BSA to use Scout Oath and Scout Law for all programs

Update, Jan. 27, 2014: Sea Scouts, see how this applies to you here.

It’s official: The resolution to move to one Oath and Law for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity, Sea Scouts, and Venturing was approved this morning by the Boy Scouts of America’s executive board.

I first told you about the volunteer-led proposal in a blog post in August.

Essentially, this means every Scout of any age will use the Scout Oath and Law instead of reciting separate, program-specific sayings. Cub Scouts will recite the Scout Oath and Law instead of the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack. Similarly, Venturers will no longer use the Venturing Oath and Venturing Code.

Because it will take time to transition into this new approach, the changes are not immediate.

The Venturing change will not happen until late 2013 or early 2014; the Cub Scout change will take effect in mid-2015. Stay tuned to my blog for exact dates as I get them.

Additionally, the newly adopted resolution replaces the full-hand Venturing sign and salute with the three-finger Boy Scout sign and salute.

UPDATE (10/18/12): I confirmed the above sentence today. Venturing will begin to use the Scout sign and Scout salute. This wasn’t mentioned in the resolution because the sign and salute are not specified in the rules and regulations.

For the full resolution and answers to some frequently asked questions, follow the jump: 

Frequently asked questions

Here are the BSA’s answers to some questions already received…

Q: What, specifically, is being changing?

A: Cub Scouts:

• Adopt the Scout Oath and Law for use in the Cub Scout program, retiring the Cub Scout Promise.

• Revise the Core Values of Cub Scouts to align exactly with the 12 points of the Scout Law.

• Retire the Law of the Pack, while maintaining the concept of “Akela” as leader.

• Maintain the current Cub Scout motto, sign, salute, and handshake.

A: Venturing:

• Retire the Venturing Oath, Code, sign and salute

• Adopt the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout sign, and Scout salute

• Engage the task force and National Youth Cabinet to determine whether Venturing should have a differentiating motto/slogan or adopt “Be Prepared”

Q: Why are these changes happening?

A: Each of our programs is designed to help instill the goals of the BSA mission in its members’ daily lives. As the BSA strives to operate as one organization, build continuity of membership over a person’s life, and deliver its mission, considering one Oath and Law as a tool to unify our membership is appropriate. Additionally, the earlier and longer a member is exposed to the values of the Scout Oath and Law, the better the opportunity is that they will be able to live those values in their lives.

Q: How did these recommendations come to be?

A: Two separate task forces have worked on the deliberations leading to the recommendations – the Strategic Plan Goal 411 Task Force and the Venturing Task Force. Each of these is volunteer-led and staffed (approximately 50 and 25 volunteers, respectively).

These task forces made the initial deliberations and recommendations beginning in 2011 and early 2012 respectively.

In the case of the Cub Scout, the 411 task force consulted with cognitive and child development specialists and educational practitioners involved in Scouting. Specifically, these professional and scouters were asked to consider age & developmental appropriateness of the current Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack versus the Scout Oath and Law. The outcome of this study suggested that comprehension difficulty is high for both but not materially higher for the Scout Oath. Further the study group concluded that Cub Scouts could understand the Scout Law just as well as the Cub Scout Promise with appropriate support and guidance. Additionally, research among parents (62% favorable) and Cub Scout leaders (59% favorable) was also supportive. Cub Scouts would not be asked to memorize or recite the Scout Law at early ages.

With respect to Venturing, the primary discussion points centered around the length and lack of use of the current Venturing Code, the desire to support a seamless set of value statements between Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing (one program) and a desire to align Venturing’s value statements with those used for similar age programs worldwide.

Q: Isn’t the Scout Oath and Law much more difficult for Cub Scout age boys to memorize and understand?

A: This was an initial concern of the task force. To address this concern, the task force recruited a group of individuals with experience in child development and linguistics and a group of educational practitioners. All of these individuals are Scouters.

After study, the group’s conclusions were:

• Both sets of value statements contain complex concepts requiring support and guidance for the user to fully understand and learn to live buy.

• Both sets of values statements are written at a relatively high reading level, but the Scout Oath is not significantly more difficult to read and comprehend than the Cub Scout Promise.

• The Law of the Pack is significantly more difficult for Cub Scout age boys to understand than either the Cub Scout Promise or the Scout Oath and contains concepts for which younger Cub Scouts are not developmentally prepared.

• Cub Scout age boys will be able to learn and comprehend the Scout Oath with support and guidance similar to that currently provided when learning the Cub Scout Promise (cards as prompts, guided discussion on meaning, etc.).

• Cub Scouts in early ranks should not be expected to memorize the Scout Law but are developmentally ready to begin exposure to the words of the Law and are ready to begin building understanding of the concepts with help.

