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  • Venturings Place

    What is Venturing's place in scouting????

    Right now it is a place for my daughter to enjoy Boy Scouting.

    If you have a solid troop program, plenty of outdoors and adventure. Other than letting girls join and shooting handguns and rifles other than 22 caliber what does it offer????

    Troop backpacks, rappels, hikes camps, canoes, rafts, spelunks.....

    Just trying to understand where this piece fits in the puzzle. We have tried a couple of times to start a crew, they meet a couple of times then it fizzles. Now we are trying to run it completely separate from the troop, the successful crews in our area run it more like a venturing patrol with in the troop and my understanding is that isn't the proper way to run it.

  • #2
    I've always seen Venturing as the program created t oappease all the people who like Boy Scouts minus all the Boy Scout trappings. It's for all the people who don't care all that much for troop/patrol structure, advancement, uniforms or being boys only. A program created tp protect the Boy Scouting program. Like you said, Troops usually end up getting Crews started and then they are often run as an unofficial patrol of the Troop. Many seem to struggle to stand alone. One of the main problems I see is lack of focus. A Crew can center around just about anything. Most Troops who start Crews center them around camping and high adventure simply because that is what they know and what they do. But in reality, a church youth group or a drama club can be a crew. Then the question is how do you fit them into a Council's camping culture. They are a fish out of water. Crews have a limited appeal. If a guy is in a good active Troop, a Crew has little to offer beyond shooting pistols. For the small number of girls interested in the outdoors, it provides an outlet. The 14 to 21 age range is not really a problem, but lets face it......when a kid turns 18 and heads off to college, you will lose the vast majority of them from your program. Heck, you lose a lot at 16 when they can drive and work. Everyone seems to want to make Venturing work, but it seldom does. Yes, there are some successes and there are people here that have good programs. But I think those are exceptions to the rules.

    Now, before people think I don't like Venturing, that isn't true. I'd love to see it succeed. I just think Venturing is the "anti" Boy Scout Troop trying to be run by Boy Scout Troops. It's everything a Boy Scout Troop isn't. It suffers from lack of structure and targeting a tough demographic. When I say lack of structure, I mean things like regular scheduled meetings. When our Crew was functioning (before all the girls left for college), they might meet once or twice a month to decide whether they were going ice skating and then for pizza or to a movie and then for ice cream. They would email back and forth for two weeks trying to work out a day that the majority of them could go. Did they do a Philmont trek? Yes they did. Did they camp on their own with their own equipment? Rarely. The few times a year that they did camp, they used Troop gear and tagged along on a Troop campout. Do they lead busy teenage lifes? Yes, but so do the guys in the Troop at the same age. The difference is that the guys in the Troop knew there was a meeting each Monday night at 7:30 PM with a PLC at 7. Each campout was determined and scheduled a year in advance. The Crew just never functioned that way. Lack of structure.(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)

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    • #3
      I think Venturing's great strength is also it's greatest weakness. It's a very, very flexible program, with almost everything presented as an optional component, that individual crews can pick and choose from in order to devise their own program.

      It's a strength for crews with a strong sense of teamwork, direction, motivation and goals. But it tends to be a weakness for units who are looking for more of a "packaged product" of structured program.

      I think the overlap in target audience between troops and crews can also be a blessing or a curse, depending on the individual unit. In cases where troops and crews don't have a very close relationship, there can sometimes be conflict between troop and crew leadership, who can view one another as "stealing" their youth. However, a "standalone" crew can often have a stronger unique identity, stronger leadership corps, etc.

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      • #4
        It's the elephant in the room.
        Good points raised. Sadly, most of my experiences with Venturing leaders is listening to complaining about feeling left out. I don't know what else they have in mind, but I know they like to whine. They can do whatever/whenever/wherever they want, so go ahead and do it!
        BDPT00

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        • #5
          Venturing is a place for older teens to hang out without (as my son's crew affectionately calls them) the "ankle biters." Since adult involvement is also minimal, it is an in-between space for late teens/early 20s to stretch their wings a little bit more than in many troops. It is a social space with a different vibe than a troop, in part because of the girls. It could be a place to chase "high adventure," or in this over-scheduled and high-paced world, it could be a refuge and just a comfortable, fun place to be. In some ways it is a looser affiliation because of the less structured nature of the program and participants' personal schedules. On the other hand, there are relatively few other spaces for kids that age to be together in as innocent and relaxed atmosphere so it might also be a more tight-knit group, depending on the members.



