- Part 1: The Aims and Methods
- Part 2: Crew Leadership
- Part 3: Understanding Venturers
- Part 5: Program Emphasis and Awards
- Part 6: Annual Program Planning
- Part 7: Summary and Wrap-up
In this post we describe your duties as an LDS Crew Adviser first by listing your main responsibilities. (Note: the LDS Church uses the more modern “Adviser,” while BSA uses the traditional “Advisor”).
Then we will identify events in the life of a crew where the Adviser has impact. Though we have not listed these, it would be a good idea to collect a a few these resources: Program Features for Troops, Teams, and Crews volume 2 (this is a three volume resource, but we’ve attached volume 2 for your immediate use), the Venturing Adviser Guidebook and Guide to Safe Scouting. These will both be useful going forward in your training.
We’ve already written about the Venturing program and the importance of the adult–youth partnership. This post focuses on what you can do as an Adviser to empower your crew.
The Adviser and Associate Advisers are the key to the success of the crew. They should share the same interests of Venturers and, if possible, of the program resources of the chartered organization. This is achieved by training the crew’s elected officers to lead their crew, and by planning a relevant program guided by the Adviser and crew committee.
The Adviser does not have to be an expert in the crew specialty if the crew has one. However, he or she must be a good example for youth and must be able to train and coach the crew’s elected officers.
In the Venturing Adviser Guidebook it highlights your duties as follows:
- Foster an environment within the Venturing crew that has a true sense of community or quorum brotherhood
- Encourage everyone’s growth and responsibility to one another.
- Develop crew officers to lead, plan, make decisions, and carry out a program of activities and adventures.
- Encourage participation and support for the Venturing crew from the ward or other chartered organization, associate Advisers, crew committee, parents, and other adults in the Stake and community.
- Uphold the standards and policies of the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of America.
- Providing the necessary framework for protecting the members of a crew from abuse.
- Ensuring that activities are conducted within BSA safety guidelines and requirements. Advisers should be trained by the BSA.
- Seeking to cultivate within the members of a crew a capacity to enjoy life and prepare for life as an adult.
As an Adviser, you help the members of your crew to get the most out of Venturing. You help them explore their interests, values, passions, and goals while having fun doing it.
Following are events in the life of a crew where assistance from the Adviser can make a difference in the quality of the Venturing experience:
The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on providing the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain a safe environment for youth, the BSA has developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies, reinforces the Youth Protection message with regular, high-quality training, and provides parents and leaders with numerous online and print resources aimed at the different Youth Protection needs of the Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing programs.
The BSA requires Youth Protection training for all registered volunteers. All new leaders are required to complete Youth Protection training. Venturing leaders must take the Venturing version of the course. To take the training online, go to MyScouting.org and establish an account using the member number you received when you registered for BSA membership. If you take the training online before you obtain a member number, be sure to return to MyScouting and enter your number for training record credit. Your BSA local council also provides training on a regular basis if you cannot take it online. For more information, refer to the back of the BSA adult membership application.
Youth Protection training must be taken every two years. If a volunteer does not meet the BSA’s Youth Protection training requirement at the time of charter renewal, the volunteer will not be reregistered. We encourage all adults—including all parents—to take the BSA’s Youth Protection training.
To find out more about the Youth Protection policies of the Boy Scouts of America and how to help Scouting keep families safe, go to www.Scouting.org/training and click on the video below:
For more helps with Youth Protection for Venturing click here. Please complete Venturing Youth Protection training as soon as possible if you have not done so already; call your local Boy Scout Service center with your training update.
Crew Officers and Elections
The LDS Scouting Handbook states: “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. This leader is usually …an assistant in the priests quorum, but another worthy young man may serve, whether a member of the Church or not. Other youth leaders of the Scouting units are nominated by the quorum presidency, approved by the bishopric, and sustained by the quorum members.”
It’s important that crew officers understand the roles and responsibilities of their positions. Before the election, the Adviser and the Bishop could review each young man’s duties with him before he is sustained.
For example, it may sound good to be a program vice president, but does the youth understand how much coordination it entails? Does the youth named for administration vice president understand that he may be called upon to carry out the duties of the president?
Crew Code of Conduct and Operating Procedures
The crew code of conduct is the Scout Oath and Law. When combined with the crew’s operating procedures and adopted by the members of a crew, this consituted the Crew’s Code and By-laws. It is used to guide their officers and program. Crew officers are expected to live by and enforce the crew code of conduct and operating procedures.
All members of the crew are expected to abide by these rules and new members may be expected to sign a copy when they join. They should be revised on a regular basis (usually after the election of new officers) and voted on by the membership.
A major opportunity for practicing leadership skills is during the crew’s regular meetings and combined activities during mutual. A poorly run meeting may not be able to accomplish what it sets out to do, can hamper fellowship, and may actually keep members away. Certainly it is cause for loss of interest.
It is very important to understand that a crew meeting should be a youth-run event. Advisers have the chance to influence the quality of the meeting by ensuring the officers are prepared ahead of time.
Crew Officers Training
When done effectively, the crew officers’ seminar allows the adult Advisers to enable and empower the youth leadership. This training establishes the climate and values that are important and sets the tone of what is expected of the officers and Advisers.
This is also the time to assess the goals of the crew and involve officers in the preparation for annual program planning.
Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews
The Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews course helps teach young adults the attitudes and skills that good leaders demonstrate. The course is designed to be taught to all Venturers in the crew.
The course is flexible and can be taught in its entirety or in sections to a single crew, multiple crews, or as a district or council event.
Note: There are other leadership opportunities open to Venturers such as National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE), the Kodiak Challenge, and even Wood Badge for Venturers over the age of 18.
Keeping Venturers Safe
Though the crew may decide what activities and adventures they would like to pursue, but it is the responsibility of the adult Advisers to manage risk by following the Guide to Safe Scouting which is available on line at this link or you can purchase a hard copy at your local Scout Shop.
You should encourage officers and activity chairs to become familiar with the guide as they plan adventures and activities. They should be familiar with what is and is not allowed by the BSA, especially as they work with consultants.
Click on this link for Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities. There are activities that only Venturers are allowed to do. Take a few minutes to look down that column to the right for things only your Venturers are allowed to do. (Remember when you include young boys now, what will you offer them when they are sixteen?)
Aside from the leadership and awards training, there are a number of courses available for Venturers. There are training opportunities available through the BSA, online and instructor-led, to ensure Venturers are prepared for outdoor activities and know the risks and how to have fun and stay safe at the same time. Examples include Safe Swim Defense and Climb On Safely.
As a Venturing Adviser, you will work with the crew officers to help them take responsibility for the crew’s operations. Some areas of responsibility will be harder for them to master than other areas. But learning to take responsibility for others is part of the maturation process—part of growing up. As an Adviser, your role is to facilitate that process.
Take a moment to reflect on this fourth session of training and comment in the section below.