Q: Cub Scouts is not Boy Scouts. If Cub Scouts use the Scout Oath and Law, what will separate the programs, what will the boys look forward to?

A: Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are separate programs. Cub Scouts preparing to move to Boy Scouts will continue to anticipate the new uniform, the increase in independence and leadership growth of the patrol method, the enhanced opportunities for fun and adventure thru age appropriate troop activities they could not do as Cub Scouts and the Boy Scout advancement program and other opportunities. Use of the same Oath and Law will unify them with their older “brothers” but will not make them Boy Scouts.

Full resolution

Click here to download (PDF).

What do you think?

Comments are open for your reaction to this move. How will it affect your Scouting life?

Photo: Some rights reserved by PruittAllen

330 thoughts on “BSA to use Scout Oath and Scout Law for all programs

  1. That sucks! What happens to the stair stepping and individuality of the programs? I think this is a mistake!

  2. This is a great move. Children’s brains are like sponges, so there shouldn’t be any issue with them being able to learn the Oath and Law. Just remember the motto will still be “Do Your Best”.

  3. I have to wonder, given the recent publicity of Scouting not bowing to pressure on the issue of gays and lesbians being Scouts or serving as leaders, if this is simply a way to get the words “morally straight” into the other branches of Scouting through the back door. Changing the traditions of the Scouting movement for political cover would be unconscionable.

    • No relationship. This moves ties back to the mission of the Boy Scouts of America: “… by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”

  4. I don’t think many Venturing Crews will be happy with the changes and many will probably just ignore them. “A Scout is…”, “Scout Law”, etc. Our Crew members call themselves Venturers or Crew Members, they don’t refer to themselves as Scouts. Its a different program, though it doesn’t get the attention from the BSA and the local councils that it should.

    • Agree with that point, and can lead to nonsense like Venturers calling themselves “Venture Scouts”, “Venturing Scouts” and the like.

      • Organizational information:

        Venture Scouting is a subprogram of Boy Scouting which is a Scouting program of the BSA.

        Venturing is a Scouting program of the BSA.

        Sea Scouting is a subprogram of Venturing which is a Scouting program of the BSA.

        Varsity Scouting is a subprogram of Boy Scouting which is a Scouting program of the BSA.

        Boy Scouting is a Scouting program of the BSA.

        Cub Scouting is a Scouting program of the BSA.

        Exploring is a Learning for Life program of the BSA.

        • A clarification based on comments elsewhere – Venture Scouting is not an official title or subgroup in the BSA. It is referring to the Venture Patrol, which is an option within Boy Scouting that has its own Guide to Safe Scouting classification, which means the Venture Patrol has access to activities not allowed to normal Boy Scouting patrols.

        • What? Where does it say that a Boy Scout in a Venture Patrol in a Boy Scout Troop can fire a pistol or go hunting?

      • Our crew refers to ourselves “venture scouts”. Were boyscouts, were part of the BSA program. We tie ourselves to every district and council event and even our girls refer themselves as boyscouts. We are happy with the change as most of our crew are eagle scouts and already know the scout oath and law.

    • Any Venturing Crew which – as you say – “chooses to ignore” the new regulations, clearly has poor leadership. In a hierarchical organization – such as Scouting – you either get with the program, or get gone.

  5. I love this change and fully support it. I wish it had occurred sooner, to be honest! I also want to add that I think it is time to add girls to scouting or to start a girl program within BSA. It is far too late for my daughter as she is now 20 but I am hoping that my elementary school aged granddaughters will one day be able to be in a BSA program.

    • Venturing is a program for 14 to 21 year old girls and boys, and that includes Sea Scouts, Explorer Posts, Varsity Teams, and Venturing Crews, so at least they have that to look forward to :)

      • Katie, just to clarify, Venturing does not include Explorers or Varsity. Explorers are part of the Learning for Life Program, a wholly owned subsidary of the BSA, but not part of the Venturing Program. Varsity, is part of the Boy Scout Program.

        Sea Scouts in some ways is part of Venturing, but if you ask many Sea Scouts they will claim to be more separate. But in many administrative ways with the BSA Sea Scouting is a part of Venturing.

    • Please look into American Heritage Girls. We have a memorandum of mutual support with BSA. We are very similar to Boy Scouts and offer a program that does contain an emphasis on life skills, social development, outdoors, etc… We are the “flip side” of the BSA coin!

    • Because of an agreement with the Girls Scouts, this will unfortunately never happen. But Exploring and Venturing are two programs within the BSA that have coed membership.

      • Brian,
        I’m not sure that that agreement is valid anymore. And perhaps coed exactly won’t happen, but the change is coming. look at the stronger relationships with American Heritage Girls, inclusion of Venturing at the Jamboree, and the larger focus on making the differences between Venturing and Boy Scouts disappear. Its going to happen soon.

