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dhendron

Is BSA trying to kill Venturing?

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When I say advertisement I don't mean playing commercials. I mean promotion, Boy Scouts go to Cub Scout packs for recruitment of soon-to-be-aging-out Cub Scouts. Why don't Venturers do the same thing at Boy Scout Troops? There are no where near as many Venture Crews(or Sea Scout Ships for that matter) as there are Boy Scout Troops.

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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?" "

Excuse me? I like title of Venturing a lot more than Boy Scouts, which with "boy" in the title makes it sound kind of childish. While Venturing on the other hand is basically "adventuring," referring to the high adventure aspect.

"Ventures, Venturing, Venturers, who really cares?"

When I said that that I was referring to the fact that "Ventures" and "Venturers" is basically the exact same word., and I was annoyed at the fact that BadenP had to nit-pick my terminology.

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When I say advertisement I don't mean playing commercials. I mean promotion, Boy Scouts go to Cub Scout packs for recruitment of soon-to-be-aging-out Cub Scouts. Why don't Venturers do the same thing at Boy Scout Troops? There are no where near as many Venture Crews(or Sea Scout Ships for that matter) as there are Boy Scout Troops.
Why not? Simply put, SMs want their boys all to themselves!

They don't see it as a new program to bring youth who missed out on scouting one last chance, they see it as a big time drain on their oldest boys' time.

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When I say advertisement I don't mean playing commercials. I mean promotion, Boy Scouts go to Cub Scout packs for recruitment of soon-to-be-aging-out Cub Scouts. Why don't Venturers do the same thing at Boy Scout Troops? There are no where near as many Venture Crews(or Sea Scout Ships for that matter) as there are Boy Scout Troops.
Thankfully, my troop leaders aren't like that, I have mentioned my future departure to Venturing to a couple of them, they thought it was good that I was moving on to bigger and better things.

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This is like hoping to restart a fire by throwing a bucket of ice water on fading embers.

Even more puzzling, the success/failure to reverse declining Venturing membership will be unmeasurable since Part 4 Change in Membership Reporting now counts Venturing, Varsity, and Sea Scouts together!

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FWIW, I thought the BSA leadership spent a fair amount of time promoting Venturing at every gathering at Jambo. The Venturing President was on stage with the OA National Chief. They made sure to welcome Scouts, Scouters and Venturers with every announcement. I don't recall if it was Perry, Brock or Stephensen that said something to the effect of Welcome Venturers, we built this place for you.

 

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With the so called Venturing changes coming from National in 2014 and their total past incompetence in even understanding what Venturing is supposed to be about I have NO doubt this will severely impact all those crews struggling, as well as turn off any new teens looking at Venturing. IMO Brock is as big a tool as Mazzuca in turning a blind eye for 15 years at Venturing and now thinking those incompetent desk jockeys at National can turn it around, what a joke, but that is par for anything National does.

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With the so called Venturing changes coming from National in 2014 and their total past incompetence in even understanding what Venturing is supposed to be about I have NO doubt this will severely impact all those crews struggling, as well as turn off any new teens looking at Venturing. IMO Brock is as big a tool as Mazzuca in turning a blind eye for 15 years at Venturing and now thinking those incompetent desk jockeys at National can turn it around, what a joke, but that is par for anything National does.
BP, what is Venturing supposed to be about and where have they gone wrong? I asked a crew chief who was taking IOLS the question "so what do does your crew do ?" And all I ever got from he was "HA". I know they aren't going to Philmont every weekend so what do they DO ? Or is it just a program for rich kids that can take off for HA once a month ?

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With the so called Venturing changes coming from National in 2014 and their total past incompetence in even understanding what Venturing is supposed to be about I have NO doubt this will severely impact all those crews struggling, as well as turn off any new teens looking at Venturing. IMO Brock is as big a tool as Mazzuca in turning a blind eye for 15 years at Venturing and now thinking those incompetent desk jockeys at National can turn it around, what a joke, but that is par for anything National does.
What is Venturing supposed to be about? http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Venturing/About/venturing.aspx

Where have they gone wrong? Venture Crews are left to do their own thing, their crew activities can be whatever they want, they don't have to be related to the outdoors, or anything related to scouts. While many do actually do the things listed on scouting.org(like in my council, thankfully), but many more do whatever they want. As emb021 said in the "Starting a New Venturing Program" thread:

"Venturing crews will fall into one of 5 categories: outdoors, arts/hobbies, sports, youth ministries (basically church youth groups), or Sea Scouts. When one speaks of "high adventure", its usually some of the outdoor crews, maybe also Sea Scouts.

