BSA Venturing Crew 343
Membership Handbook

A member of Crew 343 will find this Membership Handbook very important since it outlines all the basic rules that must be followed by those who wish to belong to the Crew.  Every unit of the Boy Scouts of America has its own requirements and this crew is not an exception.

All Exceptional situations shall be taken on a case by case basis by the Advisor and Officers.

Section 1

1.1  Mission Statement/Objectives

    To live by the Venturing Code and to expand our knowledge of the Outdoors by challenging nature itself to an extreme level, conquering our fears and travel through life’s obstacle course using team-work in such a way to allow us to grow into mature adults.

1.2  Membership

    Membership shall be open to all young adults of high school age who live in the surrounding area and are at least 14 years of age.  No prospective member shall be disqualified because of race, color, creed, or sex.  All members must be registered as Venture Scouts and agree to the Crew rules and bylaws presented in this handbook.

    As a member of the Crew you must be willing to obey all adult leaders and Crew officers, regardless of age.

    It is expressly understood that the Crew is not required to accept any youth as a member, or having excepting him/her, to retain him/her as a member if, in the opinion of the Crew Advisor and Committee, his/her membership is not the best interest of the Crew.

    Each member must have a physical examination from a licensed physician every year or as required by BSA regulations.  The standard BSA Personal Health and Medical Form –Class 3, signed by the physician and parent or guardian, must be turned in following the completion of this examination.  Incomplete forms will not be accepted.

    Crew Inactive status is available for those members that because of obligations arising from Advance Education (i.e. college), Military Service, Employment, or by approval of the Crew President and Advisor that can not fulfill the commitments required for active membership.  Members seeking Inactive Status must apply to the Advisor and provide such justification as requested.  The Advisor, with the approval of the President, may grant or revoke the Inactive Status.

    Inactive status exempts a member from having to pay dues; however, while the member remains inactive the member is incapable of being presented awards and go on activities until they have restored their active status and paid dues up to date.  These members wishing to remain a Partially Active member are able to go on activities, but must keep dues paid up to date.

    An active member is a member that attends at least 85% of crew activities.

    All members, youth and adult, will be mindful of the fact that both genders are present for all functions.

Section 2

2.1  Officers

    The elected officers shall be President, Three Vice Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer.  The President, with the approval of the Advisor, shall appoint Activity Chairs and make other assignments as needed.  The duties of the officers shall be as described in the Venturing Leader Manual.  Officers may not hold two positions at one time. Additional duties may be assigned and additional positions may be created at any time by the President with the approval of the Advisor.

    The President in conjunction with the Advisors shall appoint a nominating committee, which shall consist of three members. The nominating committee shall interview nominees and present a complete slate of ineligible candidates who have agreed, if elected, to serve to the best of their abilities.  Nominations will be held on the first meeting in November.

    On the night of the elections, nominations may be presented from the floor by any member.  If the nominee is eligible and the nomination is seconded and the candidate agrees to serve, he or she must be included on the ballot.  ("eligible" as described in the Venturing Leader Manual)

    No member shall serve more than two successive terms in the same office.

    The normal term of office shall be for one year starting on January 1st.  Elections shall be held on the 2nd meeting in November.

    All contested ballots shall be secret.

    In order to be nominated for an elected position you must be an active member.

    In the event an officer being absent for two meetings consecutively the officer has until the fourth meeting to provide a reason for being absent, if not there will be an election to find a temporary replacement.

    Officers are expected to set the example for the rest of the members in appearance, attitude, punctuality, participation, conduct and proper wear of the uniform.  The jobs that are performed by officers are vital to the smooth operation of the Crew.  Officers unwilling or unable, for any reason, to properly perform their duties will not be permitted to remain an officer.

    Being an activity chair or an officer is an outward and visible sign of a major trust being placed in a member by the Crew.  Every member should strive to be worthy of this distinction and, if so assigned, is expected to work hard as a part of the Crew’s leadership team for everyone’s benefit.

    Subject to the approval of the Advisor, the officers are collectively responsible for the program and activities of the Crew during their program year.  As such they are required to attend Leadership training and expected to plan and manage the Crew schedule.

2.2  The Chain of Command

    The Chain of command is the sequence in which all members of the Crew are ranked.  It is also the sequence in which orders are transmitted down and requests are transmitted up.

    The chain of Command by rank is as follows:

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Section 3

3.1  Crew Business

    Crew business will be conducted under the principles outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order.  Voting on all issues will be by simple majority, with the exception of changes or amendments to the bylaws or important decisions, which require a two-thirds vote of the total membership.  A quorum shall consist of one more than half of the active members for votes on routine business.

    In order to be able to vote you must be an active member.

3.2  General Meetings

    General meetings will be held every Sunday at 7:00pm. Class A uniforms are required to be worn at all crew meetings except during the summer months (when the temperature is above 80 degrees) where the Class B uniforms are to be worn.

3.3  Officers' Meetings

    Officers’ meetings will be held at least once the month on the last week of each month.  The day will be decided by the officers prior to that week.  Casual meeting no uniform required to be worn.

