Jump to content
walk in the woods

2017 Report to the Nation-Membership

Recommended Posts

4 hours ago, qwazse said:

Successful venturing? Let me describe that. It occurrs when:

Youth fulfill the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with their mates.

The tour plan debacle is a perfect counter-example. When they worked best was when they were paper/pdf, and I could give them to my crew president or troop SPL and say, for a given activity, "Fill this out and bring it to me for review and signature." Not even a few years into this routine  the TP went online and only unit leaders could access it! What's the point of making me check all of those boxes? I know what it takes to scout safely! It's my youth who need to put things together. They need to call council HQ and ask for facility availability. They need to come up with a good plan and make it work and invite me to show up (preferably in time for dinner).

You don't have to be in venturing to have experienced BSA's profound mistrust of local youth leadership. We cite examples constantly. Undarstand that each restriction is an insult makes the program less palatable for older youth.

Successful venturing? It is when some 18 year olds come up with a plan for the weekend that is so good that you can throw them the keys to the van and say, "Check fluids before you go. Come back with a full tank. You have my number."

Successful venturing? That's precisely what BSA has banned. Venturers now succeed when they embrace life outside of BSA's auspices.

This!!!      

Some of the best ventures I ever saw dropped out when they hit the 18-19 mark.    Why?   In their words   

"  We have the skills to go hiking, camping, fishing on our own.  We have our own gear, our own cars,  some money.   We are mostly Eagles so we don't care about more bling on our shirts. No one knows what they are anyway.  We just want to hang out with our buds around a campfire, maybe enjoy a beer or two.  We just don't need/want all of those silly restrictions that come with Scouting"

 

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

This!!!      

Some of the best ventures I ever saw dropped out when they hit the 18-19 mark.    Why?   In their words   

"  We have the skills to go hiking, camping, fishing on our own.  We have our own gear, our own cars,  some money.   We are mostly Eagles so we don't care about more bling on our shirts. No one knows what they are anyway.  We just want to hang out with our buds around a campfire, maybe enjoy a beer or two.  We just don't need/want all of those silly restrictions that come with Scouting"

The reality is that in today's hyper-litigious society, an organization would be nuts to sponsor youth-only activities without adult supervision, despite written warnings to parents about the potential for injury or death and written agreements by parents not to blame the organization should any such thing occur.  Insurance costs would be huge.  Many parents would simply keep their kids away from an organization with those kinds of activities.  The ones who did allow their kids to sign up would be screaming at the slightest injury and pulling their kids out.  Any significant injury would require the organization to compensate the "victim" via a settlement or risk a lawsuit.  Gone are the days when parents accepted the risk of injuries to their children in exchange for the benefits of a program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, qwazse said:

@ParkMan, I love my execs too, but when they waste time at roundtable declaring absurdities like we should file a tour permit for every time a unit meets beyon the walls of its CO, and force me to waste my time countering (for the sake of all scouters in the room) that there was no way I was filing TP for every time my crew meets at a coffee shop, I conclude that they are here to preserve their jobs by parroting their superiors not support my efforts. Volunteers aren't dropping the ball, the ball is inflated to the point that volunteers can't get their arms around it.

The TP craze has gone by the wayside ... but it was one example of how BSA wasted all of our time over the past decade.

Yes - I get your point.  I don't mind a simple log of camping trips out of council, in certain high risk situations, etc.  But, a TP for a change of meeting venue is ridiculous.

The BSA is known to be very autocratic.  Do what your boss says or else.  It does lead to some of the problems we have.  This is yet another reason why it's important to have strong volunteers.  As a district volunteer I have no problem interacting with the professionals as colleagues - including the SE.  I love hearing their ideas and welcome their contributions.  They have a ton of wisdom to share.  But, I don't work for the SE or the BSA - so I can make an independent decision without fear of my job.  That's a good thing for an organization that is 99% volunteer driven.

I'd love to hope that the BSA in this re-org process will rethink it's HR practices.

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, ParkMan said:

By execs I presume you mean professionals...  I groan thinking about how much we care what they think.  I love my professional colleagues and value them immensely, but they are here to support the volunteer efforts.  That we defer to them is fundamentally wrong.  We volunteers are dropping the ball.

