First look: Major Venturing changes coming next year

venturing-bsa-logoAt age 15, the Venturing program is beginning to show its age.

Membership has declined since 2008. Venturing has the lowest retention rate — 53 percent — of any BSA program. And advancement hasn’t caught on with teens; just 0.66 percent of Venturers earn any awards.

But it’s not all bad news. Beginning next year, big program changes are on the way that amount to much more than just a fresh coat of paint.

I sat down last week with Bob Scott, senior innovation manager, to discuss the complete revamping of Venturing that will change the way the BSA’s youngest program serves young men and women.

The new “Venturing Road Map,” which outlines the program’s first substantial change since its inception, is broken down into six parts: 

Part 1: Create National Venturing Committee


The BSA will reinstitute the strong, national Venturing committee supported by parallel structures at the region, council, and district levels.

The new committee will be lead by the National Venturing Committee Chair, who is an adult volunteer, and the National Venturing President, who is a youth member. The National Venturing Staff Advisor is a professional who will provide assistance as needed.

The National Venturing Cabinet will continue to function and will be represented on the National Venturing Committee by the National Venturing President, who serves as one of the Venturing Key 3.

Part 2: Use JTE Approach in Venturing

Venturing will benefit by modifying Journey to Excellence criteria to gain a balanced focus on membership growth and bring increased attention to the Venturing program.

Over the next year, the National Venturing Committee will redevelop Venturing JTE measures at unit, district, and council levels, which should positively affect retention and growth for Venturing.

Part 3: Completely New Advancement System


As mentioned, fewer than 7 out of every 1,000 Venturers completes any type of advancement in the program.

So the Venturing task force set out to make the advancement system simpler and more attractive to teens.

That means…

  • the Venturing Bronze, Gold, and Silver awards are on their way out.
  • a new four-by-four advancement program — outlined in the graphic above — will replace the Bronze, Gold, and Silver awards beginning in 2014.
  • a young man or woman who reaches the fourth level in each of the four pillars will have earned the highest award in Venturing.
  • the names of the levels haven’t yet been decided, but you can be assured they won’t be Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV.
  • the focus of the awards will be on continual growth in the four pillars of Venturing: Adventure, Leadership, Service, and Personal Growth.
  • each level will challenge the Venturer to first learn the skills, then demonstrate them, then teach them to others, then mentor others in those skills. (Sounds like a smart application of the EDGE method to me.)

The new program will be phased in slowly, meaning Venturers currently working on the Bronze, Gold, and Silver awards can continue their progress. Here’s the plan:

  • If working on current awards:
    • May continue working on current awards until Dec. 31, 2014
    • May convert to new awards after May 2014, beginning with the Level II Award
    • Must utilize the new awards requirements after Dec. 31, 2014
  • New awards:
    • May convert to new awards after May 2014
    • Beginning with the Level II Award for current Venturer
    • Beginning with Level I Award for new Venturers
    • Must switch to the new awards requirements after Dec. 31, 2014

Expect many more details about program specifics in the coming months.

Part 4: Change Membership Reporting

Beginning in 2014, Venturing, Varsity, and Sea Scouts will all be counted together as an older youth program for membership reporting purposes only.

This won’t change anything in Varsity or Sea Scouting program structure or administration. It just groups all older-youth programs together for counting purposes.

Part 5: Training Changes

Even though their roles are drastically different, Venturing Advisors and Venturing Crew Committee Chairmen currently take the same training.

That’s going to change.

The National Venturing Committee will adopt and develop specific adult and youth training continuum, including defining required and optional training and recommended timing.

They will separate position-specific training into crew Advisor and crew committee training, update Venturing Fast Start training to be consistent with new program approach, and develop youth training programs necessary to support the new program matrix.

Part 6: Incorporate National Uniform Options

I don’t have many details on this, but I know the committee plans to discuss including “uniforming” as one of the methods of Venturing by incorporating national uniform options as follows:

  • Venturing field uniform: Current (or revised) Venturing field shirt
  • Activity uniform: Nationally developed and offered Venturing polo shirt or polo/T-shirt of crew design

Still have questions?

