Planning a Crew Meeting
Responsibility for the conduct and content of a crew meeting falls to the scouts themselves. Crew meetings are planned well in advance by the President and the Crew Committee. Each Crew meeting should have been planned the previous month at the meeting of the Monthly Unit Committee Meeting. The President will have individuals to take care of portions of a meeting, giving as many Scouts as possible the chance to contribute. The seven-part crew meeting plan provides the framework for efficient, well-run meetings.
The Seven Parts of a Crew meeting
The seven-part plan for crew meetings is an important guide, but use flexibly. The times noted in the plan are suggestions only and can vary to fit various situations. For example, the Crew may be getting ready for a camp out. The usual amount of time set aside for Crew meetings might be expanded to allow Scouts time to complete their camping preparations. A Crew nearing the date of a District Camporee may devote extra time to skills instructions so that everyone will be ready for activities involving the theme of the Camporee, and the interTeam activity can include an extended competition that also focuses on the key skills. When the minutes alloted to one part of the crew meeting plan increase, consider shortening other portions of the plan. Every crew meting should be interesting and useful, and it should begin and end on time.
As Scouts begin to arrive for a Crew meeting, a Team leader or an older Scout assigned by an Officer should get them involved in a preopening game or project designed so that additional Scouts can join as they show up. Those in charge of the preopening activity should be ready to start about 15 minutes before the scheduled beginning of the meeting. Varying the activities from meeting to meeting will keep the preopening fresh.
Scouts who have been assigned to serve that week as the service team should use the preopening time to prepare for the Crew meeting. The meeting room may need to be rearranged, chairs set up, flags displayed, and other preparations completed before the meeting can begin.
The Opening (5 minutes)
Call the meeting to order on time, instructing Scouts to line up in formation. The Scouts responsible for the opening ceremony may conduct a flag ceremony and then lead the crew members in the Scout Oath and Law and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Skills Instruction (15 to 20 minutes)
This portion of the meeting is devoted to the mastery of knowledge that Scouts need to participate fully in an upcoming activity, or upon skills they must learn to complete advancement requirements.
The skills to be taught at each meeting will have been determined in advance by the Officers. Often the skills will relate directly to the month’s program plan for crew activities. Instruction should be hands-on learning rather than lecturing. All skill instruction should follow a simple process called the Teaching EDGE.
First the skill is explained, then demonstrated. Then the learner is guided as he tries the skill. Enabling, the last E in EDGE, means creating an environment for the trainee to continue to be successful (like providing an opportunity to practice and use the skill).
Those who may be effective in teaching skills are the crew mentors, instructors, officers, Advisors, and members of the crew committee. Whenever possible, crew skills instructions should be divided into three levels:
- Basic Inventing skills instruction for the new Scouts
- Advanced instruction for the experienced Scouts
- Expert instruction for the Venture Crew
Each instructional area should be separated from the others so there are no distractions.
Crew Activity (15 to 20 minutes)
You or someone appointed by you can lead this opportunity for the Crew members to interact with one another in a competitive or cooperative effort. The activity might be a creative challenge that will test the skills the Scouts are.
The closing of a meeting is the Advisor’s opportunity to step forward. Ask everyone to sit quietly, then turn the meeting over to the Advisor for reminders and announcements about upcoming events, and support of the Crew members for their achievements and progress.
The “After the Meeting” Meeting (5 minutes)
Ask members of the Crew leaders’ council to stay a few moments after the closing to discuss with you and the Advisor the quality of the just-concluded meeting. Offer praise for portions of the meeting that went well, and talk about ways that future crew meetings can be improved.
Make a few written notes so that suggestions can be explored more fully at the next Crew leader’s council meeting.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What should we start doing that would make the meeting better?
- What should we stop doing that didn’t work for us or got in the way?
- What should we continue doing that worked well for us? This is an important question because it helps us identify our strengths.
Finally, review the crew meeting plan for the next meeting and make sure that everyone who will have a role is aware of the assignment and is prepared to do a good job. While the Crew leader’s council is reviewing the meeting, the service Scouts can put away crew gear and return the meeting room to order.