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What does it take to make Venturing go?

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What will it take to get this program going? Easy to blame some of these growing pains on your Council but there's got to be some things that are getting left undone... So what works, and what hasn't, and what do we need?


I'll open it up by suggesting the obvious - don't be afraid to get outside of your own District! Combining forces is a good way to go on this; a good example of that lies with pulling off a VLSC course. Pooling resources amongst Crews makes this potentially tiresome necessity a good time for all concerned.




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Buffalo2 --


I honestly thought your question would prompt more responses and wanted to wait until I saw a few before responding myself. You asked for input from the professionals, and here it is.


I love the Venturing program and want to see it become as strong and healthy as Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting.


We need to remember, however, that this program is less than five years old.


I've had a lot of volunteers in the past five years tell me that we should have a V.P. of Venturing, put on a week of summer camp just for Venturers, have Venture leader training (that one I agree with) etc.


Before we can do all of the great things listed above, we need to make sure we have strong Crews with strong programs of their own. In 'schmoozin' with the pros', you asked what volunteers could do to make the Venture program go. I applaud both your efforts and the question. My answer (realizing I'm only one professional) is that volunteers learn as much about the program as possible and use the knowledge to guide crews to the best program possible.


Once several crews are up and running, then it'll be time to look at venturing weeks at camp, roundtables, etc.


Council and district events exist to supplement -- not become -- unit programs. If the units aren't strong on their own, the events won't make them so, no matter how good they make the district and council volunteers feel.


Once the crews are strong (not all of them. We will always have units that are in transition), it will be time to create and utilize a structure of council events and camping programs just for venturers.


Venturing is a growing area -- I think of it like a tree.


Bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this.


If you have a huge old oak tree in your front yard (like Cub Scouting or Boy Scouting,) you might want to build a bench around it, or put in a tree swing or fort for your kids. But when you have a sapling or a 5 year old tree, you make sure it's watered, it's possibly fenced so you don't run it over with the lawn mower, etc.


Venturing is the seedling. Let's watch over it, care for it, and let it grow.


Sorry to get sappy (grin) but that's the way I feel about this wonderful program.



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Appreciate your input from the professional side of the house, and I like your tree analogy. Our Council is slowly beginning to take notice of an increasing level of Venturing activities, but the volunteers at a District level are able to move more quickly without the encumberances of policies and procedures and often we're not privy to all that goes on in those offices...

And your point about training is well taken!


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It might be that the lack of responce is because it is a good question thats on everyones mind but no one has a good answer.


Anyone can start a crew but keeping it going is another story. I have been struggleing with a crew for 4 years now and during that time I discovered some things you don't hear from the councils. Here are my ideas.


1)The girls in girlscouting want an outdoor program and venture is perfect. Get to know the local girlscout troops.

2)One troop can not support a Crew. Council dosn't like it but it is true. Not all boyscouts like outdoor high adventure so you loose them. Other troops often can not support a crew for lack of adults. Since the guys stay in the troops they often appreciate the help once they realise that you are training and not stealing their boys.

3)The ROTC in high schools work well with the venturing crews. Get to know the recruiter.

4)Plan a superactivity and advertise it to the other troops both girlscouts and boysscouts. They join if there is a goal they can see.


Well thats my outlook.

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Brought over from another thread


Venturing, while having the potential of being a great program, still has a way to go. These are my observations from my corner of the world


The first issue I see is the age range, you take a 14 year old boy and put in him a meeting with 19 and 20 year old young ladies, and it may be a few years before he finds his voice. The same thing occurs with a 14 year old girl in with 19 to 20 year old young men.


The next issue is one of retention in those upper age ranges. All of our 18 and above Crew members go to college and are away from home. So the program to keep the youth active until they are 21 falls apart because they went to college. The fact the older members are away most of the time means the younger members 16-17 run the crew and what a 16 year old sees as "fun" may not appeal to a 19-20 year old in the limited time the college students are home.


Then in a Co-Ed crew (could you tell thats the kind I am associated with?) you have a problem with the boys being able to receive Eagle as a Venture but the girls cant. Lets just tell the girls they are just along for the ride, that while they can earn Bronze and Ranger awards, they still arent good enough to earn Eagle. Yes, I know Eagle is a BSA rank, so leave it in Boy Scouts and out of Ventures. Then there is the matter of the Silver and Gold awards, did the BSA do any research on other youth organizations? (i.e. The Girl Scouts). Did they bother to learn the Girl Scouts two highest awards are called the Gold and Silver? Couldnt we have called the Venture awards something else? And did we have to rip-off the Explorer unifroms? We couldnt have had our own look?


Then the organization of Crews, at least in my area seems slightly silly. Troops who struggle to hold onto older scouts start a Crew whose members come from their troop. Now scouts who have so many demands on their time, have another, the crew. And the crews struggle to have enough members on an event to make it worthwhile.


Last issue I have is publicity of the program. Every time I see literature on the Venturing program its always someone rock-climbing, or rapelling, or general high adventure activity. In our crew we have awarded 5 bronze awards, 2 of them in Religious Life (used to be Youth Ministries) A Venture Crew can be oriented towards Outdoor Activities, Religious Life/Youth Ministries, Sports, Arts&Hobbies and Sea Scouts. But I havent seen much on Crews other than Outdoor ones.