As it relates to Venturing, I think many pros are dropping the ball.  Quite often they are not creating the environment, or providing the resources needed, for the program to get a start in the community, much less thrive.

I'm not so much concerned about what the pros think as the fact that their priorities are usually quite different from the units they are supposed to serve.

Edited by desertrat77

Share this post


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

Successful venturing? Let me describe that. It occurrs when:

Youth fulfill the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with their mates.

In a nationwide program how do you define that beyond it's most general application?  How do you build a program around that?

4 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:
  1. As the first Venturer handbook shows, it was originally intended that Venturing crews structure their programs around the Venturing award requirements:  Bronze (with its five specialty areas), Gold, Silver, and Ranger (the highest specialty award, later joined by a couple of other specialty awards).  The awards program was leadership- and individual achievement-oriented, similar to Star/Life/Eagle advancement in Boy Scouts.  Surprise!  A high percentage of crews largely ignored the awards program.  With youth not earning awards, BSA had nothing to count, and so no statistics to show how successful Venturing was at developing youth into leaders.
  2. Even if crews had cooperated with that awards-based program, no one understood how Venturing was supposed to fit together with Boy Scouting or whether there was supposed to be some sort of natural transition to Venturing.  BSA was encouraging troops to form crews, and had rules about continuing Boy Scout ranks in Venturing (except for female youth, of course), but a lot of troops didn't want to lose their older Scouts to Venturing.  Also confusing, Boy Scouts had "Venture Crew" program within troops (renamed to Venture Patrols) that shared an awards program with the separate-unit Varsity Scouting program.
  3. With Venturing, BSA had five programs for high school-age youth:  Boy Scouts (boy only); Varsity Scouts (boys only), Sea Scouts (co-ed), Venturing (co-ed), and Exploring (co-ed) (transferred to the fully-inclusive Learning for Life BSA subsidiary, but still supported by councils).
  4. The average lifespan of Venturing crews was about two years. 

To me this is a good example of the BSA's problem with programming.  We have defined what it is - but not the point.  Lots of steps and hoops - but why?  There's substance without context or purpose.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

As it relates to Venturing, I think many pros are dropping the ball.  Quite often they are not creating the environment for the program, or providing the resources needed, to get a start in the community, much less thrive.

I'm not so much concerned about what the pros think as the fact that their priorities are usually quite different from the units they are supposed to serve.

I'm not really beating up on professionals.  I do believe that volunteers can run a great program and provide resources far beyond what a professional staff could ever do economically.  Yet - I see a role for some professional support in Scouting.  

Where I think this gets messed up is that the volunteer/professional relationship is confused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

In a nationwide program how do you define that beyond it's most general application?  How do you build a program around that?

Not trying to steal @qwazse's thunder (as I'm looking forward to his thoughts on this), but I'd like to lend my two cents....

" Youth fulfill the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with their mates."

@qwazse's quote above is the program. 

Venturing is designed for independent, spirited scouts.  Their adventures are youth-led to the extent that the rules allow.   Advisors must be adventure minded, allow the youth to led and yet keep the program within bounds without dampening motivation.

Simple and complex at the same time.   When it works, it is scouting at its very best.

Unfortunately, the BSA has been overcome by red tape and data chasing over the last couple decades.  The fact that Crew 123 went on a three-day backtracking trip--scout planned and executed--does not satisfy anyone but the crew (and that's okay by me!).

BSA:  "how many badges did they earn?  Did anyone advance to the next rank?  FOS?  Popcorn?  Council camp attendance?  All zeroes?  well...I guess Crew 123 is not doing well."

Actually, quite the opposite.

Edited by desertrat77

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

The reality is that in today's hyper-litigious society, an organization would be nuts to sponsor youth-only activities without adult supervision, despite written warnings to parents about the potential for injury or death and written agreements by parents not to blame the organization should any such thing occur.  Insurance costs would be huge.  Many parents would simply keep their kids away from an organization with those kinds of activities.  The ones who did allow their kids to sign up would be screaming at the slightest injury and pulling their kids out.  Any significant injury would require the organization to compensate the "victim" via a settlement or risk a lawsuit.  Gone are the days when parents accepted the risk of injuries to their children in exchange for the benefits of a program.

