Jump to content
EmberMike

Sunday Morning segment on the BSA

Recommended Posts

5 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Venturing is easily the most underutilized asset of the BSA. It's comical how forgotten is seems by national. 

 

In my honest opinion, I wish they would drop all this STEM/Learning for Life nonsense and refocus all those efforts on building up Venturing.

I’ve had a few conversations with various leaders from council and the opinion that was shared is that Venturing is their weakest program... lowest numbers and highest attrition rate.  Some leaders from council speculated that Nationals would make Venturing the program for girls (expand the age range to 10 and use the Boy Scout rank advancement).  I’m not sure it is headed that way, but it seems from my council that they do not plan on investing much time or effort in the program.  

I’m fine with Scoutreach but I don’t see STEM or Learning for Life as core to the BSA.  Venturing seems much more core to our mission and could see significant involvement if we advertised more. Based on what I have been hearing, I don’t believe that is the opinion of leadership.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:

Is that what he meant or did he mean Scoutreach?  I know our council spends a lot of time on both L4L and Scoutreach vs Venturing.

Assumed since it was noted schools, that mean Learning for Life, but I stand to be corrected

The "Learning for Life" and "Scoutreach" seem to serve the same populations but (from what I can read) in different ways

LFL - Learning for Life (LFL) is a United States school and work-site based youth program that is an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America. It utilizes programs designed for schools and community-based organizations that are designed to prepare youth for the complexities of contemporary society and to enhance their self-confidence, motivation, and self-esteem, and for careers.

Learning for Life is not considered a traditional Scouting program; it does not use the Scout Promise, Scout Law, uniforms or insignia of traditional Scouting. All Learning for Life programs are open to youth and adults without restriction based on gender, residence, religion, sexual orientation, or other considerations, other than minimum age requirements. Some Explorer posts may require background checks and satisfactory school transcripts as conditions of membership.

Scoutreach is a division within the Council with an emphasis to recruit passionate adult leaders and to develop strong relationships with organization in urban, suburban, and rural areas, removing barriers to ensure that all youth have the opportunity to join Scouting. The Council is dedicated to ensure that every child has an opportunity to join Scouting, no matter their circumstance. Scoutreach assistance can provide camperships, uniforms, handbooks, transportation, and leadership of a Scout unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I’ve had a few conversations with various leaders from council and the opinion that was shared is that Venturing is their weakest program... lowest numbers and highest attrition rate.  Some leaders from council speculated that Nationals would make Venturing the program for girls (expand the age range to 10 and use the Boy Scout rank advancement).  I’m not sure it is headed that way, but it seems from my council that they do not plan on investing much time or effort in the program.  

I’m fine with Scoutreach but I don’t see STEM or Learning for Life as core to the BSA.  Venturing seems much more core to our mission and could see significant involvement if we advertised more. Based on what I have been hearing, I don’t believe that is the opinion of leadership.

Venture Crews are simply unsustainable. The trend I saw in my old council was that a lot of crews started up to go on a high adventure, but then crashed and burned after. I think the lack of council/national programing and "individuality" is killing it. Getting rid of the Venture promise, sign, and salute in favor of the BSA standard ones was the wrong move. The current award are seen as comical by current venturers. I think the old system of the brone/gold/silver was much better, just needed a little tweaking. TBH, the most successful crews were the ones the had the most Gung-Ho women in them. 

Scoutreach is good in theory, but oh my lord is it ever abused by Professionals for membership numbers. It's embarrassing 

Edited by carebear3895

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the day, my council didn't have LFL units, they had "In School Scouting Units."(ISSU). I got in a bit of trouble for turning some of those "ISSU" to LFL groups. Sarcastically some of my peers dubbed them "Traditional For Life" and "Learning for Traditional" units, and there was some challenges. After the reprimand, I "dropped"  four of those units. They miraculously reappeared after I quit.

As for Venturing and Awards, advancement was never meant to be a method in Venturing. They were meant to be recognition for folks interested in them.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

As for Venturing and Awards, advancement was never meant to be a method in Venturing. They were meant to be recognition for folks interested in them.

