Over the past few months, there are have been more than a few small discussions (often 1:1) about starting a Venture Crew in Coppell. With that in mind, I am hopeful that we can gather those that are interested and consider launching a Coppell Venture Crew for 2014.
Here are a few topics to help start the conversation:
What is Venturing?
Venturing is an extension of the BSA program, often with a primary focus such as “shooting sports” as well as offering the ability to do consistently more “high adventure” activities than what might be feasible in a Boy Scout Troop. Venture Scouts can be between 14 and 21, including both young men and women.
What is a Venture Crew?
A Venture Crew is the unit equivalent to a Boy Scout Troop. In much the same way that a Boy Scout Troop is more youth-led than a Cub Scout Pack, a Venture Crew is even more youth-led than a Troop — with Venture adults actually being called Advisors.
Why create a Venture Crew for Coppell Scouts?
The primary reason is to offer a more diverse range of activities for older Scouts, who may not feel challenged by just their Troop’s outings. In addition, older Scouts often struggle to stay committed to their Eagle journey with the ever-broadening activities available to teenagers, such as year-round sports or church programs. A Venturing program brings diversity to those Scouts, as a compliment to their Boy Scout Troop experience — and extends their youth-experience from 18 (Boy Scouts) to 21 (Venturing).
Who should join the Coppell Venture Crew?
The ideal Coppell Venture Scout is a 15+ year old Life or Eagle Scout who is looking for more high adventure in order to retain them in the BSA program. Particularly for boys who may have already risen through the leadership ranks of their troop (e.g. former SPLs) or prefer mature activities over leading first-year scouts, again. In addition, for Boy Scouts who may have been through 4+ Summer Camps with their Troop, Venturing activities can provide the diversity to keep them committed to the overall BSA program (and finish their Eagle before the age of 17.5).
What will the Coppell Venture Crew do?
Whatever the Crew decides! (within BSA policy) Most of the adhoc meetings have discussed an interest in shooting sports and high-adventure outings – with secondary interest in supporting the athletic, music and media-arts programs that many of the Coppell teens are already involved in (often in competition with their Scouting participation). The “theme” of the Crew will be one of the primary discussion areas when the Crew is being formed later this year.
Venturing membership vs. Troop membership?
There is no “versus” — the programs are complimentary. Boy Scouts registering with a Venture Crew will be dual-registered with BSA, and the activities (e.g. leadership service) that they perform within their Crew will count for their Troop advancement requirements. Certainly, there may be cases where a Scout may eventually shy away from his Troop, in deference to his Crew — but that Scout may likely have otherwise shied away from Scouting in general, if not for his Crew membership. One exception to this is for 18-year olds. Instead of transitioning to become an Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) within the Troop, they can continue their youth-centric experience within the Crew until they are 21 — which can be ideal for college students.
Four more meetings and another weekend?
Definitely not. Venture Crews tend to be less structured than Boy Scout Troops, so they will define their own meeting schedule which will almost assuredly be far less frequently — such as perhaps one planning meeting per month plus a high adventure outing or a shooting-afternoon (or a movie-night) on a monthly basis.
Where do we get started?
While a Crew is typically less structured than a Troop, there is still some parent-led teamwork to create and then support the Crew. If you have a Scout who may be interested in eventually joining the Crew, or if you are other otherwise interested in helping form a Coppell Venture Crew, please email me. Our next step is to gather the Scouts and parents that are interested — for an Informational Meeting, so that we can gauge interest and our capability to charter a new Scouting unit in Coppell. We will be gathering interested names in December and will then reach out in January to schedule at least one informational meeting.
If you or your Scout are potentially interested in Venturing within Coppell, please email me so that we can keep you informed on how the Crew is forming.