific breakout at our District Roundtable and all Crews were represented by at least one volunteer!  I think the most important thing was for these folks to meet each other and know there are people they can lean on for help moving forward.  I also facilitated a discussion on the ALPS (Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth, Service) model and shared some tips for recruiting .

To date, our district has done very little to promote or support Venturing, instead focusing on Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting.  With these six new Crews, though, I want to make sure they are successful AND sustainable, from a membership recruitment standpoint.  As District Commissioner, I know it's my responsibility to make sure ALL units get the support they need.  We can't afford to let six new Crews founder with little to no help and guidance from the District.

Do your Districts/Councils provide enough support for your Crews?  What kinds of things would you like to see offered from your District's commissioner corps?

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Sadly, my crew did not recharter this year. (It's complicated, but my one natural leader broke bad. The others couldn't/wouldn't regroup.)

I'm still on our council's Venturing committee and am working to get three remaining crews in two adjacent districts to plan something together.

So, you could say the sun total of our district's support for venturing is my spare time. :0

What would help? Scheduled yearly visits to every high school in the district. One flyer with the contact info of each crew.

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2 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

So sorry about your crew and crew member, qwazse.

No need to be sorry about the crew. They're growing strong and good. Some are just taking a much more circuitous route. :mad:

The young women and non-scouts in my school district, however, seem to get interested in what Venturing has to offer after they have invested in many other activities that consume their time in a nickel-and-dime fashion. Devoting an entire weekend (and hours a week leading up to each weekend) in preparation for a challenging week seems to overwhelm them. They prefer to work the school's climbing wall and never worry about mountains.

Also, I never really found my replacement. My boys' former SM has been a willing assistant, but the needs of our troop have been a persistent (albeit very rewarding) distraction. So, we're just going to focus on helping the older Boy Scouts get a vision for something besides summer camp and merit badge universities.

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Since last night at Roundtable, the momentum seems strong for the District's Venturing volunteers.  I've set up a District Venturing Facebook page and invited all the appropriate folks, so I have high hopes that this push (so early in 2018) will have ripple effects going forward.  

In the summer of 2017, I attended the Philmont Training Center's District Commissioner training and we were fortunate to have a visit by Charles Dahlquist, National Commissioner.  As many have seen, Commissioner Dahlquist wears his green Venturing uniform exclusively.  He is making it known that he supports Venturing and wants to stress the need for Commissioner support of Venturing throughout the country.

Now, as I transition into the DC role, I'll need to find a Venturing Roundtable Commissioner to take the reins and truly make the Venturing Roundtable sustainable.  I think Venturing RT Commissioners are like hen's teeth, though. :laugh:

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Had our first Crew meeting yesterday. Enthusiastic group of youth. Excited to get started and Lead the Adventure! 

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36 minutes ago, BrerFox said:

Had our first Crew meeting yesterday. Enthusiastic group of youth. Excited to get started and Lead the Adventure! 

Welcome, @BrerFox!  I'm glad to hear you had a good meeting!  As a District Commissioner, I would be glad to know if your District is providing guidance to Venturing Crews.  From past experience, I know Venturing is often overlooked at the District Committee/Commissioner level.  We hope to change that locally!

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How about a little advise a helping hand so to speak. I have 30yrs in Boy Scouts attained Eagle, wear 3 beads and I could list on for quite awhile, like many others. My daughter has been in a Crew and is not happy, so I am in the process of starting a new one. Yes I have everything I need youth (8), adults, and parents who are willing to help. I know how its supposed to run and the issues why she is unhappy. But with as much as I know I am still a nubbie  the program. I have read books, flyers, posts but still searching for anything I can learn. Before you say reach out to the Council, or a DE. Venturing is very small in our council and my resources are few. Please anything will be a help from meeting ideas to activities to well anything. I am not afraid to fail I am afraid to fail because I did not do everything I could.-----Thank you 

Edited by dwb9881

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25 minutes ago, dwb9881 said:

How about a little advise a helping hand so to speak. I have 30yrs in Boy Scouts attained Eagle, wear 3 beads and I could list on for quite awhile, like many others. My daughter has been in a Crew and is not happy, so I am in the process of starting a new one. Yes I have everything I need youth (8), adults, and parents who are willing to help. I know how its supposed to run and the issues why she is unhappy. But with as much as I know I am still a nubbie  the program. I have read books, flyers, posts but still searching for anything I can learn. Before you say reach out to the Council, or a DE. Venturing is very small in our council and my resources are few. Please anything will be a help from meeting ideas to activities to well anything. I am not afraid to fail I am afraid to fail because I did not do everything I could.-----Thank you 

Thanks, @dwb9881!  In our newly formed Venturing-specific Roundtable breakout session, we already have planned for next month (February) three presentations on adventures that have gone well for Crews in the past.  With several new Crews in our District, this will be important information for experienced Crews to share!  Also, I like your idea about meeting ideas.  

Thank you for your many years of service the Scouting!  :D

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When I was active as the District Membership chair 15 years ago, the average longevity of a crew was three years before they started breaking down. I would say three out of five crews die within 5 years of their start date. I did quite a bit of research on this and it comes down to the adults, or should I say adult.

While Troops typically hand down adult leadership from one generation to the next, crews suffer from a much smaller pool of replacement adults.

I also want to add that many of the crews started in our district were a reaction to a troop trying to provide a more adventurous program for the older scouts in the troop. There are two problems with that reasoning: first trying to save a broken program with an additional new program doesn't provide a long range objectives and tends to struggle with short sighted struggles between the two programs. And second, and in my opinion a deeper problem, adults who lack the ability to provide a quality older scout troop program also lack the skills required to make the additional crew program successful. And they burn out in three years.

Crews that are successful in our area are generally sponsored more by an organization or business. For example a scuba shop sponsors a scuba crew. Police sponsor a crew as well as a medical emergency crew.  A few hi adventure Troop/Crew are successful, but in general, they come and go typically.

How would I support the district crews if I had to do it over again, I would work to get the troops improve their older scouts program so that the crews provide  additional  program activities instead of the main older scout troop activities. I would strive to train the crew leaders on how support the troop instead of taking away program from the troop. I know that is not what crew leaders intended, but that is what typically happens. Once the crew program starts down the path of troop support, then the two programs can work better together. That doesn't mean the crew program would change much, it only mean that the objective would keep the programs working as more of a team. Those crews typically last as long as the troop leadership last and don't rely on the full support of the crew leadership. There are typically very good crews.

As for crews that were created outside of a troop program, adult support is critical. I would check on that crew several times a year to get a feel for it's progress. Then I would try and find support for what ever the needs.

Barry

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