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2017 Report to the Nation-Membership

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9 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, ...

Just because tort is not kind to successful venturing, the objective definition of the term will remain unchanged. There are some young adults willing to wait until they are 21 to fulfill that vision. I wasn't one of them.

Defensive venturing  = narrowed niche.

One other factor: many older youth are paying for their own activities. Registration now costs roughly the equivalent of three large pizzas.

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2 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

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?

Both programs have advancement, called awards in Venturing (bad choice of words IMHO).  Sea Scouts are a bit more focused as doing things on the water like (sailing, motorboating, kayaking, windsurfing, whitewater rafting...) but they also do camping, Philmont, Northern Tier....Venturers tend to do more land based high adventure.  Both groups can choose what they would like to do.  Our Ship does a lot with our Crew together.

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All, as @desertrat77, expounded, I use "hiking and camping" metaphorically for older youth. The hike could be a trip to a theatre, and the campout could be night shift as an EMT. My job as an advisor is to help the venturer to find the door. It's on her to turn knob and walk through it.

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Why make these programs different? I have never understood that as it just seems confining.

Why not have more opportunities within scouts for adventure or just organizing fun with your friends as soon as you turn 14? Eagle track, adventure track, service, environment, a mix, let the scout(s) decide. Make it an expectation. When you get old enough you have a responsibility. Make that the vision and maybe scouts would start practicing more leadership.

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7 hours ago, Treflienne said:

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.

 

5 hours ago, mashmaster said:

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 Venturing -- fully co-ed, uniforms optional, no patrols, no ranks, awards optional -- is a program that has real value and is a great alternative to ScoutsBSA, why not make it available to younger boys and girls, as an alternative to ScoutsBSA starting right after Cub Scouts?  Have an age-appropriate Junior Venturing program that takes the youth through 8th grade, then they graduate into the high school-and-beyond Venturing program. By stripping away many of the complicated features of ScoutsBSA, Venturing gets down to the essence of Scouting:  planning and doing things that require learning skills, and growing through failure and success. As @desertrat77 stated, "Simple and complex at the same time.   When it works, it is scouting at its very best."  And because Venturing does not use rank advancement but instead is built around planning and carrying out adventures, it is ideal for recruiting youth of any age because no member is ever "behind" his or her peers.

 

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8 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

If Venturing -- fully co-ed, uniforms optional, no patrols, no ranks, awards optional -- is a program that has real value and is a great alternative to ScoutsBSA, why not make it available to younger boys and girls, as an alternative to ScoutsBSA starting right after Cub Scouts?  Have an age-appropriate Junior Venturing program that takes the youth through 8th grade, then they graduate into the high school-and-beyond Venturing program. By stripping away many of the complicated features of ScoutsBSA, Venturing gets down to the essence of Scouting:  planning and doing things that require learning skills, and growing through failure and success. As @desertrat77 stated, "Simple and complex at the same time.   When it works, it is scouting at its very best." 

Sometimes the additional structure can be helpful to those who are inexperienced.   That is why I prefer the ScoutsBSA program to a hypothetical "Junior Venturing" program.

 

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22 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

 

If Venturing -- fully co-ed, uniforms optional, no patrols, no ranks, awards optional -- is a program that has real value and is a great alternative to ScoutsBSA, why not make it available to younger boys and girls, as an alternative to ScoutsBSA starting right after Cub Scouts?  Have an age-appropriate Junior Venturing program that takes the youth through 8th grade, then they graduate into the high school-and-beyond Venturing program. By stripping away many of the complicated features of ScoutsBSA, Venturing gets down to the essence of Scouting:  planning and doing things that require learning skills, and growing through failure and success. As @desertrat77 stated, "Simple and complex at the same time.   When it works, it is scouting at its very best."  And because Venturing does not use rank advancement but instead is built around planning and carrying out adventures, it is ideal for recruiting youth of any age because no member is ever "behind" his or her peers.

 

I think it comes down to the age development.  The maturity of an 11-12 year old is much different from the maturity of a 14-15 year old.  There is nothing stopping a Troop from allowing the youth to attempt to do a variety of things.  Our Crew and Ship do activities with troops and you can see the maturity differences.

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6 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

 

If Venturing -- fully co-ed, uniforms optional, no patrols, no ranks, awards optional -- is a program that has real value and is a great alternative to ScoutsBSA, why not make it available to younger boys and girls, as an alternative to ScoutsBSA starting right after Cub Scouts?  Have an age-appropriate Junior Venturing program that takes the youth through 8th grade, then they graduate into the high school-and-beyond Venturing program. By stripping away many of the complicated features of ScoutsBSA, Venturing gets down to the essence of Scouting:  planning and doing things that require learning skills, and growing through failure and success. As @desertrat77 stated, "Simple and complex at the same time.   When it works, it is scouting at its very best."  And because Venturing does not use rank advancement but instead is built around planning and carrying out adventures, it is ideal for recruiting youth of any age because no member is ever "behind" his or her peers.