        • And in a lot of places AHG and BSA are working together on things: Camporees, using BSA camps for our AHG girls’ summer camp, etc.. It is growing!!!

        • That could be true. I have no idea what the BSA’s current relationship with the Girls Scouts is. While I see the inclusion on Venturing at the Jamboree (finally) as a step forwards, I personally see the relationship with the AHG and Venturing Boy Scouting focus as a step away from expanding coed membership. But I will be overjoyed if I am wrong about that and the change does finally arrive.

        • If the BSA makes the differences between Venturing and the Boy Scouts disappear, they will lose a lot of the youth that they gained. I believe that a majority of the youth that join Venturing do so precisely because it is *not* Boy Scouts, but a different program entirely that offers some of the same opportunities as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but with a different focus, allowing each Crew to come up with it’s own style, flavor, uniform, by-laws, areas of interest.

          Turning Venturing into “Senior Boy Scouts with Girls” is bound to fail.

  6. As a cub master, I do but like this idea at all. It’s not broke. In one of the last questions what will the cubs have to look forward to? the response was the new uniform among other items. I don’t know where you get the uniform info from, but cubs are supposed to switch to the tan shirts upon moving into webelos. Same one the boy scouts use. another item says the younger boys won’t be required to learn the oath and law, so what exactly will they have? Seems they’ll be left out until they late in wolves. I say leave it alone.

    • Actually Webelos have the option of keeping the blue uniform, or going to the tan and green uniform. Been that way since August 1984.

  7. I think this is a bad idea…but…I guess it really doesn’t matter what I think. I also am wondering what the requirements for the Scout rank will be changed to since most of them are focused around the Scout Oath and Law that they learn as a Webelo.

      • There is no such thing as “Venture Scouting”.

        If you mean the Venture patrol, its just part of Boy Scout troops and is NOT a sub program.

        • I am indeed referring to Venture patrols within Boy Scouting. While not an officially designated subprogram like Varsity Scouting or Sea Scouting, it does have a completely different set of rules within the Guide to Safe Scouting. It is more or less an semi-subprogram.

        • I’ve also found that referring to the Venture patrol program as a subprogram of Boy Scouting avoids much of the confusion that comes up in more accurate summary descriptions.

  8. As a female Venture Scout, my district VOA president, I have many concerns about this. So we’re clear, I do not approve of melding the Oaths/Laws/Codes. We are all Scouts, and we take pride in our differences in programs as much as our similarities. The Venturing Oath is not the same as the Boy Scout Oath because the programs have different goals. Overall, yes, we all aim to develop our characters and morals and abilities, but Venturing is primed more for leadership, independence, and high adventure, where I more often see Boy Scouting focusing on community/social growth, confidence. life preparedness, and growth in ethics. There is crossover, of course, but not enough to warrant this conversion.

    The signs are a point of pride for us Venture Scouts, they help us identify each other in the seas of Boy Scouts who, at least half the time, don’t even know we exist. We understand that we are supposed to mix with the rest of Scouting, but we can’t always. Venturing was created to be different than Boy Scouts, just like Explorer Posts, Sea Scouts, and Varsity Teams, so why try to pull us all back in?

    I do see the logic behind this decision, I really do. I just don’t think it was the right line of reasoning. I believe it would have been much better to keep them separate.

    But, hey, my handbook is now a collectors item!

    • I would like to remind that Venturing is a relatively new program and was formed, in my humble opinion, as a means of bolstering falling membership in Explorer Posts. I will go out on a limb and say that Explorer Posts should have stayed as was, with limited co-ed posts in particular fields and efforts made to reinforce that program.

      • Explorer Posts are still around! We have one that partners with the Civil Air Patrol in our VOA. Venturing has become the ‘umbrella’ that Explorer Posts, Seas Scouts, Varsity Teams, and the Venturing Crews themselves fall under. We’re 11 years as Venturing, but Sea Scouts and Explorers have been around much, much longer.
        Personally? I thank God, nearly every day for Venturing, because it’s true that Explorer Posts did not attract enough youth. I would not have been interested in an Explorer’s Post because the focus is too narrow, but my Venturing Crew feels more flexible.
        By having Venturing in general with it’s specified groups, we have been able to raise awareness and interest in Explorer Posts, we haven’t abandon them.

        • Katie.

          Explorer Posts are NOT a part of the BSA and do NOT fall under the umbrella of the Venturing Crews. Explorer Posts are a part of the “Learning For Life”, which is a separate entity owned by the BSA, but it does not use the fleur de lis or any of the other symbols of the BSA. Venturing includes Venturing Crews and Sea Scouts. Varsity Teams is an antiquated program that I believe is largely used by the LDS church Scouting units, but again, is not a part of Venturing.

      • Exploring was moved to LfL because of the Chicago law suit. Venturing replaced it in the traditional BSA side. It grew like wildfire at first, but has been plummeting recently.