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          • #6
            There is a place for the Venture patrol in many troops. But, National could look back again at how the old Explorer patrols worked in the 50's. Other than the lack of coed involvement, they were able to often work on a viable level, while still being part of the larger troop unit. But, they were allowed to earn Explorer awards, even though they were only patrols. Their greater challenge opportunities often worked to an advantage, reenforcing many primary skills for use within the troop structure, while extending the depth of knowledge in broader related areas. One rating was about like earning 5 or so merit badges, as the detail and advanced levels of learning required considerable effort.

            I could see a similar alternative of Venture patrols being viable in many troops that do not have the numbers or adult leadership to support an actual crew.

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            • #7
              All of these, descriptions, although true, miss the point of Venturing's place.
              Yes, youth can do anything they want ('cept sky-diving, ATV's and paintball). But that's not the point.
              Yes, boys and girls can operate in close proximity while safely chaperoned. But that's not the point.
              Yes, yes a crew can be specialists. They can work closely with a troop, or be very independent. But that's not the point.
              Yes, they can help a council's recruitment/retention stats. But that's not the point.

              Awards are optional, but they demand skills in their category at roughly the level of what would be demanded of any First Class scout wishing to advance. If your troop considers advancement beyond FC to be gravy -- and not part of the Eagle mill, that's pretty much the same thing.

              The point is this: Young men and women at this age are ready to take their place in society. They are ready to sit together, look around, see how the youth in their community can be served. They are ready to call us old farts with time on our hands to help them make program that would otherwise not exist. If they've been scouts, they are ready to return favors to their charter organization and councils by feeding them creative ideas for service and program that may not otherwise exists until these youth go off to college or war, come back, find jobs, have kids, and sit around a committee of formidable adults and finally dare to say "you know, when I was a kid, I wish I had a chance to ..."

              Now that my crew is seasoned (to the point I'm starting to call the founding members and ask if they want to be my co-advisors), I don't waste time asking my officers "What do you want to do?" They'll tell me that, eventually. I pose them a tougher question "What do your friends/classmates/troopmates who aren't in this room want to do? How can we offer it to them?"

              Not sure how well that will work, but I figure that until your crew is sufficiently "other centered" to carry meaning with these kids, you can count on it fizzling in a couple of years.

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              • #8
                Our crews always seem to fizzle when it comes to choosing a focus or interest. I am not going to interject my desires or thoughts on what they should pick, but we got a list of possibilities from nationals site and offer that for suggestions.

                Maybe there are too many choices, I know a couple of times they went to the movies and dinner, Helped at the food pantry.

                I am going to bet another of our problems is our group is really young too.

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                • #9
                  Venturing is the BSA's program for high school & college age youth.

                  Because their interests are wider then their younger peers, Venturing Crews will center around somekind of specialty. This may be a wide or as narrow as the crew decides. (but it should never been viewed as an exclusive specialty. You need to have a well rounded program with social and service elements as well)

                  the 5 main groups of specialties are:

                  * Outdoors
                  * Arts & Hobbies (which can include STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
                  * Sports
                  * Religious Life (ie "youth groups" in churches and other religious bodies)
                  * Sea Scouts

                  YES, there is advancement, but its something each venturer chooses to do. The advancement is on one hand tougher (because we are dealing with older youth) and more flexible.

                  The mistake some make is thinking only in terms of outdoor crews, not realizing all the other kinds.

                  And people also forget that while Venturing is young, it has its roots in programs going back to the 1930s. The idea of specialized units started in the 50s and became a mainstay in the 70s.