Yeah I know.  The society has changed,  much as I long for the old days, I don't think they are coming back anytime soon.    I wasn't trying to introduce a new program,   just pointing out the reasons the young men gave for leaving.   

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

Gone are the days when parents accepted the risk of injuries to their children in exchange for the benefits of a program

Nah.  18 year olds join the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force everyday.  Lots of parents accept the risk of injury or death in exchange for "program."  Courageous parents very well understand train them, trust them, let them lead.

Adventurous young adults leave our programs because they are, and this is a word youth have used in my presence, lame.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the problems with venturing is so much external forces (council, red tape,...) as it is internal. There's a lack of leadership development for one. It's assumed the scout program does that but that's becoming more questionable for multiple reasons. There's also a lack of a pipeline for new youth and new adults. Cubs has elementary schools. Scouts has Cubs. Venturing has bored scouts that likely don't have leadership skills. For adults it's worse. Most 14 year old scouts are happy without parents around, so the parents don't get involved. Makes sense until the adult leadership looks in the mirror one day and decides they're getting too old.

I'd rather see venturing and Sea scouts blended into scouting, but that's another topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll ask it:  With young women in ScoutsBSA and the Order of the Arrow, is there any role for Venturing?  Any need for Venturing?  Is there anything in the Venturing program not already available in ScoutsBSA?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

Any need for Venturing?  Is there anything in the Venturing program not already available in ScoutsBSA?

I am more familiar with Scouts than Venturing, but I think these are some differences:

Scouts BSA:  single gender troops.     Venturing:  Coed

Scouts BSA:  wears uniforms.                Venturing:  uniform is optional

Scouts BSA:   patrol method including patrol names,  flags,  yells         Venturing:   doesn't have this

Scouts BSA:  very structure rank advancment program                Venturing:   advancment seems not to be a big deal

If you have a scout who (a) wants to be in a fully coed group (b) despises the unifrom  (c) cannot stand rah rah of patrol spirit items  and (d) would rather be able to ignore the old-fashioned stuff in the rank advancment program  ---  then maybe that scout would be a happier fit as a Venturer.     Especially if said scout loves backpacking, canoeing, etc, etc.

Share this post


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

I'll ask it:  With young women in ScoutsBSA and the Order of the Arrow, is there any role for Venturing?  Any need for Venturing?  Is there anything in the Venturing program not already available in ScoutsBSA?

I am a Skipper for a Sea Scout Ship and also a leader in a Venture crew.  Scouts BSA is much different from Venturing and Sea Scouting.  The older programs are much more youth led and they go until their 21st birthday.  They focus on high adventure activities and work extremely well in teams because they are more mature.  They also are truly co-ed rather than segregated like in Scouts BSA.  They are truly great programs that are radically different than Scouts BSA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

I'll ask it:  With young women in ScoutsBSA and the Order of the Arrow, is there any role for Venturing?  Any need for Venturing?  Is there anything in the Venturing program not already available in ScoutsBSA?

I've argued before that Scouts BSA should be the Jr. High program focused exclusively on T21 skills.  Move Star, Life Eagle into Venturing as the advancement/recognition track along with all merit badges.  Make service to a troop as a TG or SPL part of advancement/recognition for the youth that care to pursue Eagle.  Doing this would eliminate merit badge mill summer camps letting them focus on patrol method activities (e.g. patrols sign up for daily activities at camp and participate as patrols). It would also allow youth to master T21 skills.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

I am a Skipper for a Sea Scout Ship and also a leader in a Venture crew.  Scouts BSA is much different from Venturing and Sea Scouting.  The older programs are much more youth led and they go until their 21st birthday.  They focus on high adventure activities and work extremely well in teams because they are more mature.  They also are truly co-ed rather than segregated like in Scouts BSA.  They are truly great programs that are radically different than Scouts BSA.

If I recall, the Sea Scout program is advancement-oriented, skills-oriented, and outdoor adventure-oriented, isn't it?  But in Venturing, using the Venturing awards program is an individual and crew choice, and the type of crew activities are pretty much up to the crew, so Venturing isn't necessarily high adventure -- is that correct?

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

×
×
  • Create New...