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


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I think if Venturing folds in with a troop, all of our Crew members would quit scouting.  My Ship members too. The youth in our Crew and Ship joined to get away from the Troops.  Troops work well

We start by asking why we want Venturing. Patrol Method scouting survives because the ultimate goal is to build mature person of character. Oh, there are several ways to say that, but the BSA Mission

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

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8 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

For me the OA lost its uniqueness when they changed their election policies. At the time, I said it would be a slow death. I admit I was wrong as it is taking longer to die than I thought. But I also know a lot of folks are fighting tooth and nail, to preserve the OA. I was in that number until unit responsibilities took over. From the outside looking in, OA is a pale shadow of itself.

I am trying to help, but I see an empty stool where Tiny Tim once sat. 

The election policies removes the striving that scouts used to feel. Now, it seems like a foregone conclusion. 

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5 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

So what is your fix for Venturing?

No clue. I am an old fogey and what I wanted at that age may be completely different from what folks today want. But I would start with with following.

1. Get input on what the young adults want. Not just the various  VOAs, but also rank and file members.

   A. Have actual town halls and various meetings where the members, not the  advisors, have input.

   B. AND HAVE THE MEETING BE REAL AND NOT  A COVER UP FOR PREARRANGED CHANGES, I.E. THE MEMBERSHIP    TOWN HALLS. Let's face it from everything I have heard from pros, the timing of the town halls, read i.e. gender neutral language on applications prior to the changes, and the fact that the membership polls have never been published, the membership town halls were just a cover.

     C. Have open ended survey questions instead of the leading questions like the membership survey. If you want to know what the members want, you got to  be open to both what you want to hear and what you DO NOT want to hear.

       D. ACTUALLY DO WHAT THE YOUTH WANT!  If 94% of folks are against something, YOU DO NOT DO IT!

2. Have more national resources available to support them. And if you cannot support them, empower the members and volunteers to support themselves. One of the reasons why Sea Scouts is successful is that for the longest time, National had little to do with them. Sea Scouts and Volunteers provided their own support.

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5 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

The election policies removes the striving that scouts used to feel. Now, it seems like a foregone conclusion. 

Tell me about it. I remember the first time I was eligible, and I didn't vote for myself because the other three candidates were better Scouts than me, AND I HAD A DIFFICULT TIME PICKING THE 2 I DID! It was rough.

Under the old rules, it was possible to get everyone elected under the right circumstances, i.e. odd number of eligible Scouts. I had a SM tell his Scouts how to vote so that the three scouts had 2/3s of the ballots each. Found this out after the fact and it infuriated me. Now it is common.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Tell me about it. I remember the first time I was eligible, and I didn't vote for myself because the other three candidates were better Scouts than me, AND I HAD A DIFFICULT TIME PICKING THE 2 I DID! It was rough.

Under the old rules, it was possible to get everyone elected under the right circumstances, i.e. odd number of eligible Scouts. I had a SM tell his Scouts how to vote so that the three scouts had 2/3s of the ballots each. Found this out after the fact and it infuriated me. Now it is common.

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

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14 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

So what is your fix for Venturing?

We start by asking why we want Venturing. Patrol Method scouting survives because the ultimate goal is to build mature person of character. Oh, there are several ways to say that, but the BSA Mission is building ethical and moral decisions makers. That is a foundation worth building. And, it's not just a noble goal, scouting has a tool for getting there called patrol method.

The struggle with Venturing is that 90% of it's members are motivated by the romance of adventure. Which, is silly to me because our troop did most of the adventure that local Venturing Crews do around here. Adventure is just a type of temporary adrenalin high. What is left when the scouts come off the adrenalin high? What next?

The thing that keeps older scouts in scouting is the community of where they can challenge to one self. Adventure is just the arena where the young adults go to find the challenge. The challenge is making one self better so as to feel good about being that person. The troop does that through the challenges of making decisions about other people in the patrols and troop. The community of the patrol and troop is constant that keeps scouts coming back for the challenge. I find that most Venturing Crews are less about challenging one self to make better decisions and more about the boring actions of planning the next adventure. There needs to be more about meeting to plan the next adventure.

Several years back the DE approached me about starting a Venturing Crew in our troop because our one troop had more scouts 14 and older than any other unit (troop or crew) in the Council. Our council is almost half the state of Oklahoma. What he didn't understand was that the attraction to our troop as an older scout was that our culture treated them as adults. When you  think about where a 15 year old can go to be treated equally to a 30 or 40 year old, you start to understand the attraction. Our troop challenge each scout to grow into a more mature person through the actions and decisions of their responsibilities during the activities.  

