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About Yak_Herder

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  1. The BSA expended a fair amount of energy in its early years establishing themselves as "THE" Boy Scouts of America. No one "owned" the concept of Scouting and Troops were springing up spontaneously all over the place. The Scouting movement caught on in Utah with some vigor. Young Men in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (The Mormons) already had a youth organization called the "Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association" (YMMIA) that provided educational, cultural and athletic program. Scouting was added to it and "MIA Scouting" began about the same time the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated (1910). Obviously the BSA took notice, as they did with others. The Church sent representatives to New York to discuss Scouting and the two merged in May(?) 1913. That action added over 11,000 Scouts to the ranks of the BSA. The Church became the BSA's first nationally chartered partner, a relationship that has endured without a break since. Councils were considered either "First Class Councils" or "Second Class Councils". First Class Councils were able to support professionals. Second Class Councils were run by volunteer Commissioners. It also needs to be understood that Local Councils were not necessarily entities defined by geography back then. The National Council of the BSA chartered the LDS Church as a Local Council. The LDS Council was administered by General Authorities and Officers of the Church. The relationship in this form lasted for at least 12 years. So, we know that Chartered Organizations (at least in some form) preceeded the Congressional Charter. I also know that Local Councils that more closely resemble those we see today existed in Utah. My Grandfather received his Eagle Scout award on February 11th, 1925 while in Spanish Fork's Troop 3 of the Timpanogos Council (Now Utah National Parks Council) which traces its genealogy to 1919. We can have no doubt that after 1916 Chartered Organizations became a permanent part of the BSA. That action seems to be the consession required of the BSA by Congress in return for being granted the "monopoly" on Scouting in the U.S. The trade, the requirement to partner with a community organization, is a defining difference between the BSA and other scouting organizations world-wide. I feel it is the essential difference that has led to the BSA's longterm success.
  2. First, the manual is being reworked by "guys in the field". It will improve. At the very least it will be organized better. Second, Venturing cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the conditions that stimulated the development of Sea Scouting. Furthermore, there is a need to understand the evolution from Explorer Scouting to Explorers and then Exploring. Venturing's "center" is a modern version of Explorer Scouting (high adventure outdoor program) with updated twists. There's a reason Ranger stands out like it does. The other areas are catching up. Third, National has provided a skeleton, a framework. Venturing is meant to be VERY flexible. All kinds of groups CAN form a Crew. A Chess Club could form a Crew. The question is, "Why?" The answer to that question is the key to this whole matter. A Chess Club doesn't need the BSA UNLESS they want to benefit from the organization, leadership structure, development resources, awards, and ideals. If they want to do it alone, that's fine. Venturing is an added value. Note that National has developed a program that will fairly universally meet the needs of any group of young adults seeking to benefit from what they have to offer without necessarily having an outdoor Scouting theme. Much of the comments found in this thread resonate with a sense that that a central theme is missing. I submit that it is missing by design. That central focus is brought to Venturing by the group and varies with each group. Fourth, the heart and soul of Venturing will not come from Irving. That development is our work. Rather than grousing about a lack of identity or definition, create it. What an opportunity! Build support for your good ideas. Use forums like this to share them. Field test them and show others how they benefit the young men and women. Kick successful ones "up the line". A couple of areas needing work: 1. Crew Committees- we need a parallel work to "Troop Committee Challenge" 2. Youth Leadership involvement in training 3. Guide to Safe Scouting language that intelligently deals with Venturing or simply reduces differences to age.
  3. NOT wearing knots is a lot of fun. Like many of you, I have a knot filled unifrom that mostly stays in the closet and the plain one I wear most of the time. I really enjoy being underestimated. You either have "it" or you don't. The vast majority of Scouters I meet recognize "it" without visual clues. I find that period between first meeting and discovery to be highly enjoyable. Another thought, and please pardon the analogy if it offends... If a man ever wonders what a woman must feel like after being "scanned" when meeting a man, consider the parallel to a knot display. I prefer being looked in the eye when meeting someone new.
