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What Venturing Is and isnt

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Thanks Backpacker!


I was considering doing a program like that, for that is the direction we are going with our new crew. I feel that the spirit of scouting is to help the boys become better men, leaders, citizens, and stewards of the earth. Creating a high adventure program around that is what, I feel anyway, is the purpose of venturing. I am going to take what you suggested and apply it fully in my crew. My boys really want a good, quality program. Setting goals to meet will help them in their academic abilities as well as at their place of employment. I think it is hard to make a one size fit's all program. The beauty of scouting is that it is flexible to accommodate the boy's interests and needs. Please give your ideas to national! I look forward for more program guides!


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" However, throwing insults at the Venturing Program because of what you have seen from certain crews or leaders isn't productive or scout like".

I have owned a few Fords and still own two. I like Fords, but Ford were the company that made the Edsel.


by Kathleen A. Ervin

"Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it," warned philosopher George Santayana. In the high stakes financial world of the auto industry repeating the mistakes of others is prohibitively expensive. So its no surprise that when Saturn Corporation launched "a different kind of car company" in 1990, it used failurespecifically the lessons of the Edselas its road map to success. A dozen years and more than 2.2 million vehicles later Saturn is still going strong. As a result of the Edsels impact on Saturn and other auto manufacturers, its legacy may be redefined from one of the most monumental failures of the twentieth century to one of the most instructive.

From what I see happening in our area Venturing is fast becoming the BSA Edsel. If we act soon take what we have learned we could make it into a Saturn. This is in no way being un-scout like and would in fact work wonders in helping all of us people who love Scouting further the mission of Scouting and the BSA.



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I don't think that I hurled any insults.


I did make some observations.


I did make some analogies (or is that simile or metaphor? to be quite honest I am too tired to think about that) that expressed my reaction to my observations.


I certainly never said anything I would have found insulting. Now I may have been incorrect, or my experiences may be non-representative, or I may have even made incorrect conclusions based on my observations, but I don't think it was insulting.


If anyone was insulted, understand that I certainly did not intend it that way. Sorry if anyone's feeling got dinged up, banged around, or otherwise injured.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I can honestly say I learned more about Venturing in this thread than I knew before, and I thought I knew alot. 2 years ago my son wanted to start a crew. My company chartered it and he rounded up his friends to get it going. Within 6 months they had 12 members, 6 girls, 6 boys. Three adult advisors, 2 females, 1 male. They totally organized their fund raising and chose a uniform. Balck on black SWAT BDU's with green barets. They bought all of their camping equipment and medical equipment. They went on 4 outings which included white water rafting and caving. I can't tell you how proud I was of them. When it was all said and done, the crew raised over $6,000 to pay for all of their needs. Then out of the blue like a shot in the dark! One of the parents of a crew member (untrained, and unregistered) decided she would better serve the crew if my company was removed from the picture. She convinced all of the members except my son to leave the crew and she chartered her own with our members. Our crew was dead. Her crew lasted 2 months. Now all these young people have scattered and my son decided to go back to boy scouts and earn his Eagle. So, I have a trailer full of equipment and no crew. My son wants to get it up and running again, but he wants to get Eagle first. But I wanted to say that I agree with almost everything mentioned in this thread. Thanks to all of you. There was no clear direction from our council or district for our failures. Or assistance from our unit commissioners. They just had no idea of what to do.



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Interesting how some people can get the attitude of "I can do it better." Unfortunately I held this attitude when I served as an assistant scoutmaster. Back in September, I was put in charge of the entire scout program. It is a lot of work! Especially since the unit was flat broke and owed debts when I took it over. Youth leadership was lacking because the previous guy micromanaged everything. Now, I literally eat, think and sleep scouting and how I can improve the scouting program. I compare it to the old phrase: "how do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time." Just be careful not to choke. I took the initiative and had all the Adult leadership to get their new leaders essentials. I made sure that the youth ran the show and not the scoutmaster(s). We made sure that the boys planned the activities. I have never run a Venture crew, so this start has been a bumpy one. But the boys are eager to learn and participate, and that helps. The irony here is, that I need a trailer with gear and I have many scouts, you have a trailer with gear and no scouts!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Venturing is indeed a confusing program, and can be a lot for youth that are already busy with school and involved with after school jobs and if the young men and women in the crew also involved in a troop as well as being in the crew. If we look at Venturing it evolved out of the more traditional area of Exploring the backpacking, camping, whitewater rafting area that was popular in the early days of the program. Exploring was also somewhat more stuctured then more then what Venturing is now. Exploring even had an advancment system. There is a recognition system in Venturing the

