In order for a crew to be sustainable, they must continually draw in new members. Luckily, this isn’t a chore! A larger crew can lead to more activities and more fun! Often times, crews lose members as their youth grow older and either move to a different location or age out. One of the best ways to prevent this is to ensure that your crew membership always represents a variety of age groups. A crew that is constantly bringing in new members will not only positively impact more youth, but will also offer a better program to the Venturers already involved.
Research has shown that the best way to draw in new members is quite simple: talking to them! We call this peer-to-peer recruiting. Asking your friends to join you for an activity or event and try out Venturing is the heart of peer-to-peer recruiting. Sharing your experiences of the amazing adventures you’ve completed and posting exciting pictures on social media can definitely help to get the word out to your peers. To assist with this effort, a Venturing Recruiting Toolbox has been put together with helpful resources you may need to recruit new members. They are intended for an individual crew member to hand flyers or brochures to prospective members. Councils and crews may use these materials to promote recruitment.
Your crew may find it helpful to create a Recruiting Plan. One aspect of the plan is to design events that draw in new members. One of the requirements for the Pathfinder Award is actually to design a project that sustains and grows your crew! However, be sure to remember that recruitment is not a once-a-year experience. Your crew may have multiple open houses throughout the program year, or invite guests to many of your events. Crew sustainability and recruitment are ongoing responsibilities for your crew.
Open House Events
The Venturing crew open house is a crew event where prospective members (and possibly their parents) are invited to a crew activity, given an opportunity to find out about your crew and its program, and invited to join. The open house may be a prelude to inviting prospective members to a crew outing organized as a Tier I adventure.
The event has two purposes. The primary purpose is to introduce potential new members to your crew. First impressions are key, so plan an open house with that in mind. You might get only one opportunity to show off what you do and to invite someone to join. The second purpose of an open house is to make the crew feel good about what the crew is accomplishing and how it brings its vision to life.
When planning an open house, be bold and creative! The open house could be a very simple meeting where the potential members learn about the crew’s past and future programs, or it can be BOLD. A high-adventure oriented crew, for example, could meet potential new members outside the meeting place, where they will climb and then rappel off the side of the building. A sports-oriented crew could offer a sports maze where guests do several sports, such as shooting basketballs, throwing a football at a target, hitting a hockey puck into a net, and identifying famous athletes.
Crew officers have the primary responsibility for planning and conducting the open house. Usually the Vice President of Administration is the chair for planning the open house, or the Crew President can assign another crew member to be the chair. The open house chair then recruits a committee to plan and conduct an open house.
Planning the event will take one or two meetings and should start at least four to six weeks before an open house. The first planning meeting will be to explain why you are doing the open house, plan what you will do, and make assignments. The next meeting, which occurs one or two weeks before the open house, is a follow-up, is-everything-done-type meeting. Open houses and their planning meetings should be Venturer-run, not adult-run.
Other resources your crew may need can be found at: