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dhendron

Is BSA trying to kill Venturing?

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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.

"

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."

 

Yeah, this is our biggest problem in the unit. We're a niche group. Our core group is Sabbath observant Jews in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. We also get traditional Jews that aren't observant, but like their children's involvement in it. They live in mixed neighborhoods with schools with small Jewish populations, and they like their sons having other Jewish friends.

 

So for us, if we want youth programming for everyone, we should have a Pack, Troop, GSTroop, plus maybe a Crew? At the end of last year, we dwindled down to 12 Active Cubs and 6 Active Boys in our program. We're looking to rebuild numbers, but I don't see a scenario where our Pack grows beyond 30-35 and our Troop beyond 20-25, and that's BEST case scenario. With 18 Active male Youth (and some are from families with 2 boys in the program), to run BSA's program we need:

Scout Master

Assistant Scout Master

Troop Committee Chair

Cubmaster

Pack Committee Chair

Webelos Leader

Bear Leader

Wolf Leader

Tiger Leader

 

That's 9 required adult positions, 7 if you assume that the Pack Committee Chair and Cub Master are also Den Leaders (which they are in our unit). That's before filling a single committee role.

 

If you're one of our Mega Churches with 60+ Cubs and 100+ Boy Scouts, terrific, you can run separate committees for all levels. If you're a small unit like ours, you're killing us with paperwork.. and guess what, that paperwork takes away from time we could be spending actually running the program which would help us grow. The difference between us have 18 youth and 80 youth is quality of programming and recruiting, and letting us have more flexibility in administration would be dramatic.

 

BSA puts out GREAT program materials. It has a solid organization structure (compared to GSUSA's "do whatever you want") approach, but flexibility to administer the program. I'm sick of talking about gay scouts and gay leaders. 70% of the units are in religious institutions, please let us worry about "moral leaders" according to our religious guidance and get BSA back to creating more and better programming and raising corporate money for developing camp sites and district/council programming that make it easier on us to run great units.

 

That's what BSA does best.

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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

:

Don't disrespect the role-playing crews. One of my scouts fell in with a live-action role playing (LARP) group and is having a great time. (Theatre major, go figure.) The boy Eagled and aged out from our troop this year. Then when our Area Venturing Officers Association was having a "Knights of Independence" theme, a LARPing crew helped organize some camp-wide games.

 

It's not a problem if a crew's super-activities don't touch on HA. It is a problem if crews aren't gathering to mash-up ideas and activities. HA is fun. HA with swords and chainmail = ridiculous fun.

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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

:

I mean no disrespect but role-playing isn't exactly what scout crews are supposed to be about. I would love to go out and re-enact a medieval battle, but they shouldn't call themselves a BSA Venture Crew.

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The problem with venturing is that it's used as troop older scout program. The failing of troops to provide a good older scout program motivates the adults to start venturing crews as a way to keep the older scouts in the program. I think we found something like 1 out of 5 venturing crews survived more than three years. And that is a result of the adults who started the crew leaving. The crews that existed when I was in Explorers back in the 70s are still around because they aren't older scout troop programs. They have a program more focused to a theme like scuba, aviation, police, fire safety, and so on. Crews that are started from troops fail because their vision is short sighted ( if they even have a vision) and unorganized (just like their troop). I will agree that National is part of the problem because they switched from using Explorers as a career teaching purpose to using Venturing for reaching out to more youth. It really doesn't matter the theme, the success of a Crew depends on the long range vision (10 to 20 years down the road) and building consistent process plan that continually uses the activities of the theme toward the vision. Sailing isn't just about sailing, it's a constant theme of teaching skills to navigate a complicated vessel to specific destinations. As the crew members get better at their sailing skills, they are encouraged to plan future activities and lead teams to accomplish the goals. Our troop had the largest number of scouts 14 and older of any unit in the council. As a result we were constantly being hit on by the DE to start a venturing crew. I took every opportunity to school council to why our troop program was a success and their Venturing program was not. but I could see they were only acting on higher direction, and ignorance. Successful Crews generally have a sponsor that is well experienced in the theme. Then the passion for activities and growth remain consistent over time even as leadership passes on. I don't think Crews pull away youth leaders from troops unless the troops don't have a satisfying older scout program. We had several scouts in our troop that were also active in different Crews. We looked at it as more outside activities like OA for the boys to enjoy their journey in scouts.

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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

:

441,

 

Actually Venturing Crews can be anything they want, they do not need to have the "Outing" that Scouting does. After all "OUTING is three-fourths of ScOUTING" Stick Out Tongue :p

 

So a RPG crew is 110% OK. A youth ministries crew is OK, heck the then national director told a bunch of us new DEs that going to local churches to convert their youth groups to Venturing crews would be an excellent way to promote the program and be a win-win situation for both.

