How to start a new Rover Crew

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The decision to start a new Rover Crew is not one to be taken lightly, but it is one that can reap tremendous rewards for the Group and individual members. However, it is a slow process and it may take years for the new Crew to become fully established, so it is always advisable that potential new Rovers find a nearby existing Crew to attend, learn from and ultimately be mentored by before beginning a new Crew.

Process to start a new Crew

The process involved in starting a new Rover Crew is explored in detail in the SCOUTS South Africa Crew Started Guide, and this Wiki entry simply serves as a detailed summary of the steps required based on the Guide.

Step One – Self-evaluation

Before beginning the process of starting a Rover Crew, the prospective Rovers who will form the core team of this process should reflect on whether the decision to start a Crew is right for them. This includes reflecting on personal values and goals, and gaining knowledge on what the SCOUTS South Africa processes they will need to take involve. Questions to be answered include:

  • What is a Rover?
  • What is the Vision of the Rover Section?
  • What is the Aim of SCOUTS South Africa?
  • What does the Rover Section set out to achieve?
  • What is a Rover Crew?
  • How are Rovers governed

These questions can be answered in the Crew Starter Guide.

Step Two – Find a group of friends

Rover Crews must have a minimum of three members. At this stage, prospective Rovers should identify other prospective members with shared values and commitments who are also motivated to start a Rover Crew.

Step Three – Contact Regional Rover leadership

A representative of the prospective Crew should contact the Regional Rover leadership – the Rover Advisory Council and the Regional Team Coordinator: Rovers. If you are starting a new Crew that is linked to an existing Scout Group, you should also include your Scout Group Leader in this process. These leaders will help guide you in the process, and will be able to connect your with other Crews in your region that will help you gain the experience needed.

Step Four – Contact other Crews in your region

Get in touch with other Rover Crews in your area for advice and guidance, and possibly even some fun activities. It is often useful to contact Crews that are fairly new, so that you can learn from their formation experiences. Remember: If your area does not have any active Rovers, your Regional leadership can help connect you digitally to Rovers anywhere in the country for advice.

Step Five – Attend a meeting of an existing Rover Crew

Ask the Crews you contact if you can attend one or more of their meetings, particularly those that are ceremonial or managerial so that you can learn how an active Crew organises itself. This is a good step at which to review your own growth and decide of Rovering is the path you still wish to be on.

Step Six – Find sponsors

If you have the benefit of being near to an existing Crew, you should ask them to Sponsor you. This process mimics the Squireship that new Rovers usually undergo, and involves the Sponsor Crew mentoring and helping the new Crew develop over the period of a few months before being officially invested as Rovers.

Step Seven – Decide on your Crew identity

At this point, the prospective Crew should have considered the values that best represent the needs and passions of its future members, in the context of Fellowship and Service, and should make the beginnings of a Crew identity. It should be decided if the Crew will be part of an existing group or an independent Crew, what the new Crew’s name will be (if different from the Group), scarf colours and what ceremonial traditions the new Crew might adopt to distinguish themselves.

Step Eight – Find a Rover Den

The prospective Crew should decide on a permanent meeting place. This could be a separate room at a Scout hall, a shared room (eg. a Scouter’s meeting room or Court-of-Honour room), or perhaps a vacant hall or building the Crew can make full use of! Private property, such as that of a church or university is also worth considering if available, but avoid meeting spaces that are dependent on a member – eg. a Rover’s garage. Talks to your Scout Group Leader or District Commissioner for advice about potential Rover Den locations.

Step Nine – Form a Squire training plan

The new Crew should decide how it wishes to train its new Squires, new members that have not formally become Rovers yet. This should include decisions about whose responsibility the mentorship of new members will be, where new members will be recruited from, and what expectations of commitment the Crew will have for new Squires.

Step Ten – Elect a Crew Council

By this point, all the prospective members of the Rovers Crew should be clear, and have a very clear understanding of what Rovering entails. It is now time to formally elect the governing body of the Crew, known as a Crew Council. The roles of Chairperson, Treasurer, and Secretary are considered vital, even for a small Crew. Larger Crews may opt to also have an Assistant Crew Chairperson, Quartermaster, Scribe, Groundskeeper, or dedicated Rover Advisory Council representative. If the Crew has also decided to have a Rover Scouter, a non-Rover adult that will serve as a mentor and guide for the Crew, this would also be the time to formalise this relationship and have them register as an adult leader.

Step Eleven – Interview with the Rover Advisory Council

Now it’s time to meet the local Rover Advisory Council as a Crew! This is not a test, but rather the RACs assurance that your new Crew is stable and committed to Scouting principles. Should the RAC be happy with your prospective Crew, you’ll have the official opportunity to become a Probationary Rover Crew.

Step Twelve – Attend a Rover Advisory Council meeting

At this point, the new Crew exists, but is essentially in a whole-Crew Squireship. The Crew, or its representative, should now attend a formal RAC meeting, with other Crews where your Probationary Rover Crew will be presented to your Region for acceptance. At this RAC meeting you’re new Crew also alos be adopted by another, existing Crew to be your Sponsor. This will likely by one of the Crew you interacted with earlier, and they will guide you through the rest of the process. As a formal Probationary Crew, you’ll need to complete the following:

  • Submit a 6 month Crew programme, with some basic 12-18 month projections
  • Register all new Crew members with SCOUTS South Africa
  • Review your progress over a 6-month period
  • Attend quarterly RAC meetings
  • Formerly adopt your own Crew Charter
  • Maintain a minimum of 3 registered members throughout the probation period

Step Thirteen – Register your Crew

Submit a SCOUTS South Africa F1 form to your Regional headquarters to register your new Crew, and potentially new Scout Group and scarf.

Step Fourteen – Open a Crew bank account

Set up a bank account for your Crew in accordance with SCOUTS South Africa financial rules. If your Crew is part of an existing Group, you may skip this step.

Step Fifteen – Whole Crew attends a Rover Advisory Council meeting

When your probationary period is over and all challenges met to the satisfaction of the RAC and your Sponsoring Crew, it's time to be invested! Attend a meeting of the RAC with your full Crew (or host the meeting at your new Rover Den) and be inducted and an official Rover Crew and Rovers!

Step Sixteen – Discover your path

Now it’s time for your new Crew to find its way. There are plenty of resources to help guide you, but ultimately the path you choose is your own. Happy Rovering!