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Possible Venturing Program Changes

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So when it comes fo talking about centuring to troop leaders, my preference is that the pros talk less about retention (which may or may not happen) and more about empowering (which is more likely to happen) of older boys as they hey bring some aspects of scouting to their friends.


Y'know, that sounds a bit like how I feel about the emphasis in Troop recruiting on Webelos crossovers. BSA seems stuck in their recruiting thinking, looking only at moving youth up from one program to another, rather than looking at how to attract youth to the programs.

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As I understand it, 85% or more of Boy Scouts come from Cub Packs.


And it would be 100% if troops only did the sort of recruiting BSA provides support for. Our troop asked for yard signs for a recruting event, and the only thing our council had were Cub Scout signs. But we went forward on our own and we are about 50-50 Webelos crossovers vs recruited from the community.


It is important to recruit and retain Webelos and I even agree that it's a lot easier than recruiting from the community, but it's bad to let it be the sole (or even 85%) focus of a Troop's recruiting. There are two reasons for that:


1) it ignores the (very large) population of eligible boys who are not Webelos, self-limiting the troop to the easiest pickings.


2) it may cause the troop to (subconsciously or not) slant the program towards Webelos-like activities, greasing the skid to a Webelos III program that sacrifices long-term retention (not to mention the youth development the troop program is supposed to provide). It doesn't have to be that way, but it sure seems to be an easy trap to fall into, based on my observations (both local and over the internet).



It's that second point where I see some strong similarity with what BP and qwazse are saying about Venturing. If we think of each program level as just a continuation of the previous level (Cub Scouts -> Boy Scouts -> Venturing) then we run the risk of treating the entire program, from 6 year olds to 21 year olds, as a continuum. It shouldn't be, there are important discontinuities in there.


20 year olds are a lot different than 7 year olds. Well, duh, nobody is saying they aren't, but the important question is, when do we change the program to reflect their growth? How do we know? It seems to me that the layout of the three programs can provide a useful answer:


Cub Scouts - young boys, not yet independant, need activities and opportunities to develop social skills and teamwork, as well as lessons in personal goal setting, accomplishment, etc. - do your best.


Boy Scouts - the transition from "boy" to "young man", learning independance and self-reliance along with learning to fit into a group, a massively critical phase for every male child, the program needs to offer challenge, guidance, teamwork (patrol method), reinforcement, ceremony, and recognition.


Venturing - already made the step to "young man", capable of independance, need practice doing for themselves and the confidence that comes from accomplishments. No longer "kids", Venturers are "adults in training." They basically should have everything they need to be a functional adult except the experience, and that experience is what the program should provide. I think the last part of the Venturing Oath, to seek truth, fairness, and adventure in our world is a great goal to direct youth this age towards.


Looking at each program level as it's own entity, not just a continauation of the previous one, I think helps keep us focused on the specific goals each program ought to be looking at. Reading BP and qwazse's responses here really helped me understand (I think...) the differences between what the Troop level program and the Venturing level program need to provide. Or at least ought to provide.



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Hello JM,






I use yard signs in Cub Scout Campaigns where they are marginally effective.


I would use them in Boy Scout recruiting campaigns, where the appeal needs to be on a personal invitation to boys to visit a troop, in my experience.


My council has Boy Scout targeted flyers which I use, adding an invitation to visit a Scout troop.



I like your assessment of the goals of the Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing programs based on youth maturity.

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