Read these answers supplied by the National Venturing Task Force:

FAQs – New Venturing Program

Q.  What is a quick overview of the new vision for the program?

A. The new vision for Venturing uses youth-led adventures and a simplified program model to provide a means of developing leadership skills, reinforcing the value of service to others, and creating opportunities for personal growth in line with the Scout Oath and Law

Q.  What are “adventures?”

A.  Adventures are any Venturer designed and lead experience that interests Venturers and help carry youth out of their comfort zones. In Venturing, adventures can be based on STEM exploration, outdoor adventure, faith journeys, arts and hobbies, or anything that appeals to the members of a crew.

Q.  Will this still work with existing crews?

A.  Yes.  The new program model enhances Venturing’s current strengths while allowing crews flexibility in terms of the program “vehicle” used—outdoor adventure, STEM, faith-based experiences, arts and hobbies, among others. The new vision for Venturing is adaptable to any activity or interest that allows for opportunities for continuous, youth-led adventure. The continuous process of reflection and goal-setting built into the new model helps youth better appreciate the deeper purpose behind the activities in which they already participate as well as encourage them to explore new growth opportunities.

Q.  Relatively few Venturers take advantage of the current awards program in Venturing.  Will advancement become more central in the new program?

A.  In the new program model, goals and objectives take center stage, providing a structure for organizing crew-organized adventures. The new structure offers core elements that can guide all crews and that will give each Venturer an opportunity for learning and growth. The changes made to the Venturing awards will better align Venturing recognition with what crews do. As Venturers achieve the goals they set under the new structure, they will also advance up through the several award levels.  Each element of the award program also provides a benchmark for a successful crew. An overall goal of the new system is to recognize more Venturers for doing what Venturers do best:  having fun as they pursue adventure, leadership, service, and personal growth.

Q.  Will the current bronze awards remain?

A.  No. All five of the current bronze awards will be retired. The new advancement program will have one award at that level.

Q.  Will the medals continue to be used as the main recognition devices?

A.  It has been recommended, but not finalized, that only the highest award be signified with a medal, while the others will be represented using a patch and/or a pin. This will also align Venturing with current practices in Sea Scouting and Boy Scouting as well as the traditions established from Exploring.

Q.  Will the Ranger, Quest, and TRUST awards be retained?

A.  Yes.  All three expert awards will remain under the new Venturing model. However, because the separate, specialty Bronze awards will be retired, all of the current requirements for these awards will need to be satisfied while working specifically on the Ranger, Quest of TRUST award.

Q.  How is the new model structured?

A.  Venturing will be organized around four “pillars”: adventure, leadership, service, and personal development. These pillars are informed by the work of the BSA’s 411 Task Force and research on the wants and needs of this age group, helping to ensure that Scouting is a continuous program for youth from ages 7–21 that uses age-appropriate program models to achieve a common set of youth development outcomes. Under each pillar, youth will be encouraged to set and meet goals in order to earn Venturing awards.

Q.  What is the vision for the new Silver Award model?

A. The aim of the new model will be to ensure that recipients of the capstone Venturing (whose name is not yet final) have achieved and demonstrated skills that identify themselves as effective leaders and valued community members. Through a balanced program that involves serving others throughout their Venturing tenure and through a capstone project, organizing adventures, exercising leadership, and setting and achieving challenging personal goals, Venturers will be recognized for distinguished character and leadership.

Q.  What is the difference between advancement and recognition in the new Venturing model?

A.  Advancement takes place within the progressive program system described in the program matrix. Levels of performance and achievement are provided within the four pillars of adventure, leadership, service, and personal growth. Recognition comes thru the development of skills and experiences throughout the Venturing program including the specialty awards of Ranger, TRUST, and Quest.

Q.  What handbooks and resources will support the new Venturing model?

A.  The BSA will issue a new, youth-focused Venturer Handbook that will include all of the basics about the Venturing program, guidance for effectively participating in and leading a crew, and setting goals and earning awards. In addition, a new adult guide will help advisors and other volunteers work effectively with youth. There will be an additional book that will serve as a resource document for Venturing program opportunities.

