ABOUT Crew 500


Venturing Crew 500 is a co-ed crew on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Young men and women who are at least 14 years old and under 21 years old are eligible and encouraged to join. Visitors who are considering membership in the Crew are welcome to attend one of our regular Crew meetings in order to learn more about the Crew, its structure, and its activities. All youth who attend a Crew overnight event must be registered members of Crew 500.



The Crew meets twice a month on a date, time, and location decided by the members of the Crew. Meetings are used to plan trips, try out gear hacks, visit local maker spaces, and take classes of interest to the Crew. In addition to its monthly meetings, the Crew plans a weekend outing once a month.


Co-ed Venturing Crew 500 specializes in developing and testing low-cost camping hacks, gadgets, and gear.


To encourage Venturing Youth to become innovators, inventors, and ambassadors of low-cost camping hacks, gadgets, and gear toward the goal of making camping fun and affordable for all.


To make camping fun and affordable for all through innovation, invention, and knowledge sharing.


Capitol Hill Scouts is an independently-chartered Scouting organization that sponsors the co-ed Venturing Crew 500 as well as Boy Scout Troop 500 and Cub Scout Pack 230. Capitol Hill Scouts has no specific religious or faith-based affiliation. 


Capitol Hill Scouts values diversity in its youth and adult leaders, and welcomes all who are willing to adhere to the Scout Oath and Law. Since 2001, Capitol Hill Scouts has had a public, formal diversity statement expressing that we welcome all scouts and leaders, regardless of sexual orientation.  As a chartering organization, Capitol Hill Scouts continues to maintain this policy of inclusion and the Troop and Crew have flourished. It has always been the position of Capitol Hill Scouts that we insist that our leaders, members and families behave in a responsible fashion. We subscribe to the National BSA policy that adults always interact with youth in pairs (“two-deep leadership”) for the safety of the youth and the adults. Capitol Hill Scouts is insistent that all connected with the program behave in ways that respect all concerned. Should anyone in our program behave in a way that is inappropriate, intrusive or violates the rights of others, they will no longer be involved and the appropriate actions will be taken.​


President: Emma and Zander 

Vice President for Program: Louisa

Vice President for Administration: Piper

Secretary/Vice President for Communication: Greyson 

Quartermaster: Mason 

Treasurer: Annika

Crew Guide for Training: Mason 

Adult Leaders (Program)

Adult Leaders (Crew Committee):

  • Aaron Marrs, Crew Committee Chair    awmarrs@gmail.com

  • George Olson, Crew Committee Activities & Equipment Chair

  • Mark O'Donnell, Crew Committee Treasurer 

  • Kathy Brandt, Crew Committee Secretary/Communications Chair

  • Ralph Wooden, Crew Committee Member


Venturing programs are developed around four areas of emphasis called the "ALPS model":

  • Adventure: Mentoring, leading, and participating in crew-led adventures.

  • Leadership: Ongoing leadership development through training, mentoring, and hands-on leadership.

  • Personal Growth: Goal setting in support of personal growth.

  • Service: Leading and participating in community service.



The members of Crew 500 plan and organize a variety of activities. Activities include:

  • Two Crew meetings per month (1st and 3rd Monday)

  • One Tier II adventure (weekend campout) per month

  • Training in goal-setting, time management, project management, mentoring, and leadership

  • Service projects 

  • One Tier III adventure (week-long high-adventure camping trip) each summer


CREW "HACKTIVIties" Planned for 2018-2019 YEAR


September 21-23: Crew 500 Beach Campout at the Montrey's

October 13:  Escape Room

December 1: Skiing at Whitetail

January 5-6: Pocomoke River State Park Camping Trip

February 23: University of Scouting

March 22-24 Camp Big Mac Camping Trip

April 26-28: Beach Campout at Westmoreland State Park



Tiers of Adventure

Venturing’s three levels of adventure are designed to challenge and engage crew members to experience adventure. Each level provides crew members with opportunity for leadership personal growth, and skill development. While Tier I activities are fairly basic, they provide a preparation for the greater challenges and opportunities involved in Tier II and Tier III activities. Crew 500's activity program includes activities and adventures primarily in Tier II and III.


