Starting a Rover Crew

Tips from an Old Scout on how to get started with Rovering

By Scouter John Ficner, 1998

Rovers is a program for adults aged 18-26 designed to emphasize the enjoyment of the outdoors, service projects, and personal development. Rover are organized in small groups called Rover Crews. This document will assist you in starting your own Rover Crew.

There are two ways to start a crew, the easiest of which is to form a crew from a groups of senior Venturers. This crew would naturally be associated with the same Scout group as the Venturer Company is. However, a small group of keen individuals who do not have an affiliation with an existing group can also form a Rover Crew. Here are some steps to get you started.

Get together a number of young people who like to do things together, stir up some enthusiasm, add a dash of imagination, shape up an approach, point yourself in the direction of a challenge, and you are on your way. Get a good head start by keeping your procedures simple and concentrate on the things you want to do as a group. If you get too bogged down in drafting by-laws, ceremonial procedures, and a constitution too early in the game, you will lose sight of why you got together in the first place. Starting from scratch is always a problem, but where there is a will and enthusiasm, there is a way. Some of the steps you may want to consider when starting are as follows:

  1. Get a group of young people together and acquaint yourselves with the Rover program. Perhaps hold a get acquainted meeting. Have a look at the Rover handbook and some Rovering web pages to get an idea of the kinds of things that Rovers do.
  2. Find a sponsor or arrange for a section charter yourself. If there is an existing group in your area, approach the group committee with a view to your crew becoming a section within their group. This can be done only if the crew decides that they want to become a part of an existing group.
  3. Recruit an adviser.
  4. Make contact with and seek advice from your local council and the nearest Rover crew. Arrange with other crews in the area to visit them during a meeting. If there are no crews in your area, you may want to find some expertise through your local Scout organization. In some areas there will be a local Rover Round Table, which will have names and contacts of crews within your community.
  5. Attend Rover events. They are a good place to exchange ideas and make contacts. Car rallies, conferences, and moots are some of the events that generally attract a good cross section of Rover membership.
  6. By now you should be well on your way and should consider such things as: organizing the crew; drafting individual and crew objectives; and putting together a program.

Let's look a little closer at step 6. In the Crew, you will probably want to set up an executive, that is, you will want one of the members to be the 'Mate' or president, one to be the 'Scribe' or secretary, and one to be the 'Keeper of the Purse' or treasurer. As time goes on and if Crew membership permits, you may want to have additional members on the Crew executive.

Squires and Sponsors

The Crew should determine a programme the 'Squires' or new recruits are required to complete during their probationary period, before becoming 'Knighted' or invested members of the Crew. They should also set a time limit (i.e. 6 months) for completion of the Squireship. The programme chosen must be achievable during the time allotted, and should consist of activities that will help the Squire physically, mentally, socially, and or spiritually. It can also be something that will help the Crew towards its objectives. You may wish to seek support from established Crews or the Round Table to help you with your Squireship programme.

The Knighthood theme covers three stages; probationary, training, and service. A sponsor or sponsors should be appointed for the new squire in the probationary stage. Regardless of the theme being used by a crew, the idea of assisting a new member through this orientation is important.

The Crew in consultation with the new squires should appoint Rover sponsors. One approach may be to have the new members select one sponsor and the crew appoint the other.

The sponsors need not train the new members in every detail but some guidance may be necessary in the preparation of objectives and in meeting crew requirements. If the sponsors have established a bond of friendship with the new members, they can help them deal with their concerns and move through the orientation period with very little difficulty.

New squires may find it difficult to speak openly with the adviser. With young people their own age they are much more likely to open up and pose their problems with greater ease and less embarrassment.

It is the responsibility of the sponsors to determine whether or not new members fit in with the Rover crew. If, in their opinion, there is some doubt, the crew and the Rover adviser should be consulted. The fact that new members may not seem compatible with other members of the crew may not be entirely their own fault. Adjustments may be required on both sides.

Apart from the fact that the new squires are receiving valuable training and guidance, the Rover Sponsor is experiencing a good training opportunity. It is a great responsibility to play a part in the development of an individual and this situation therefore requires careful guidance on the part of the Rover adviser.

Where and When to Meet

Rover crews meet in a variety of places. The program activity and occasion often determine the location, but the crew generally has one location from which it traditionally works. This might be the local church hall, school, a members home, or perhaps a facility or building made available to the crew for its use as a den. Dens can vary according to the needs of the particular crew and can range from a classroom in a local school to a building for the sole use of the Rover crew. Your crew will develop its own base of operation that reflects the interests of its members. It might be a recreation area, a quiet meeting place, or a place for the crew to store its equipment.

Most crews have a particular meeting night and time that they follow regularly throughout the year. By using a regular night on a ongoing basis, members are able to plan ahead knowing which night the crew will be meeting. When deciding which is the best night to meet as a crew, you will have to look at the interests and commitments of all of the members. An important point to remember is to make sure that everyone is aware of the dates and times that you are proposing to meet, especially if last minute changes occur to your program.

As a member of the crew, it will be your responsibility to let somebody know if you are unable to make a particular meeting or activity as this may affect the event. Remember, be on time, a late start can have a bad effect on an otherwise great activity. No one likes waiting for the action to begin.

Constitution and Bylaw

A constitution lays down the manner and means by which power shall be exercised by the executive. Constitutions may be flexible or rigid depending on the ease with which they may be modified. A bylaw is a regulation or law made by a group for controlling its affairs.

Although these terms are often used incorrectly, Rovers generally understand that crews operate under some form of guideline, be it a constitution, or a bylaw, or both. Usually, one document covers both areas. An example crew bylaw can be found in A Sample Rover Crew Bylaw.


Rovering has a long tradition of using the knighthood as the basis for the program, the Rovers being seen as modern-day knights. This is manifest in titles, ceremonies, themes for activities, in the questing system, and in many other ways. The questing system is a program for encouraging and recognizing the development of the Rovers. More information about questing is in The Ten Quests of Rovering. The ancient law of the knight, the Code of Chivalry, is also used by many Rover Crew.

The Knights' Code of Chivalry

In olden days, the Knights had a set of rules which remind us of the Scout Law. They considered their honour to be their most sacred possession, and would never do anything dishonourable. In fact, they would rather die than do it. They were always ready to defend their honour, their king, and their religion. These were their rules:

Chivalry requires that youth should be trained to perform the most laborious and humble offices with cheerfulness and grace; and to do good unto others.