Q.  Will there be on-line resources available?

A.  Yes.  The plan is to make many “how-to” materials available on-line for easy reference.

Q.  Phone apps for Venturing have been talked about.  Will they be produced?

A.  Perhaps. This is something that can be pursued after the program is completely defined and ready to use. Our first task is to generate the content.

Q.  Is it true that Venturers will now use the Scout sign and salute? What about the Scout Oath and Law?

A.  Yes, Venturers will adopt the Scout sign and salute, used worldwide by older youth in our programs.  Venturers will also begin using Scout Oath and Law.  These changes are effective May 2014, although we hear units are already adopting these practices.

Q.  Who was involved with this project?

A.  The vision for this approach to Venturing was based on both general and BSA-conducted research in youth development—as well as grounded in the practices of current Venturing Crews. The members of the task force that developed this program model came from all over the country. There were youth as well as adults in the process, led by volunteers and supported by professionals. All of the adults have experience with Venturing (and Exploring) and work regularly with local crews.  

Q.  What is the timeline for roll-out of the new program?

A.  The plan is for new materials and award requirements to be released starting in May 2014, with a phase-in period for youth who are currently working to complete Venturing awards under the current requirements.  

Q.  What changes are anticipated to provide stronger leadership to the Venturing program??

A.  The National Key Three has endorsed the re-establishment of a National Venturing Committee (NVC) to roll out and realize the recommendations of the National Venturing Task Force. The NVC will report to the Council Operations Group Committee.  The NVC will be headed by a National Venturing Key Three—the national chair, National Venturing President (youth) and the National Venturing Staff Advisor and will include a Venturing Chair of Venturing from each region and at large members.

Q.  What changes are anticipated for the area and regional support structures?

Support at these levels will be maintained and will be connected to the National Venturing Committee in the method described above.

Q.  What is the status of the college-age Venturing proposal?

A.  The expansion of program ages is still under review but will not be part of the changes being announced for implementation in 2014.

Q.  Can new awards be worked on simultaneously, i.e. can one do something for the new Level IV Award while still working on new Level III Award?

A. In some cases, yes.  These opportunities will be detailed when the advancement guide is updated to reflect the new Venturing advancement system. While some specific requirements can be “frontloaded,” such as taking advantage of a training opportunity, most of the advancement will take place at each level while seeking to achieve that level.

Q.  Venturing has, since its inception made use only of recognition. How is the new system different?

A.  Advancement takes place within the progressive program system present described in the Silver Award program matrix. Levels of performance and achievement are provided within the four pillars of adventure, service, personal growth, and leadership. Recognition is present through the use of the expert awards of Ranger, TRUST, and Quest.

Q. What changes are coming in youth training?

A. Training of our Venturing youth will be enhanced in a number of ways. Existing syllabi are being updated, but more than that, five new courses are being created to support the new program matrix. Each of these new courses is designed to give Venturers a more competitive advantage in the world. Skills such as project management, goal setting and mentoring are just some of the things to look forward to. These courses are being created with the understanding that true learning is not a passive experience. Both the existing courses and our new ones will be updated and created with hands on experiential learning at their core. Our Venturers will be growing by doing.

Q. Will Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC) be changed?

A. Although it won’t be a major overhaul, there will be some modifications made to the current syllabus which will enhance individual learning and give youth leaders the tools they need to fulfill their roles more effectively and readily. You will see more practical application and less theory.

Q. Over the past several years there have been changes to Venturing training that lessened the uniqueness of the Venturing program and made it more like Boy Scouts. What adjustments are being made to recapture Venturing’s unique spirit?

A.  The program-neutral aspects of our training materials are being replaced with situational learning which is specific to the Crew structure and program. Terms that now seem to need translation and skills that are broad in their delivery will be targeted to this unique program and the youth who are drawn to it. Giving Venturers age-appropriate challenges and leadership tools will serve to take their Scouting experience to the next level.

