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Venturing suppport from a Council

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  • Venturing suppport from a Council

    After some years of their existence, our council does not have an active
    Venturing committee or VOA...and just a few active crews. I am a crew advisor
    for one of the larger crews and represent Venturing on the council training
    committee. I have been asked by council professionals to meet for lunch to
    discuss the program. Most of the recent DE's designated for Venturing attended
    my presentations & training classes to learn about Venturing -

    I stated to the new DE charged with helping crews & posts that I believe the
    council must make a stonger, clearer commitment to crews.... heck, even maintain
    a proper contact list of active, viable units.

    What should we as Scouters expect of our councils for support for this under
    appreciated part of Scouting?

  • #2
    Our council provides us a lot of support, but I think that's partly because we have a lot of volunteers who support venturing. Some things that we get ...

    Access to facilities for annual events for all the crews in council.
    Teleconferencing facilities. (We are still working the kinks out, but this month it made it possible for the VOA to phone in from different locations on a particularly bad night for kids to be on the road.)
    Space in the council newsletter.
    A web page for the VOA.
    Up-to-date membership stats.

    As far as not having a VOA, it's a shame we make it sound more weighty than it needs to be. The crews in council need to work together to promote themselves. If all you have are four crews in council, and each crew hosts one council-wide activity, that would make for a busy year. If the kids exchange numbers and make plans together, that's your VOA.

    Comment


    • #3
      Realize that council support needs to come from both volunteers and professionals. Remember WE are council.

      You need at least a small committee of adults. These will be the people guiding things and helping to establish a VOA (and would be the advisor and 3 associate advisors that each VOA is supposed to have).

      Your council should:

      * help promote venturing (enable venturing booths at scouting events, etc)
      * support a council venturing event
      * support the establishment of a Venturing Committee, VOA, and Roundtable
      * support venturing with training for youth and adults (VLST for adults, ILSC for youth and make sure NYLT is co-ed and promoted to Venturers, WB is promoted to venturing youth 18 and older and all adults).

      In most cases, a lot of this will be done by the volunteers. So is the council enabling this or preventing this? That makes all the difference in the world.

      Comment


      • #4
        When I was in school, I picked up a work-study job working for the local BSA council. The DE had me go after establishing Explorer posts for the council (Back in the day before Venturing). Well, after 2 years I had started 43 Explorer posts, and carrying the council's quotas for both years. We had enough people to cover the quota shortages in both Cub and Boy Scouts. I did this working 20 hours a week.

        Those who say Venturing isn't important to a council just hasn't put any effort into it. As an unwanted step-child, it often gets relegated off to an individual or two who simply hasn't the volunteer time to do it right.

        If the councils took Venturing seriously, it is a good program. Until they do, it'll continue to languish on the vine.

        Stosh

        Comment


        • #5
          Jblake makes a good point. If you and a couple of others are investing a lot of volunteer time towards council venturing (that means time away from your crew), then the SE had better giving you a serious allocation of staff time. You should have a big say on who that is, and request a change is it isn't working out.

          That staff had better be able to connect with the top youth in your council. The VOA officers will need a lot of respect and support.

          Comment


          • #6
            To make your case for staff support and time, take a look at your council's OA lodge membership numbers and compare them to the number of youth in the Venturing crews. The lodge gets a professional staff adviser who spends part of his or her time solely on the OA. When your Venturing numbers get to the same level as the OA, you've got ammo to ask for a dedicated, part-time professional.

            Comment


            • #7
              Our Council has an active Venturing Committee, but the current VOA is a dysfunctional at best. Our crew stopped attending the VOA's since nothing was happening, they kept changing the meeting place and location, and really, there was no benefit to our participation.

              What should we expect: full Council support for the program, ability to purchase or obtain the support material and awards, a go-to person for issues, and Council support for Crews and Ships in all things Scouting.

              Comment


              • #8
                "Our Council has an active Venturing Committee, but the current VOA is a dysfunctional at best. Our crew stopped attending the VOA's since nothing was happening, they kept changing the meeting place and location, and really, there was no benefit to our participation. "

                Its a two-way street.

                What did YOUR crew do to help the VOA become more functional? Leaving does no good. Remember, the VOA is made up of representatives from ALL the crews. So your crew, like all the others, have a responsibility to the VOA and YOUR council venturing program.

                Changing the meeting place/location is neither good or bad. We move ours around because our council is big, and some locations are good for some, but not others, so we move it around (as decided by the YOUTH) so that we aren't inconviencing the same group of people each month.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Dh, I could make the same statement about our VOA, except our crew has provided four officers in the past two cabinets. It would be a self-condemnation!

                  VOAs should be fun things to be a part of. Ours isn't as fun as it could be.
                  It's a problem we need to fix. When we do, I'll let you know.

                  But I can tell you that one of our professionals has been very kind in pointing out what doesn't seem to be working.

                  Regardless of what it will take to fix things, I'm fairly certain that walking away from the table isn't it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Venturing in my Council has largely been left to find it's own way. The Asst Scout Executive is the staff adviser to the VOA. The VOA meets monthly. When I became VP of Program, I started to attend VOA meetings when the schedule fit. They had a multitude of adults involved and after a few months, I tasked one as being the representative for the Council. This helped them focus a little bit.

                    The VOA plans an annual Venturee and the Council supports them with staff for COPE/climbing, shooting, cooks, etc. Last year, I arranged a 3-day event at our summer camp specifically geared towards Venturers and outdoor Bronze award requirements. The ones that attended had a great time and completed pesky requirements that they didn't have the resources to do within their Crew and the summer camp staff could offer. This year, I increased it to a full week and hope to have even more challenging programs for them.

                    The biggest issue that I have seen with Venturing in my Council is the VOA is only representing about 3 Crews. They fail to communicate that it's for all the Crews and get the remaining Crews involved. I've also noticed that all of the Advisers to Crews have a philosophy that the youth determine their program and that they should do nothing to encourage them to do anything. That's not being an adviser. That's just sitting on your butt.

                    The VOA staff adviser and I have been discussing how to get the VOA functioning better and hopefully by the end of the year we'll have a more enthusiastic and representative group.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tok, good work.

                      My thought (trying to make it practice, but not there yet): Put as much fun into your VOA meetings as fun as possible. Get the word out that you had a blast (and conducted some business). Send letters to advisors and crew presidents making it clear that that they are missing out.

                      Has anyone read the Venturing Monthly Program Forum guide (http://scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34342.pdf)? Were they able to implement it? Did it work?

                      Comment

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