Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Five Things I Learned Starting a Venturing Crew.

I started a new Crew in 2013. We faced many hurdles the first year. We had to learn together what Venturing was all about. We made mistakes and we had successes. Just after our first summer of camping and National Youth Leader Training, which I had 3 crew members attend. Things began to improve drastically. We completed our first year with a Journey to Excellence Gold Award. A measure of success that shows you can have an active, youth run crew.

I've learned that the two primary responsibilities of an Advisor are Youth Leadership Development and Annual Program Planning. Everything else supports this or gets in the way. Here are a few things that I've learned along the way to help with these responsibilities.
  • A POSITIVE ATTITUDE IS A RECRUITING TOOL: Having a positive attitude can move mountains! But it takes time. Always have a 2 minute "elevator" speech ready to explain with a positive attitude what Venturing is to a new acquaintance. Your crew must recruit year-round. Have a recruiting plan and implement it. Find your own positive scout spirit to get you though the tough times. 
  • YOUTH PLANNED PROGRAM:  The best recruiting tool is an active, youth planned, annual program. This doesn't mean you lock them in a room and don't let them out until they have an annual program. You do what Advisors do, you guide them through the process. The process described in the Handbook for Venturers.  
  • BE A MENTOR:  The little things are important. Be a guide and mentor to your crew. Ask them about what means the most to them, go to their dance/theater performances, games and award ceremonies. A mentor is not the same as a friend. Your goal is not to tell them what they want to hear, but what will help them succeed in life!
  • BE FLEXIBLE:  Each Scout has to find their own way down the Scouting trail. Some will not go backpacking and some won't go to a museum, some want to just socialize and some are hard core campers.Your success or failure as an Advisor does not depend on how many Venturers go on a 50 miler trip. Be open to finding an unexpected adventure.
  • SHARING OUR VALUES IS WHY YOU ARE HERE:  Scouting values are important to Venturers as well as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Remind them that the the Scout Oath and Law can help them as they become adults. They will face may challenges as they mature. The Oath and Law are tools they can use to help them make good choices. Relating Scouting values to teens is not easy. They think that they know it all. If you are honest you did too when you were that age.

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