Q. Will there be any changes to the training for adults?

A. Yes. Leaders need to know how to do their jobs and a clear definition of what it takes to become successful. As such, training for Advisors is being separated from training for committee members. In addition to the new syllabus for Crew Advisor Position Specific Training, The Crew Committee Challenge, is being created to help those adults working at the committee level know how best to work with crew members and how they fit into the Crew structure. Learning by doing will be the mantra in our adult training updates.

Q. What will be the definition of a trained leader with this new program?

A. For the adult leader, the definition won’t change much. They will be required to complete Venturing Youth Protection Training, and the leader specific training for their position (i.e. Venturing Leader Specific Training or Crew Committee Challenge).

Youth who complete both the Crew Officer’s Orientation and The Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC) will also be eligible to wear the ‘Trained” patch.

Q. Will an adult who is currently considered “trained” be required to take any additional training with the new program?

A. Like all of Scouting’s programs, a leader who has completed the basic training courses for their position, is considered trained from that point forward. Keep in mind, however, that previous trainings will not have included the features and enhancements of the new program. Leaders are strongly encouraged to update their training in order to delivery a vibrant, relevant and quality program to their Venturers.

Q. Will there be any training for current adults that help explain the changes in the program and how to utilize the new program?

A. The new Venturing Leader Specific Training will be the quickest and most comprehensive method of getting our leaders up to speed on all of the changes. Its content will be specifically designed around the new program.

87 thoughts on “First look: Major Venturing changes coming next year

  1. What is the “college-age Venturing program proposal” and where can I find more details? Is it promoting a program like Rovers or UK’s Scout Network?

    • Venturing, by reason of its age range, is already a college level program. Scouts 18 to 21 are usually in college. Community service projects are being required by many universities and a project for Venturing can be done in regard to this college requirement. Venturers in my Crew have done this successfully. An older program for young adults, known as Rovers has been in the BSA agenda in the past and includes young people from age 18 to 26. This would be a valuable program for younger adults in training for adult leadership and retention of Scouters as their lives get busy and careers get started out of college.

  2. I’m with John. What about Powder Horn? We are looking at hosting a course Spring 2014. Seems like this might be a bad idea.

  3. When I was called to form the first Venture Crew in my district back in 1999, I agree that the Venture Crew aspect in scouting was basically thrown out there. I also served as the first Venture Crew Committee Chairman for my district. Again there were the basic guidelines, but the major emphasis from others was getting boys to stay by using the influence of the female. For some reason the duel membership in Boy Scouts and the Venture Crew to keep a boy on the trail to Eagle was difficult to accept. I saw over the years that advancements and awards were not the focus. Rather, there was plenty of interaction and service performed by the crew. It is good to see changes. Start with the basics that include the uniform. No optional Class “A”. Make the Green Shirt the uniform. Do Not lower the age to 14. Boys at that age are not mature enough to deal with 18, 19 or 20 year olds. Either keep the Varsity Teams and Venture Patrols separate or abolish them. Much more to recommend, but I will be lucky if the censors let this get through.

    • Remember, a Venturing Crew and a Venture Patrol are 2 different animals!! That’s been part of Venturing’s problem since its inception- people wanted to make it into BoyScout 3 (in the same way some people think a Troop is Webelos3). I was around when Explorer Posts were transitioned into Venturing Crews and am still a Crew Advisor, so I’m in this for the long haul.

      • ” Start with the basics that include the uniform. No optional Class “A”. Make the Green Shirt the uniform. ” I agree with this. I am my crew’s president and I think that the uniform between crews should be the same because it makes crews look professional and brings a sense of unity. “Do Not lower the age to 14. Boys at that age are not mature enough to deal with 18, 19 or 20 year olds.”(Also keep in mind Venturing is open to female venturers not just males) I belive in this, that is a case by case situation. I see what you are saying but not due to maturity. I think what would strenghten the argument is the world of diffrence in the ages that have the potential to divide the crew youth. Higher ages have diffrent interest such as being able to drive, being an upper classmen in high school or even have already graduated and have a job whereas the 14 year old is still a freshman. That is just my two cents on this matter. Take it as you will.

