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The Time Has Come To Stand On Your Own Two Feet.

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From the very get go, let me state that I am all for Venturing. I 100% believe that the program has a lot to offer young people and does go a long way to help the BSA meet both the Vision and Mission of the BSA.

What follows is my opinion and does not in any way reflect the opinions of the District or Council in which I serve or that of the BSA.

1/ I do not buy into the fact that Venturing is the fastest growing program of the BSA.

I believe that these numbers and reports are flawed. Or at least misleading. I say this because I know for a fact that over 80% of the registered Venturers in our District are multiples. (Registered in both a Troop and a Crew.)As a Council there has been some very "Creative" thinking as to what a Venturer really is. When I look over the Methods of Venturing, these "Crews" Might as well be signed up in the Elvis Fan Club as in Venturing.

2/ We need to look at how we start any new unit before we start a new Crew.

When we go about starting a new Pack or Troop we follow the steps outlined in Starting a New Unit.

We look at the Chartered Organization, Selecting and Training Adults then we look at recruiting youth members.This doesn't seem to be happening in starting a new Crew.

3/The Program is there. Use it.

It seems to me that when a new Pack or Troop is formed, the people from the District and Council get out of the way. We promote training, and show where to find the resources that will help the adults deliver the program. We offer people who can be of help. However the delivery of the program in in the hands of the unit. The Crew Advisor is supposed to be training and coaching the Crew's elected officers.

3/ Venturing is a stand alone program.

Sure Venturing is part of the BSA. However just as we have activities for Cub Scouts and activities for Boy Scouts with well defined lines we need to stop looking at what is happening in the other programs and deliver the Venturing Program. Just as we don't send our Boy Scouts to Cub World or allow Boy Scouts to race in the Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby. We don't allow Venturers to camp as participants in the National Boy Scout Jamboree or join other Boy Scout Programs.

4/ There is no harm in waiting.

Where there is a Boy Scout Troop that has a good program for the older Scouts, maybe in a Venturing Patrol, taking these Lads away from the troop is a dis-service to Scouting.Surely it is in the best interest of all to allow these Scouts to develop their skills in the troop and when the time comes allow them to cross into the Crew brining these skills with them.

5/ You have to want to make it work.

I think that it is fair to say that Venturing is not well represented on both the District and Council level. There are a lot of people who would like to see this change. However we need to have people who are willing to sit on the appropriate committees (Training, Camping, High Adventure, Advancement...) to bring about any necessary changes.

6/ Just say No.

It might also be fair to say that some of us District and Council types are guilty of twisting a few arms in order to see new units formed. We are guilty of not following the steps needed to start a new unit. It might have just been a little too easy to grab a ASM and recruit a couple of new youth members along with a handful of Boy Scouts of the right age. No real thought was ever given to what sort of program these youth would receive. I know for my part as a District Chairman, that I will do everything that I can not to allow this. I want to be able to sleep well at night. Still there are disgruntled people who are willing to go full steam ahead with the idea of Venturing without any idea of the program, the methods or even the aim.

I know that in the District in which I serve, some in fact most of the Crews are a little upset with me for saying and pushing it through the District Committee that Crews are no longer welcome at District Boy Scout Camporees. They are welcome to hold their own events.

7/Not a baby anymore.

There are Crews that have got it. These Crews have grabbed the program by the tail and are making it work. If these Crews can why can't others? The argument that this is a program in it's infancy is getting really old. If this were not a Scouting forum there is a phrase that I would use, however it is very un-Scout like so I will refrain from using it.

I know that a Venturing program can work, as I was in one many years ago back home in England. It worked because we did Venturing stuff, the Troop did Boy Scout Stuff and yes the Pack did Cub Scout Stuff. Sure we all belonged to the same Scout Group and shared equipment and at times had leaders that crossed over to help in different program areas and sure we invited the older boys from each program to attend some activity that the "Next program" was doing or participating in: Older Cub Scouts visited the troop and older Boy Scouts visited the Venture Unit (Yes it was a Venture Unit in the UK.) Yes there were times when we all worked together on certain projects, mainly service projects each section doing age appropriate activities. But the bottom line was there was 3 different sections delivering 3 separate programs.


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I believe that Venturing is in its infancy. However, I also believe that we need to start the right crews in the right way and that Venturing should be the fastest growing segment of the BSA.


However, we need to let the crews be crews. Let the youth lead themselves to adventure.


Then and only then will Venturing take off.




