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dhendron

Is BSA trying to kill Venturing?

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>>Brew, all is not lost.

 

That's not what I'm saying...quite the opposite.

 

I realize it's human nature to complain about things you don't like rather than cheer the things you do, but nobody ever has anything good to say about how professional scouters, and particularly national, handle any aspect of the program.

 

Because local, volunteer scouters are generally assumed to be reasonably competent with the best interest of boys and the program at heart, there must be some sort of process professional scouters go through where they become completely incompetent, if not downright destructive, to the program they have committed to lead, and there must be self-destructive tendencies among the people and boards that keep giving these people jobs.

 

(This message has been edited by brewmeister)

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Brew,

 

When being a DE changes from a passion to a job. When a pro focuses more on getting a raise than having a quality, thriving program. When a pro will do whatever it takes to meet the money and membership goals. When a pro is only focused on being #1 in the area,or region.

 

Most of the passionate pros I worked with quit. Some became disgusted with the council leadership. Some were under so much stress that they had nervous breakdowns. Some were given choice like I was: Me or the job. I chose the wife. but other did choose the job.

 

As I mentioned elsewhere. Sometimes very good people get moved to national. And sometimes it seems like they move to national to prevent them form doing more damage. I suspect that was the case with my old SE. BUT the SE who got promoted to SCOUTNET director initially, really screwed up since he had 0 IT background.

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Brew, I don't think there is a process that a vol or a pro goes thru so that they work against the heritage of the BSA.

 

I think it's a matter of temperment.

 

Why so many people would want to be part of a historically outdoor-oriented organization, and yet look down or seek to minimize the best selling points of the BSA, is beyond me. But they do it anyway. And it impacts the organization as a whole.

 

What is scouting without adventure?

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The problem, as I see it, is that Venturing is this "other program". When venturers aren't part of the picture on National's web page, it shows a lack of vision. One prominent scouter told me "but venturers make up a small percentage of our base.". That's not the point. National should put up a picture of what percentage it *should* make. If they believe that every CO should have a venturing unit, then the stock photo of scouting should have a Venturer and a Sea Scout behind a cub, web, and first class scout. Donors should have a clear vision of whom they are supporting.

 

If National believes that venturing is a side show that should be swept under the rug because it freaks out the anti-coed, uniform police, then carryon as usual.(This message has been edited by Qwazse)

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When a pro focuses more on getting a raise than having a quality, thriving program.

 

In an ideal world the only way a pro would get a raise would be by having a quality, thriving program. A part of the problem may be that BSA isn't "selling" a service that people directly pay for in the way that, say, AAA sells roadside assistance. Instead, BSA sells mostly an image that they use for fundraising.

 

One of the big problems in any large organization is when the external feedback loop get's longer than any of the important internal ones. External feedback is when people external to the organization give you money (or stop giving you money, if it's negative). Internal feedback is how people get raises, promotions, and increased authority (or get fired if it's negative). I get the impression BSA's external feedback loop is measured in decades, that they get a lot of money from people with fond memories of the troop of their youth four or five decades ago.

 

When a pro will do whatever it takes to meet the money and membership goals. When a pro is only focused on being #1 in the area,or region.

 

This is a reminder that it's really a management and leadership problem. Any system you put in place for rewarding people can be subverted, intentionally or accidentally, and any incentive, review, or evaluation process will have unintended consequences that need to be managed. You have to have a system that tries to reward the right things, and then you need managers who make sure the spirit of the thing wins out.

 

 

 

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They are taking away the uniqueness of all branches of scouting by giving them all the same sign, salute, Oath, and Law, but what they are thinking is that they want to unify all branches of scouting. Nevermind the fact that Ventures don't want to be unified with Boy Scouts or any other branch of scouts for that matter. I don't know about any of you, but when I join Ventures in the near future(about 6 months probably) I will encourage my crew to stand by the Venture Sign, Salute, and Oath, despite what National says. BTW, have you heard that they are doing away with the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards in favor of a new rank system?

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They are taking away the uniqueness of all branches of scouting by giving them all the same sign, salute, Oath, and Law, but what they are thinking is that they want to unify all branches of scouting. Nevermind the fact that Ventures don't want to be unified with Boy Scouts or any other branch of scouts for that matter. I don't know about any of you, but when I join Ventures in the near future(about 6 months probably) I will encourage my crew to stand by the Venture Sign, Salute, and Oath, despite what National says. BTW, have you heard that they are doing away with the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards in favor of a new rank system?
Eagle

First of all you need to get the terminology straight, it is Venturing and Venturers. There will be no ranks since Venturing is not a rank based program and never has been because it is coed and based on individual interests and achievements. Ranks are for younger scouts Venturing if done right is for older teens who want to learn some unique skills in a variety of fields. If National tries to introduce a ranking system to Venturing it will just further destroy an already good program for the older teens.

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They are taking away the uniqueness of all branches of scouting by giving them all the same sign, salute, Oath, and Law, but what they are thinking is that they want to unify all branches of scouting. Nevermind the fact that Ventures don't want to be unified with Boy Scouts or any other branch of scouts for that matter. I don't know about any of you, but when I join Ventures in the near future(about 6 months probably) I will encourage my crew to stand by the Venture Sign, Salute, and Oath, despite what National says. BTW, have you heard that they are doing away with the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards in favor of a new rank system?
Yeah, I have a different read on the tea leaves there young grasshopper :). I suspect by incorporating the oath, law, etc. the BSA is actually setting the program up to turn the Boy Scouts into the middle-school program of scouting (focusing on the T21 requirements, citizenship, service, etc.) and Venturing (including Sea Scouts) into the HS program (focused on experiential learning/High Adventure, etc.). I wouldn't be surprised when the new recognition system comes out to see it include a pillar that basically incorporates Star/Life/Eagle along side the other awards for those former Boy Scouts that want to finish that line. In doing so they'll end the need for the Varsity program and make it easier to also support Sea Scouts by including them as an option for 14 year olds to join.