  4. Are you guys actually going to stand on the argument that no change should be made simply because it wouldn't make everybody happy? Nonsense. You do what's right because it's right.
  5. A world view is helpful in this discussion. Other souting organizations are doing exactly what the originator of this thread is suggesting. It isn't producing the desired result. The evidence suggests it was a bad move. The BSA uniform is fine. In addition to the program, the merit badges, the activities, the oath and law, the uniform is also Scouting. If wearing the uniform and being identified with the BSA and what it stands for is a turn-off, best to just keep on moving down the road to another organization. That is not to say that the uniform is perfect. Prices could be better. Fit, tailoring, fabrics and design could be improved, but I see no reason to depart radically from what we have. My complaint: The gaudy patches and plethora of badges. Back in the day a Scout uniform was simple, serviceable and distinguised. Allowing large, multi-colored patches in every possible location has created something that looks more like a clown suit the tasteful and respectful uniform it should be. Bring back the more austere simplicity.
  6. I wrote this proposal regarding Venture Patrols some time ago. The ideas discussed are being tested in several councils as we speak. At the risk of further muddying the distinctions between a VenturE Patrol and VenturING Crew (something that is not at all clear in this thread), I offer it to you for your benefit. The Venture Patrol The Venture Patrol is a little known but highly effective option for Scouters wishing to better address the needs and interests of the older Scouts within the Troop. With so many Senior Scouting options available, why would you want to consider implementing a Venture Patrol? The target audience is already saturated with a host of Scouting options that deeply overlap one another. In addition to simply staying in the Troop and forming a Venture Patrol, Scouts over the age of fourteen have the option of joining a Varsity Team, a Sea Scout Ship or Venturing Crew. Some are given the opportunity to join the Order of the Arrow. Most of these programs are a direct result of Scoutings attempts over the years to address the needs of the older Scouts, something traditional Scouting simply does not do well enough. Very early on, within a couple of years of the Boy Scouting movements founding, Baden-Powell recognized this failing in his program design and organized Sea Scouting. History has demonstrated the majority of older boys need a different Scouting format. But with so many solutions in play, the question remains, Which one? The best answer is often the simplest one. What The Venture Patrol Is A High Adventure Patrol Venture Patrols are such an obscure and underdeveloped segment of Scouting that few Scouters even know that they exist, let alone what they could do with one. When the Venturing program was introduced in 1998, the existing Venture Patrol program began to suffer from the challenge of an identity crisis. The similarity in naming has proven to have be troublesome. Even Scouting veterans misunderstand and inadvertently confuse the terminology. While both Venture Patrols and Venturing are designed to be high adventure programs for older boys, a Venture Patrol is not Venturing. Venture Patrols are unique type of Patrol within a Boy Scout Troop. They are distinguished from other Patrols mainly by what they do. The assumption is made that members of a Venture Patrol have either completed the requirements for rank advancement or are no longer interested in pursuing them. The emphasis is less on activities that yield a diversified education (the merit badge program) and focused more actively on doing and using skills already learned. Little information is given in the current BSA literature describing a Venture Patrol. The Scoutmasters Handbook reads: A Venture patrol is an optional patrol within the troop made up of Scouts age 13 and older. These troop members have the maturity and experience to take part in more challenging high-adventure outings. Whereas Venturing is a completely separate unit (a Crew), a Venture Patrol is just that; a Patrol forming a part of the Troop. As a Patrol within the Troop, the Venture Patrol utilizes essentially the same uniform, leadership structure and awards as the others in Boy Scouting. Members of a Venture Patrol wear a small patch that reads Venture on their uniform shirt over the Boys Scouts of America program strip. They have an Assistant Scoutmaster that works specifically with their Patrol and their own Venture Patrol Leader who represents them on the Patrol Leaders Council. Venturing, on the other hand, has a unique uniform (if any), a different leadership structure altogether and its own recognitions. While defining Venturing well exceeds the scope of this outline, it must be understood that Venturing is as distinctly different from Boy Scouting as Cub Scouting is. While a Venture Patrol is very similar in its activities, a