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Those morons at National just can not help screwing around with a program that none of them seem to understand how to make it work. So now they make more changes which are totally unnecessary and the numbers keep dropping nationally. Those professional desk jockeys continue to lead scouting towards a self destructive end. At least our crew is strong with 90 active members this month.
2024: After Just 10 years the BSA is changing awards for venturing, "because we can't get anymore money from the venturers we have, plus it turns out nobody really liked them anyway." announced assistant vice-district excutive 2nd director key 2-1/2 co-president charged with executive recruiting Dr. Phil Morevoids. Dr. Morevoids also stated that the new awards were focus group tested at the District Awards Banquet and Its was seen that even through all the alcohol, we could still focus on them, well with one eye closed anyway, plus they're really shiny n stuff. In other BSA news, the last scout camp was sold to private investors today, leaving only national scout reservations open. "Heck, a week at a reservation is only about $2,000, if they can't afford it, they'll just have to sell more popcorn" said a local excutive.
National just can not help screwing around with Venturing until they destroy the program all together. Those pencil pushers in Irving don't know what they are doing as usual, and the membership continues to decline each year.
Not only do the Folks in Irving have challenges, apparently some of the volunteers who helped implement the program's changes. Everyone keeps harping on the the fact that a very small percentage of Venturers earn any recognitions. For whatever reason, they seem to forget that the awards are not, and never were intended to be advancement like Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Sea Scout ranks, but instead recognitions for Venturers to work on IF they, or as I was taught by the national director of Venturing at the time, the Charter Organization is interested in the recognition program.
Hate to say it E92, but you were fed double-speak. I started on this Advisor's gig about 8 years into the program's inception, took VLST, which basically had the rhetoric you are repeating word-for-word. Then Bill Evan's came into town and made it quite clear that every crew should have venturers working on awards.
I suspect folks (national and leading volunteers) were expecting more like 10-20% participation in the awards program. Participation below 1%, and membership declining faster than any division of the BSA, just screams "Fix me, please!"
A few years back I sent in an email to national regarding the advancement requirement Unit Leader Award of Merit for Advisors, and it was promptly sent to Bill Evans. The email I got back from him was the same double-speak that qwazse spoke of. He went on how advancement was good for venturing, and the how high performing units have a good record of advancement.
I too talked to Bill Evans as well a while back concerning our crew advancements and he was impressed by the number who had received Silver, Ranger, and Trust Awards. He asked me what my secret was and I told him, just deliver an exciting, challenging, and fun program and the teens will pursue the awards on their own without any arm twisting. Our crew is growing every year and going stronger than ever, 90 at last count.
If I read Evan's bio correctly, he was involved with Venturing when it came out in 1998, and HE SHOULD KNOW BETTER! It is just exteremely frustrating to see national changing the 14-20 yo program every 15-20 years. there is no stability, to "branding" etc tec.
To be fair to Evans, my kids have balked at the recognitions (in contrast to BP's crew), and it has probably cost us in terms of the level of creativity and variety in our program.
Maybe stability for the 1% is not what our aim should be.
Personally, I think the awards should be named more in lock-step with the Boy Scout Awards (along the lines of Star-Venturer, Life-Venturer, Eagle-Venturer). But, even so, I'm not sure that would increase their popularity.
E92 I totally agree with you.
qwazse - the awards really need to be the teens idea or desire to earn. I disagree with linking them with boy scout awards, that is the trouble Venturing has been having all these years, being too closely tied with boy scouts instead of the separate and independent program it is and should be. Every crew I have come across in my council that runs its program similar to a troop has FAILED within 1-2 years. If you want to have a Venturing crew you need to have it something for the teens to look forward to with NEW and DIFFERENT experiences and not a repeat of the same old thing.
BP - I agree with you on one level. If it's not the youth's idea, National is wasting our time. I'm not saying that they should have the same requirements as BS. And Heaven knows, there's not a crew advisor alive that wants a merit badge program! My one crew member who got into the awards program did it precisely because it was not a "patch for every little thing" like her girl scout troop was doing. But it was a set of real goals with real accomplishments that meant something in the real world. I suspect the same light bulb went on for a larger portion of your crew.
What I am saying is: it's silver, it has an eagle, it's suspended from red white and blue ribbon. Don't be fooled by the 'different program' double-speak. The folks designing that award wanted us to make a parallel.
What does work for my crew? Well, I gotta say going down the Journey to Excellence with the officers. They are no where near Bronze level (wonder if we can change those names too?) But they pick one thing to work on every year and chip away at it. Usually it involves some way of involving more kids, or having some adventure that fits at least half the crew's skill level and figuring out how to bring the other half up to speed. Then at council and area crew meetings they compare notes.
So far it has not been "Hey let's work on an award!"
I know I'm going to get beat up on, but I'll say my piece. I have nothing aginst the Venturing program. I wish it well. I admit, I was not around at it's inception. But Venturing is the program put together by BSA to appease all the people with things they didn't like about Boy Scouts. It's for the people who don't like advancement. It's for the people who don't like uniforms. It's for the people who don't like a structured program. It's for people who want a coed program. It's for people who don't necessarily want the program focus to be outdorrs. It is BSA's, anti-Boy Scout program. A lot of the crews I see basically just hang out. Not all, but some. The seem to not have any structure or direction or purpose. And they suffer from the kids who do participate leaving for college. I can see why the professionals" think" they need to do something different. It just doesn't get the same traction as Boy Scouts.
Venturing is the "Un-Cola!", but as I try to point out to my youth, being contrary only gets you so far. My first generation of venturers avoided the VOA, even though they were very helpful to me personally. As that group went off to college I made it clear to the next round that real presidents confer with other presidents. That's helped our group stabilize (in spite of cost increases). But units that were just there for the sake of their own little clique quickly realized that they don't need any of the BSA trappings to be their own little clique.
DE's kept those units on their roster as long as $$ for the minimum # of members come in. And that's why the peak in membership statistics in 2000-2005 is probably exaggerated. The fee increases over the past decade are helping to winnow that herd.