 

 

 

Agreed, but I think they are vital for retention purposes. Anybody can plan a trip with their buddies, the awards and uniforming help make Venturing attractive

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Venture Crews are simply unsustainable. The trend I saw in my old council was that a lot of crews started up to go on a high adventure, but then crashed and burned after

I led what I guess would have been a precursor to Venturing which was a High Adventure Explorer post in the 80's.  Had some guys from the troop, then a few sisters, and BAM we had a post.  Ran it for 3 years or so.  Hard part was over 21 females, burned through a few girlfriends dragging them on outings.  Then the ones that started with it become HS Seniors or graduated and drifted away, then we tried recruiting some, and it sort of faded away.  Tough to sustain without a good feeder program (Cubs to Scouts).

15 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Scoutreach is good in theory, but oh my lord is it ever abused by Professionals for membership numbers. It's embarrassing 

That is soooo true.  When there are serious audits on membership numbers for LFL and Scoutreach it is comical (in a really sad way).  Yes it can and should be a good program and the councils get a feel good see what we are doing moment.  The best is when professionals who are supposed to be working with the units have no idea where the unit may actually meet.  Members who have no idea they are members.

Edited by Jameson76

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think venturing is the canary in the coal mine for boy scouts. Venturing has it much tougher than scouts. The 14 age limit is hard because kids have a harder time making friends after that age, most girls that join don't have outdoor experience, and worst of all, that's the age where kids start pulling away from their parents. The result is parents are less involved and nobody is around to pass it on to. SMs pass a troop onto the next SM. I never see a crew advisor pass things on to another. It's also hard to recruit because the age is past where a group of kids will easily join. The result is that crews fail, just like girl scout troops, after the adult that started it is done. This is because the adult is typically the real leader. They aren't the advisor.

This would all not be an issue if the kids that joined venturing had good leadership skills and they could sustain it. Or maybe even if venturing had a good method of teaching leadership it could work. Let's just assume the BSA really worked on that and got it going. It would also do a ton of good for the boy scout program. The problem is the boy scout program can run with adult leadership. It may not be great but it is sustainable.

Last week I was visiting another troop and they also have a crew. I watched that meeting and it is exactly what I described. The adult was running everything. There was zero indication of youth leadership. There was only one adult. It will collapse. My daughter wanted to join a crew years ago, the adults wouldn't let her lead, she walked. After years of the same couple of adults leading they finally folded.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Back in the day, my council didn't have LFL units, they had "In School Scouting Units."(ISSU). I got in a bit of trouble for turning some of those "ISSU" to LFL groups. Sarcastically some of my peers dubbed them "Traditional For Life" and "Learning for Traditional" units, and there was some challenges. After the reprimand, I "dropped"  four of those units. They miraculously reappeared after I quit.

I didn't realize there was a difference.  I thought LFL consisted of in-school Scouting and Exploring.  No?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, MattR said:

I think venturing is the canary in the coal mine for boy scouts. ...

This would all not be an issue if the kids that joined venturing had good leadership skills and they could sustain it. Or maybe even if venturing had a good method of teaching leadership it could work. ..

This ^^^

The method in Venturing is not Leadership Development, rather, it is Leadership. (The equivalent of "Don't try, do.") The working assumption is that from age 11-13, youth have been picking up skills from different spheres of life, and the Crew becomes a crucible where youth can leverage what they've developed, learn from one another, and grow. So, when those freshmen come together with some of them having picked up just enough of a "take care of your mates" mentality, and I suggest "To achieve X, Y must occur by Z date,"  they step up and begin to soar. It really is something to behold.

When that leadership development hasn't been happening ... or when your natural leaders break bad ... collapse is imminent. Also something to behold.:( And, if I knew how to stop that train wreck, I'd write a book on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can still remember my disappointment when they changed the Explorer program and took away advancement.  I had just began work on the first rating for bronze when we moved to the desert.  There was no post initially and the new program was being implemented with the loss of the awards.  Once we started a post, it was of course under the new requirements and never really took off very well.  I still feel that taking the 50's Explorer ranks away was another poor decision.  They could have kept them and still done many of the other changes, including the coed stuff that started then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

I didn't realize there was a difference.  I thought LFL consisted of in-school Scouting and Exploring.  No?

You are correct. For reasons I can only assume, my council did not convert the ISSUs into LFL groups. I lost about 10# in the butt chewing I got from my boss when I turned in LFL paperwork instead of traditional recharters.

Edited by Eagle94-A1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, qwazse said:

if I knew how to stop that train wreck, I'd write a book on it.

