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Convert “stand alone” Venturing Crews into Scouts BSA Venturing “Patrols”?


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41 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

It's not BSA.  It's the legal environment in this country.  

 I admit our legal environment plays a part, but BSA gave a stat on peer-on-peer abuse, without citing the sources and/or showing the evidence, in the YPT 2.1 training I took. The 50% peer-on-peer abuse is what Michael Johnson has stated without showing the data.

 

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My comments. 1. If memory serves, BSA tried that in the 1950s or 60s, and it didn't work out. 2. BSA tried it again from 1989 to sometime in the 2000s/2010s, again with no success. 3. 

Are you serious? Several years ago BSA had a poll in which 94% of the respondents were either against (18%) or strongly against (76%) the proposal, yet BSA did it anyway. 94% OPPOSED AND THEY DID

"and when everyone is special, no one will be."

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From conversations had over the past four years with then current and former National VOA members, when the BSA put forward changing to end all programs at age 18, it was a surprise to those in the higher levels of both Venturing and Sea Scouts. not to go back and re-hash all of that, but the Commodore of the Sea Scouts program came out very hot against the idea, and the big change was not made. There was some mish-mash of wording to attempt to tighten the classification of participants in both programs (and the OA) ages 18-20. While Sea Scouts and Venturing are separate programs (fairly complicated history in the BSA on how they have been conjoined and separate at different points in time) they are fairly collaborative in governance due to their similarities.

Prior to the release of the details of the Churchill recommendations, it had been an ongoing discussion within Venturing to make some tweaks to the Venturing advancement program. For those not intimately aware of the Venturing program, when it officially launched in 1998, the advancement program was modeled on past senior Scout attempts, with Bronze, Gold, Silver awards. In 2014, a change was made to the advancement program to what is used currently- Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit ranks- which is based off of the four rank structure in Sea Scouts. The desire has been for years to give Venturing Summit and Sea Scout Ordinary the same weight and measure as Eagle. The tweaks that were being proposed that I was made aware of were really about taking some of the personal goal/time-management/personal code of conduct requirements to a more blanketed undercurrent of the program (think of the things you try to teach within Scouts BSA and how you try to communicate with a youth during a SM conference/BOR- keeping in mind, that a BOR in Venturing today is run by the Crew members, not the adults) and add more outdoor focused rank requirements. Currently, the "adventures" part of the Venturing program is not nearly as structured on how the activities operate as they are for say Camping MB- Venturing adventures can be run strictly using cabins or even motels, and eating meals at restaurants if you really wanted to. The concept was to give Venturers a program that encouraged some of the same Scout-skill learning as Scouts BSA, keeping some of the traditional Scouting in the program. All had intent to keep the program from just being a social club of older Scouts that just didn't want to be in Troop environment with younger kids mixed with some other teens that didn't come up through Scouting and thus didn't have any of that traditional Scouting exposure. 

Ultimately, the question of what to do with both Sea Scouts and Venturing today is worthy of discussion, and I am certain it is consuming a lot of time at the higher levels. Allowing girls into Scouting at the lower levels very much should shape what is done with both going forward. The Sea Scout program, because it has a history as long as the BSA, will likely find a way forward that is uniquely set to their needs as has always been the case for their program. For Venturing, if the desire is not to bring it back as a logical step in the senior Scout journey (for many, but not all- don't want anyone to forget that not every 17 year old became part of Leadership corps or Explorer Scouts in their day either), then indeed letting it become just another fashion of Exploring may make the most sense: a club formed to fulfill one-specific purpose of outdoor activity, without all the "trappings" of an advancement program.

However, from my own experiences, there is a lot of hand-wringing by the BSA over the idea of a program that doesn't have all those "trappings"- it just might be more attractive as it can be less stress and far easier to run than a Scouts BSA unit (for both youth/young adults and adults). No JTE to worry about, no Committee to deal with, no DE/Commissioners to appease. None of that would at all be good for the BSA Corporation in the long-term if it just meant bleeding their already existing membership base into another program after age 14. I had several SMs very much refuse to allow me to talk to them about asking their older Scouts if they wanted to join our Crew, and I understood where they were coming from. They feared those kids finding Venturing to be fulfilling without all the instruction and mentoring of the younger youth, which was already a struggle at times to get them to do, and the Troops would fall flat if they lost more older kids. 

