Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One Year To A Youth Led Crew

Adapted by Tom Dewey  9/29/15

Both youth leaders and adult Scouters learn from their training that crews should be led by the youth. Countless crews in councils across America have met this challenge, your crew can too. What you need is a road map to success. A step‑by‑step plan so that they are on the same path that Lord Robert Baden-Powel created for us over a hundred years ago. This program year is as good a time to set goals to meet our vision of a Youth Led Crew.

1.   You have to step in when safety is an issue or there are behavior problems.Safety and the well-being of the scouts is a Advisors' first job. 
2.   Communicate
Tell the youth leaders and the Crews Committee about why a youth led crew is so important.  Ask for their support and patience.  Communication is key when changing the status quo.
3.   Set a date for an ILSC Training Conference
Ask for help at the Council VOA meeting, someone there has done the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews before. Use the ILSC Syllabus and power point (If desired).  This is usually a 6 hour course that can be split up into 2 or 3 sessions, one long day or over a special training camp out. Repeat this training every year. Let the scouts progressively take this over.
4.   Crew Officers, Crew Officers, Crew Officers.   
Crew Officer meetings are needed once a month for about 30 minutes and maybe 5 min at the end of each meeting. More may be needed in the first 6 months to get the ball rolling.  The Crew Officers are at the heart of a Scout Led Crew.
5.   Conduct an Annual Planning Conference.
With a survey of the scouts, tentative schedule and troop/district/school calendars, computer based training is available at Scouting.org on how to conduct an effective Annual Planning Conference. The Crew President and Advisor together direct the APC.
6.   If a scout asks for help, send him to the President or Activity Chair.  
Whatever it is, small or large, don't do it for the leader. You take away his/her authority.
7.   If something needs to get done, call for the President or Activity Chair not an individual scout. Let them delegate as he/she sees fit.  As the famous scout leader Green "Bar" Bill used to say "Train 'em, Trust 'em and Let 'em lead." 
8.   Send one or two scouts a year to NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training).
There is some kind of magic about taking scouts out of their normal Crew and teaching leadership skills that they can't get with their regular buddies in the Crew. NYLT is the greatest leadership program in Scouting, period. The leadership skills they learn there help them throughout their lives.
9.   Keep with it, persistence is the key. 
      It gets easier each month. You will notice a step change after the first group completes NYLT. Then support their leadership at every meeting and outing. Give the youth leaders the confidence they need to be effective leaders.
10. Beware of good intentions.
Keep adult leaders, parents and committee members focused on the goal. From the outside, some may see the Youth Led Crew as a chaotic, leadership vacuum when they are learning and growing with each leadership opportunity.

This tool was originally developed as part of my Doctorate of Commissioner Science Thesis on Developing a Boy Led Troop in 2012. It was adapted in 2015 for use in Venturing crews. Original material can be found at http:/www.piedmontcouncilbsa.org/programs/scoutmaster-resources/50598. Please credit source material and use it freely.  This material is not an official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Nor is it meant to take place of leader training or manuals.  

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