    • Katie you are Venturing Scouts or youth not Venture scout that was at Troop level a Patrol and now is gone. What does you by-laws say you know that you can write your own and have your own uniform standards etc. (I hope you know)

    • I amof the understanding that all of this was put before the VOA at area region and national level that is what was passed on to me via our area VOA advisor. PS they said it was endorsed by all VOA officers at area and above.

      • Force of habit to include all the forms of Venturer, including both forms of Scouts. My apologies.
        Of course, I am aware of this, but this is bigger than by-laws. These are some of the things we don’t have power over and they are even requirements for our Gold award.
        I’m at district VOA, so my opinion is null for national. Though I plan on talking with our Area President about this, as we hadn’t even heard this was in motion before yesterday.

        • Good luck My youth in the Crew are all under the old book and requirements and they will finish all of their requirements by the old book and I still have one youth under the first Handbook and those requirements and she will soon be finished with them. This change has been in the wind for some time sorry you didnot hear about it untill now

      • Umm…no, they weren’t. They found out about this proposed change the way the rest of us did, when it was announced that it was going to be voted on. The only one asked to weigh in on it was the National President, thats only because he’s on the National board which voted on this.

        Note: The national board did not vote to get rid of the Venturing Sign, thats not in the resolution they voted on.

    • Katie- be advised you are NOT a “Venture Scout”.

      You are a Venturer.

      The term “Venture Scout” is incorrect within the BSA.

  9. In my opinion, this is a great change. The oaths/promise and laws were not enough different to justify the differences. They appear to have been forced by adherence to a youth development model of some sort. Does a cub scout live the law, for example, in the same way as a boy scout or venturer? Of course not, but the difference need not be in the wording. It is in the way one goes about daily life in conformity to the law. Older youth have more distractions to being trustworthy, for instance, and more challenges to being obedient, than do younger ones. Just recite the one law and live it at the level appropriate for your age group.

    Many in Seattle already know my opinion on the signs. The Venturing sign represents a misguided approach to create uniqueness and identity. Let the identity flow from what we do as Venturers, not from how we hold our fingers. The Venturing sign is also too close to the Nazi sign. The further we get away from the Hotlerjugend, the better. Three fingers are better than five in this case. All of these changes will also facilitate the flow of youth and their parents through age-appropriate programs, and of adults through facsimiles of those programs at Wood Badge. I, for one, am solidly on board.

    Guy M. Bennett, Chief Seattle Council Training Chair

    • Yes, the Venturing sign and salute are much too close to the oath taken in American courts, and by the millions of Americans who serve(d) in our military. We MUST do away with that.

    • Anyone who has ever experienced the Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring Programs would hardly agree with such a myopic interpretation of the program structure and rationale developed over many decades.. Uniqueness is one of the appeals of these young adult age-appropriate programs and the fact that they are highly successful and appealing to teens speaks for itself. Comparing the Venturing/Sea Scout salute or sign [which is the same as used by the US Military and the President of the USA in taking oaths of office] to Brown Shirts is over the top to say the least.. Venturers, Sea Scouts and Explorers are YOUNG ADULTS and that is the rationale for the full hand salute and for treating them as such.

  10. Having grown in scouting with my son through cubs and scouts, taken nearly every training offered, and now as a leader for our council’s Jamboree Venture Crew, I support this move. We just discussed this possibility at our Jamboree meeting last night. Yes, we haven’t done it that way before, but it is a very logical extension and will serve to unify the programs rather than promote division. In answer to Jim G., no I don’t think that you are going to see a dismantling of the Venture Program, but rather welcome more full and seamless support for the program.

    • The Venture Program and Venturing Program are 2 separate things.

      You are part of the Venturing Program, and are a leader of your council Jamboree Venturing Crew.

      The Venture program is the Venture Patrol, which is part of the Boy Scout Troop.

  11. Another topic that is reportedly being considered for future modification relates to the Venturing Recognition Awards of Bronze, Gold, Silver, Ranger. Trust, and Quest. It is not known if the Sea Scout awards of Apprentice, Ordinary, Able and Quartermaster are being similarly scrutinized. This apparently is being undertaken on the basis that low participation in the Venturing awards program is considered to be of concern. The question is why? One explanation may be that Traditional Boy Scout programs have used advancement statistics as a measure of success of the program [e.g., how many Eagle Scouts, and other ranks, how many merit badges earned, etc.] However, for teen programs, again this is in my opinion, not a statistically valid or appropriate measurement tool that is apparently being applied for Venturing recognitions as a measure of program “success.” It should not be!

    Venturing does not have an “advancement” program in the sense that traditional Boy Scouting does. It has instead, age-appropriate recognition awards which are designed to recognize youth for their participation in the many exciting outdoor high adventure, special interest, or other available elements of the program which is the primary purpose of the program that attracts and keeps teens involved.