Venture Patrol remains very much a Boy Scouting program in philosophy and methodology. What The Venture Patrol Can Be A Leadership Patrol There are a number of concepts and ideas floating around from earlier days in Scouting that can find their way into your Venture Patrol. The Pine Tree Patrol, Green Bar Patrol and Leadership Corps of yesteryear are good examples. Each combined the older Scouts within a Troop into the same Patrol. They enjoyed special privileges, but were not snobbish in nature. Being organized this way gave them opportunity to participate in more the challenging activities the Guide to Safe Scouting reserves for those over 14 years of age without involving younger Scouts. They also formed a reservoir of leaders that could be reliably drawn upon by the Troop for ad hoc needs. A Teaching Patrol One of the best ways to allow the Venture Patrol members to become elite without becoming elitist is to give them ample opportunity to serve the balance of the Troop and others. They should be examples, mentors, even leaders to the younger Scouts. Venturing employs this technique with its teaching others method. A Venture Patrol can incorporate that same teaching aspect in to their program. One of the finest leadership positions in Scouting is that of the Troop Guide. In much the same manner in which Venture Patrols suffer from obscurity and lack of use, so does the Troop Guide. Building on the concept of the Leadership Corps, the Venture Patrol and Troop Guides were made for one another. Members of the Venture Patrol who serve as Troop Guides to the younger Scouts, especially the New Scout Patrol, not only provide a valuable service to the Troop but also deepen their own understanding through teaching. In addition, they develop an even greater sense of self-worth as they begin to appreciate their contribution to the program and a better sense of their own abilities. Most young men begin to value the attendant rewards of that service more than the recreational pleasure or personal accomplishment that results from participation in the high adventure activities. The rewards of service through teaching, more than any other factor, improves retention. A Bridging Patrol Scouting learned long ago the value of a bridging unit. Retention in Scouting was significantly improved when the Webelos program was introduced, better tying Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting. Rather than simply relying on the boys to find their own way from the Pack to the Troop, Webelos points the boys directly at it. Scouting should have a similar means of pointing the young men towards Venturing. Venturing is far more than just Scouting for older boys. But it is no less a step beyond Scouting. No formal means currently exists for transitioning boys from the Scout Troop to the Venturing Crew. When utilized as a bridging unit, the unfortunate names of Venture Patrols and Venturing Crews (further compounded by the outdated terminology associated with the now discontinued Venture Crew) can be leveraged to reinforce the idea of a transition from Scouting to Venturing. While presently a stumbling block for even veteran Scouters, the terminology can become quite serviceable if the Venture Patrol is considered a step towards Venturing rather than merely another high adventure program. Proposed Changes A unique Look Members of a Venture Patrol require a uniform that distinctly sets them apart from the rest of the troop. There are many factors at work within the mind of a 14-year-old by that leads to this conclusion. The strongest of these is a general desire to disassociate themselves with the little kids in the Troop. This is the age when most are beginning to High School. They are struggling to join with their older High School peers and resist anything that pulls in the other direction. The tan/green uniform of Boy Scouting has that affect. Furthermore, they are becoming very image conscious. Many become embarrassed when identified as a Boy Scout. When this happens, rather than resent it, a wise Scoutmaster observing this behavior will understand it is an important insight into a young mans life and adjust accordingly. Uniforms remain no less an important tool, but a greater effort and more clever means will then be required to maintain its effectiveness. Another reality is the physical growth a young man experiences in his teen-age years. Most of them are wearing the same uniform shirt they got when they joined Boy Scouting. About the time he turns fourteen it becomes too small and uncomfortable. A new uniform has to be purchased. Most are unwilling to spend money on another shirt that they dont want to wear for reasons already discussed. Part of the success of earlier Senior Scouting programs had to do with an associated eligibility to wear a special uniform. They thereby took on a look that set them apart from the younger Scouts, often with uniforming details that more closely paralleled an adult Scouter. This is a simple but important aspect of Scouting that should not be overlooked today. One solution