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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

:

"... They shouldn't call themselves a BSA Venture Crew ..."

They don't. The call themselves Venturing crews!!! ;)

 

Look, I am constantly talking my crew down off of that soapbox. Just because we'd rather hike a few miles into camp, dig our own latrines, maybe set up a tent, then drop off cliffs or shoot trap the next day, doesn't mean we can't benefit from crews with other emphases. When dozens of crews gather for an Area Summit, there's lots to do. Sure, my youth will have a warm fire in some clearing -- rain or snow, but ...

 

Who's gonna decorate the dining hall for the dance the next evening?

Who's procuring a barge so we can have a cruise on the river?

Who's organizing morning worship?

Who's throwing out the first pitch at the baseball game?

 

Doncha think that some of those crews have something to add to your weekend, thanks to dedicating their time to arts and hobbies, sports, youth ministry, and seafaring.

 

And E92, it's only a win-win if all of those diverse crews are engaging somehow. You DEs threw out some pretty big carrots, but no sticks. Y'all said "come take advantage of our sweet insurance package and try out our council camps for your retreats." What you didn't say was "In return we expect your top youth to work our other crews' top youth."

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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

:

"Who's gonna decorate the dining hall for the dance the next evening?

Who's procuring a barge so we can have a cruise on the river?

Who's organizing morning worship?

Who's throwing out the first pitch at the baseball game?"

Boy Scouts have no problem finding people to organize morning worship or organize activities for that camporee, the point is they don't need entire troops dedicated to just activities/games or ministries in order to get these things done, why can't Venturing do the same thing?

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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 don't Venturers do the same thing at Boy Scout Troops? Easy. Boy Scouts and Venturing ages overlap. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts ages don't. All groups have membership declines, but Venturing pulls members from Boy Scouts during a key age. Boy Scouts has already had an older-boy problem. Now ya want to pull them into a separate program? Ya know ... it's a bad design. BSA shoots itself in the foot. A program redesign needs to be done. I'm not sure what, but things are broken now and need to be fixed.

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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

:

Qwazse,

 

I agree to a point. Some DEs did talk out the entire process and expectations to make sure folks knew what they were getting into. Heck prior to being a DE, I had one group of folks interested in getting a crew started out of my university's outdoor club. They were all for it until the no youth and adults dating thing became known. So not all DEs are like how you described.

 

BUT as I mentioned in another thread, I know of DE's, one in particular who should have known better and she presented part of the training on Venturing at the "ALL HANDS" Conference in 1998 comes immediately to mind, who when it comes to Venturing know squat. And yes they do their talking points and freeze. Kinda helped that I was a Sea Explorer and an AA with a post.

 

441,

 

Venturing is a completely different animal than Boy Scouts, just like Cub Scouts is completely different than Boy Scouts. It has some elements of Exploring becasue it did split from Exploring. Hence the specialization.

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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

:

"Venturing is a completely different animal than Boy Scouts, just like Cub Scouts is completely different than Boy Scouts. It has some elements of Exploring becasue it did split from Exploring. Hence the specialization."

"dedicating their time to arts and hobbies, sports, youth ministry, and seafaring."

1. We already have sports focused BSA units, they're called Varsity Scouts. 2. We already have seafaring BSA units, they're called Sea Scouts.

3. We already have youth ministry groups, they're called church youth groups. No art and hobby groups come to mind but I'm sure there are a few out there. If the BSA wants to have units focused on these things than by all means go right ahead, but don't give them all the same title. Explorers are career based and that's it. Why are Venturing Crews 5 different things?

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The problem with venturing is that it's used as troop older scout program. The failing of troops to provide a good older scout program motivates the adults to start venturing crews as a way to keep the older scouts in the program. I think we found something like 1 out of 5 venturing crews survived more than three years. And that is a result of the adults who started the crew leaving. The crews that existed when I was in Explorers back in the 70s are still around because they aren't older scout troop programs. They have a program more focused to a theme like scuba, aviation, police, fire safety, and so on. Crews that are started from troops fail because their vision is short sighted ( if they even have a vision) and unorganized (just like their troop). I will agree that National is part of the problem because they switched from using Explorers as a career teaching purpose to using Venturing for reaching out to more youth. It really doesn't matter the theme, the success of a Crew depends on the long range vision (10 to 20 years down the road) and building consistent process plan that continually uses the activities of the theme toward the vision. Sailing isn't just about sailing, it's a constant theme of teaching skills to navigate a complicated vessel to specific destinations. As the crew members get better at their sailing skills, they are encouraged to plan future activities and lead teams to accomplish the goals. Our troop had the largest number of scouts 14 and older of any unit in the council. As a result we were constantly being hit on by the DE to start a venturing crew. I took every opportunity to school council to why our troop program was a success and their Venturing program was not. but I could see they were only acting on higher direction, and ignorance. Successful Crews generally have a sponsor that is well experienced in the theme. Then the passion for activities and growth remain consistent over time even as leadership passes on. I don't think Crews pull away youth leaders from troops unless the troops don't have a satisfying older scout program. We had several scouts in our troop that were also active in different Crews. We looked at it as more outside activities like OA for the boys to enjoy their journey in scouts.
"The failing of troops to provide a good older scout program motivates the adults to start venturing crews as a way to keep the older scouts in the program. "