    When Venturing was created, the youth and adults of the National Venturing Committee deliberately designed the recognition awards that were based on the original Exploring Awards developed in the 40′s and 50′ when “ratings” were skills proficiency awards that were like “advanced merit badges” and the Silver Award was Exploring’s highest award and the Ranger Award was the highest outdoor proficiency award. Venturing is one of the few BSA programs that involved youth members in the creation and design considerations of the awards and other program elements.

    Experience has shown that on average, teens don’t really care much about earning awards as they just want to have fun and enjoy the programs that they plan and carry out. There should not be an effort to “make Venturers more like Boy Scouts” as the trend seems to be heading. One of the reasons Venturing is so successful is that it is NOT designed in the mold of a Boy Scout Troop where advancement is highly stressed as a program element and method. Traditional Boy Scout programs were primarily designed for 11-14 year olds, not older teens. Even some Boy Scouts [in my experience as a Scoutmaster] are NOT interested in advancement, but just want to have fun. One size does NOT fit all.

    What does work in Venturing is “Stealth Recognition” where the advisor keeps a record of the activities that Venturers plan and participate in, and by coincidence, often qualify for most of the requirements of the various awards. So the advisor shares that information with the youth and assists them in completing the paperwork and receiving the award through a Crew review program. For those youth who are interested, they often then pursue the higher achievements on their own, but they are not coerced or pressured into doing so, as is sometimes the case for some Scout Troops in my experience.

    Venturers who have been former [or are even concurrent] Boy Scouts often are burned out on advancement and want something different. There is a good Venturing DVD that interviews Eagle Scouts, who have become Venturers and they openly say that they want a different experience than they had in the Troop which may not include advancement. Even youth who were never in Scouting and join a Venturing Crew are sometimes just not interested in awards. The same goes for Sea Scout Ships which also offer traditional recognition awards if the youth wish to participate. Not everyone does and that is fine.

    Those former Scouts who have earned at least 1st Class and join a Venturing Crew are allowed to continue working on Boy Scout advancement in the crew and can earn the Eagle Scout Award in the crew if they wish.

    Moreover a little known fact is that the vast majority of male Venturers [and of course, all of the female Venturers] have never been Boy Scouts. Venturers tend to be older with a “bell curve” of members peaking at 17, followed closely by 16, then 18 and tapering down in the younger [13-15] and older[19-20] age groups. There are more female than male Venturers overall. So it is understandable that they are not interested in being molded into a Traditional Boy Scout Troop format program.

    Similarly in my experience [and that of many other advisors], the youth have often told me that among their non-Boy Scout peers, it is not considered “cool” to be a Boy Scout and some youth actually reported being hassled or criticized if it became known that they were Boy Scouts. Conversely, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring members were accepted and even complimented because it was known that these programs are designed for teens and are coed.

    Venturing was created in 1998 and was [and continues to be] the fastest growing young adult program in the BSA while other programs are shrinking. The largest total available youth pool exists in the young men and women between ages 13 and 20 and this same pool of youth are also the least well-served by the BSA in terms of recruitment and number of units. For many decades, young adult programs including Exploring, [and later] Venturing and Sea Scouting traditionally and despite their popularity and success, were often called “the best kept secret in Scouting.” The reason is simple . . . Councils typically put most of their emphasis, funding and efforts on Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting programs. This emphasis occurs despite the fact that the pools of available youth in both those programs and age groups are comparatively much smaller, particularly since they only serve boys.

    If BSA really wishes to recruit more young adults, and thus exponentially increase overall membership, then considerably more emphasis should be placed on promoting and supporting Venturing, Sea Scouts and LFL Exploring at the National and at the Council level. Traditional Boy Scout programs experience their greatest attrition of youth at age 14 when they enter high school.

    Moreover, in order to encourage older youth [and particularly Boy Scouts] who are just entering high school to enter “Scouting’s Next Step” age-appropriate teen programs, this is the time to recruit older Scouts into Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring to keep them active in the Scouting family, rather than just dropping out entirely which so many often do.

    Very few Scout Troops will do this, and some Scoutmasters even fear that Venturing will “steal their older youth” leaving them “without older-boy leadership.” Sadly, they do not realize that the older youth are likely to leave anyway, and if you provide them an allied Venturing program, it is very probable that they will stay involved with the Troop because they now have an alternative teen group to belong to that meets their interests and needs. This is a proven concept and worked well for many Troops, including my own, when we formed an Explorer Post, and later a Venturing Crew and Sea Scout Ship over a period of 20 years. During that period we had more than 120 Eagle Scouts, and a number of Exploring, Venturing and Sea Scout recognitions as well.