 

Also, FWIW, in the BSA a Venturing participant is called a Venturer. when participants from Venturing and Scouts BSA (or Cub Scouts) are together, it is appropriate to refer to the Venturer as a Scout like the others, but we are not supposed to use the term Venturer Scout. However, in most of the few Scouting orgs around the world that have a Venturer program (such as Canada and New Zealand), they are referred to as Venturer Scouts. Just one little thing that the BSA has made more complicated than it needed to be IMO.         

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3 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

For those not intimately aware of the Venturing program, when it officially launched in 1998, the advancement program was modeled on past senior Scout attempts, with Bronze, Gold, Silver awards. In 2014, a change was made to the advancement program to what is used currently- Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit ranks- which is based off of the four rank structure in Sea Scouts.

Actually Venturing did not have advancement, but "Recognitions"  back in 1998, and there were 5 different Bronze Awards: Outdoors, Sea Scout, Sports, Arts& Crafts, and Youth Ministries/ Religious Life.  It may sound like semantics, but it was emphasized that Venturing Did not use advancement as a method, and did not have ranks. You also had the Ranger Award as well. 2014 was when Advancement was incorporated into Venturing. 

 

8 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

The desire has been for years to give Venturing Summit and Sea Scout Ordinary the same weight and measure as Eagle.

I think you meant Sea Scout Quartermaster, as the Ordinary rank corresponded to the Sea Scout Bronze Award.  The 1998 National Venturing Director actually stated the Venturing Silver Award was Higher than Eagle Scout and Quartermaster Awards. He was quickly put in his place by a bunch of angry new professionals, and that was never mentioned again. Since that meeting, it has always been "Equal to...." Yes, he ticked off a lot of us in that meeting.

14 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

Also, FWIW, in the BSA a Venturing participant is called a Venturer. when participants from Venturing and Scouts BSA (or Cub Scouts) are together, it is appropriate to refer to the Venturer as a Scout like the others, but we are not supposed to use the term Venturer Scout.    

The challenge is  between 1989 and some time in the 2000s, Venture Scouts was the term used for older Scouts in a troop's Venture crew (1989-1998) / Venture patrol (1998 - ???? ; anyone have an idea when Venture patrols officially died?) Trust me every person in the meeting with the 1998 National Venturing Director said the terminology would cause headaches, and we were right. As I stated previously, Venturing appropriated the term 'crew," might as well appropriate the term "Venture Scouts" as well

 

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1 minute ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Actually Venturing did not have advancement, but "Recognitions"  back in 1998, and there were 5 different Bronze Awards: Outdoors, Sea Scout, Sports, Arts& Crafts, and Youth Ministries/ Religious Life.  It may sound like semantics, but it was emphasized that Venturing Did not use advancement as a method, and did not have ranks. You also had the Ranger Award as well. 2014 was when Advancement was incorporated into Venturing. 

 

I think you meant Sea Scout Quartermaster, as the Ordinary rank corresponded to the Sea Scout Bronze Award.  The 1998 National Venturing Director actually stated the Venturing Silver Award was Higher than Eagle Scout and Quartermaster Awards. He was quickly put in his place by a bunch of angry new professionals, and that was never mentioned again. Since that meeting, it has always been "Equal to...." Yes, he ticked off a lot of us in that meeting.

The challenge is  between 1989 and some time in the 2000s, Venture Scouts was the term used for older Scouts in a troop's Venture crew (1989-1998) / Venture patrol (1998 - ???? ; anyone have an idea when Venture patrols officially died?) Trust me every person in the meeting with the 1998 National Venturing Director said the terminology would cause headaches, and we were right. As I stated previously, Venturing appropriated the term 'crew," might as well appropriate the term "Venture Scouts" as well

 

Forgot to add, maroon was the Venture crew/patrol signature color, and it almost became Venturing signature color. I have clip art with the Venturing Logo in maroon, gold, and white as well as green gold, and white. In fact, the Venturing golf shirt was maroon.