Even then, the types of crews can be mindboggling to those not open to the possibilities. I know of role play game crews, anime crews, SAR crews, outdoor crews, scuba crews, sailing crews, music crews, soccer crews, church youth group crews, WWII re-enactment crews, Civil war re-enactment crews, mountainman/frontiersman crews and more."

You want to know what kind of high adventure? Look at Crew 2147 in Ooltewah, TN for example:

http://netroster.scouter.com/roster.aspx/Boy_Scouts_of_America/Councils/Crew/item/440663265 (it says Boy Scout Crew but they are a regular co-ed Venture Crew) It only specifies 4 things on there but I know for a fact that they go rappelling, whitewater rafting(Class IV Rapids), and, occasionally, sailing. I know that because one of their members was in my patrol(they called it a "clan" there) at Kodiak Leadership Training(Kodiak Challenge).

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As someone who was informed of Venturing before it came out in August 1998, Here are my comments. 1) The folks at national were told by my group in PDL-1 that they will be confusion with the name as A) venture crews already existed and naming the units of the new program would be confusing and B)Venturing was too close a name to the venture and the target audience was very similar. 2) The Bronze, Gold, Silver Awards were not meant to be ranks, but recognition. Ranger, and later Trust and Quest were meant to be "expert" awards with an emphasis in the particular specialty area. Units could, or could not work on them form the get go, and it was meant to be RECOGNITION. Why that got put on the "dashboard" and for JTE is beyond me. 3) Venturing has not been around long enough to get established in the public's eye. Further since units do not have to work on the recognitions, that further puts a bind on getting "Brand Recognition" 3A) Bringing back both the old Exploring RANGER rank as a specialty award, and old Exploring SIlver Award for Venturing Silver DID get some "brand recognition." My uncle, who earned both the Eagle and Exploring Silver was very happy to have the Silver Award back. 4) Even pros who SHOULD know all about Ventuing don't because of the wide variety of options for the crews. Best example I can give is the pro who should have known all about the program because she received all the info on it in order to present a class on a segment of it. BUT after receiving all the info, after just presenting her class ( which was read form the paper and looked like she did no prep work), when the time came to talk to someone about the program I had to do all the work as she sat there like a lump of coal 5) Sea Scouts has been part of Venturing from the get go. More later

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One of the biggest problems with Venturing is that it competes with the high end Boy Scout program. 1) it draws the top leadership out of the troops because now they can have co-ed and 2) do many of the things Boy Scouts can't do. However, its basically a free-for-all program. The Venturing Crew I started has contact with the Council once a year when they recharter. That's it. They even throw away any and all information that is sent out by the council. Basically all they are doing is slipping in under the insurance radar. The council doesn't care as long as the money comes in. I would doubt whether anyone from the council has ever attended an activity of the crew in the past 15 years. I know for a fact that they didn't for the first 12.

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One of the biggest problems with Venturing is that it competes with the high end Boy Scout program. 1) it draws the top leadership out of the troops because now they can have co-ed and 2) do many of the things Boy Scouts can't do. However, its basically a free-for-all program. The Venturing Crew I started has contact with the Council once a year when they recharter. That's it. They even throw away any and all information that is sent out by the council. Basically all they are doing is slipping in under the insurance radar. The council doesn't care as long as the money comes in. I would doubt whether anyone from the council has ever attended an activity of the crew in the past 15 years. I know for a fact that they didn't for the first 12.
Stosh,

I understand the potential to draw top leaders, and have heard earfuls from adults worrying about it. But, as a youth I was a top leader, and was not distracted by explorers. So I always took the fears of naysayers with a grain of salt.

Half of our troop's top youth leaders don't bother with our crew. The other half are in the crew AND lead the troop. Several of our events (backpacking, service projects) include the troop. Seeing other youth organize activities in our crew and other crews enabled our SPL's to put together more troop programs without adult meddling. It seems that our most active and responsible boys in the troop are our most active and responsible youth in the crew. Boys who quit the troop at some point never seem to join the crew. (Trust me, my boys tried to invite them.) So, I have not seen any leadership drain. We did lose boys whose parents were up in arms about our youth-led mindset -- probably included my refusal to fret over "first class first year." But again, none of those boys joined our crew.

