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OldGreyEagle

Council/Disitrct VLSC Kodiak, Kodiak X

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One council I work with used to do VLSC on an annual basic. We did this because most Crews were small and couldn't run VLSC themselves. (note- VLSC is normally done by a crew for the entire membership of the crew. Unlike courses like NYLT, its not intended for JUST the officers).

 

We've had problems doing it at the council level, and now some of the districts are doing it (but open to anyone from any district).

 

Kodiak. Keep in mind that Kodiak can be done at the council level, district level, or by a crew. I highly recommend that before you attempt to run Kodiak that you either A) attend one of the Region Kodiak CDCs, or B) participate in a Kodiak course. Kodiak is an add-on to a high adventure trip. A crew could do it as an add-on to a week-long summer trip, or your council could do it as an add-on to their Venturing week program at camp (so long as the follow the rules of Kodiak). In my area, we've only done about 3 or so Kodiak courses.

 

Kodiak X. MUST be done at the council level and MUST be done by someone whose gone thru a Kodiak CDC (AFAIK, you aren't supposed to just pick up the syllabus and do it, but I hope I'm not wrong here). As yet, we haven't been able to do a Kodiak X in my area, tho I've tried to lay the ground work to do is (we need enought Kodiak participants to make it doable).

 

 

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Sad to say it but our Council does not do anything for Venturing.

It is pretty much up to the crews to do VLSC. My crew does VLSC once every two years.

 

Cary P

Crew 805 Advisor

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They don't. We simply do not have enough Venturing units and members to support one yet. Venturing accounts for about 2% of our scouting population. So the council is not motivated to offer support services until the program grows, but how will the program grow without more support services.

 

We have perhaps three Crews/Ships out of perhaps 12 or 15 total that really have a healthy program. The rest are just extensions of troops with no real idea of the difference between Venturing and and a venture patrol. So until there are more crews actually asking for the needed district and council support I do not see it being developed by the training committees.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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In reference to BW's posting, this is the classic 'chicken and the egg': no support until Venturing grows, but how can Venturing group without support. This is why in many council, Venturing leaders who want to see Venturing grow have formed Council Venturing Committees to provide support for crews (youth and adult training), some program stuff (council venturing activities, etc), promote the program (single Venturing booth at scout shows with all crew participating, promoting what those crews do and promote/explain Venturing), etc. Ideally, they will get formal approval and support, otherwise they've do it on the sly.

 

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As Bob White pointed out, it appears Venturing is not on the priority list of the council. In my home council, right next to Bob Whites Council, our Venturing program is very weak at best. There are a few that are really trying to promote venturing within the council. We do have an active shooting crew, an active SCUBA Crew and 2 other fairly active crews that I know of. I think we might agree that many scoutmasters are reluctant to promote Venturing to the older boys in fear of loosing them. We are slowing working on that here.

 

As in Woodbadge, I think national should consider a natural transition from Cubs to Boy Scouts to Venturing at 14-15. I don't have the hard facts but I'd be willing to bet we could keep more of the older boys in scouts if they moved to a Venturing Crew.

 

Out West, (I took Powderhorn Training in Montana) I felt venturing to be considerably stronger in those councils. Maybe because of the terrain and environment. Ice climbing, mountain climbing hunting, etc.

 

 

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I don't have the hard facts but I'd be willing to bet we could keep more of the older boys in scouts if they moved to a Venturing Crew.

 

I do not believe you will find the numbers support your theory. Venturing has the worst retention by percentage of the three programs.

 

A good unit program keeps scouts in loonger regardless of which program it is in.

 

 

 

 

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This is getting off the topic of the original thread.

 

"Venturing has the worst retention by percentage of the three programs."

 

Is it poor retention or youth aging out (or leaving area to go to college)?

 

The problem I see with Venturing that causes drops in membership is untrained leaders which lead to a poor program. I also see a lot of units struggling with poor program. A support structure (Venturing Roundtable, training, Venturing events) can help with this. If support is non-existant in a council, small, struggling crews will go under. Only those crews that are larger and better leadership will survive.

 

Another issue is that too often crews are formed around a small group of youth, who treat the crew as their own private club. They never recruit or promote themselves or in any way try to get new people to join, so that when that original group ages out (or leaves for college), the crew may very well die.

 

Many crew struggle with promoting themselves to bring in additional membership. Some do a great job, others do a poor job. Again, support from the council/district can help crews promote themselves. Too often if the council leadership isn't aware that certain crews are out there with certain programs, they aren't able to point youth to them that are interest in that program. (example: if you had a model railroad crew, and the council doesn't even know about it, they can't point youth interested in model railroading to them).

 

 

"A good unit program keeps scouts in loonger regardless of which program it is in."