Please pray for me. I lost my Real UNK this week. I loved him greatly.


Don't Stop loving Scouting. Remember that phrase by a simple



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I have been listening and learning as much as possible about the Venturing program for the last few years. There has been a lot of talk in our troop about starting a Venturing Crew and I have not decided to support the idea yet. I am fairly optimistic about the programs potential in the world of scouting. I do, however have some concerns that keep nagging at me.


Two of my concerns (I believe) were touched on in your post.


The idea that we need a "Crew" for our older boys to experience high adventure "Venturing Stuff". There are actually very few things that you cannot do as a Boy Scout. This degrades scouting and contributes to the image issue. I know that we can't hunt or shoot pistols, but if that is the only objective of a crew, I would not choose to support it.


I also do not understand why a venturer is allowed to continue to work towards the rank of Eagle Scout if they are not active in a troop? If a boy wants to leave a troop to pursue activities in Venturing, that's fine, but make your choice and deal with it. The Eagle award will diminish in value if a boy is not expected to participate in a troop as a leader of younger boys.



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Eamonn - Many good points in your post. I believe Venturing has great potential, but it does a disservice to establish crews too quickly or establishing "paper units".


Recently, my DE told me he was going to talk to our CO about starting a venturing crew. Our troop is one year old and we only have two boys approaching Venturing age. I told him that we simply weren't ready for it yet. He needed to be patient and wait a couple of years. He said that it wouldn't impact the troop in any way, but would be an enhancement to the overall program. I responded by asking "if venturing starts taking older boys away from a troop - a new troop that is trying to get established - how can you say that?" Additionally, we know where the CO is going to come looking for leaders, right? The Troop, of course.


I'll get off my soapbox.

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When will Venturing come of age?

I have to admit to having a problem as to what comes first, a bit like the old Chicken or the Egg?

Should we go looking for the Chartered Organization or the youth members?

At present we seem to be not doing either. It seems to me that we are just turning our 14 year old Scouts into multiple members and twisting the arm of the CO to sign the needed paperwork.

If I were the Scoutmaster of a well run troop with an active Venture Patrol, I would send these Venturing Crews packing with a flea in their ear. If this sound territorial? That is because it is.

The problem is not in allowing the Crews to be Crews.

The problem lies with leaders who see what is a good idea and a good worthwhile program not grabbing the bull by the horns and making the darn thing work as it is supposed too. It seems that in our area the most successful Crews are the ones with a high percentage of female members. I think this is because these females are not looking at the troop or what the troop is doing or has done. They see the program for what it is and just do it.

Eamonn.(This message has been edited by Eamonn)

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One of the issues I see with Venturing is that the BSA saw its older boys drifting away due to varied outside interests. So in order to keep them in the program, they came up with another outside interest, so we have a boy who is running in circles with activities and BSA figures out that the best way to keep him is to add another activity... I don't think it computes.


Then again, perhaps the target audience isn't 14 year old scouts, rather its 14 year old and older youth (I always have a hard time typing "older youth")who were never in scouting or moved at the "wrong" time or whatever, the idea is, they aren't doing scouting now. With its relaxed attitude on advancement and self governing policies, its not scouts we should be recruiting but non-scouts, whether male or female. Thats the underserved population.


And while we are at it, lets make it three distinct programs. You earn Eagle as a Boy Scout in a Troop, not as a Venturer, unless girls can earn Eagle too. (that wont happen, and it shouldn't) The OA is for Boy Scouts and Ventueres should take their lodge patches off Venture Uniforms. It doesnt make sense to have things on a uniform only 50 percent of the membership can possibly earn/achieve.

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I agree with much of what has been said thus far.


I'm aware of only one "real" venture crew in our district. The rest are essentially dual-registered Venture Patrols or other, pre-existing organizations that have simply signed a charter. If a JROTC program becomes a Venture crew but keeps it's military uniforms, continues with it's JROTC activities, only meets during the school year and doesn't incorporate any BSA elements into it's program, what has been gained? Would it be any more acceptable if we registered a Little League team which only played baseball, wore only baseball uniforms and was active only during baseball season? Would you call them Cub Scouts?


Unfortunately, Venturing is the worst part of the numbers game. There are many loopholes for chartering crews and folks with an eye for quality district know them all. Our district openly sells Venturing to existing youth groups by telling them they don't need to change their existing program in the least, but they get free access to all the Scout camps and facilities. In the three years I've been on the district committee, I don't know of a single new crew that was cut from new cloth for the purpose of operating a Venturing program.