 

The advisors in our venturing committee pushed to drop paper crews from the roster. At the very least I was seeing our registrar waste ink over these guys. At the worst, UC's were getting assigned to ghosts. At the very worst we were feeding our Crew president a bunch of useless names and #s. Anyway I suspect that some of our membership loss was from us "boots on the ground" insisting that our SE take the BS out of the BSA. To be honest, if your crew as not done anything public involving your VOA (or the scouts in your district if you don't have a VOA), then you don't deserve our coverage.

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"The council doesn't care as long as the money comes in."

And that's why there are crews focused on everything from role-playing games or anime, to what it's supposed to be: HA, Leadership, and "a chance to learn and grow in a supportive, caring, and fun environment."-"What Is Venturing" -scouting.org

:

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In late 2008, the economy collapsed. Venturing is a teenager program for high school and post high school age youth. The age group able to get a job if money is needed. The collapsing economy doesn't impact cubs much, it's a cheap after school activity. Parental second jobs can drain cub scouters but won't impact cubs as much... A month of cable costs about as much as a year of cub scouting. Boy scouting's core age is middle school and beginning of high school, when youth are still unlikely to be working. Bad economy might curtail troop activities a bit, but it's less costly. I think that a collapse starting in 2008 is far more likely a function of the economy, since venturing was growing until then, whole the collapse in cub/troop levels was longer and less likely to be cyclical.

 

From a marketing point of view it is generally more cost effective to upswell your existing customers than get new ones. Refocusing the troop on the middle school level where it is strongest and orienting venturing as a less all encompassing thing that a high schooler can do as a part time activity will help amongst suburban youth where BSA is strongest. I think that at the cub level, coed would help dramatically since parental involvement is much higher and families with multiple children likely have both genders. I know that my daughter aging into GSUSA has sucked time and resources into growing a second program. However that leaves a troop doughnut hole where coed would basically destroy the program as we know it. At every training session by wife attends she laughs about how often the leaders remind everyone that this is NOT BSA bit a different program, but GSUSA has almost no structure beyond cookie sales and the "journey books," which leaves parents to adopt BSA Structure because they have nothing else.

 

In a time where every family had a stay at home mom, this division worked fine, moms could work the cub program (with it's heavy parental involvement) for two years and finding a dad for Webelos (who evolves into an ASM) and the troop. With the rise of single parent homes, many of our units are dying for parental involvement and families with children of both genders find coed activities like karate and soccer easier to manage. We are having our GSUSA unit housed in the same building and sharing infrastructure as much as possible, and my wife is using BSA Youth Protection Training and This is Scouting for her parents because GSUSA has no equivalent programming. I believe is GSUSA adopting the name Girl Guiding in the US instead of Girl Scouting we'd have gone coed 10 years ago. I'm not advocating integrating the youth programming, btw, I'd want girl dens, patrols, and possibly a separate girl troop. I'd like a shared committee to oversee Pack, Troop, and Crew so families could actually volunteer in one place. I think that we'd see a growth at all levels because we could spread the parental roles more broadly.

 

But I think venturing is always going to be the most cyclical. When the economy is good, a Crew is a great past-time for youth with cool outdoor activities. When the economy is bad, those same "go-getters" that would be in the crew are likely to be working to save for college and/or help the family through rough patches.

 

I think BSA is trying to figure out a 21st Century program that works for modern families. My unit is almost all boys from intact homes. Most of the units in my area are NOT like this. The leaders are, but most of the boys that join cubs are there because their mom wants them to have a positive male role model in their life, and chafe at the need to volunteer. If you are a single mom with 2-3 children at home, it's much easier to try to get the ex-husband to pay for soccer than it is to volunteer every week, even if you think scouting would be better for them. My single moms with a boy or two (and no girls) love the program because they struggle with "boy stuff." The single moms with boys and girls like the program in concept, but are impossible to get to step up and volunteer. Parents that volunteer "GET" the program, reinforce it at home, and will have children that can Scout through Venturer. Parents that don't "GET" the program will migrate them to other programming before they are old enough to make their own decisions and choose. Perhaps Venturer can survive as "different enough" to grab lapsed Cub Scouts that want to get back involved in scouting as high schoolers (since no 14 year old is going to join Boy Scouts), but I think that the current market segment makes it a niche program instead of a core program, and BSA would like to make it part of the core.

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