 

True. The problem I see is that the Boy Scout program is very clearly defined AND supported, so that most troops have a decent program. The flexibility of the Venturing program, where each crew can (and often does) have a unique program is both a strength and a weakness. Too often if a crew as a different program then most other crews, they may find it hard to get any support from district/council. If the crew leadership isn't able to provide that program support (either themselves or thru consultants), then that crew will struggle.

 

 

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Whether they leave for college or any other reason the membership of Venturing is not gaining new members as fast as they lose members. The loss ratio is greater by percentage in Venturing than in Cubs or Boy Scouts.

 

As far as the lack of program structure being a part of Venturing's weakness, you copuld be right. I think the biggest problem is the misuse of the program as an extension of a troop's program. most Crews are started using the same leaders from a troop as a way to keep older scouts interested.

 

But if they can't deliver a troop program that interests older scouts how will changing the name from troop to crew make the leaders better at delivering a program? So the crew rarely lasts more than a year or two or survives with the minimum number of scouts and never really develops as a program.

 

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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This may be a question for the historians in the bunch, but Venturing celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. To put things in prespective, how big an impact had Boy Scouting made on the country in its first 10 years? How many troops do you tink sprang up and withereed? I know lots of very proud units of being in existence for 75 years or more, but how many more started, did well and just went away? Venturing is still quite new

 

BTW, why did they go from Kodiak to Kodiak X, shouldn't they have done Kodiak II, Kodiak III, Kodiak IV etc first?

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"Venturing is still quite new."

 

IMO its not. In many ways Venturing is nothing more then a continuation of the Explorer program that goes back to atleast the 1930s. Many of the 'flexible' elements of Venturing (define your own program/identity/uniform) has been a part of Exploring atleast since the 1960s.

 

"BTW, why did they go from Kodiak to Kodiak X, shouldn't they have done Kodiak II, Kodiak III, Kodiak IV etc first?"

 

the "X" of Kodiak X is for "eXtreme", not 10!

 

 

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"As far as the lack of program structure being a part of Venturing's weakness, you copuld be right. I think the biggest problem is the misuse of the program as an extension of a troop's program. most Crews are started using the same leaders from a troop as a way to keep older scouts interested.

 

"But if they can't deliver a troop program that interests older scouts how will changing the name from troop to crew make the leaders better at delivering a program? So the crew rarely lasts more than a year or two or survives with the minimum number of scouts and never really develops as a program. "

 

A lot of what you say is true. However, there are not as many Crews as you think that were formed that way. There are some crews that are really nothing more then glorified Venture Patrols (which is your main point). These Crews are too often too tightly coupled to a troop to really get their own identity and purpose, and you rarely see these "Venturers" really use the program.

 

There are some Crew that form as 'split off' from a Troop, but usually have separate leadership and identity, and so are more successful.

 

Before the days of Venturing, I saw the same phenominon with Explorer Posts being formed out of Troops, usually for those youth/adults who wanted to focus on high adventure stuff. I think part of why you're see more of this stuff today then you saw the Explorer Post in past decades is that most leaders in the 80s and 90s usually thought of Exploring (if ever) as just a career awareness program. With the higher profile of Venturing, you're seeing more Venturing Crews that are nothing more then Venture Patrols.

 

 

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I think the issue at the HS level is competition for time of the young person. EagleSon is taking 13 semester hours of dual credit classwork in his senior semester. He doesn't have time for senior-itis. Last night, he had calculus, environmental science, and Spanish homework, not to mention praciticing his part for band and practicing his solo for District Music Festival.

 

He did homework from when he got in the door to the moment he went to his Moms.

 

On Wednesdays, I drive him and two other seniors to a specialized brass band practice. EagleSon has a B average, one of these two is borderline A-, the other is solid A average. All three of them are commenting about how they're constantly re-balancing their loads.

 

Granted, Venturing is designed for other than weekly meetings, but the fact of the matter is that many of our young people find pure recreational time squeezed out of their time budgets.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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In the council I live in none of the Explorer Posts were connected to troop that I know of. We hade several post s and all were stand alone mostly connected to Police , Fire, and rescue units.

Posts chartered to COs that had troops largely ended decades ago when exploring turned mostly to Career Exploring.

 

Now, I know of two Ships that are stand alone, all the Crews are out-croppings of troops except for two that are on college campuses and are part of APOs.

 

I have trouble buying into the theory of being too busy to do something they enjoy. The Scouts in the Ship I serve are almost entirely high school juniors and seniors and college students. People make time for things they WANT to do.

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" have trouble buying into the theory of being too busy to do something they enjoy. The Scouts in the Ship I serve are almost entirely high school juniors and seniors and college students. People make time for things they WANT to do."

 

Which means any Venturing Crew, and its Council support, has to have enough whizbang to make it past the filters of school and work.

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