    It is also a very effective recruitment tool because the younger Scouts get to experience or see what the Venturers and Sea Scouts get to do and the Venturers work with and help them on campouts and trips, so younger Scouts can hardly wait to be old enough to join Venturing and Sea Scouts. And the Venturers get credit toward recognitions for teaching the Scouts in various topics such as first aid, wilderness survival, etc.

    Troops that organize crews and ships can use the same adult leaders concurrently to be on the crew or ship advisor/skiipper staff or unit committee and the youth can be multipled so there is no added cost other than the annual charter fee. Venturers are primarily registered in the crew and multipled in the Troop if they wish to continue to be registered as Scouts concurrently.

    Unfortunately, this is rarely done and those older youth drop out of Scouting entirely and permanently, and follow the more appealing typical teen programs of sports, band, and other coed organizations. Some Scout Troops have found success by forming allied Venturing Crews and Sea Scout Ships to keep their youth active and interested in challenging programs that the Troop generally cannot offer, but working concurrently with the Troop can meet those needs through Venturing.

    Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring are programatically NOT the same as traditional Boy Scouting, nor were they ever intended to be. Venturing is described as “Scouting’s Next Step” and so it should be, as an “age appropriate” natural transition. Teens want to explore careers, and they want challenging and coed outdoor high adventure and related experiences. They are far less interested in advancements and ranks that appeal more to pre-teen aged boys. There is little doubt that Venturing shares the same values and association of their origins in Scouting, but it is done in a way that appeals to teens, both male and female, that is not available in the format of the traditional Boy Scout program, which is at least in part, why Venturing has been so successful.

    Venturing developed one of the most dramatically effective advanced youth leadership training programs ever conceived in Scouting and it was largely designed by Venturers. The program of the Venturing Leadership Skills Course, and the Kodiak and Kodiak-X outdoor experiential leadership programs were hailed as among the very best and parts were even incorporated in the 21st Century Woodbadge Curriculum where Venturers are invited to serve as instructors for parts of the WB training. The Venturing Powderhorn outdoor resource leadership skills training is hailed as a model adult leader training which has been opened to Boy Scout leaders as well. Moreover, the Boy Scouting program division copied the Venturing leadership training curriculum and incorporated it in the newer Introduction to Youth Leadership training, as well as NYLT and NAYLE.

    It is difficult to see how eliminating the Venturing oath and code, etc., and replacing them with the Boy Scout Oath, law, etc., will bring the program to be”more closely aligned with Traditional Boy Scouting” in light of the nature and reality of the brilliantly conceived and designed age appropriate Venturing program. Let’s not homogenize the best elements of all three age appropriate programs into a “one size fits all” model. Each program offers unique and appealing elements for the age group it serves, and that is part of the proven marketing appeal to those youth.

    As with any typical family, the organization of the Boy Scouts of America is a “Scouting Family” and each member of that family [Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing and LFL Exploring] is and should be unique and irreplaceable” family member” because each one contributes a special value and appeal to a particular “age group.” As a whole, the program divisions seek to recruit and maintain youth in the Scouting Family, from the youngest years until they mature and graduate into adulthood.

    Thus the goal should be to transition youth from the beginning programs, into the next age appropriate program. Moreover, youth who have never been in Scouting at any age should also be welcomed and encouraged to also join and benefit. Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring are particularly effective in reaching those youth when given the opportunity and promotional program support to do so.

    Review of all program elements in Scouting to consider changes that may further enhance the efficacy and appeal of the brilliantly conceived youth program that Baden-Powell [and other notable Scouting pioneers such as Ernest Thompson Seton], may be appropriate from time to time, but it must be conducted with judicious and cautious review to avoid losing elements that are proven to be timeless, effective, and useful to program appeal, and of equal importance,, to support much needed expansion and growth of the programs.

    Again,the old adage ” . . . if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it . . . ” may be appropriate.

  12. Yet another fine example of committee-think by this executive committee. Bad idea. Bad, bad, bad, bad idea. Don’t these people have jobs or something else they can screw with and leave Scouting well enough alone? Don’t we have enough problems?

  13. I like the one oath and law resolution, with one exception. All of the handshakes should be the same – the Boy Scout handshake. I see Cub Scout handshakes massacred all the time.

  14. I have talked with many Venturing youth in our Council since I am active with our Council VOA and mentor our Council ILSC youth trainers. Every one of then was against the changes. Their concern was their Crews would become just like Scout Troops. They joined Venturing because it was different from a Troop. The more the two programs become alike, the less attractive they will be to the older youth. Sea Scouts already say the Scout Oath and Law besides the Sea Scout Promise. Our Crew was also familiar with the Oath and Law. The Venturing Oath and Code took it to the next level for them and more appropriate for their developmental stage of exploring their place in the world. I really hope they do not mess with the Awards and Recognitions for Venturing. i will loose many youth to the program if National changes them too.