structure is more loose now, but there is still structure. Maybe if we will look at the more traditional literature as well as the literature of the present program. Think adventure, think service, and think leadership and let the youth lead the program, but sell them on the traditional side and blend it with the non-traditional to form the new traditional, generalize and specialize maybe the crews can get going. In the new Venturing website they even claim to using the old Explorer Leader Handbook when they wanted to design the

new"old" Venturing program. If you have a co-ed crew sell the program to the young men and women and then let them lead. Remember use the Crew Officers Seminar in training your newly elected officer and sell them on the program. The advisor sets the tone for the crew. He/she also starts the tradition. Think out and inside of the box take from one to help the other. The solution is local as well as National.

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You bring up some very good points. However, I think the leadership guide is not very well organized. The forms are all over the place, and when you have to make copies of them, they come out gray and cloudy because of the green tinted background. There is no cd that accompanies the handbook either. It reads like a dull textbook and in many places is too general and vague. I believe in the youth run program quite highly, but if National is to be the one to provide us with the literature, then they need to have it be practacle and fool proof. If I had 5 or so years of venturing under my belt, the manual would probably be a more useful tool, but for the one starting out, not very user friendly. They should have examples inside the books for the forms, but have the copy-friendly ones in the back so they are easily accessible. It would be nice to have a small handbook for the president, vice president and program chair. Anyhow, I think they had too many intellictual people write the manual instead of practicle ones.



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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

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I agree that Venturing is going to have to evolve on its own with what works in the field. National is and has been watching to see what the most successful crews are doing and why it is working. My council DE is amazed that our crew is so large and getting bigger each year and is always asking what and why we are so successful. All I can say is that we have great officers who know how to get things done, a great and involved committee, and a group of five associate advisors who are in tune with the teens knowing when to prod them and when to back off.


Our program is general enough that it attracts teens with a wide range of interests so we always have several different activites being planned and executed simultaneously. We do outdoor activities - mtn. climbing rafting camping, sports, and a group into crafts and hobbies, so there is always something for everyone. I would be interested what your crew activities are, what has been successful and what has not.

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I'm new to this forum, but I have rather strong feelings about the Venturing program and wanted to throw my two cents in.


I find myself with a strong distaste for the Venturing Program. I see the Venturing as a drain of the most experienced, talented, and older scouts from the troop. These scouts are the core of every troop as they are the ones who really make it "boy led" as they take up troop leadership positions and teach scouting skills to the younger boys.


I understand the concerns of those who think that older boys have different needs and need a program centered to them. I think this could be accomplished within the troop as a Venture Patrol. I believe that the current Venture Patrol is not set up perfectly for this, but I think it is an excellant concept that could be improved upon. Great care needs to be made to avoid creating an "elite" patrol, but older scouts who wish to be part of it should be able to participate in activites above and beyond what the troop does. If the "Venturing concept" is kept in the troop in this way, it can benefit from already existing troop structure (leaders, Troop committee, CO, etc.)while at the same time keeping older boys in the troop to serve as leadership, teacher younger scouts, and provide an example.


I think that the Boy Scout troop is the key element of the Scouting program and all effort must be made to keep these strong. This is the part that the public is familiar with and thinks of when they think of scouts, they set the example for the BSA. This is why I am a little scared when I see all these "other" scouting programs such as Venturing and Varsity, especially in light of diminishing numbers of scouts nationwide in recent years. I can not help believe that they not only take away numbers of scouts, but also harm the quality of the program as leadership and resources are siphoned off.


I realize this approach would leave the young ladies in Venturing Crews in some what of a lurch, but to tell you the truth I never got why the BSA decided to be co-ed anyway. And if does, the whole organization should do so, not just the Crews.