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18 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Actually Venturing did not have advancement, but "Recognitions"  back in 1998, and there were 5 different Bronze Awards: Outdoors, Sea Scout, Sports, Arts& Crafts, and Youth Ministries/ Religious Life.  It may sound like semantics, but it was emphasized that Venturing Did not use advancement as a method, and did not have ranks. You also had the Ranger Award as well. 2014 was when Advancement was incorporated into Venturing. 

 

I think you meant Sea Scout Quartermaster, as the Ordinary rank corresponded to the Sea Scout Bronze Award.  The 1998 National Venturing Director actually stated the Venturing Silver Award was Higher than Eagle Scout and Quartermaster Awards. He was quickly put in his place by a bunch of angry new professionals, and that was never mentioned again. Since that meeting, it has always been "Equal to...." Yes, he ticked off a lot of us in that meeting.

The challenge is  between 1989 and some time in the 2000s, Venture Scouts was the term used for older Scouts in a troop's Venture crew (1989-1998) / Venture patrol (1998 - ???? ; anyone have an idea when Venture patrols officially died?) Trust me every person in the meeting with the 1998 National Venturing Director said the terminology would cause headaches, and we were right. As I stated previously, Venturing appropriated the term 'crew," might as well appropriate the term "Venture Scouts" as well

 

Sorry, yes I meant Quartermaster. I used advancement more for those who aren't familiar with the program, but everything from 1998-2014 was indeed basically "award". You are correct, advancement as is used in a Troop context was not directly in the program as a method. Arguably, it still isn't as many Crews don't put any emphasis on advancement. My Council had awarded only one Silver award prior to the change over, and has only awarded two Summit since. 

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21 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Forgot to add, maroon was the Venture crew/patrol signature color, and it almost became Venturing signature color. I have clip art with the Venturing Logo in maroon, gold, and white as well as green gold, and white. In fact, the Venturing golf shirt was maroon.

Some nostalgia in the green though, from the Explorer BSA  days that some of us were apart of. I have never met anyone that was involved in the Varsity program, but I believe maroon was used in that program with the "blaze" loops on the tan uniform.

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1 hour ago, HashTagScouts said:

Some nostalgia in the green though, from the Explorer BSA  days that some of us were apart of. I have never met anyone that was involved in the Varsity program, but I believe maroon was used in that program with the "blaze" loops on the tan uniform.

To clarify, the Venturing logo is green, white, and gold with green lettering. BUT I have clip art with the logo in maroon, white, and gold with maroon lettering. The solid maroon golf shirt was the Venture Crew/Patrol Activity Uniform shirt from 1989 onwards. Venturing had a maroon, white, and green golf shirt, that was an activity shirt. Varsity had a tan golf activity shirt with blaze writing. See below.  

 

 

 

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My predictions on the older teen programs.  Thanks for the many thoughtful comments.  For a while there were only a few of us posting, which by itself was indicating lack of overall interest in continuing Venturing.

I have deep personal background in the older-teen programs since I was both an “outdoor adventure” Explorer and Sea Explorer (sea Scouts was called Sea Explorers for a temporary period and reverted back) from 1973-1977.  As an adult Council Exploring Chairman in the late 1980s I spearheaded formation of 14 career-oriented Explorer Posts in Illinois — some of which are still in operation.  I served as adult National Vice-Chair of Venturing just prior to development of the current advancement program.

Cubs, Scouts and Sea Scouts have had remarkable consistency in program and operations through their histories, with the exception of the Improved Scouting Program of the early 70s.  In comparison, the older youth programs have been substantially re-written about every 20 years or so with mostly unsuccessful results.  The big exception would be the career-interest launch for Exploring in the early 70s, which became wildly popular with the corporate and educational establishments of this country.  It was based on solid program and marketing research.  At its height, that program had a half million enthusiastic participants.  
 

These re-write efforts seem to always have been forced by a perceived legal or membership issue.  An example was the killing of the hugely-successful career interest Exploring program by putting it in “Learning for Life” in order to allow Exploring to have gay members who would not be considered members of the BSA.  Once transferred into non-BSA status, it was instantly abandoned by any professional who had ambitions to rise within the profession.  Other difficulties were caused when small groups of visionaries dominated the program re-writes, forcing changes that might have satisfied intellectual constructs, but which were not capable of broad implementation.  The elaborate and whipsaw-changes to Exploring and Venturing advancement are in that category.