  4. One question;

    Will any or all of these changes make the program any better? It seems to me that’s the only question that matters.

    • I agree. In fact, all of these changes sound like administrative maneuvering. The program has a very poor retention rate… so we are going modify JTE criteria? It’s the kids themselves who are dropping out. However, of the six “Parts” listed above, only one (the new advancement system) involves the kids or the actual Venturing program.

  5. OK. So we’ve been trying to get a crew started here and having a slow go of it. How soon will the new program be ready to roll out? If we get it up and running this summer, will we have to start with the old program and switch several months later?

  6. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Venturing is under assault and is morphing back to the “venture patrol” in the Boy Scout troop.
    Venturing works because it is different an allows each crew to pick their emphasis. By changing he awards, the wrong message is given to youth that we are dumbing down the program to encourage advancement. The problem is advancement, then maybe the national council should work with their major sponsors on this issue, not changing the entire program and “penalizing” the successful crews.
    I have two children that have earned their Silver awards and now my fourteen year old has to put advancement in high gear to earn her Silver before it is changed.

  7. I’ve been asked to assist with first aid training for a recently formed Venture Crew in Virginia. (I’m a volunteer paramedic and EMT-Instructor.) I found the requirements confusing and cannot locate any guidance on what courses (aside from a 150+ hour EMT class) that will fulfill the requirements. The crew leader would like to offer training that will fulfill all the Venturing requirements for first aid.
    Can someone point me toward resources for classes that will fill the requirements, or has someone put together a first aid training program and would be willing to share?

    • Since no one else answered I’ll tell you how I’d read the requirements: It depends on the award and the activities of the crew. Generally a basic First-aid/CPR certification is what the bronze awards usually call for. The ranger award will probably require wilderness first aid.

      There is no one-size-fits-all.

    • The 40 hour WMI/NOLS Wilderness Advanced First Aid with CPR
      will fulfill all the requirements for both the optional and core first aid in the Ranger award. These are offered domestically in January and February of each year.

  8. Though 18 months is a phase-in for the new awards program, I wouldn’t call it slowly, especially for a new program that has yet to be fully developed.

    A similar type of phase-in was done back in the 1970′s in the (Boy) Scout program and the steepness of the phase-in discouraged me from advancing (from Life) to Eagle because I had less than a year before I had to use the new requirements. A true phase-in should take account of the individual’s current progress along the advancement path. Those that are further along should have more time to use the existing program so that they have an opportunity to complete the path that they have started on.

  9. My own experience has also seen the Venture Scout member numbers decline as boys progress in the Scouting programs. There may be several reasons for this (e.g., perfume, petrol, pennies) but two reasons in particular – the lack of properly trained advisors and poorly run programs – are deeper root problems that I don’t think will be addressed by changing the Venture Scouting program. I think the changes being proposed are great and will address some challenges with older boys and Scouting, but I’ve also seen too many boys dump the Venture Scouting program because of their experience from poorly run predecessor Boy Scout and Varsity Scout programs. Again, these are just a couple of the problems, but I believe they are root problems that deserve some attention.

    Challenges with keeping the older boys’ attention in Scouting has been there since the beginning. Even Baden-Powell saw the challenges, which is why he developed the Rovering Program.

    I wish I had some all-encompassing answers. But I do know this, Scouting is a fantastic program that CAN have a lasting impression on a young man.

  10. Bryan, I’m curious will this mean that might be talk of possible Call Outs, for everyone in Venturing Crews? I know that at this time any current Boy Scout, 1st Class or above,who is also in a Crew is elligible tattoo join OA but females are not. But if they revamping the Venturing Program, and after the decision last month to let only the Gay Youth. It seems that we are going to see the OA have its doors broken down also at long last. I mean females are not uncommon in the OA you have many Female Leaders, and a lot of Venturing Leadership who after they have turned 21, go into the OA.

    But now I’m expecting to see more youth, and like it or not the females, might take charge, and who knows we might get even more done, for they do do amazing work.