I once polled all our scouts 14 and older as to why they stayed in our troop. I got all sorts of answers, but less than 50% said it was for the adventure part of the program. And their attendance to higher level adventure treks supported that data. Many young adults want adventure, but most just want to be around other people who respect them to be  adults. Venturing is coming up short in scouting because it doesn't provide a community for scouts to be adults. It needs more than adventure. 

I understand this perception because I was in a Scuba Diving Explorer Post for 3 years. I rarely dove much because most of their trips were more expensive than I could afford. But, there was an expectation of me by the group to act like and adult, and I thrived on that expectation. We had a lot of other activities besides Diving in other parts of the world to keep us busy. I was also the president of the Oklahoma State flying Club in college. I would guess that 50% of those members were not pilots. We were a busy club and many, if not most, of the activities didn't require all the members to be pilots. I can't say that the club had a noble goal of building character, But, it must have been a fun group to hang around.

Our troop was successful with older scouts because it was a fun place to hang out. Venturing needs to be a place to hang out for the age group it wants to attract. Ironically, I don't think adventure is the hang out part of the program. 

Barry

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9 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I find that most Venturing Crews are less about challenging one self to make better decisions and more about the boring actions of planning the next adventure.

 

10 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Venturing is coming up short in scouting because it doesn't provide a community for scouts to be adults. It needs more than adventure. 

Nor does it provide a community for adults (18-21) to be adults!!

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29 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Nor does it provide a community for adults (18-21) to be adults!!

BSA is to blame.

I remember as a 18-20 year old ASM, I was treated as an adult by my troop, and most other adults on the district/council level. Yes, some folks looked at my age and lack of Wood Badge and ignored me, denigrated me, etc. But for the most part I was treated as an equal. I maintained friends in the troop, and hung out with them at school and outside of Scouting. But at Scouting activities, I was treated like any other adult by them.  I was able to do Swimming and Lifesaving MB sessions at the pool I worked at with just a parent present. I was even the acting SM one summer since no other adults could attend the entire week. The CC and a MC switched off until Friday when the SM showed up. It was me and one other adult.

Flash forward to today. I have an Eagle who if he was to be an ASM would have to give up friends in Scouting who are under 18. Another Eagle, if he was an ASM, would be unable to do school work with several classmates because he is 18, and they are under 18. The 18-20 year olds no longer count towards 2 deep leadership. So if they are a MB counselor, they need 2 registered adults over 21, or one registered adult over 21 and a parent, to be at their MB sessions. As for summer camp, there is no reason for them to be there since A. they are not counting towards YP, and B. Taking tenting space, an C. costing money.

Until I see the raw data to support this decision, it it the stupidest one ever.

 

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I think if Venturing folds in with a troop, all of our Crew members would quit scouting.  My Ship members too.

The youth in our Crew and Ship joined to get away from the Troops.  Troops work well for many scouts but for many Crews and Ships are the option that works best for them.

My son is an example of this.  He was done with Scouting at 14 and he tried a couple of Troops.  They all didn't work for him.  He joined a Ship and Crew which allowed him to thrive.  He completed his Eagle with the Ship, went to World Jamboree, Philmont Summer and Winter, Sea Base, and several roll your own high adventures through out his four years in them.  Eagle project was nominated for project of the year.  This is a similar story to several of our scouts.  

People need to stop trying to force youth to stay in troops.  Troops are great for some but not all.  I thank God for the options available that allowed Scouts like my son to continue his scouting path.

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Crews, troops, lodges and why each works or fails probably has more to do with the people than the program. My troop was at its best when there were good friendships among the older scouts and they had found their niches. Some wanted to lead, some wanted to hang with their friends, some wanted to work with younger scouts. One, in particular because he now works at Comcast and helped me fix my bill yesterday, wanted to play lacrosse.

In hindsight, my job was ensuring there was a calendar that had enough of the right mix, to aid those friendships. If they had friends they would find something they enjoyed doing to support the troop.

All the rest, the advancement, eagle projects, PLC meetings, training, ... was just support of those friendships. Eagle didn't matter nearly as much as eagle with your friends. Scouts dropped out if they didn't have friends.