is to allow them to wear the green/gray Venturing uniform. If they eventually move on to the Venturing Crew, chances are they will want to purchase one. Since the need to buy a new uniform generally exists anyway, thriftiness suggests it be the Venturing uniform. With that, some method of distinguishing members of the Venture Patrol from a Venturing Crew is required. Taking a cue from what Cub Scouting is doing with the Webelos uniform, the simplest and most consistent practice would be to wear Boy Scoutings red shoulder loops rather than Venturings green ones. With the permission of the Council Executive, an experiment utilizing this uniforming practice has been shown to be highly successful. Enhanced recognition Interest in Scouting advancement and rank among Venture Patrol members will vary greatly. Some will be Eagle Scouts looking for additional challenges. Some will want to complete their efforts to earn an Eagle Scout Award. Others will no longer be interested in advancement. All of these needs can be accommodated simultaneously with a modest modification. A focus on high adventure activity should provide ample activity to anyone not interested in rank advancement and plenty of opportunity to anyone wishing to accomplish rank advancement to do so. However, those looking for additional challenges and awards will be short-changed. The recognitions available through Venturing are not available to them unless they join a Venturing Crew. Little merit is seen in this restriction. Since the majority of the experiences they will enjoy as members of a Venture Patrol will directly parallel those of a Venturing Crew, reason dictates that they be eligible to earn a limited amount of Venturing Awards. Rather that contribute to what could only become feelings of resentment by forcing them to repeat the same activities as Venturers later in order to be given the same recognition, allowance should be provided for members of a Venture Patrol to earn Venturing Bronze Awards. Dual Registration It is possible today to sidestep the need for either of these changes to the program by simply dual-registering the boy as a Scout and Venturer and gaining the permission of the local Council Executive wear the Venturing uniform as described. Scouting would be better served by publishing an enhanced definition of Venture Patrols as outlined in this document. What A Venture Patrol Can Really Be A Saving Patrol Combining all the aspects of what a Venture Patrol is and what it could be, the Venture Patrol becomes a powerful tool in skilled hands to keep boys in Scouting. Far beyond a simple high adventure group, the Venture Patrol can take on the mission of the Leadership Corps while functioning as something like an In Troop version of Venturing, ready and willing to serve the Troop and others. Whether the young men remain in the Troop or join a Crew, they are no less members of the Boy Scouts of America. The longer they remain members, whatever the unit, the more opportunities Scouters have to positively affect the lives of the young man and the greater the young mans ability to return service to others. This expanded use of the Venture Patrol contributes positively towards those goals.
  7. I once heard someone say there is only one article of official uniforming that is no longer acceptable to wear: the red beret. The claim that was made went like this: The red beret was deemed a safety issue because of the possible confusion with the Guardian Angels. Anyone have anything in writing that would support that?
  8. I was a Scout when the red beret was introduced. At first I thought it was cool, then reality set in. One problem was the badge placement in the front. Even at my young age I knew that the badge should be off center and the beret sloped. The BSA designed theirs with the badge on center. It bugged me. Wearing the beret "even", rather than spilled off to one side just looked dorky. Another thing was the badge. Why didn't they make an allowance for rank pins to be worn up there rather than that gold flor de lis? Finally, that terrible band around the edge. Mine cracked shortly after I started wearing it (or maybe that's where the seam was, anyway...). It always dug into my forehead. It just wasn't comfortable. All that an a lack of a brim (seemling essential in practical headgear) seemed to do it in for me. I quit wearing it after about 6 months. None of the other guys in the Troop even tried it. Do you think it would have been better accepted if these problems had been addressed?
  9. So, what are you saying, a study of history has no value? That's a tough position to defend. Or do you mean that today's Scouting program is full and complete, that it is the be-all-end-all, the very paragon of Scouting perfection? That would be a tough one, was well. Some of the better aspects of today's Venturing program were gleaned from its predecessors. It's a good thing someone was aware of them. Part of knowing today's program is understanding it's roots. Being stuck in the past is no virtue, but neither is being ignorant of it.