As a corollary to this. I think the Venture Patrol concept would work better in larger troops (35-50 I suppose) presumably these troops would use the patrol method to the greatest extent, and this way the new and improved Venture Patrol would be better able to split off and the appropriate times. The point I am getting to on this is that I see a worrying trend in my council of a seemingly endless amount of new troops being started (in an area already flooded with troops) by any parent of a Weblo Scout who wants to run their own troop. Unfortunatly this leads to the many troops around struggling for recruits (and these are good troops too).




Sorry this post got a little long, but I was on a roll. Thanks!


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First of all to answer your questions, Venturing was developed to attract older boys who probably would not be in scouting because of the structure, methods and uniform, and for those who had dropped out of scouting to bring them back to a less formal and interest oriented program. It was not meant to replace the troop at all. The fact that venturing is coed also helps bring in teens who would never have considered scouting before. In my own crew of 50+ almost half are female and of the males only 25% were former scouts. So I see venturing as an alternative program to give teens a way to develop a program catered to their own interests, with similiar ethics and principles as boy scouts but without the formalities and methodology. These teens, for the most part, would never have becomed involved in traditional scouting but enjoy the freedom they have in venturing. This has also been the concensus of the other venturing leaders in my council. The drop in boy scouts, as it has been discussed in other threads, can be attributed to things like poorly run programs, poorly trained leaders, and other factors, not because of the Venturing Program.(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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With all do respect, since we preach uniform as one of the methods of scouting, I dont understand why we want to water down our ideals to get other youths in. Scouts is not for everyone. If an individual does not want to wear a uniform, then that is not the kind of person we want. We all know the importance of the uniform, and we should not water down our ideals for the extent of numbers. The same thing applies to the other methods and formalities.


Of course I would not blame Venturing alone for the diminishing numbers of scouts. You faulted poor leaders and program. I would think that any resource, every dollar, every leader that the BSA utilizes in the Venturing program is less resources that could have been used supporting a troop, making the core of the BSA better for the majority of scouts.


Finally, there is no reason why troops can not be tailored to the needs of scouts as many claim Venture Crews are. If a troop is truly boy-led it can reflect the desires of the scouts as the elected PLC will build a program. This process is even better served in a troop with a good functioning patrol system. This way each individual patrol could participate in activities tailored to its scouts interests. Lastly, a Venture Patrol would be able to do this to a larger extent, and if well run participate in exciting activities that will keep older scouts involved as Venture Crews purport to do.


I think that splitting the Venture Crews off of troops seems to be admitting defeat. It is in a sense admitting that our scout program is not good enough to keep boys older than 14 above, and that is not something I can agree to. I think a well run troop is able to keep older scouts involved which will be the best for them and the younger scouts, and that the resources of the BSA should be utilized to make troops strong so that they are able to do this.


Thank you.


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Ok, I'm gonna pipe up here.


Point of reference for those that don't know me: i'm a dedicated scouter with 20+ years experience in all phases of BSA and GSUSA.


Today, my most active role is that of a Sea Scout Skipper... now, don't discount me based on that statement. For those that know me, they can vouch for my next statement --> I run a Venturing program through the Sea Scout arm!


It's an amazing mix of resources that no one should miss! Outstanding opportunities exist here.


Ok, about what Venturing Is and Isn't:


Put what you "know" about Scouting aside and think of a business model! All businesses use a simple structure that gets things done... Venturing does the same! By wrapping your program around a business model, rather than a troop patrol method, you'll better understand how to apply the Venturing opportunity.


As a veteran of the Venturing world, I can tell you that there is no easy way to teach what Venturing is, only that it can be whatever the chartered organization wants it to be, along with the dedication of vision for the participants to the outcome they design.


Now, if you apply that information to a Boy Scout troop there are people that will throw wild and crazy fits.


What's wrong with the concept that people can take this thing and make it what they want?


At a typical camporee, every troop does NOT look like all the others. Venturing is a unique application of everything Scouting!


I'm having a blast and I think if people understood just how much fun it is in Venturing, there'd be a massive shift in membership!


If you're interested in seeing it in action, come for a visit! It's amazing!

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