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Powderhorn, Who has taken it & what did you get out of it?

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Well the subject line says it all. I have a boy in Boy Scouts and a girl in a Venture crew. Presently I am more involved in the Boy Scout program than the Venture Crew program.


If you have taken the powderhorn course I would sure like to hear your experience.(This message has been edited by Its Me)

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Powder Horn is a 'High Adventure Resources' course for people involved in Boy Scout troops and outdoor VenturING Crews.


The focus is on the activies needed for the Ranger Award.


If you are not involved in those areas, you might not get an immediate benefit.


What you will get is a great exposure to the Venturing program (have seen several troop leaders then go form VenturING crews after doing PH). Be exposed to and get a better understanding of a lot of more advanced outdoor activities AND know who to go to in your area to make this available to your youth (whether in a Troop or a Crew). And get a lot of BSA certificates completed (my first time to complete ClimbOn Safely and Trek Safely).


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  • 2 months later...

Our council just completed a Powder Horn course. We had 30 participants and since this was our first one, Region let us have staff as participants also for a total of 63 completing the course. As a staffer, I found it hard to do my job and also visit every session, but all the staff did. Made for tired weekends. The information gained was well worth it. The resources will work great for both Troops and Crews. I would tell anyone who is interested to go.

David Harrison

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Its Me,


I am curious to hear about your Powderhorn experience?


Mine was a letdown. It was long and drawn out. Too much droning on by the "consultants", some of which knew less about their subject than I did.


Then there was the foolishness of our big overnighter. Boy that really ticked off a bunch of people. So I am really curious to hear what someone else has to say.



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For those unfamiliar the Powder horn first weekend it is like a 12 subject short course. Every 90 minutes you are being moved to a new location to hear and then actively participate in an event. We heard an experienced Kayak shop owner discuss kayaking trips/expeditions then we hopped in the lake and paddled around some. We learned climb on safely then rappelled for an hour. We jumped on some horse, shot riffles, pistols and shotguns. It was, here is something your crew could do and here is a resource to use when planning this type of event.


The first day was a lot of review, safe swim, Safety afloat, LNT, the swim test. These are items that by the time you are a venture crew advisor or a High Adventure troop planner that are old hat. I will say that the difference was that they were taught by the best our council has to offer. The safe swim was taught by our council Lifeguard trainer and the LNT was taught by an adult who was trained at Philmont.


The quality of the instruction was very dependant on the instructor. They may have been top in their field but if they had no scouting experience they didnt connect. The communication trainer had no scout experience and was lost on how to teach recruiting.


The most informative parts were the casual discussions between the trainers and among participants. Insights on where people have taken their crews during the Kayaking or backpacking class made for a great reference for planning your own trip. I believe this is a designed in element and it leveraged the total group knowledge very well.


I will cite one omission in the program, there was no focus on youth run. There was no educational course offered on, this is how to get your youths to plan the event. At times it seemed like a travel agent planning course.


In two weeks we do our overnight canoe trip. Ill report back on how that went.





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In the course I took and then in the one I helped staff, there was a section with youth on the second week end.


An interesting is the syllabus for the Powderhorn course is much less developed than say the Woodbadge Course, which makes sense as its been around a heck of lot less time. How well a course goes is very dependent on the course director and his staff, the course I took as an attendee was substandard, the course I staffed was much better, then again I might be prejudiced

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  • 2 weeks later...


Well I completed my second weekend of Powder Horn.


As much as Woodbadge is all about leadership, Powder Horn is all about the outings. We learned where to take youths, what training we would need and where to go get it. Powder Horn is a course in youth vacation planning. There was a lesson on Venturing awards and how to work those into the program but as a Boy Scout leader I kind of glossed over that.


The best parts were the discussions among the participants. All the "we went there" added up to a lot of information and informal training. For a Venture leader or a thinking about Venturing this is a great course. As a Boy scout leader it will help my program but it was not a home run.


Absent from the course was training on getting the kids to make the plans and do the grunt work for the outings. There was no meeting planning training, no mock PLC meeting like in Woodbadge. I think it could have use some. Also, because these "bigger trips" are so costly, a program just on fundraising and revenue sourcing and budget management was needed.


Clearly what can be surmised from this is that it is the outings that keeps the older kids involved in scouting not the command of a small group of middle schoolers. Somewhere there should be a venture Crew slogan "Its the Outings Stupid".


Its a mixed revue, but over all I would give it a thumbs up especially for Venture crew leaders.







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