  10. Are understanding the mistakes of the past and delivering the program today mutually exclusive propositions?
  11. I don't think the Venturers care about the history nor do they necessarily need to. The Adult Leaders, however, would benefit from knowing the background. There are a number of lessons to be learned from Senior Scouting's various iterations. Without an awareness of what has gone before, the mistakes of the past reappear. As Leaders, we should be smarter than that.
  12. Herber? LOL I don't want to dampen your spirits or stifle your efforts. I love aviation. I love Scouting. Nothing would please me more than to see Air Scouting take off once again (pun intended). But it ain't simple and as you noted, it isn't cheap. From the Guide to Safe Scouting- "Aircraft Air travel is permitted as follows: 1. On any flight scheduled by a commercial airline. 2. The BSA Flight Permit, No. 19-672 (see sample in appendix), is required for all BSA flying activities except for commercial flights. The local council reviews and approves the flight permit just as it would a tour permit. The Parent/Guardian Consent Form, No. 19-673 (see sample in appendix), is also required. Units should attach the signed consent forms to the BSA Flying Permit Application and keep a copy of the signed consent forms in their files. 3. Flying in hang gliders, ultralights, experimental class aircraft, and hot-air balloons (whether or not they are tethered); parachuting, and flying in aircraft as part of a search and rescue mission are unauthorized activities. 4. Airplane travelers are cautioned about what they pack in their luggage. In flight, variations in temperature and air pressure can cause some hazardous materials to leak or ignite. Included in the category of hazardous materials that should not be packed in luggage are matches or lighters; flammable liquids and gases; signal flares and other explosives; bleaches, aerosols, mercury, and solvents containing dangerous chemicals that can cause toxic fumes and corrosion." The BSA's Flying Permit Application in the appendix makes it clear (to me) that only "orientation flights" are permitted. The restrictions are a little more lax for Venturers, but the paperwork alone for taking a flight every couple of weeks would be something. A high quality ground school type program, maybe with maintenance and line duties (washing and fueling planes, sweeping out hangers, manning the radio to report field conditions at uncontrolled airports, etc...) and occassional/frequent flying would be wonderful. But without the flights, I think it would quickly wither. Whether National or funding restricted the flying activities, it's the same. A key component to a successful program is doing it, not just talking about it, planning it or learning about it.
  13. Two significant factors came together in the creation of Venturing. First, a lawsuit in Chicago over community funded Exploring. The BSA was going to lose. Second, good men at National like Bill Evans saw the way Exploring had drifted away from the original, more effective program and wanted to re-introduce much of what was good about it. Rather than the usual 2-year development cycle and 5-year testing, they had to move quickly. They seem to have simply done a search and replace, pasting in "Venturing" everywhere the literature said "Exploring". Much of Bill's influence can be seen in the throwbacks to earlier programs, e.g the Ranger Award. Anyway, the upshot is we got a badly needed new program. Venturing has only now aged to the point it normally would have before being introduced to everyone.(This message has been edited by Yak_Herder)
  14. Michael Brown's site is the best I've seen on the subject. I have a "Reader's Digest Condensed Version" that I'll send to you if you are interested.
  15. There is a big problem that has to be faced. Liability. You can have all the uniform, recognition and literature developed you want, but the thing that will stop you (and did stop it originally) are the restrictions on the ability to go DO IT! Exploring worked and Venturing works because you could actually go hiking, camping, backpacking, canoeing, rappeling, and everything else outdoors (or whatever). Likewise, Sea Scouting works because you can actually go sailing or motorboating. Having proven successful on the land and sea, why doesn't the program have an air component? Air Scouting failed mainly because after everything was said and done, it was no longer about going flying. It became little more than ground school and ramp duty. Earlier, when flying was less restricted, it was fun and adventure for the boys. Once that changed, it quickly eroded.
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