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                  • #10
                    My experience from the membership Chairman point of view is Three out of four Venturing Crews failed inside four years. Actually I think that number is higher, but its hard to track. Just about all Crews created by Troops eventually failed. The ones that succeeded have very heavy adult involvement to keep it going. I found the two main reasons for starting a new Crew and Venture Patrol was needing a program to save the older scouts from leaving or a way for adults bored with the Troop to stay busy. This developed the saying in our District of if you couldnt make it work in the troop, what makes you think you can do it better in Venturing?. And they didn't.

                    The Venturing programs that are successful provide a theme that is difficult for a Troop program to providelike: Aviation, Law Enforcement, medical emergency, sailing, scuba diving and cinematography. In fact, many of these programs have been around for many many years. The Scuba Explorer Post I joined when I was 16 is still around today as a Venturing Crew.

                    My observations are that the vast majority of failed Venture Crews were started by bored adults. I worked really hard with Troops that were considering the Crews or even Venture patrols to reconsider it because they were going into it with the wrong motivation. As soon as the passionate adult who invested the energy to hold the program together left, the program failed within the year. It is much better to improve the troop program to hold the older scouts than split the troop program.

                    Im not sure how Venturing fits in National long range vision anymore. When I was an Explorer, the program was used as vocational training. Now I know Scuba Diving isnt really a practical vocation in the big picture, but law enforcement, aviation and medical emergency certainly fit that vision.

                    Barry

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                    • #11
                      emb021,

                      How many councils do you think are prepared to understand and support non-camping Crews? I know what the model looks like on paper, but I also see the reality on the ground and most professionals aren't geared for arts and hobbies, sports or religion.

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                      • #12
                        You know how I feel about professionals and I am sure they feel the same way about me.



                        The crew started with some sisters of the boys in the troop, they wanted to backpack and camp too, well they talked some other girls from school into trying it out, they went to the movies and dinner, went and got ice cream together then nothing.......

                        Not sure how to nudge it over that edge to get it rolling.

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                        • #13
                          BD: choosing a focus or interest. I am not going to interject my desires or thoughts on what they should pick, but we got a list of possibilities from nationals site and offer that for suggestions.

                          Well, we hike and avoid cabins. So I guess that categorizes us as general interest outdoor crew. But, the only reason is because that's the path of least resistance. If any one of them wants to plan a conditioning program for a backpacking trip, there are four adults (one female) who can serve as consultants. We love it and will make it happen.

                          Their's nothing keeping us from being all about shooting sports except the NRA instructor, although as willing as I am, is a phone call away. That seems to be enough to slow them down. One youth might step up and make that call once every other year.

                          I am going to bet another of our problems is our group is really young too.

                          I've experienced that as well. Especially since 90% of my group leaves for college by age 18. Another 5% go to boot camp about then. So our program is shy of that expert awards track that the manual describes. My president needs a lots of coaching. That said, the officers seem to be quite proud of the work they do.

                          Emb YES, there is advancement, but its something each venturer chooses to do. The advancement is on one hand tougher (because we are dealing with older youth) and more flexible.

                          Recognition is not exactly advancement. The awards do not qualify you for anything. (Whereas First Class qualifies you to take your patrol hiking and camping. Or, at least it should.)

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                          • #14
                            IMHO, Cub Scouts and Venturing have a similar problem. Leader turn-over, focus and training. Boy Scouts is unique in that leaders get invested and then stay long enough to develop knowledge and skill and to make it work. Then the investment is such that they often stay another ten years just because they enjoy it.

                            Venturing pushes more of the leadership to the members. Members who are busy with school, new relationships, trying new things and just getting started with life. Members that do or should leave when they are 21.

                            The program also does not produce enough "invested" advisors. Boy Scouts does it by having a parent be an ASM for five years. Troop leaders have enough fun they often stick around after their kids leave. But with Venturing, crews usually have one or two advisors. No other adults with knowledge, skill or commitment to pick up the ship (no pun intended) when the advisor leaves.

                            Inconsistent leaderhip produces an inconsistent program and inconsistent results. Members move on. Programs die.

                            ...

                            I don't know the fix except that perhaps troops and crews would benefit from each other if tied better together.

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                            • #15
                              Well we have an advisor and three associate advisors two male and two female all fully trained for their positions.......

                              Just waiting on youth.

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