  15. What needs to be fixed is the uniform!!! The boys HATE it. I know boys who will not risk wearing it anywhere they might be seen by their peers. Scouting may be cool, but the uniform is considered dorky. Even on adults it is not attractive, especially on anyone who might have a bit of a belly. The pants don’t fit women at all.

  16. Venturing youth want a different and yet rewarding program of scouting. The loss of Venture Scout identity is a big mistake by the “good ol’ boys” at the National executive board. I would venture a guess that not one of the members actively participates with Venture scouting.

  17. We don’t have an easier version of the Pledge of Allegiance, and Kindergartners can handle it with guidance. The Girl Scouts have always had one Promise and Law, no matter what age (granted the progression in Girl Scouts is different, smoother, I could easily get sidetracked discussing this.) There are many other things we start teaching at a young age, and we don’t have to dumb it all down, they learn by continued exposure (Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments, and others come to mind)…
    Anyway, the kids can and will learn it, it won’t weaken either Cubs or Boy Scouts, and we can all adapt. It will (as most things are) be harder on the adults than on the kids.
    As far as memorizing, do you all test the kids on the promise and law of the pack and withhold their Bobcat if they can’t say it from memory? I think that would be a shame, as long as they have tried to learn what it means, and will continue to learn it as they are exposed to it at every meeting. Same goes for the Boy Scout version…
    Sorry to ramble…

    • What worries me about the Cubs is that they won’t really retain all of what they’re reciting. I sepnt my whole life in Sunday school and, sure, I could recite the Lord’s Prayer and Ten Commandments, but it was just like times tables as school, just something I was expected to know. With the current oath and law for Cubs they are able to break it down easily and have the meaning explained to them, I’m worried that as they advance, they will already know the Scout oath and law and it will just be something that’s there, information in their heads that’s always been there. By making it something ‘new’ when they advance, a new Scout is more likely to think about what they are being asked to memorize and take the words with some meaning, as something more than sounds.

      I too, apologize for rambling… :)

      • Your concerns make sense, as do most of the concerns on here… I think that is where we as leaders will have to make an effort to help the boys take the oath and law seriously and learn about it over and over again as they go. I feel like often times they boys don’t really internalize it at the bobcat stage anyway, so we should be reviewing it every year anyway, and adding to their knowledge and understanding…

    • I believe you are accurate when you talk about the fact that people gain insight and meaning as they develop. A Tiger Cub has an understanding of the Promise. That understanding deepens as he develops. The same will take place with the Scout Oath and Law. The boys will be able to internalize the important values of Scouting as they grow and develop.

  18. One thing that I have learned from over 10 years as a Cubmaster and a Den Leader before that, is in order to survive, we must change to fit the times. As a boy, Lions went away to make room for a Webelos program, the uniform continues to change as well and training has changed so much in the last 20 years that it makes a leader’s head spin.

    Boys are frequently much smarter than we think they are, and I am sure that when a good explanation is made of what each point means, they will pick up on it quickly. I have found that the boys in my area are much more concerned that the Trails End menu has changed than who Akela is anyway. I am sure that if this does not work out, it will change again.

    For the older crowd, I understand Tammy Campbell’s concerns. I was a Troop Committee member when Venturing became a stand alone program. Many of us were sure that this “new idea” would decimate out troops. Then including teen age girls into the mix is still being viewed as a bad idea. Program wise, the youth seem to get along fine, in fact adults are more upset than they are from what I have seen.

    For me, I want to see this play out for a while and will reserve judgement until I see more details and what the youth think of it. ,

  19. From inception in 1982″ish” til 2001 the Tiger Cubs had their own promise. People then said the same thing said about not being able to memorize the Cub Scout Promise. Kids will adapt, they won’t know the difference. And if they grow up their entire life knowing the Scout Oath, it will be all the more instilled in their brain.
    Its the Adult Scouters who already know both and want to be gruffs about it. Admit it… you already slip up when saying the Cub Scout Promise and end up saying parts of the Scout Oath.
    And EVERY single Venturer I know says their oath is to long and generic, so glad that changed.

  20. Pingback: Major Changes for Eagle Rank, Use of Scout Oath and Law Announced | Backpacker's Blaze

  21. I don’t support this decision. Each is a separate program, with their own uniqueness. A Cub Scout has Boy Scouting to look up. Many comments here about Bobcat Requirements, but what about Webelos Requirements – I guess we can just reduce what is expected. Great programs set up today to feed off of one another.
    This coupled with announcement of Eagle-required Merit Badge changes makes me wonder if we are going to slip into another 70′s fiasco. Be very careful BSA!