 

 

I think folks are forgetting the origins of the Boy Scouts. The program was designed to allow Scouts to do things on their own or with their patrols. Anyone remember the First Class journey requirement? It was a 14 mile round trip journey by foot or boat.It could be done by yourself or with another Scout. And it cold be all day, or include an overnigt camp out.

Venturing is not what Scouting should become, rather Venturing is what Scouting use to be.

The purpose of Scouting wasn't to earn ranks, but develop independance and skills needed for life. The Ranks just showed what skills you had mastered and what you were capable of doing. Advancement wasn't the whole focus of the program like it is today.

And I am afraid for Venturing. Not only has its numbers dropped, the powers that be at National have started make it more like Scouts BSA. Instead of awards, they now have ranks. While there has always been a recommended uniform, there is a greater push for it now. And there are some limits as to what they can and cannot do. When I was in college, it was starting a outdoor r. I mentioned the advantages of being a High Adventure Explorer post, but no one was interested because of all the BSA's rules. As others stated, they could do the same activities on their own.

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Posted (edited)

@Cburkhardt

Venturing is dying in our council.  Targeted age group not really interested in the program.  Council has not, in my four years living here, ever devoted attention to their program.  The were even relegated off to their own district.  Crews are pretty much independent.  Each crew in our council focuses on a specific flavor: High Adventure; Shooting Sports: Kayaking, etc.

To make life easier for those Scouts who wanted to be solely involved in OA, our council created an OA Crew to cover the requirement to be a registered member of BSA.  I find this distasteful, as an Arrowman's first duty is to his unit.  This seemed a way to perpetuate the self-licking OA ice cream cone.

My daughter has been in a Venturing crew here since her 14th b-day, and has just earned her Summit Award at the end of last year.  She is the only member of her crew pursuing advancement.  Our council processes maybe two Summits per year.  My daughter was working on her Ranger Award, but has lost interest.  I know of no Venturers who have pursued Ranger, Quest, Trust, or Nova/Supernovas.  My dear daughter is burned out...there are the same four people always planning the outings and being the crew officers...other hangers-on just come for the trips.  She will most likely not continue with the crew after high school graduation this year.

Most older Venturers...16+...once they get their licenses and a tight group of friends, don't wish to deal with adults in what they see as a burdensome program.  They go out on their own.  Most aren't interested in program planning and leader development.  They just want to show up and have fun.

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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10 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

... My daughter has been in a Venturing crew here since her 14th b-day, and has just earned her Summit Award at the end of last year.  She is the only member of her crew pursuing advancement.  Our council processes maybe two Summits per year.  ...

@InquisitiveScouter, congratulations to your daughter on this great achievement!

Who else recognized her success? Did you all have a court of honor? Did she get a letter or phone call from your scout executive? Council VOA president? Lodge Chief? Was her picture in the paper? Has she been invited to the NESA Eagle recognition banquet?

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If Venturing is so reduced in numbers and dysfunctional in terms of its recognition program and structure, perhaps the national reorganization bankruptcy is the right time to re-examine its role in Scouting. 

If there ever was a "golden era" for the older youth program, it was the 70s and 80s when the older youth program allowed each unit to select a specialty and pursue it.  Some units specialized in outdoor adventure activities, others specialized in a particular career and others specialized in a hobby or other avocation.  While there were some awards to earn, BSA-style ranks and advancement was not central to the program.  Venturing in its current format is very "scouty" in look and activities.  Maybe with girls being able to be in Scouts BSA the overwhelming "scouty" themes of Venturing are no longer calculated correctly. 

Finally, Exploring was spun-off exclusively because the BSA was being forced to discontinue the DADT policy for career-oriented programming in the 90s.  So, a then-influencial group with national forced the career programming entirely outside of BSA membership.  That way the rest of the program would still be subjected to DADT.  Because we discontinued DADT, there is no longer any reason to maintain an organizational divide between the career programming and the outdoor programming for young adults.

  

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@qwazse,

errrrr...none of the above.  We had a family celebration.  Will recognize the achievement at Crew end-of-year picnic.  We picked up her certificate and purchased the medal at the council office for those occasions.  I asked her if she would permit me to send a pic and note to the local press.  She declined...

We've been having some negative experiences here in our council...part of the reason she does not wish to push on to Eagle.  Dear daughter is a Star Scout now, and will finish Life shortly.  I am encouraging (and tried bribing) as much as I can.

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6 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

If Venturing is so reduced in numbers and dysfunctional in terms of its recognition program and structure, perhaps the national reorganization bankruptcy is the right time to re-examine its role in Scouting. 

