Crew 268 is a STEM/STEAM focused BSA Venturing Crew. Venturing is a CoEd organization intended for both boys and girls, ages 14-21 and focuses on developing leadership skills through activities focused [mostly] on the crew theme. “Classic” Venturing Crews are focused on “High Adventure” and involve extremely challenging physical activities such as 50 mile hikes, canoe trips and camping in extreme conditions. However, a Venturing Crew can focus on any subject matter so long as it allows the youth to push beyond their comfort zone and discover new strengths and new marvels.
Like any youth organization, leadership and other life skills are a primary focus. It does not matter if it is a traditional Scouting unit, sports team, church group, civic organization, robotics team or anything else, the youth involved will gain life skills that will apply to any path they choose later in life. The specific activities are just a way to give these skills relevance. In this manner, Venturing is no different and will easily compliment the Venturer’s other activities. Venturing does however, make leadership a priority. There are many training opportunities such as the National Youth Leadership Seminar, Powder Horn, Kodiak Challenge and many others. This training very much resembles the same goals and subject matter used by high priced corporate leadership training. More than that leadership is built into the advancement and awards themselves. Not only do Venturers need to take on leadership positions within the Crew, part of their advancement includes reflection on those positions, how well they went and what they can do differently in the future.
Crew 268 takes this one step further. Because we are STEM/STEAM based, each crew member will eventually find a subject they wish to pursue more deeply and will do so, not as an individual effort, but as a leader of a team focused on that project. This allows each member to engage in a larger scale effort while, obviously, giving them the chance to not only learn leadership concepts, but put them together. Finally, not only will each crew member lead their own team, they will be a member of other teams as well. This creates an obvious incentive program to be a good leader, by first being a good follower. It also exposes each crew member to other subject matter and leadership styles. In many cases, this should lead to insights and connections beyond just engaging in one off activities.
STEM/STEAM, what’s the difference and why?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The “A” in STEAM stands for Arts. See here for a longer discussion, but in short I see STEM as the way to do something and the “A” as the inspiration for what to do in the first place.
As for why form a crew around STEM/STEAM? There are many organizations that offer STEM opportunities such as First Robotics, STEM Scouts and others. All Scouting organizations existing today offer a plethora of STEM activities and awards. Where this Venturing Crew differs from the above is it will FOCUS on STEM/STEAM but will NOT narrow the focus to a single subject matter. We won’t be designating February as “Math Month.” The whole intent is to expose the youth to as many STEM/STEAM subjects as possible, not through tours and presentations, but through active involvement in projects at many levels where they are providing real and significant contributions. It is truly expected some, if not all of the youth will discover a new passion to ignite their minds with, something unexpected and unsolicited.
In short, STEM and STEAM are adventures of the mind making STEM/STEAM highly suitable for “Venturing.”
Now this is where I hope Crew 268 will truly stand out. As parents, you have all worried about how to raise your children and make sure they have what they need to carry on in life. With the crew age range being 14-21, we are in the last stages of their “childhood.” This is reflected in the parent/youth interaction of the Crew. No longer is it “adult say, child do.” The adult role will shift from being a manager, to being a mentor. This means you will now be able to participate in activities with your child, less as a parent and more as a PEER! It’s time for you to actually SHARE an adventure with your child. So I encourage all parents to consider registering as official leaders. You might not be able to make every adventure. You might not even be able to make many adventures. But if you make even a few, you will have a treasure trove of memories.
Register online here! (you will need to create an account)