We are at another of these junctions, with obvious legal and membership issues greatly weighing-against continuing “stand alone” Venturing.  The Venturing numbers have entirely imploded and there is a scramble to rebuild the core Cub and Scout programs.  There is little apparent energy and interest at the local levels in continuing the implementation of Venturing aside from isolated pockets.  My view, based on experience and numbers (and without any inside information) is that “stand alone” Venturing will disappear.
 

An potential legacy of the program would the “Venture Scout patrol/crew within a Troop” concept.  However, most of the unique leadership structures and advancement concepts that grew up around Venturing  would likely be dropped.

Today’s non-BSA Exploring program is a echo of the career-interest Exploring program of the 70s.  The Explorer Posts that have survived the program upheavals are probably in-demand by current members, especially in the law enforcement and medically-related fields.  It might survive as long as it does not drain resources.
 

Sea Scouts is in an entirely different category.  Much closer to Cubs and Scouts in aspects of program and operation — and with a sustained, hard-core group of adult volunteer leaders.  The Coast Guard Auxiliary involvement is a positive game-changer.  It will survive.

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Ah, another Sea Explorer :) .  Agree that the constant rewrites to the Exploring and Venturing programs over the years have severely hurt the program. And the lack of professional support also hurts, because most execs are clueless as professional training is focused on Cubs Scouts and Scouts. In all my time in Scouting, I have only ran into 2 dedicated Exploring/Venturing execs, and one of them was put in the position and had to teach herself about Exploring/Venturing. When I went thru PDL-1, everyone was suppose to go through either the Exploring Leader Basic Training or the Exploring Leader Basic Training Self Study. I think I was the only one who actually did the training because the instructor said "as long as you read the info, your good, we don't need to go over it."  We only spoke to the National Venturing Director for about 30 minutes the entire 2 weeks, and it was about the program that was coming out in August. On the local level, I wore a Sea Scout uniform to an event, and the SE wanted to know what I was wearing.

At least in my area, there is no interest by volunteers to jumpstart Venturing because  our foundation, Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA are in desperate need. We are down to 3 packs in my old district, and none of them have over 30 members. When I left my old pack 4+ years ago, we had over  70 members.

I too was involved in Exploring/Venturing as a volunteer. I hate to see the program as it is today, but I have to focus my energy on keeping the troop alive.

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Best to wait a while before attempting to re-write a “general” program for young adults?  Perhaps because our society is going through such an extreme political and social upheaval, it might be best to wait a bit before attempting to write a program focused on a broad spectrum of young adults.  It would be good to have a thorough understanding of what societal challenges need to be addressed before designing another BSA structure of activities.  Simply re-designing badges, uniforms, structures and titles to fit immediate BSA circumstances  would not bring the vision needed to help our country in its upcoming epoch.

Thoughtful BSA responses to societal changes have worked before.  For instance, in the early 70s the Exploring program established an elaborate system called the “Explorer Presidents Association” to provide advanced leadership experiences at the district, Council, Area, Region and national levels.  It went far beyond the earlier Explorer Delegate leadership system, in that it provided significant financial, volunteer and professional time to operate leadership cabinets of Explorers (active year-around) elected by their peers in political-style conventions.  The conventions (called the “National Explorer Presidents Congress”) were huge and constituted the principal above-council program for Exploring.  Youth elected to the national cabinet would take a year off of school to serve.

What many don’t know was that the system was expressly intended to respond to the political upheaval of the country in the late 60s.  The conventions operated using modified nomination and election rules of the national parties, and the political leaders of the country were involved, including the White House.  They really thought the BSA could impact the outlook of young adults.  To a degree the effort succeeded, but the need for it began to fade and BSA professionals wanted to redirect the resources and energy elsewhere.  

The aftermath of this BSA effort was that many Explorers elected in this system went into successful political careers.  Others used the higher-lever leadership training to great use in corporate, military and BSA professional careers.  This generation is now entering retirement and had a good track record in contributing to the success of the country, including helping us process the conflict and confusion of the post-Vietnam era.