If there ever was a "golden era" for the older youth program, it was the 70s and 80s when the older youth program allowed each unit to select a specialty and pursue it.  Some units specialized in outdoor adventure activities, others specialized in a particular career and others specialized in a hobby or other avocation.  While there were some awards to earn, BSA-style ranks and advancement was not central to the program.  Venturing in its current format is very "scouty" in look and activities.  Maybe with girls being able to be in Scouts BSA the overwhelming "scouty" themes of Venturing are no longer calculated correctly. 

Finally, Exploring was spun-off exclusively because the BSA was being forced to discontinue the DADT policy for career-oriented programming in the 90s.  So, a then-influencial group with national forced the career programming entirely outside of BSA membership.  That way the rest of the program would still be subjected to DADT.  Because we discontinued DADT, there is no longer any reason to maintain an organizational divide between the career programming and the outdoor programming for young adults.

  

I expect the Venturing numbers are lower now because of the inclusion of girls in Scouts, BSA but I think you'll see more scouts going back to Venture crews as their primary unit as they hit First Class Rank.  And they will be completeing their Eagle in the Crew,  I have 2 in my ship that are doing that.

Also remember that the numbers quoted are the primary unit registrations, there was a big push last year to have the Troops be the primary registration.  So for kids in mulitple units they only get counted once.  Our Crew and Ship have both doubled in size the last year, so at least in our council/district it is thriving.  We have also added two ships in the last year at our council.

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1 minute ago, mashmaster said:

I expect the Venturing numbers are lower now because of the inclusion of girls in Scouts, BSA but I think you'll see more scouts going back to Venture crews as their primary unit as they hit First Class Rank.  And they will be completeing their Eagle in the Crew,  I have 2 in my ship that are doing that.

Also remember that the numbers quoted are the primary unit registrations, there was a big push last year to have the Troops be the primary registration.  So for kids in mulitple units they only get counted once.  Our Crew and Ship have both doubled in size the last year, so at least in our council/district it is thriving.  We have also added two ships in the last year at our council.

Agreed the numbers in general were likely inflated.  Our council definitely counted an individual in a troop and a crew and/or ship as two (three0 individuals in the year end membership numbers in the past.

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@Cburkhardt,

Yes, BPSA looks interesting...I believe part of the problem is "stopping" the adventure at 21.  Why not Rover?

"Rank versus Proficiency In the BSA, the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class through Eagle badges are referred to as “ranks.” In Baden-Powell’s program and traditional Scouting, these are referred to as “proficiency” badges—specifically “general proficiency” badges. The general proficiency badges show a Scout’s current proficiency across a known set of Scouting skills. The idea behind traditional Scouting is advancement through progressive training in Scoutcraft (i.e., Scouting skills). Merit badges in the BSA are the equivalent of “Special Proficiency” badges in traditional Scouting. Special proficiency badges represent specific Scoutcraft or public-service skills that a Scout can train in and learn—e.g., Camper, Pioneer, Map Maker, First Aid, etc. “Rank,” then, in traditional Scouting refers to the position of responsibility of the Scout, such as Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader, Rover Mate, etc. These positions are appointed by the Scoutmaster or Rover Scout Leader to promote patrol, or small unit, efficiency—not to be Scoutelected roles at taking turns in learning leadership. In Baden-Powell’s program and traditional Scouting, the general proficiency badges (Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class) represent a Scout’s current proficiency. Unlike the BSA program, Scouts must be able to re-pass the requirements for each of these general proficiency badges in order to continue to wear them. Re-passing or re-testing is an important distinction in traditional Scouting, focusing on keeping the Scouts current in their skills and abilities. It also lends itself to the theme of being prepared for service, whether in the patrol or in the community. Venturing versus Rovering The BSA Venturing program and the BPSA Rover program are both co-ed, but have different age limits and different focuses for their programs. BSA’s Venturing program is focused more around high-adventure activities and only allows members through age 20, while BPSA’s traditional Rovering program is more focused on citizenship and community service and has no upper limit for membership. 95 Scouting for Everyone Scouts can be members of the BPSA starting with the Otters program at age 5 as opposed to the BSA’s Tigers which start at age 6. The upper age limit for Scouts in the BSA is 20 through the Venturing program where the BPSA Rovers have no upper age limit. The BPSA is open to males and females in any of the program divisions, where the BSA only allows female members in its Venturing program, which is only for ages 14 through 20, or as leaders (Scouters). The BPSA believes Scouting should be available to everyone, youth and adult, male and female. Membership for both youth and adults is not conditional based on religious beliefs (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, or gender identification."

 

If the BSA brand gets much more tarnished, you may see more of the above.  Adapt or die...

 

 

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