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They are taking away the uniqueness of all branches of scouting by giving them all the same sign, salute, Oath, and Law, but what they are thinking is that they want to unify all branches of scouting. Nevermind the fact that Ventures don't want to be unified with Boy Scouts or any other branch of scouts for that matter. I don't know about any of you, but when I join Ventures in the near future(about 6 months probably) I will encourage my crew to stand by the Venture Sign, Salute, and Oath, despite what National says. BTW, have you heard that they are doing away with the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards in favor of a new rank system?
It's a big country and "what venturers want" is very diverse. But, there are some trends ...

 

The most striking one is they don't want to stick around. For the past 7 years, venturing membership has been the fastest declining division of the BSA.

 

Very few of crews buy awards, which is a good sign that thy are not earning them.

Many of them aren't heavily invested in the venturing oath and code. It's just not pounded in their heads.

Clearly, if they aren't earning their gold awards, there is no real need for them to bother with the oath and code.

There are troop members who think venturers don't belong anywhere near them. Most of these are adults. It stinks. Those of us who are in the game for all youth involved are sick of it.

 

So, say you have a nation-wide shrinking business, in one of your divisions customers are walking out the door faster than the other, and the ones that stick around aren't buying what you have to offer. Customers in another division complain that the few costumers in the fastest shrinking division are making your product less enjoyable to them. Of the 10 things that you could change about the company, turns out that you only have the ability to change 2. What would you do?

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There is the link regarding the new rank/recognition system: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...ouncement.aspx

Sorry for the disappointment, BadenP.

Ventures, Venturing, Venturers, really, who cares? They're all the same.

Eagle, They really don't give any real details about the so called rank system, but coming from National it will be a totally thrown together program without any real substance. The REAL reason that Venturing has lost membership is a total lack of commitment and support by National to the crews in the field. Venturing has always been treated like the bastard child of scouting and the loss of members just verifies that fact. In my council we have all our crews at top performance because we took the bull by the horns and developed our own system and training that has made ALL the crews in our council successful and growing without the help of council or National.

 

Qwasze- I think you have been drinking too much of the Kool Aid that National shoves out to the volunteers. You may have noticed that National takes NO responsibility for screwing up Venturing like they have since 1998. Venturing is not what needs to change, it is those pencil pushing desk jockeys at National who know squat about scouting that need to go starting with Brock and his cronies,.

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There is the link regarding the new rank/recognition system: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...ouncement.aspx

Sorry for the disappointment, BadenP.

Ventures, Venturing, Venturers, really, who cares? They're all the same.

E441: You and my previous crew president! She said "Venture just doesn't sound right and why couldn't they have chosen something that slips of the tongue easier?"

It's all about branding. Which matters to a lot of people. Not so much to others. (For example, the person who labeled pics from Jambo on BSA's Flickr stream used "Venture Scout".)

 

In terms of who I will be climbing and rappelling with on Saturday? It won't matter an ounce. As long as they're on when I need belayed, I'll be happy.

 

BP, no koolaid. I'm just trying to give us a view from behind Wayne's desk and why he would form a task force to act! I'm not suggesting that any of the actions will result in a change in membership trajectory.

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Like BP has been saying, the reason membership has been falling is because of "a total lack of commitment and support by National ." But also because Venturing is not well known even among Boy Scouts. Over half of the guys in my troop have no idea what Venturers do or what Venturing is in general. The lack of "advertisement" of the Venturing program is causing even Boy Scouts to not know who they are, much less non-scouts.

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Commitment? Support? I'm not sure what that means?

 

Advertising? It is pushed plenty. Far more than the percent of scouts in it. But BSA is not cash rich for advertising. They can't do commercials everywhere on every program under the BSA label.

 

It's not that BSA is trying to kill Venturing.

 

BSA is trying to fix multiple programs that are broken in multiple ways.

 

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Venturing brand is just not there

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Everyone knows about Eagle scout. Eagle scout is almost legondary. It has a myth about it. Venturing awards are meaningless to most everyone else.

 

 

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CANDIDATE POPULATION is very limited.

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- Boys - A 14 year old boy has probably tried scouts if they ever would. Cub scouts. Boy scouts. If they have not or quit a previous scouting program, they are not going to try another scouting program. But if they are still in, you want them to switch to yet another program because it's different? Another transition? Right when they discover girls and work and entering high school? And Venturing is not a dating program ... right?

 

- Girls - Same thing. Been thru Girl Scouts. Or still in. If they did not want to be in Girl scouts or had a bad experience, they won't try another scouting program. Then add high school and puberty and jobs and .... ..... ...

 

There are relatively few at that age that will try yet another scouting program.

 

 

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Challenging times

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BSA has political fights going on. Plus competition. Marketing. Etc.

 

IMHO, BSA just needs to get back to the basics and do a bunch of redesign. One of the biggest is getting back to focusing on program materials and camping and letting charter orgs run their program. Maybe co-ed or not. Maybe multiple orientations. Maybe 100 kids or 10 kids. Maybe ONE unit for kids 5 years old thru 20 years old.

 

Get back to the basics.

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