Does the BSA have the bandwidth and will do do such things like this again?  I think so, but I also believe it needs to wait so it can better understand the fundamental factors that will most impact our country over the next 25 years.  Maybe there is something about the dramatic and always changing circumstances young adults face that somehow require these young adult programs to evolve.  Finally, a waiting period would allow us to recover organizational health.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

had to teach herself

These are the people worth holding on to!!!

 

27 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

When I went thru PDL-1, everyone was suppose to go through either the Exploring Leader Basic Training or the Exploring Leader Basic Training Self Study. I think I was the only one who actually did the training because the instructor said "as long as you read the info, your good, we don't need to go over it." 

SMH

 

27 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

On the local level, I wore a Sea Scout uniform to an event, and the SE wanted to know what I was wearing.

SMH x 2

 

22 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

 They really thought the BSA could impact the outlook of young adults.

They could, but there is an ENORMOUS disconnect between the local professional side of the house and the volunteer side of the house.  A connection from National to local volunteers is non-existent, but that is, I believe, as it should be.

I know we volunteers are valued at the grass roots hometown level (the youth and parents we serve).  And I know that we are not valued by my current local council.  The ONLY impact you are going to have, on a large scale, with ANY youth, is THROUGH THE ADULT VOLUNTEERS.

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32 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

Best to wait a while before attempting to re-write a “general” program for young adults?  Perhaps because our society is going through such an extreme political and social upheaval, it might be best to wait a bit before attempting to write a program focused on a broad spectrum of young adults.  It would be good to have a thorough understanding of what societal challenges need to be addressed before designing another BSA structure of activities.  Simply re-designing badges, uniforms, structures and titles to fit immediate BSA circumstances  would not bring the vision needed to help our country in its upcoming epoch.

I can understand your thoughts.  It aligns with my view of recent citizenship badge changes.  The changes were done during a highly political time and have not been smoothly received.  

On the flip side ... there is a current problem and a strong need.  The long term solution might need time to design, etc.  In the short term, do you keep a program that fails 75% of the time?  ... I view the inclusion of crews as extensions of a troop as a "work around" that could smoothly give young adults a path to experience scouting.  ... 

Then again, I agree with statements about Sea Scouts and Exploring, etc.  They have solid paths.  ....   Different though is venturing.  Venturing has always been nebulous in goals and structure.  I tend to believe Venturing aligns well with core scouting where cubs are the younger years and Venturing are the older years.  IMHO, I'd love to see them under the same committee Tigers thru Venturing.  

Then again, this will take time to wash thru.  I've tended to favor learning much more from our tea taxing friends.  

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1 minute ago, fred8033 said:

I can understand your thoughts.  It aligns with my view of recent citizenship badge changes.  The changes were done during a highly political time and have not been smoothly received.  

On the flip side ... there is a current problem and a strong need.  The long term solution might need time to design, etc.  In the short term, do you keep a program that fails 75% of the time?  ... I view the inclusion of crews as extensions of a troop as a "work around" that could smoothly give young adults a path to experience scouting.  ... 

Then again, I agree with statements about Sea Scouts and Exploring, etc.  They have solid paths.  ....   Different though is venturing.  Venturing has always been nebulous in goals and structure.  I tend to believe Venturing aligns well with core scouting where cubs are the younger years and Venturing are the older years.  IMHO, I'd love to see them under the same committee Tigers thru Venturing.  

Then again, this will take time to wash thru.  I've tended to favor learning much more from our tea taxing friends.  

Sad note ...  I plan to start posting less.  For the last six to twelve months, I've been quietly inviting a set of volunteers to help in my role.  I'm hoping that if I build enough excitement in them, the next generation steps up to take my last role.  If not, the best way to recruit the next volunteer is to walk away and leave a vacuum to fill.  Someone will get sucked in.  My target date is September / October to have the new group in place and then to step back.  

I learned scouting when my oldest son joined in August 2000.  I found the closest, dearest friends in scouting, but most have moved on.  I could continue in  my role for years, but I think it's time for me to let the next generation help ... and my golf game really really needs attention.  It's the shame of all my friends.  

I post this hear because I'd really like to see a venturing solution.  And a membership solution.  And an adventuring solution.  I'm not sure I'll see them.  

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