Tier I adventure: Little preparation or planning; little or no prior skill development; less than one day duration (not overnight); not far outside comfort zone. Typically, these adventures are good crew fun or recruiting activities and easily accommodate guests. Examples include a trip to a natural history museum and a climbing wall activity. Tier I adventures may be stepping stones that lead to implementing a Tier II or Tier III adventure.

Tier II adventure: Some planning or preparation is required; some prior skill development may be desirable or even required; less than four days; outside the standard range of activities. Examples include organizing a weekend canoe trip or camping trip. Tier II adventures can serve as shakedown events that lead to Tier III adventure.


Tier III adventure: Extensive planning, preparation, and skill development required prior to participation; at least four days duration; mentally and physically challenging. Tier III adventures are highlights of the program year, and may take place once or twice annually. Your crew will invest considerable time and energy in preparing and carrying out a Tier III adventure. Examples include a 50-mile backpacking trip, planning and directing a Cub Scout day camp, participating in an international Scouting event, and organizing and participating in programming at a BSA high-adventure base. 






Venturing Award. This is the beginning of the Venturing experience. The new member learns about the program, what a crew does, and what to expect from the experience and the adventures, and makes a commitment to the principles of Venturing. No board of review is involved.


Discovery Award. Participation and preparing for leadership are the key elements here. The Discovery Award is designed to encourage members to design and lead an active program of continuous adventure and service. Venturers who achieve the Discovery Award will have taken part in two crew activities, and as they become more active, they discover talents and learn skills that will help them lead and serve others. In doing so, personal growth will result, and they will gradually recognize the wide variety of opportunities awaiting them.


Pathfinder Award. In earning the Pathfinder Award, a Venturer should begin to establish a reputation as a skilled leader. The award seeks to engage Venturers more deeply in the program by delivering further on the ALPS model. One of the key requirements involves leading a crew adventure. The type of adventure—whether an extended bicycle or canoe trip, or even 10 days visiting the museums of Washington, D.C.—is up to the award candidate and the crew. The value in the adventure comes from learning how to lead and demonstrate skills through action. Pathfinder Award candidates will also continue to deliver service to others, including to the crew, to ensure it remains strong and viable. Goals set and achieved will continue to help the Venturer grow as an individual.


Summit Award. While the Pathfinder Award requires a member to lead an adventure, the Summit Award— Venturing’s highest—moves a young person into the role of servant leader. The Venturer will serve the crew as a leader—both formally and informally—and become a mentor to others. Additionally, Summit Award candidates are challenged to carry out a significant and valuable service project, where they will apply many of the lessons they’ve learned along the way. A crew’s program should be built upon a program of continuous, youth-led adventure, leadership, personal growth, and service. Each award level challenges Venturers to dig deep as they consider the question of who they are. In doing this, their climb to the Summit will be more likely to truly develop and enhance their skills and confidence to complete the requirements. To the Summit Award recipient, servant leadership and community service are the cornerstones.





Venturing Activity Planning Worksheet 

Program Capability Inventory Worksheet

Venturing Activity Interest Survey

Planning Your Crew's Annual Program Budget

Planning Your Crew's Annual Program of Activities

Activity Consent Form

Adult Application Form (Fillable) - for youth age 18-20

Youth Application Form (Fillable) - for youth age 14-17




How to hack your own gear



Hammock Suspension Overview: Whoopie Sling vs. Ring Buckle

How to Make a Whoopie Sling

How to Make Tree Straps

How to Make a Double-Layer Hammock

How to Make a Bug Net for a Hammock

How to Make a Pocket-Style Bug Net for a Hammock

How to Make a Zippered Cocoon Bug Net for a Hammock



How to Recycle Old Tents into a New Tent

How to Make a Lightweight Tarp Tent

How to Make the "Tarptent Project" Lightweight Tarp Tent

How to Make an Ultralight Tarp Tent



How to Make a DIY Backpacking Stove (Ultralight Vortex Burner): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5
















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