Exactly the book I'd like the BSA to work on. It would help all their programs. It's what I wanted from Woodbadge. I'm experimenting but I think one really important key to getting good leadership is a group that understands, really understands, teamwork. I'm not talking about kindergarten level play fair. It's prove you can do your part before we even let you camp with us. The BSA model has always been to first develop leadership and then teamwork will follow. I think it's the other way around for scouts. Given that environment I think the natural leaders would easily come out of their shells.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was an SA twenty-five years with the same troop.  The districts had their moments, and they had periods of dysfunction.  The council was largely dysfunctional for all twenty-five years and it remains so.  The dysfunction at those levels was irrelevant to the troop's program.  We had forty to seventy Scouts involved in an active program of Boy Scouting - tenting every month, sun, rain or snow.   We did our own summer camp more years than not because the PLC decided we did a better job overall than any of the many council camps we sampled, and we did.   After all, the troop was a going concern for four years before BSA arrived in the area, as the troop in which I was a Scout was a going concern sixteen years before BSA arrived in that area.  The old, superior literature and ideas are still easily available.  Who do you want as Wilderness Survival "counselor," a sixteen year-old who only "knows" what's in the pathetic BSA pamphlet or the assistant course director of a U.S. Army Ranger survival course?  "Many times "Teacher of the Year" biology teacher or another kid with a pamphlet who could not ID a Barred Owl when it was siting on a branch twenty feet away in plain sight?

Units, given the right leadership, don't need district or council.  Few units have that leadership, and council, through its districts, is supposed to train the adults and the leaders. When council fails?   Our troop did leader training when BSA basically abandoned it, other than the week-long variety few attend - in 1971.  (Still waiting for the "new" JLOW syllabus?  No.  Why wait? We have a volunteer in the council who has prepared a unique SM Basic syllabus, and that is what we have been using for several years.  The trainees love it - don't want to leave after the closing ceremony.  The clueless council Training chairman has no idea.  

In my life, I have lived trough the regimes of a number of useless political office-holders.  I distinguish living my life and doing the best I can from what is going in in city hall, the state house, and the cesspool on the Potomic.  If a Soviet officer could save German children in Berlin as it fell in April, 1945, what really stops you - now -  from doing good in Scouting now?

I have fifty years in Scouting June 8th.  In all that time, program has never been B.S.A.'s top priority, as it says it is.  So what?  The change I see is fewer dedicated volunteers.

We are not prevented from doing our best in the vast majority of cases in Scouting despite what goes on at the district, council, or National.  They an make our Scouting lives easier or harder but it can only stop you, 99% of the time, if you allow it.  

So we have some more female kids going to be in the program- not after over forty years of having some in the program.  

Want to keep bemoaning? See ?  It's the words smallest violin playing "Woe is you."

The council to my south offers all the old training, and the new, as the "University of Scouting."  Anyone close to Akron want to help us?

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Yes Yes - Learning for Life Scouts.  A program with great intentions and really can fit a need.  That being said, it is rife with potential for abuse and membership shenanigans.  These Scouts are 14% of the membership total for BSA (2016 numbers).  The councils and nationals solicit monies for their membership, so in many cases no real cost to the participants.  They may not even know they are involved in Scouts. 

Actually in some cases they did not know because the groups never met and were paper only units.

 

6 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

Is that what he meant or did he mean Scoutreach?  I know our council spends a lot of time on both L4L and Scoutreach vs Venturing.

No, I meant Boy Scouts..... Regular old Boy Scout Troop stuff..... so much classroom type stuff happens and so little adventure.

I meant that what I know about venturing.... youth led groups doing fun stuff.....is what a regular troop SHOULD (IMHO) be doing....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎2‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 11:44 AM, MattR said:

I think venturing is the canary in the coal mine for boy scouts. Venturing has it much tougher than scouts. The 14 age limit is hard because kids have a harder time making friends after that age, most girls that join don't have outdoor experience, and worst of all, that's the age where kids start pulling away from their parents. The result is parents are less involved and nobody is around to pass it on to. SMs pass a troop onto the next SM. I never see a crew advisor pass things on to another. It's also hard to recruit because the age is past where a group of kids will easily join. The result is that crews fail, just like girl scout troops, after the adult that started it is done. This is because the adult is typically the real leader. They aren't the advisor.

I would also think trying to retain youth once they reach the age of 18 would be tough.  Too many go away to college or university, and even if they're still living in the area where the crew is established, school commitments may keep young adults from being able to really participate fully. 

Still, we're going to give it a go for my daughter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×