Now, solution time, as I see it. Councils/Districts should concentrate on having fewer crews that are larger than present ones. Instead of each CO with a troop having a crew, why not break up Districts into areas and pull from multiple troops. Actually even better would be to recruit teens who were never in scouting in the first place. Crews with nothing but Boy Scouts place a strain on themselves and the troops the scouts come from. I could see a District having a few Outdoor Crews, Sports Crews, etc. All facets of Venturing should be promoted, or they should be eliminated.


The Uniform and awards should be distinctive to Venturing and not borrow terms from other established programs.


I dont have an answer to the mixing of the ages or sexes, perhaps some one else will. I am interested in knowing how other people have overcome some of the problems I have mentioned.


PS, I love the Venture Program, it, as I have said has great potential, I guess I am frustrated because in my area, the potential is yet to be realized.

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Great points OldgreyEagle, I agree that the girllscout ranks are confusing with ours. As for the uniforms, I have seen lots of crews design thier uniforms. My girlscout troop decided to wear a scout pin as their uniform. Simple and cheep. And they can hide the fact that they are scouts, which is a big thing with teens.


What about OA? We have guys that have sent in their ppocket patchs because the girls can't be elected. Are we a lesser organizaton?


I also agree that there should be fewer but better crews in the scoutting areas. I have three troops and two girlscout troops feeding my crew and it is working. We also are getting kids that have never been in scouts. I think that this is a good idea but the council dose not like it because their unit numbers go down and makes them look bad.


Mixed ages are a problem. I am supprised that the council has not tried to start crews in colleges. I work in a university and I think that it would work.

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I may not be understanding you, why would getting boys who were never scouts, who are now 16 to join a Crew decrease numbers? I would think this is the market we want to tap, teens (both sexes) 14 on up who were never in scouts, either because they were never asked, moved in the area at a "bad" time, etc. But I would think, and its only me, that a Council would rather have a Crew populated with 20 kids who were never scouts than a Crew with 40 that are all registred as Boy Scouts somehwere else as well. But thats just my opinion, I could be wrong.


Our Co-Ed Crew was down on the "formal" uniform, well the girls were at least. Then for a Public Service project the Crew had to make a presentaiton to a community group for funding. They quickly realized they looked "better" in the green shirt and matching pants (wheat) than they did in the tied-dyed t shirts they wanted to do. (PS, they got the grant and built a playground at a safe-house for battered spouses and children)


The OA thing is a problem as well. Acutally, it shouldnt be a problem. The OA is a BSA program, no lodge flaps on a Venture Uniform and there's no problem. Just like Eagle, things BSA should stay out of the Venture program. We can start our own Honor Society, start our own traditions. Lets see, Native Americans are taken, any body have any suggestions ? Roman Legions perhaps? Greek Society? The Amazons? The Summarians?

(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Its not that Male ventures cant be in the OA, its that females under 18 cant be in the OA and can only be adults in the program. I dont think any BSA ranks or societies should be on a Venture uniform unless ALL mwembers can participate

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The OA is a Boy Scout program, to be a member you must be registered in a troop. To be called out you must be a youth member of a troop or an adult that is active in a troop, or I believe selected by the Council.


A boy or adult in venturing that is in the OA must also be registered in Boy Scouts or selected due to a council position.


Here is your resource. The homepage of the national office of the OA


Go tho the FAQs and you will find an article clarifying the membership opportunities.


Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I have seen some talk about using the Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery as the Venturing honor club. Our crew thinks it is a good idea,

They like the outdoor living history and there is a big mountain man group around the country. This could replace the ten leaders council that has fizzled in our council.

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I have seen some talk about using the Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery as the Venturing honor club. Our crew thinks it is a good idea,

They like the outdoor living history and there is a big mountain man group around the country. This could replace the ten leaders council that has fizzled in our council.

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Thanks, Bob...but as BSA policy seems to do, it only led to more questions. From what I understand,

1. Venture crews may NOT hold elections

2. Once elected, an arrowman is a member for life as long as his BSA registration remains current, but only in a Pack, Troop or Team.

3. OA flaps may be worn on the Venture uniform, if a bona fide member


So, extrapolating, it also seems that:


1. If a Scout/Scouter transfers to a Venture crew as his sole registration before being called out, he forfeits the chance to become an arrowman.

2. In order to continue as an active OA member, he must also maintain registration in a Troop or Pack (or District/Council position?), which could be just a paperwork and dues exercise.

3. Scouters who are sole members of Venture crews may not serve as OA members or advisors.


My opinion...this is stupid. If an arrowman is a registered member of a BSA unit, he/she should be able to continue as an active OA member, as seems to be the custom in my Council/Lodge. I agree with Crews not being allowed to have elections, since they are co-ed and girls may not earn First Class rank, but I could probably be convinced that a change in that area is warranted, also (the elections thing, not the First Class thing). But if an arrowman transfers to a Crew, he should be able to continue.


As I said, a lot of the senior arrowmen and Officers in my Lodge are from Venture crews, as was the Lodge advisor. I guess it is possible that they were dual registered in Troops, but I am not privy to that information. As an Associate Chapter Advisor, I will be more vigilant to make sure those "infidels" do not infiltrate our Order and use up all of the opportunities for Cheerful Service.

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