 

Our crew started for the opposite reason. The troop was providing a good older scout program. Then Son #1 and his thirteen y.o. buddies go blabbing at school about what a great time they were going to have at Seabase in a couple of years. The girl scouts at the table wanted in on the gig. The only way it was possible was if they went with a crew. The youth discovered they liked working together, and it kept going.

 

It was the youth who kept me in the game. If a DE said my CO "needed" a crew, we would have brushed him off just like you did. If the young women in your community aren't asking for this sort of thing your troop is doing, it is definitely not worth the effort to pull one of your scouters off a troop or a pack to start a crew. I've met a couple of SMs who gave up doubling as Advisor, because the only person who told him there was a need was some pro. (Note to DEs: if all you are is about this year's numbers keep nudging SMs to burnout. If you really care about the long-term venturing program, cut the crap.)

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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

:

E92, you do know that I did not intend to pick on you personally? Of course every DE is different, and some can sift through the smoke because they've experience scouting on most of its many levels.

 

E441, to your points:

1. Varisty: no women. Typically in our area, the sports crews are ski clubs or specialty sports.

2. Sea scouts: they would be who I would send my crew to call if they wanted a barge. They would come to my venturers if they want to backpack. My point exactly.

3. Not sure what happens in your neck of the woods, but I know of no church youth group that is truly youth led. I have Jewish friends whose kids go through personal growth programs that challenge them like the Religious Bronze award or Trust Award. Christian kids who go through same thing are strikingly few. Simply put, youth groups may be ministering to youth, but they are often not "youth getting ministry done." Venturing offers youth leaders the opportunity to guide kids in doing just that.

4. Hobbies: oh let's see we have some bag-pipers, two of whom earned BSA medals of honor. I told you about the LARPers. There are reinacters. Shooting sports crews. (Yes, when all they do is discharge firearms, that's a hobby, or an art, or a sport. Thanks for the range saftey officers, but your sharp aim doesn't make one High Adventure).

 

Venturing gives them a "big tent" where they can share their talents to make a better community and grow up to be thoughtful and caring adults. Once you are in it, you will begin to appreciate it more.

 

Besides, if we extended your argument downward, maybe we should get rid of about 100 merit badges. Especially those STEM ones. What's a boy scout need to bother with programming languages anyway?

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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.
One would think that the same goals could be accomplished with a Venture Patrol within the troop. I just don't understand the whole Venturing process relative to the Scouting process. I worked with a lot of Explorer posts and Venturing crews and found the most successful, smoothest run are those that are independent and focused on their program rather than relationships to other units. One cannot be the servant of two masters, it'll catch up to the boys sooner or later. Even the non-scout members of the crew, i.e. the gals!, will eventually ask the question, why do we always have to check with the troop before we plan an activity? An independent crew will never have to address that issue.

 

Stosh

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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.
By the way qwazse, that's why I walked away from the crew a few years back. The adult leadership is thin, the committee may or may not be paper only, and yet they have a few hanger-ons for boys. Even though it has survived for 13+ years, it's existence has always been tenuous at best. I had an opportunity to move up from ASM in one troop to become SM of another and needed to drop CA. It was time, I was having trouble accepting the YPT rule bending they had started doing. I now spend my time focused on starting a new unit in my old neighborhood. We're holding a chartering meeting right after Labor Day. :)

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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.
All the best with the new charter!

 

"Even the non-scout members of the crew, i.e. the gals!, will eventually ask the question, why do we always have to check with the troop before we plan an activity?"

 

Yep. After a year of trying to work around each others' schedules, the SM and I looked at each other and concluded "This is ridiculous!" There would always be postponements that would cause our schedules to overlap anyway. When that happened the kids sorted it out. THEY made sure the necessary leadership was divided appropriately. (More often than not, the SPL and PL's would stick with the troop.) The youth seem to have a really good sense about when to share an activity, and when each unit should go their own way. So the SPL and Crew President are to encouraged to compare notes. When they don't, they stay separate; when they do, they coordinate. I think that little bit of independence made us run smoother.

 

There seem to be enough adults willing to support both programs. The current SM wants to stay in his position for a while, CA suits me, and the boys seem to be taking the lead as well as always. We're two units (three if you include the pack) who happen to help each other from time to time.

 

Would venture patrols serve the same purpose? If BSA were co-ed, probably.

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