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It certainly would be interesting to see the Venturing national registration breakdowns, particularly how many Venturers are also registered in troops, the stats on different types of crews - hobbies, religious life, Sea Scouting, HA, etc. - and the stats about how many of each type of award have been earned.


IMHO, Venturing is organized a lot like Girl Scouting, where the quality of the program can vary widely from town to town and structure is occasionally lacking.


And the approach of taking in existing groups (church youth groups, Civil War re-enactment clubs, etc.) and making them crews may lead to the impression that they're only paper crews, when they may in fact be very active on their own, just not within the broader Venturing framework. (But it certainly is an easy way for a DE to boost unit numbers! ;-) )

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shortridge I do not believe you really understand the focus of venturing as many others in scouting not directly involved with the program. Venturing is not an "in the box" type of program where every crew does exactly the same thing, there are a huge selection of options to choose from, and for many scouters thats makes them uncomfortable and leads them to think crews are not organized, which is just not true. Venturing is not a one program fits all type of unit, unlike cubs and boy scouts.



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Adding to what BadenP said.


The flexibility of Venturing (which, by the way, it inherited from Exploring, and which was how Exploring was run since atleast the 70s) is one of its greatest strengths and its greatest weakness. The same was true under Exploring.


Allowing for a Venturing Crew to develop their own, unique program is very powerful. This leads to youth coming to a particular crew because it offers a unique program that appeals to them. This program can be as broad as "outdoors" or as narrow as "civil war re-enactment".


The problem is that many times you can't provide them with any kind of 'national standard program', like you can with Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts. You can usually only provide more general program ideas (general "outdoors", "religious life", etc). But with the internet, it is possible for crews to connect with crews of similiar programs, especially if they are fairly unique within their council. But the more unique a program, the more its on the shoulders of the youth (AND adults) to keep things going. Some can handle this, some can't.


What Venturing DOES provide (as did Exploring before) is an overall framework, into which crews plug their unique program. This framework is the general crew organization, youth and adult leadership training (VLSC, Kodiak, Kodiak-X for youth, VLST, WB, Powder Horn, etc for adults), recognition program, and a structure of support at the district & council levels (roundtable/program forum, VOA/TLC at district/council levels, etc).


Some crews take full advantage of these, and some don't. Its been found that crews that take advantage of most of these things are stronger and better crews.


BTW, a church youth group or re-enactment crew CAN be just as much a Venturing crew as an outdoor crew IF they are using the Venturing program, not just to get the insurance or the like.


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I'm not a big fan of breaking down by age. It feels like a bit of a cop out to me. We bring a boy in at 11, train him for three years on the doing and how to be a teacher and how to lead. Then, just as they are about ready to step up and give back we dangle something else in front of them? Frankly, I'm not a big fan of venturing or going co-ed, but that's me.


Sure, some boys leave as soon as they get their license or first sniff of perfume or dreams of an NFL contract or music scholarship. That's ok. It's a decision they make. Instead of lamenting the loss we should be concentrating on the boys who stay in the program. Just like every other program, we provide an opportunity for those who choose it. Not all will.


Secondarily, if the break between Webelos and Boy Scouts is a problem, why create another break point?

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A lot to do with Venturing is how it works or can work in conjunction with the Boy Scout program.


When I first started my Crew a lot of Scouts wanted to join in. SM's were threatened by this because we were "stealing" away their top boys. But having been in Scouting before Venturing I headed this argument off at the pass. It is a solid rule that if one is already registered as a Boy Scout they MUST dual register with the Crew and MUST continue on with the troop and attain Eagle to stay with the Crew.


To date I have a record of 12 Eagles, none of which I had the honor of presenting their Eagle award to. I have had only one boy not make Eagle who came in under this requirement and when he dropped the troop he also dropped the crew.


I've never had a SM complain to me that I stole their boys, but I have had them thank me for keeping their boys going in the troops.


This kind of cooperation works both ways to the benefit of both programs. Only when adults argue about it and get territorial do things fall apart.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think we should adjust the age for crossing over to Boy Scouts or "split up" the Boy Scouts into age groups. I agree with those that have mentioned keeping the older boys active is the key. I think that bringing Cubs up earlier would just mean younger Eagles and that much sooner of a departure from the troop.


And what about those who enter Boy Scouts without having directly crossed over from a Pack, like I did? We moved around when I was a Webelos and the den wasn't great anyway, so I never earned AOL. When we finally settled in VA, I joined the local Troop, I think I was almost 12 by that time. Perhaps I'm a minority in that despite never "graduating" from Cubs, I became a Boy Scout and went on to earn my Eagle.


I agree as Stosh pointed out that Venturing is a way to keep those older scouts active in the troop without forcing them to continue dealing with the younger scouts.


My troop created an Explorer Post (just prior to BSA's change to Venturing) that most of the boys my age (who had gone through Scouts together) quickly shifted over to. We continued to serve as Instructors/JASMs for the Troop, but were able to plan and carry out events on our own without having to worry about age restrictions or rank requirements (granted most of us were Life or above at that point). The Post also provided us an opportunity to continue with our advancement opportunities, while still giving those of us who weren't yet Eagles to continue down that road. I ended up earning my GOLD Award with the Post (again, this was just prior to the revamped Venturing program in the mid to late 90s).


The Post served as a de facto "splitting" off of the older guys while still keeping them involved with the troop. This also allowed a couple of us to remain registered in Scouting as we became more active with OA and other activities.



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The 3 largerst issues I see for the loss of boys:


1) Competing interests: girls, music, sports, etc... all that ramp up around age 14 and sometimes a kid has to choose. If you miss practice, you don't start. If you miss the scout meeing, you can still go camping.


2) The AoL as a finish rather than a starting point in scouting. Its far too easy to view the end of Webs as the end of scouting and move on to other persuits.


3) THIS IS THE LARGEST - IMHO... The true LACK OF ADVENTURE availible to the scout between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. They are done with cubs, they have family camped and done BB-guns and Archery ad nauseum at that point since age 6 or 7. Problem is, they can't do many of the high adventure stuff in BSA until age 14!!! I understand the legal and liability issues BSA has painted themselves into a corner on the age cut-off. No cope, no black power, no shotgun (or really any other gun besides a 0.22-cal) until age 12.


This gives an aged Webolos / Tenterfoot scout one to two years of "You can only do the things you've already done.... wait until you're 14, then you can cope, climb, rapel, shoot black powder, etc...."


They get bored with the things they have already done and don't want to wait around until age 14 to do the cool stuff. Besides why wait for cope, when I can sign up and play full contact football, hockey, or LaCrosse age age 10 to 12?


Sorry to say, but that is what BSA is completing against for the free-time and money of the adolecent youth.


Co-ed, might keep in some kids longer, but you think we have YPG fears now... just wait until Suzie and Johnny get caught together in the same tent.


To me its lack-luster PROGRAM and lack of adventure between the Web-II years and the 1st to 2nd year of Boy Scouts that make it easy for many to leave. Heck, most years our Web-II scouts don't even participate in our PWD... they've already done it for 4 years and its viewed as a "little kid" thing. Same thing with BB-gun and Archery... been there done that. Thankfully, I have a couple motived Web DL's that are lining up Web only campouts this year so they can go do some longer, more involved hikes / adventures without worrying about the Tigers and Wolves being able to keep up.

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