3.4  Uniforms

    All members are required to have a Class A and a Class B uniform.  Class B shirts will be made readily available on a yearly basis.  Formal inspections will be scheduled at various times by the President or Advisor.

    The Class A uniform consists of the following:
      Official Venturing Shirt
      Black Pants or Shorts (BDUs, Dickies, slacks, Capri , etc.)
      Black webbing belt with silver or gray color belt buckle
      Solid white or official Venturing socks
      Black Sash (provided by crew) (youth only)
      BSA merit badge sash (if entitled to it)
      Shoulder Cord (provided by crew)

    The Class B uniform consists of the following:
      Any solid color shirt with no writing or design
      Any scout shirt or camp shirt
      Any solid color shirt with the Venturing logo
      Blank Pants or Shorts (BDUs, Dickies, slacks, Capri, etc.)
      Black webbing belt with silver or gray color belt buckle
      Solid white or official Venturing socks

Section 4

4.1  Awards

    Members of the Crew have the opportunity to earn awards in several advancement programs.  The awards represent skills learned and accomplishments completed.  They are the main indication of what a member receives from his activity.  All members are expected to take part in these programs unless specifically excused by the Advisor.

    Crew 343 has several of its own awards which may be earned in addition to the other awards that are available.

    From time to time training from other organizations is necessary.  Though we have many counselors/instructors within our crew, on occasion a member may have to contact an outside counselor/instructor to complete certain requirements.

4.2 Boy Scout Advancement Program (if eligible)

    As outlined in the Boy Scout Handbook; the awards available are divided into seven progress ranks and over 125 merit badges.  A member must have earned the Boy Scout rank of First Class before joining the Crew in order to advance to the rank of Eagle Scout.  This advancement may be worked on until a member’s 18th birthday.

4.3  Venturing Advancement

    As outlined in the Venturing Manual; it consists of three progressive ranks:  Bronze, Gold, and Silver.  The highest of which is the Silver Award, and may be worked on until a member’s 21st birthday.  The Silver Award is the Venturing equivalent of Eagle Scout.

    The Ranger award is outlined in the Ranger Handbook.  It consists of eight core requirements and four of eighteen elective outdoor activities.  The Ranger Award represents outstanding achievement in high adventure disciplines and may be worked on until a member’s 21st birthday.

    Other awards are available through the Venturing Program.

4.4  Court of Honor

    Throughout the year the Crew will hold a Court of Honor.  The Court of Honor is an awards ceremony at which all of the Crew’s major awards are presented.  Parents, relatives and friends are invited and encouraged to attend.

Section 5

5.1  Activities

    Activity Chairs shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Advisor.  No one may hold more than one chair at a time.

    The Crew regularly takes part in service activities of various types.  Member participation in these activities is the key to making them a success.

    Notice of Crew activities are usually announced in advance with the issuance of printed activity plans.  These will give all the information about the activity including the date(s), cost, uniform to be worn, and necessary equipment.  Activity plans will be provided at Crew meetings.

    In order to participate in any Crew activity a member’s dues must be paid up to date.  Activity Fees may or may not be refundable.

5.2  Dues and Enrolment Fee (not to take effect until September 2004)

    Dues will be $40.00 a year, payable quarterly or in full.  The year is broken into quarters set up within the scouting year from September to September.  Every three months $10.00 is due or paid all at once or throughout the quarter.

    Any member delinquent in dues for two or more quarters will be dropped from the crew roster.

    Each member of the Crew is expected to pay his/her own way and to share in the unit expenses. An enrolment fee of $30.00 is charged on a one time basis as each individual joins.  This fee covers charter registration, Venturer Manual, and sash.  Money and paperwork must be received in time for registration to be processed before the member is able to go on activity.

    All enrolment fees and dues are non-refundable.

5.3  Limited Scouter Fund

    The Limited Scouter Fund is an account in which every member is entitled.  The member may access their account through the Treasurers and the President.  The Limited Scouter Fund is for the use of Uniforms, Super Activity, High cost Crew Activities, or for any other purpose within the Crew’s program.

    If a member leaves the unit, any money in his/her account reverts to the Crew treasury.  If he/she later re-joins this money does not go back to the individuals account.

    If a member is delinquent in dues payments for more than two terms and has available funds in his/her Limited Scouter Fund then the Crew is capable of pulling dues payments from the individual’s fund.

    If the member is duel registered the member may use his Limited Scouter Fund (with the approval of the Crew advisor and President) to go on long-term with another unit.

5.4  Money-earning Projects

    All members of the Crew have an obligation to help raise the funds necessary to keep the Crew functioning.  It is unfair for an individual not to participate in raising these funds and then benefit from the efforts of others.

    All money-earning projects must be approved by a majority vote of the Crew members. Members who do not participate in a project are not entitled to any benefits of the funds earned and those who do not support Crew dedicated fundraisers forfeit 50% of there profits from fundraisers dedicated to individual scouter fund.

    All money-earning projects must be approved by the Advisor and meet Boy Scouts of America requirements.

