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    • Best to wait a while before attempting to re-write a “general” program for young adults?  Perhaps because our society is going through such an extreme political and social upheaval, it might be best to wait a bit before attempting to write a program focused on a broad spectrum of young adults.  It would be good to have a thorough understanding of what societal challenges need to be addressed before designing another BSA structure of activities.  Simply re-designing badges, uniforms, structures and titles to fit immediate BSA circumstances  would not bring the vision needed to help our country in its upcoming epoch. Thoughtful BSA responses to societal changes have worked before.  For instance, in the early 70s the Exploring program established an elaborate system called the “Explorer Presidents Association” to provide advanced leadership experiences at the district, Council, Area, Region and national levels.  It went far beyond the earlier Explorer Delegate leadership system, in that it provided significant financial, volunteer and professional time to operate leadership cabinets of Explorers (active year-around) elected by their peers in political-style conventions.  The conventions (called the “National Explorer Presidents Congress”) were huge and constituted the principal above-council program for Exploring.  Youth elected to the national cabinet would take a year off of school to serve. What many don’t know was that the system was expressly intended to respond to the political upheaval of the country in the late 60s.  The conventions operated using modified nomination and election rules of the national parties, and the political leaders of the country were involved, including the White House.  They really thought the BSA could impact the outlook of young adults.  To a degree the effort succeeded, but the need for it began to fade and BSA professionals wanted to redirect the resources and energy elsewhere.   The aftermath of this BSA effort was that many Explorers elected in this system went into successful political careers.  Others used the higher-lever leadership training to great use in corporate, military and BSA professional careers.  This generation is now entering retirement and had a good track record in contributing to the success of the country, including helping us process the conflict and confusion of the post-Vietnam era. Does the BSA have the bandwidth and will do do such things like this again?  I think so, but I also believe it needs to wait so it can better understand the fundamental factors that will most impact our country over the next 25 years.  Maybe there is something about the dramatic and always changing circumstances young adults face that somehow require these young adult programs to evolve.  Finally, a waiting period would allow us to recover organizational health.
    • Ah, another Sea Explorer  .  Agree that the constant rewrites to the Exploring and Venturing programs over the years have severely hurt the program. And the lack of professional support also hurts, because most execs are clueless as professional training is focused on Cubs Scouts and Scouts. In all my time in Scouting, I have only ran into 2 dedicated Exploring/Venturing execs, and one of them was put in the position and had to teach herself about Exploring/Venturing. When I went thru PDL-1, everyone was suppose to go through either the Exploring Leader Basic Training or the Exploring Leader Basic Training Self Study. I think I was the only one who actually did the training because the instructor said "as long as you read the info, your good, we don't need to go over it."  We only spoke to the National Venturing Director for about 30 minutes the entire 2 weeks, and it was about the program that was coming out in August. On the local level, I wore a Sea Scout uniform to an event, and the SE wanted to know what I was wearing. At least in my area, there is no interest by volunteers to jumpstart Venturing because  our foundation, Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA are in desperate need. We are down to 3 packs in my old district, and none of them have over 30 members. When I left my old pack 4+ years ago, we had over  70 members. I too was involved in Exploring/Venturing as a volunteer. I hate to see the program as it is today, but I have to focus my energy on keeping the troop alive.
    • @Spatulate, welcome to the forum.
    • My predictions on the older teen programs.  Thanks for the many thoughtful comments.  For a while there were only a few of us posting, which by itself was indicating lack of overall interest in continuing Venturing. I have deep personal background in the older-teen programs since I was both an “outdoor adventure” Explorer and Sea Explorer (sea Scouts was called Sea Explorers for a temporary period and reverted back) from 1973-1977.  As an adult Council Exploring Chairman in the late 1980s I spearheaded formation of 14 career-oriented Explorer Posts in Illinois — some of which are still in operation.  I served as adult National Vice-Chair of Venturing just prior to development of the current advancement program. Cubs, Scouts and Sea Scouts have had remarkable consistency in program and operations through their histories, with the exception of the Improved Scouting Program of the early 70s.  In comparison, the older youth programs have been substantially re-written about every 20 years or so with mostly unsuccessful results.  The big exception would be the career-interest launch for Exploring in the early 70s, which became wildly popular with the corporate and educational establishments of this country.  It was based on solid program and marketing research.  At its height, that program had a half million enthusiastic participants.     These re-write efforts seem to always have been forced by a perceived legal or membership issue.  An example was the killing of the hugely-successful career interest Exploring program by putting it in “Learning for Life” in order to allow Exploring to have gay members who would not be considered members of the BSA.  Once transferred into non-BSA status, it was instantly abandoned by any professional who had ambitions to rise within the profession.  Other difficulties were caused when small groups of visionaries dominated the program re-writes, forcing changes that might have satisfied intellectual constructs, but which were not capable of broad implementation.  The elaborate and whipsaw-changes to Exploring and Venturing advancement are in that category. We are at another of these junctions, with obvious legal and membership issues greatly weighing-against continuing “stand alone” Venturing.  The Venturing numbers have entirely imploded and there is a scramble to rebuild the core Cub and Scout programs.  There is little apparent energy and interest at the local levels in continuing the implementation of Venturing aside from isolated pockets.  My view, based on experience and numbers (and without any inside information) is that “stand alone” Venturing will disappear.   An potential legacy of the program would the “Venture Scout patrol/crew within a Troop” concept.  However, most of the unique leadership structures and advancement concepts that grew up around Venturing  would likely be dropped. Today’s non-BSA Exploring program is a echo of the career-interest Exploring program of the 70s.  The Explorer Posts that have survived the program upheavals are probably in-demand by current members, especially in the law enforcement and medically-related fields.  It might survive as long as it does not drain resources.   Sea Scouts is in an entirely different category.  Much closer to Cubs and Scouts in aspects of program and operation — and with a sustained, hard-core group of adult volunteer leaders.  The Coast Guard Auxiliary involvement is a positive game-changer.  It will survive.
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