Jump to content
shortridge

Advice sought: Starting a Crew

Recommended Posts

I’m exploring the idea - very early stages - of starting a new Crew, with a focus on outdoor adventure, higher-level treks, and training / camp staff volunteering. My daughter is turning 14 this summer and has expressed an interest in joining. There are only 4-5 crews and one ship in our entire council, and the closest to us is 40 minutes away. 

Anyone who’s gone through the official Crew-founding process: What advice do y’all have? What are the challenges and pitfalls to avoid? Thanks in advance.

  • Upvote 2
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good for you! If you take this path, it will be a wild ride.

Your #1 need will be adults willing to get training, at least one adult dedicated to promotions in your school, scouts (BSA, GS/USA, and other groups) willing to put in the extra effort to form a community of venturers.

If you are lucky, your council venturing officers association will be able to provide resources to help you.

I also found Woodbadge trained scouters to be helpful in terms of helping me and my youth network.

Are you already involved in a BSA unit? That will determine some of the other pitfalls you may face.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, qwazse. The very idea is extremely intimidating. I think forming a Scouts BSA troop would be easier given the public understanding of the program, but Venturing is a new beast.

I was rather shocked to find so few crews in my council. And two of the ones I mentioned are camp staff crews that primarily exist on paper.

I’m a campmaster and a district committee member (brand new to the latter role). No current unit involvement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, shortridge said:

Thanks, qwazse. The very idea is extremely intimidating. I think forming a Scouts BSA troop would be easier given the public understanding of the program, but Venturing is a new beast.

I was rather shocked to find so few crews in my council. And two of the ones I mentioned are camp staff crews that primarily exist on paper.

I’m a campmaster and a district committee member (brand new to the latter role). No current unit involvement.

So, you have your work cut out for you. Yes, public understanding is tough. Foks "get" troops.

But, the reality is that either way, you're breaking new ground in your community. Consider this strategy:

  • Is your daughter the youngest of a group of friends looking to master outdoor skills and staff  camps? Form a crew.
  • Is your daughter the oldest of a group of friends looking to master outdoor skills and learn patriotism and general life skills? Form a BSA4G troop.
  • Does your daughter not have friends, help her with a marketing plan.

Either way, it sounds like you should to look for a chartered organization who doesn't already field a troop. Yes you have your work cut out for you. So, your first step is to find friends who will help support you (muscle mainly, but guidance, and maybe even some $ would be nice). Get a buddy or three to go in with you on Venturing Leader Specific Training.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I JUST happen to be writing a one page training handout on this ver topic. This is my best advice for starting a crew based on my now 5 year old  crew.
This is based on the William Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award workbook and my personal experience.

William Boyce award - New Unit Organizer Award workbook

Volunteer Scorecard William D. Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award
So here it is:

Put a team together

            District Executive (D.E.) - Helps locate a Chartered Organization (C.O.).

            New Unit Organizer (NUO)- heads up the FORMATION of the crew

            Trainer - Trains all team members

            Unit Commissioner (UC) - Guidance through the process

            Chartered Organization Representative (COR) - Represent the C.O. in all scouting activities

Following the Plan

There are no shortcuts! Omit any step and the new unit will likely suffer. A unit that is organized by using all the time-tested steps is much more likely to enjoy a long tenure.

           The Steps                                                      Person Responsible

1.     Identify the NUO prospect.                                          DE, NUO, and membership committee

2.     Approach the prospect.                                               NUO and influential Scouter

3.     Make the sales call.                                                    NUO, district executive

4.     CO adopts the program.                                             NUO and head of CO (executive officer)

5.     The organizing committee meets.                               NUO, trainer, UC, and COR

6.     Organize committee select and recruit unit leaders.   NUO and organizing committee

7.     Help train the leaders.                                                             NUO and trainer (training team)

8.     Help the unit plan and organize programs.                 NUO, trainer, UC, and unit committee members

9.     Recruit youth members and have parent orientation.             NUO, UC, and unit committee members

10.  Complete the paperwork.                                            NUO, district executive, and unit committee

11.  Attend the first meeting.                                              NUO and UC

12.  Present the charter.                                                    NUO, UC, and COR

Tips for Starting a GREAT crew:

  •        Be a True Believer in what Scouting can do for youth, adult leaders and parents!
  •        Start with at least 10 scouts registered. Young adults need quorum to make an event occur.
  •        Double-down: Ask those to bring a guest to a meeting, event or campout.
  •        Have things that mean something special to the crew. I.E. Crew flag, Venturing candle for ceremonies scrapbook etc.
  •        Youth deserve trained leaders! Fast Start, Youth Protection and Advisor Specific/Crew Committee Challenge! This gets the leaders fired up to do their best for the crew.
  •        ALWAYS RECRUIT YEAR-ROUND!  Have flyers or cards handy. Have the scouts practice an elevator speech 1-2 minute explanation of what Venturing is and why they like it.
  •        Money will be tight for a while, find a troop or a family to borrow some old patrol gear. 
  •        Begin fundraising to purchase crew equipment. Fundraising is part of the Program, let the crew decide which fundraisers to do. 
  •        PROGRAM, PROGRAM, PROGRAM - have a 4 month program laid out while the Officers are trained and put together the Program Plan for the rest of the year at the Annual Program Conference.
  •        Thank those that helped formed the crew. It's a tough job. Find a special way to recognize them. T-shirt or other item.

PROGRAM

·        Year Round activities, PLANNED Meetings, NEVER perfect and NEVER complete, and that's OK

·        Adventure - Fun and varied outings for various skill levels - Putt-Putt to Backpacking

·        Leadership - Immediately let the Officers run the meetings and plan the outings - May need to chase adults out of the room.

·        Personal Growth (Training) - Youth and adult

·        Service - plan regular Service projects - consider a primary Community Service Organization.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shortridge, I wish you the best!   I'm on a crew committee and serve on the district staff as well.   The more I dig into the Venturing literature, the more I discover that National put some serious brainpower into the Venturing program.  The possibilities for motivated youth are endless.

Alas, much of this potential has gone untapped in my neck of the woods.  Crews are few in number.  Crew rosters tend to be small.  Most of the crew members have little initiative.  The only events they tend to be interested in are those planned/executed by someone else.  Finding the right advisors to spark initiative is essential.

Excellent advice above my post by our fellow forum Scouters.  Please keep us posted!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×