Monday, September 19, 2011

September Round Table

At round table this month we discussed how to get a Venturing crew started. I put together a list of steps that crew leaders can take to get things started. Most of this information I got directly from the Venturing Leader Manual. There is also a Venturing guide specifically for LDS crews. See

1.      Program Capability Inventory
The program capability inventory is a tool that will help you identify resources and consultants that will be available to your crew. This will help shape your crew’s program.
Ideally, a member of the crew committee will keep and maintain this file. After crew officers are elected, the Program Vice President will work with the crew committee to use this in recruiting consultants for activities.
Information and forms can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, pp. 27-29, or you can create your own. The LDS church provides a Talent and Interest Survey that could also be used (

2.      Venturing Activity Interest Survey
This tool is used to survey the interests of crew members. When crew interests match with available resources from the PCI, a viable program is born. This process is used in planning the yearly program.
After crew officers are elected, the Program Vice President should collect and maintain these interest surveys.
Information and forms can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, pp. 30-31, 35-36. You can use the forms available or create your own. The LDS church’s Talent and Interest Survey could also be used.

3.      Election of Crew officers
Information regarding the election of crew officers can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, p. 31
For LDS crews, follow the guidance of the LDS church Scouting handbook, p. 3: “Each Scouting unit should be led by a young man who is nominated by the bishopric and sustained by the quorum members. For Scouting purposes this constitutes an election.” (

4.      Crew Officer Training
Training Venturers to be leaders is an ongoing process that begins immediately when a Venturer accepts a leadership position in thecrew. Leadership experiences can be frustrating and disappointing for a Venturer who is not given the knowledge, skills, and encouragement that are needed to fulfill a leadership assignment. The following resources are available to help you train your crew officers:
  • Crew Officers Orientation
This is an on-line video that introduces crew officers to their responsibilities. Also available on CD through the scout shop. (
  • Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews
A new leadership training course that replaces the old Venturing Leadership Skills Course. This equates to Basic Training for youth officers and should be conducted as soon as possible after officer election takes place. (
If several weeks will pass before this course can be taught, conduct a crew officers briefing right away. Information about the crew officers briefing can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, p. 34
5.      Crew Officers Seminar (annual planning retreat)
This is perhaps the most important meeting of the year. In this meeting, crew officers will learn and practice their responsibilities, and develop a program of activities for the coming year. Information about the crew officers seminar can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, pp. 34, 47.
Information about program planning is contained in Chapter 3 of the Venturing Leader Manual.

6.      Open House
In a community based crew the open house is an opportunity to recruit new members. You share information about your crew and your program and invite others to join. In an LDS crew you won’t likely be recruiting anyone, but an open house is a good opportunity to share with parents your plans for the coming year.
Have an activity, share photos and stories about your past activities and introduce your calendar for the coming year.
Information about open houses can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, pp. 37-40.

7.      Crew officers meetings
This is a critical step in turning your plan into an actual program of activities. Crew officers should meet regularly (monthly) to review crew business, make assignments for future crew activities, and assess crew activities and progress.
These meetings should be led by the youth officers. A sample agenda can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, p. 33.
In an LDS crew, this probably should be held in conjunction with the Priests quorum presidency meetings.

8.      Regular Crew meetings/activities
Crew meetings should have an opening and closing, using the Venturing Oath, and prayer. The crew president should lead the meeting using a detailed, written agenda. Business and announcements should be handled quickly and effeciently to allow time to focus on the crew’s planned activity.
Activites should be planned and led by youth activity chairs with assistance from consultants identified through the program capability inventory. Adult leaders should advisers, not lead players.
Information about crew meetings can be found in the Venturing Leader Manual, pp. 41, 43.

I think the two main points here are first, that the program is centered around the activities that the young people want to do. It probably should revolve around the yearly super activity and, ideally, incorporate Venturing award requirements. But if you are doing activities that the youth want to do, and if the youth are planning and leading them, you've got a program going. The first two steps are focused on this.

The second thing is that you have to have crew officers elected, trained, and functioning. In my crew, we've had officers in place for a year and a half, and we've had yearly plans for the last two years. But I haven't done a very good job in getting them to hold officers meetings. I've provided some training, but could do better. As a result, a lot of our activities fall through. Our plans go by the wayside and the youth aren't involved as much as I would like.

I think that if you can get your crew officers to meet regularly, everything else will fall into place. That's where my focus is going to be for the next little while.

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