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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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Welcome. Our district lost all but one of its crews.

What could have helped:

Agressively market venturing in every high school and community college.

Press releases.

Lower fees.

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We've only been part of our crew for three months now, but here's what I'd like to see, plus something you could suggest for your crews.

Advertise, advertise, advertise.  Very few families have ever heard of Venturing.  When I talked to the mothers of my daughter's two best friends about signing their kids up, they had no idea what Venturing is, and were surprised to find out that the BSA has been running a co-ed program for years.  With all the conversation about allowing girls into the Cub and Boy Scouts, this is a great opportunity to let folks know that this isn't the first time girls have had opportunities within the BSA.

As to how to advertise... I'm no expert on communications or marketing, but something as simple as getting permission to set up recruiting before high school sports events would at least reach your target audience.  Maybe find ways to help the Crew publicize what they've been doing; look into which local media sources would be willing to run stories.

In addition to media, here's what our Crew did recently.  We have green and yellow Class B's that are nice and bold, and when we're out sometimes people will ask about us based on how the girls are dressed (all girl crew).  In addition, we were doing trail work and a trash clean up in an area where there is a lot of passing traffic.  Our Crew advisor set up a sign saying something like 'Community Service Courtesy of Crew 28'.  A LOT of people were asking what the Crew was.  Maybe help your crews get some sort of weather-resistant, portable signage?

Lastly, our Crew advisor is an old pro, with sons having gone through Cub and Boy Scouts, so he has a really good idea of how to structure the program in a way that will keep the girls engaged.  If your advisors and parents are less experienced, make sure there are plenty of suggestions and examples for them to follow.  Some of this material will be available already, but they may not know about it.  Until recently, because I'm not our DL, I didn't know there was a Leader Guide available to help structure meetings.  In leafing through it, I found one or two good ideas that I'm implementing for our den.  I found a couple others online from random sites where DLs and parents have shared their ideas.

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