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11 to 14 years old -- preparing for Venturing

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As some of my Girl Scouts are leaving 5th grade (turning 11) I am starting to consider how to help them be prepared to enter a Venturing crew when they are 14.


I'm used to thinking about moving Webelos to First Class, but there are several differences here with the girls. The difference that FEELS the biggest is that I don't have an established troop to hand them off to (grin). They will continue to be part of a mixed age troop (4rth grade and up, though we have taken in girls in the second semester of 3rd grade). The older girls are the first in our troop to turn 11.


We are also a "young troop" compared with the traditions usually accompanying a BSA troop. Most of what we do, well, we've never done it before.


To complicate matters, GSUSA is changing its programing AGAIN. So while I am taking the level specific training for Cadettes (grades 6&7), the new materials aren't avaliable yet.


I'm about ready to chuck most of the GS guidelines. Matriarchies tend to be so micromanaging they make my head spin. But that's another thread.


I'd appreciate advice from Venturing advisors out there. Would it be helpful for me to sit through a BSA class on venturing? Any other advice?



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I think it would be helpful to you to sit in on any BSA training you can find. Extra training always helps.


Is there a Venturing Crew you are joining into or are you looking to start your own? If you're starting your own, definitely get the training now and also seek the guidance of your local BSA and district advisors. You'll need a chartering organization and trained leadership/advisors for the kids.

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Thankfully, our CO supports a Venturing Crew as well as a BS Troop and CS Pack. In fact, the Crew (definitly co-ed here) went alongside the Troop on their Boundrywaters trip last summer.


Since I was pondering and doing my scouting paperwork and inspirational reading this morning (grin) I thought I'd post here and see what surfaced.


So, ya, an important step I need to make is to start chatting with the members and leaders of the Venturing crew.


Ho boy, am I glad there's a crew to join. I've started this GS troop from scratch, I don't know if I have the umph to start another scout unit!

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Look at the BS merit badge books and work them into Interest patches for the girls. Look at the new structure for interest patches. Help them learn, do, share and reflect on what they do. Make sure the girls want to go from being Girl Scouts to part of a Venture Crew. Maybe they want to be challenged by the program they are in. Yes, I know of many GS troops that go backpacking and high adventure trips. The program is changing again, but I see it as change for the better right now. I have previously used old GS handbooks from the 50's to help with new girls in the older troops.

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Hiya Cheerful Eagle!

My best advice to you would be to fully utilize the full GSUSA program to the max: take advantage of your council's camps, and as your girls get old enough, do the whole tripping and travelling thing. Check out Destinations but also look at hostelling.

Encourage girl-planning: really make this happen. you may have to "endure" some pretty silly girly stuff like a day at the mall but they'll need this (hopefully only once or twice!) if they're going to take you seriously that you will support their planning.

(I now have a group of girls that can't stand to do one more slumber-party style overnight, which is what the other GS in our area are into.)

Your biggest obstacle may be the parents: I've found that many parents of girls don't consider it important to purchase appropriate outdoor gear for thier girls - I constantly describe and model shoes that can climb trees, pants that don't tear, etc. etc. Nor do many of these parents get that their girls would benefit from spending more than one or two nights outdoors in the summer. So work them into expecting at least a daytime outdoor activity every month of the year.

Our troop is very active in our local orienteering club - it's a very good way to get them thinking and working independently of adults, because the goal is really straight-forward.

Camp, camp, camp. Hike, hike, hike. Get to know the natural resources of your community.

We've done buckthorn pulls and built ski trails - and then got to watch my daughter race on the same trail they built ;) Very cool - as much as possible try to bring them "full cycle" with an activity: trying it out, volunteering, stepping up the challenge level.

If you can combine camping with horses you've got a winner.

This spring we are volunteering at a horse rescue that's far enough away that we're making a weekend campout of it. Then this summer we're going to a weekend horsecamp. We'll do some more troop camping on either side of that, and hopefully a big trail ride maybe overnight in the fall.

Next year we'll work up to backpacking - I need to find a trail that doesn't scare them ;) The consensus right now is that the SHT is too rugged. So still checking out possibilities.

Build fires ;) Cook out. Lots.

Help them learn to swim - I don't know how it happened, but there are more and more girls now who do not know how to swim. At all. Gotta fix that, otherwise they'll be cut off from safely participating in sailing, kayaking, canoeing... they need exposure to all of this. They need to know it's in the realm of what girls can do.

http://www.freewebs.com/gstroop1021/ is our new troop website - we're not getting much traffic to it yet - I'd appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Blue skies!

Anne in Mpls

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  • 2 weeks later...

Venturing is a very unique program within the BSA. The Sea Scout program is part of the Venturing program.


Venturing Crews can adopt their own uniforms or can adopt the official recommended Venturing uniform. Crews operate though an organization of elected officers. And crews can have specific focus areas. Boating and seamanship, general high adventure, SCUBA, Ham radio, equestrian activities, etc.


I don't view Venturing as Scouting's next step, but as another different step. As a Boy Scout leader (still am), I have been able to come over to Venturing and adapt to the program very well. Some do not, some won't have anything to do with it.


If you are interested in Venturing, I would suggest that you get with one or more Venturing Crews and look and learn. They may have a Venturing Roundtable in your area - again another way to learn about the program. I think that anyone in Venturing would be more than happy to provide you with information. If you can and want to, register as an adult leader with a local Venturing Crew. Also, get a Venturing Leader Manual and Venturer/Ranger Handbook and attend Venturing Leader Specific Training. Those things should provide you with lots of good information and training.


Good luck.






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Learn basic scout skills-fire building, first aid, orienteering, knife and ax safety-etc. A lot of Venturing Crews do high adventure. My high school Girl Scouts are Venturers. The paperwork is different but they get the best from both sides.

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They pay the charter fees to the crew and membership registration to the troop. Dues is paid to both. For trips they decide which they will go as. We have had some of the younger girls go on the trips also and sometimes a check will be made from the troop and the crew.

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