All of this detracts from delivering a real BSA program to these kids. We spend far too much time playing with smoke and mirrors instead of trying to deliver a real program to these kids.

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Wow what a bunch of crybabies. First thing all you old time scouters fail to recognize is that Venturing was not established to be another boy scout troop, but a program to bring both male and female teens in touch with their leadership and personal skills who may have never been in Scouting before. All of the crews I have seen who model themselves like a troop fail in the first two years. Another thing, as all you scoutmasters know, when a boy scout reaches 15-17 years of age they get bored of scouts and take an interest in girls. Statistics show senior boy scouts are few in number overall. Now Venture is a program more youth controlled bringing new teens to the ideals of scouting without all the trappings of uniforms, etc. that younger boys enjoy. What I have found is that that girls challenge the guys towards advancement, but those who do not want to pursue awards are still welcomed and accepted.


So you are right in stating that Venturing is not a traditional scouting program, thank God for that. What this program is doing is bringing some old scouts back and a lot of new youth who need some guidance and ideals in their lives. I would challenge anyone who thinks that Venture is not really a scouting program. I have started two crews, the first one two years ago started with six teens and now has twenty five, and still growing. The second one started this year with twenty grew to thirty five and next year will top fifty. Venturing is a fantastic program that is coming into its own and will stand independent from troops soon enough, meanwhile those of us Venture Advisors with successful programs are not looking to steal boys from troops rather bring some back with this new format and open the doors to those teens who have never been exposed to Scouting ideals before. Venturing can and is standing on its own merits and program.

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You'll get no argument here, BP. Eamonn can certainly speak for himself, but I believe the original point was that too few crews operate as you describe. Far too many are rehashed Boy Scout troops or as I described, unlike any Scout unit at all. If all crews offered real Venturing programs no one would have a complaint.


Uncle: for the most part that was a rhetorical "we." But if you want to nail me down on it, I'll say that it is my district committee. Short of the guy who is running our one real Venturing crew and is our district Venturing chairman, I don't think we really know what to make of Venturing. All we know is that we have to net two more Venturers and one more crew each year to make Quality District.

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First and foremost, welcome to the forums.

I think you might need to give what I posted another quick look and then tell me how you agreeing with me makes me a cry baby?

I wish I had you in our district, we need more people who see the Venturing program as just that - The Venturing Program and are willing to deliver the goods.

If we (Me and anyone else who wants to join me = we)were to apply the label or tag of crybaby to any group I think it would be to those who insist on wanting Boy Scout programs to be available to those in the Venturing program.

I happen to have a lot of faith in all the traditional programs of the BSA. When they are allowed to work as they are meant to and were intended they are outstanding.

Even if I am becoming aged, I have never looked on the Venturing program as another "Boy Scout Program." In fact if you read what I posted you will see that I am saying that we need to allow Venturing to stand on it's own two feet.

Forgive me if I don't ask you to pass the Kleenex. (Just joking) Again Welcome and I hope that you will stick around for a while.



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Thank you. I wondered if anyone had noticed my pain at losing Unk. He is in my prayers, although things ended badly between us.


BadenP -- I echo Eamonn's sentiments to welcome you to the forums. However, I do caution you to watch out for overuse of the terms crybaby and old timer. You don't know to whom you speak.


Those of us who post in the Venturing forum do love the Venturing program and care for it deeply and in a personal way.


Used properly, Venturing is far more than Boy Scouting and can fill a void in any high school student's life without interferring with Boy Scouting. It is a third tier to a great program.


to the others who have posted that Venturing is little more than a partol that can go hunting and use pistols -- I suggest you spend a few moments reading the Quest or Ranger requirements. Venturing is much more than Boy Scouting. The Coed factor lends another layer that is very important to adulthood as well.


I wish I had been able to be a Venturer.


If you really want to know the difference, sign up for Powderhorn.



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Hi BP and congrats on the success of your local Venturing Crews. I am sure others are experiencing the same success. Unfortunately those strong healthy independent crews you have begun are few and far between.


It seems to be the rule rather than the exception that crews have been put together hastily with far too much reliance on dual registering Boy Scouts to create the mirage of a growing membership. I think that is what is frustrating many of us. It is not that we want to see Venturing fail but that we want to see it have genuine success. You have proved by your own experience that is possible to achieve. Unfortunately our community has yet to have that experience.


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