So, how to organize crews in troops or lodges doesn't sound as important to me as understanding what it takes to create and maintain friendships. Why a patrol or crew is struggling likely has more to do with the quality of friendships than leadership. OA chapter meetings in my district struggle to get anyone to show up ... lack of friends. Why else would a 17 year old kid put up with the citizenship and 12 week MBs if it weren't for their friends? I watch adults decide patrols for all sorts of reasons other than friendships and it doesn't work very well. That's why I let the scouts decide.

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On 5/31/2022 at 9:33 AM, Eagle94-A1 said:

BSA is to blame.

As for summer camp, there is no reason for them to be there since A. they are not counting towards YP, and B. Taking tenting space, an C. costing money.

Until I see the raw data to support this decision, it it the stupidest one ever.

 

I don't actually disagree with your overall point, but in any troop bringing more than 1 leader to summer camp, the 18-20 year olds are actually really helpful.  Unless your camp's sites are really far apart, Two Deep Leadership is maintained by all the other registered leaders present at Summer Camp so those 18-20 year olds do just fine since they can provide more guidance than an adult can without really breaking the concept of "scout led".  Or in other words, those young adults can guide without making the scouts feel like "The adults are taking over".

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

So, how to organize crews in troops or lodges doesn't sound as important to me as understanding what it takes to create and maintain friendships. Why a patrol or crew is struggling likely has more to do with the quality of friendships than leadership. OA chapter meetings in my district struggle to get anyone to show up ... lack of friends. Why else would a 17 year old kid put up with the citizenship and 12 week MBs if it weren't for their friends? I watch adults decide patrols for all sorts of reasons other than friendships and it doesn't work very well. That's why I let the scouts decide.

I agree friendships definitely are the reason why scouts keep coming back.

But, after  training adults for several years, I feel the struggle is getting the troop adults to trust that they don't have to follow the push for an advancement type of program that they keep getting told to produce. I don't hear it as much now so much, but "First Class in the First Year" FCFY was the montra adults were hearing over and over back in the 90's. I was called an extremist for pushing back. Troops were then told by council to look at Venturing to fix their older scout membership problems.

I don't blame Council, they were only pushing what they were being trained to push by National. But, Troops are  pushed to turn into a First Class factory, and then suffering the consequences of a boring program that pushes both the adult leaders and older scouts to run from. Older scout programs require a passion to work and mentor with young adults, not just activities that entertain everyone for a weekend every couple of months. 

I counseled several troop leaders on their older scout membership problems and while they agreed that their troop FCFY program was boring and needed to change, they needed a plan to follow to do that and there really isn't one. Oh sure, I helped them some, but the truth is that district units become the program that district training pushes. And unless District has the knowledge and courage to be different, district training  teaches units what council tells them to teach. So, being different is challenging in of itself. 

I don't have a real good answer for how to fix the older scout program at a national level because National has never shown a willingness to be open to ideas of how to approach these kinds of  problem.  

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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30 minutes ago, elitts said:

Two Deep Leadership is maintained by all the other registered leaders present at Summer Camp

I believe this applies only if they are registered in your unit.  That is, registered leaders for your Scouts must be approved by your CO, and registered in your unit.

However, National will defer to your local council on how to interpret and implement this.

And, how this applies to OA is anyone's guess...

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Our Scoutmaster Staff Supports “Crew in the Troop” Concept.

We had a large Troop campout last weekend and asked our Scoutmaster Staff what they would think about adding a Venturing “patrol/crew” to our Troop.  We have 51 girls and are sending 14 (two trail crews) to Philmont this year.  After 3.5 years of operation, we now have a normal distribution of ages across the Troop.

The consensus was that it would be a good idea to have our older girls and especially our Eagles (we have 5 and will probably have another 5 this next year) in a Venturing Crew that would be internal to our Troop.  For practical purposes, it would function as a Patrol, but we would assign a couple of ASMs to it and they could work the Venturing advancement program (presuming it survives).  It would be an all-girl Crew, but we have a close relationship with a nearby all-boy Troop that would do the same thing.  That way, the two Crews could do co-ed things together.

My read of the postings and practical sense is that Venturing cannot survive as a stand-alone program and its potential future might be as a specialized and optional component of a Troop.  I wish it were different.

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19 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

My read of the postings and practical sense is that Venturing cannot survive as a stand-alone program and its potential future might be as a specialized and optional component of a Troop.  I wish it were different.

My observation is the opposite of your read. The specialized older scout components of the troops are the programs in our district that have a life expectancy of 3 to 5 years. The stand-alone units that don't rely on troops for membership remain active for much longer periods of time. 

Why do you feel your troop needs a separate older scout program? If your older scouts aren't leaving the program,  you must be doing something right.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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