  22. Here is something to look at as far as Venturing the Crew can set their own by-laws and mission statement etc. just like any business unit that is what they are patterened after President VP etc. With that in mind they can keep things as they are due to their by-laws including the uniform seeing that they can set that up in their by-laws so all of this change for Venturing is up to the youth to put it in the by-laws of the Crew or not. This will be a topic of diccusion at the next meeting I am sure.

    • Having bylaws (one word, no hyphen) and such has NOTHING to do with businesses.

      Organizations, clubs, societies and such have bylaws and officers like President, VP, etc. Groups like Optimist clubs, Rotary, Toastmasters, etc.

      • That is your take on the subject not mine or the youth in our Crew. So grammer is not the best got your attention did it not. This all being said the youth can and will do what they want with the changes. All of our youth get awards that is the way we structor the program and most of all we have fun doing it. Have one female youth that will be rappeling over 400 ft for scouting and wants to do the jump that was made over the weekend will start training at age 18 for that jump. Educaltion and awards and fun while on the edge of ones comfort zone is where Venturing is at for the youth in our Crew

  23. I still do not understand what problems this move is expected to fix. If National believes that boys are not transitioning from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts because of the different promise/oath and laws, I think our organization has even bigger problems. It might be blasphemous but it’s true: Scouting is not for every boy, BUT every boy should be able to have the experience of Scouting.

  24. Pingback: One Oath, One Law for All | The NetCommish

  25. In the 1970′s there was a move to change the organization name from Boy Scouts of America to “Scouting USA.” This actually resulted in changing the letterhead and branding logos of the organization as well as modernizing the fleur de lis logo. This was done in anticipation of a possible merger with the Girl Scouts of the USA and of other youth organizations such Campfire, et al. Regrettably those negotiations were not successful and thus the Scouting USA brand was eventually dropped and reverted back to the organization name being called the Boy Scouts of America. The nomenclature is probably based on the historical evolution that first was only composed of Boy Scouts, but then Sea Scouts were included in 1912 and later Cub Scouts were created which was thematically based on the Rudyard Kipling “Jungle Book” lore which was popular with young boys and continues to be to this day. Lord Robert S.S. Baden-Powell and his wife Lady Olave [who was the chief organizer of the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides] had highly encouraged programs for all age appropriate male and female youth groups from early years up through maturity. .

    It is regrettable that this effort did not succeed as it would have permitted BSA to greatly expand its youth membership by welcoming young women and young men in many programs. The upshot of this effort was that in the 1970′s Exploring only was opened up to female membership, but no other programs.

    Those who attend World Scout Jamborees or other international jamborees and Scouting events will experience Scouting with many other international Scouting units [often more than 160 nations participate in World Jamborees] that are fully coed and continue to be highly successful. If there is to be a positive outcome of the 411 studies, it would certainly be a renaissance if female membership were extended to other programs in addition to Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring. The World Jamborees I have attended with a Regional Venturing Crew with young women and young men seem to be much more compatible and comfortable with the other international Scout contingents. The BSA World Jamboree Boy Scout Troops find themselves in a distinct minority by not having coed membership. When some of them learned about the opportunity of attending as a Venturer with a coed crew, they said they wished they would have known about that option as they would have signed up to be in the Venturing Crews rather than in the Scout Troops.

    Fortunately BSA will have a coed Venturing Subcamp at the 2013 National Jamboree which is the first time that Venturers may be participants in a National Jamboree. Previously they could only attend as a youth staff member, so there is finally a move to be more inclusive of coed membership in the organization. It should be noted that an effort was made to have coed Explorer Posts participate in the 1989 National Scout Jamboree, but the effort was very poorly promoted and publicized at the local council level, so very few Explorers knew about the opportunity and it was consequently very poorly attended. As a result, BSA would not permit another attempt until the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

    • More so than an emphasis on coeducational scouting programs, the Scouting/USA name change effort coincided with both the Boypower/Manpower ’76 effort and the move away from focusing on outdoor skills with the release of the 8th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook in 1972 (the green cover one). This edition was supposed to appeal to more urban scouts and got away from much of the traditional outdoor program of the Boy Scouts. This edition also featured a commemorative Bicentennial Printing in July 1976 (600,000 copies) with cover art by Joseph Csatari “All Out for Scouting”, that showed the temporary Scouting/USA logo. This particular printing is fairly collectible and is getting difficult to find in mint condition, largely because of its short run.

      In response to this “urbanized” edition, William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt appealed to then Chief Scout Executive Alden Barber, who invited him out of retirement to write the 9th Edition (1989) that reintroduced many of the outdoor skills left out of the 8th Edition.

      Incidentally, there was so much controversy within the organization during the mid-seventies, that there was a period of 10 months or so when there was NO Chief Scout Executive. Harvey Price replaced Barber as “Interim Chief Scout Executive” for some months, during 1977. The Eagle Certificates listing him as “Interim” are highly collectible.

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