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Is BSA trying to kill Venturing?

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  • Is BSA trying to kill Venturing?

    A couple of years ago, BSA pulled the Venturing/Ranger books off the shelves suddenly. As I understand it, it was done for a legal issue. The books were off the shelves for close to a year.

    Recently, changes were voted on by BSA that resulted in the loss of the Venturing Oath and Code, effective in 2014. While I can't say I will miss the Code when this all becomes effective, the loss of Venturing's Oath has really ticked off the scouts in my Venturing unit. I hear rumor that the Venturing sign and salute are likewise history, but while this is being put out as fact on the blog attached to Scout Wire, some youth involved at the National level have denied this is the case. I called National and was told that, indeed, the Venturing hand sign and salute will be replaced by the three-fingered Boy Scout sign and salute. Who knows what is actually correct. Additional tinkering may be in the works in the form of the elimination of Venturing's achievements, namely the elimination of the Bronze, Gold and Silver Awards. God knows what they will replace them with if that is correct. Merit badges and ranks? My crew will run for the hills and I will be left wondering if I can sell our home-built kitchen box on eBay and will our crew flag make an okay souvenir of four years of fun and effort.

    The latest fiasco is the Venturing uniform shirts. While Venturing crew's can use the uniform or not, mine does. Most of the crew's in my Council (San Diego-Imperial) do, or at least when I see them they are. The shirts have been pulled off the shelves with no indication on when we will see them again. I made a bunch of calls and emails today to Council and National and got nowhere. No one at Council was willing to make inquiries, and National was not giving up any info. A previous call on this issue elicited the opinion that it would likely be Spring 2013 or later before uniforms were available again.

    I remarked to more than one person today that this kind of thing would never happen in the Boy Scout program. Can you imagine the Boy Scout book not being available? Not being able to purchase a Boy Scout uniform for any period whatsoever, let alone until next Spring? Not likely.

    While none of these issues are likely connected, I feel like every time I turn around, some silliness is impacting the Venturing program and no one is in any hurry whatsoever to fix it. One could almost say that BSA is dragging their collective feet. But to what end?

    I am not a conspiracy theorist. Quite the contrary, I am a big believer in Occam's Razor. With that in mind, the issues are likely unintentional screw ups that BSA is simply slow to fix. Tinkering with the identity of Venturing by replacing our Oath, Code, and sign/salute, is the result of well-meaning (if not ignorant) individuals who honestly believe they are doing a good thing. May I recommend to those well-meaning individuals to leave our achievements alone while I am on this subject? If it's not broken, don't fix it, eh?

    While I am trying to take the proverbial high road, I keep coming back to wondering why we always seem to be getting screwed...what is your take on the matter?

  • #2
    Don't know but maybe it is the BSA attempt at being a better partner to the American Heritage Girls.

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    • #3
      If it's any consolation, the cubs have to change oath and sign too.

      http://scout-wire.org/2012/10/25/one-oath-and-law-approved-for-all-bsa-programs/

      Opinions on this were all over the map:

      http://scout-wire.org/2012/08/02/one-oath-and-law--for-all-bsa-programs/

      Venturing awards aren't changing anytime soon. Boy scout advancement requirements are under review. It's part of their strategic plans which may be found here:

      http://www.scouting.org/filestore/stragegicplan/pdf/Strategic_Plan_Progress_Report.pdf

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      • #4
        I dont think the BSA is actively trying to kill Venturing, I think death by neglect is more accurate

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        • #5
          If changing the Venturing Oath and Code can be considered "killing" the program, then Venturing is missing something. What sign you make or oath you repeat has absolutely nothing to do with the program and opportunities presented to the youth.

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          • #6
            that is odd. Not much info regarding the disappearance.

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            • #7
              The issue of the Oath and Code, to me, has more to do with losing our identity than anything that has any huge impact. Basically, I see it as BSA screwing with the program...and we don't need them to. It is working just fine as it is.

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              • #8
                You do realize that some venturer's get put down by scouts because they don't even know the oath or law? Not every crew has felt comfortable being distinctive in every possible way. Going without those touchstones may have been fine for your crew, but our crew will probably benefit from them.

                My kids had no opinion on the matter. I suggested our VOA send national their opinion on the matter, but they had none.

                Most youth just don't seem to be getting out of shape about this sort of thing. Of course, we have no mechanism for referendum, so we'll neve really know ...

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                • #9
                  Since the mission of the BSA is from the website: "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law." So it has never made sense to me that the same Oath and Law were not used for all three traditional programs. A separate Venturing Oath and Law was probably not the best idea at the time and it needed this change.

                  It has been pointed out here and in other places that the uniforms were pulled because the vendor may not have had the correct federal license to sell the uniforms with a new fire resistant coating. When the issue has been resolved, the uniforms will be put back onto the shelves.

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                  • #10
                    It's just a hunch with nothing substantial to back it up, but I think we are headed towards a coed program top to bottom. I think Cubs, Boy Scouts and Venturing will be pulled under a common umbrella called Scouting. Since the Cub age will be coed, it will absorb those girls currently in AHG and it will be sundowned as a program due to attrition. Small changes now in preparation for big changes down the road.

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                    • #11
                      Jr. High girls ! But I have to say that one thing that limits my church chartering BSA as a youth group model is its co-Ed model only accommodates Sr. Highs. That and the youth-led model sounds very intimidating to Sr. High women.

                      I doubt that our big tent wil absorb AHG any sooner than it will the Baptist Men:
                      http://scout-wire.org/2012/10/25/bsa-american-baptist-men-team-up-to-spread-scouting-programs/

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                      • #12
                        "That and the youth-led model sounds very intimidating to Sr. High women"

                        See, I have evidence to the complete contrary, in my experience the young ladies of the Crew are the most dynamic, currently the Area Venturing President is female

                        The National Venturing President is Male and then 3 of the 4 Regional Presidents are Female.

                        I am opposed to females being youth members of the OA because in 4 years I think the entire national leadership will be female. I thnk Venturing plays into the more mature nature of teen age girls relative to boys.

                        THen again, that is my experience, it may not be this way everywhere

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                        • #13
                          Girls even typical ex girl scouts are very intimidated by venturing.

                          While you try to mentor them, they quickly realize that there isn't a free lunch and it is a lot of work.

                          I mentioned before the last go around with our crew, it was 4 couples....when they discovered that it wasn't going to be romantic weekends with the sweetie pie. They all quit.

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                          • #14
                            qwazse,

                            You do realize that other denominations have had similar programs to the Baptist Men for years don't you? Why do you assume they won't fit under the tent?

                            http://www.gcumm.org/ministries/scouting/specialist.html

                            http://www.nlas.org/

                            http://www.presbyterianscouters.org/

                            http://www.nccs-bsa.org/

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                            • #15
                              SR540, and they remain stand-alone partners -- just as I suspect AHG will if we turn co-ed.

                              OGE, I agree that once they buy in to the program, the female venturing officers are a pleasure to work with. I'm talking about how young women looking at it from the outside ... it's much like what BD describes.

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