    The percentage of the funds raised which will be credited to the Limited Scouter Fund will be announced at the beginning of each drive. The percentage will be determined by the Advisor based on the needs of the Crew.

    For those members who are in the Crew as well as in a Troop (if the Troop allows); money from Troop long-term fundraisers can go into the Limited Scouter Fund.

Section 6

6.1  Discipline(1)

    Discipline is the base upon which all other parts of the program are built.  Anyone who cannot or will not accept the rules and regulations of the Crew cannot be a member.  These rules include this Handbook as well as other written or verbal orders received from Crew Officers.

    Sometimes a member may not understand why he is told to do something, but it must still be done.  Under emergency conditions failure to immediately carry out an order could put everyone in danger.

    Merits will be awarded for accomplishments and demerits for failure to meet a responsibility.  The recording of merits and demerits is the responsibility of Senior Company Officer.

    Members shall promptly follow any lawful order of a Crew Advisor or Officer.  This will include orders relayed from a superior officer through a member of the same or lesser rank.

    Members who are given a otherwise proper order which is in conflict with a previous order shall inform the officer issuing the order of the conflict.  If the superior officer does not alter or retract the conflicting order, then the order shall stand.  Under this circumstance, the responsibility of the conflict shall be upon the officer who issued the last order previously given.

    Members shall not obey an order which they know or should know would require them to commit any illegal act.  If in doubt as the legality of any order, a member shall request the issuing officer to clarify the order or to confer with higher authority.

    Crew 343 does not allow any form of hazing, initiation or physical punishment.  Violence or threat of violence (either expressed or implied), constitutes grounds for dismissal.

    All members are required to attend meetings and activities in the designated uniform of the day.  Those presenting themselves improperly uniformed shall be subject to demerits.

    Merits and demerits are accumulated on a quarterly basis. Any member who is in a negative merit status shall be ineligible for promotion in any rank or award.  Any member whose merit status reaches 50 demerits in the same quarter shall be demoted from position of Rank.  Any member whose merit status reaches 100 demerits in the same quarter may result in suspension for a period of two weeks and a trip.

6.2  Discipline(2)

    The offenses and penalties in the Discipline code are divided into three categories.  Category I:  Crew Officers should use their own discretion in determining the number of demerits to be given or to advise the matter to be taken as a Category II offence.  Category II offences shall result in suspensions and/or probation and may result in dismissal from the Crew.  Category III offences shall result in dismissal from the Crew.

6.3  The following are some (but are not limited to) examples of the offences which are divided up into three categories.

    Examples of Category I Offences:

    1. Insubordination
    2. Harassment (of kind; for any reason)
    3. Refusing to cooperate with Crew rules and regulations
    4. Rufusing to do assigned work
    5. Use of excessive obscene, abusive, or insulting language
    6. Disruptive behavior during a meeting or an activity
    7. Inappropriate touching (i.e. handholding, kissing, etc.)
    Examples of Category II Offences:

    1. Repeated Category I Offences
    2. Assault and/or Battery
    3. Destruction and/or vandalism of Crew property, personal property of other members.
    4. Indecent exposure
    5. Theft and/or knowingly possessing stolen property
    6. Sexual harassment / Sexual conduct
    Examples of Category III Offences:

    1. Repeated Category II Offences
    2. Prescription violation (misuse of prescribed medications) including failure to have the Adult Leaders aware of the medication
    3. Possession and/or use of alcohol and dangerous substances (illegal drugs)
    4. Use of pocket knife or any object as a weapon
    5. Violent behavior which creates a substantial danger to persons or property

6.4  Due Process

    The Crew President in conjunction with the Crew Advisor and an non-involved member of the Crew shall have the right to suspend temporarily, for cause, for a period of not more than 1 month.

    Prior to any suspension, a member shall receive a verbal or written notification of the charge against him/her, the conduct which forms the basis of the charge, and the policy, rule, or regulation violated.  He/she shall have the right to an explanation of the evidence supporting the charge and an opportunity to present his/her side.  A member whose presence at activities poses a continuing danger to persons or property or ongoing threat of disruption may be immediately removed from Crew functions, as soon as practical thereafter, the member shall be informed of the nature of the charge against him/her and the evidence supporting it, and be given the opportunity to present his/her case.

    The hearing board shall arrange for a hearing with the member and his/her parent or guardian within in one (1) month of the date of the suspension.  The member and his/her parent or guardian shall be notified in writing of the time and date of the hearing.  Members may question witnesses and have witnesses testify or give written statements on their behalf.  Upon consideration of all of the evidence presented at the hearing the hearing board concludes that a suspension or dismissal is warranted and may impose the suspension as long as necessary.

    Within one (1) month of the decision of the hearing board the member has the right to appeal this decision to the Crew Committee.

    Upon appeal the function of the Crew Committee to determine whether the testimony and exhibits presented support the charge upon which the suspension or dismissal was based.  The Committee then delegates the Advisor to the responsibility for determining the duration of the suspension or dismissal.