    Trust me I am not taking anything away from our OA Leadership, that we have now.

  11. Powder horn was fun….A couple of Adventure weekends for Adults. Not dogging it, I did have a lot of fun.

    But what did it teach????

    Unless my course was bad, as an SM I already had all the course offered.

    I know how to backpack, I know where to go to scuba dive locally, snorkel, mountain bike, canoe and rappel. While I am not certified in any of these I know who to call to get the right personnel to put on the program.

    • Bob, it’s admirable that you (already?) knew whom to contact to put on the programs presented in the PowderHorn course. As a former course director, I assure you the intent was not to teach skills or provide certifications. The syllabus is clear that the intent is to ‘introduce’, generate interest and provide resources to High Adventure leaders so that they can provide a better high adventure program to the youth.

      • Going into the weekend I had no illusions of exiting with certificates or certifications for anything…

        It was billed to me as a scouting weekend without the boys.

  12. Completely off the mark.

    I try to walk in a young adults shoes. I thought about:

    1. Where can I get high quality, engaging outdoor experiences that I can afford?
    2. Can I gain meaningful life skills that I cannot find in school or church?
    3. Can I earn recognition that can tangibly help me get a job, go in the military or get into college?
    4. When I volunteer with this program, do people see me making a difference?
    5. Where can I belong in a group that makes me feel worthy and where I can contribute?
    6. If I was to wear a uniform, would I be proud of it? Would people outside make fun of me?
    7. Can I fit this program into all the other things demanding my time (School, sports, band, church, etc.)?
    9. Is this something I can do with my boyfriend or girlfriend?

  13. “Learn, Do, Teach, Mentor”
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for something other than EDGE!

    As for the rest of it, I’m in no position to complain. Only one bronze award earned in seven years of advising a crew. Something a little different would be great. Any way we can slant it so it fits inside the venturing logo?

    As with anything, the devil will be in the details.

    As for names for levels II, III, and IV: why not Star-Venturer, Life-Venturer, Eagle-Venturer?

    Warning: bring imposed uniforms imposed by National, my youth will walk.

    • I went back to the materials on The person who did the slide show had a different view than the one who wrote the brochure: ” … increase emphasis on uniforming – developed by National Supply or of crew design, round out the recommendations.”
      That subtle difference in language allows for buy-in by many existing crews who really enjoy designing their own uniforms (and have little love for the third world dictator look). I would strongly suggest “crew design” be an option in the brochure.

  14. Why the thumbs down????

    I see where Doug is coming from… Makes sense to me…I believe he has the general idea too….

    Our crew has stopped and started so many times…..The boys get bored with it and the girls generally leave after the first camping trip…..

    They being the young ladies
    They love the idea of Camping but hate the actual experience.
    They love the idea of rappelling but are too afraid to lean back off the cliff.
    They love the idea of canoeing but hate being wet.

    So generally after an outing or two the unit fizzles…

    • Bob, we’ve experienced the same thing. It’s all about the program. You’ve got to have something really unique and gratifying.

    • Why are your girls leaving after the first camping trip? I’ve been in Venturing since before it started, have taken 3 co-ed Crews to Philmont… our Crew has done Seabase… generally the girls are better Boy Scouts than the guys, if given the chance and the training

      • From my own experiances there has to be a female to inspire the others to kick into gear. Once you have an outstanding one (or close to) the other ones will strive to catch up and surpass. That is what I’ve seen in my crew from being the president.No push? Then why try to push back?

  15. Personally I wouldn’t want to join one in the first place, but in some ways I want to. I’m currently one of the oldest in my troop, and almost everyone else is a first year scout. It would be better to have older kids, along with girls, but I like the traditional better for some reason. My dad will probably force me to join his crew when he finds a place to recharter it after the school that chartered it closed, but as far as I know, I’m trying to stay out of it.

    • I know a lot of youth in your place. Adding venturing to an already active scouting career and school activities can be too much. Only about half the eligible youth in our troop have joined our crew. But sometimes it can give you that one outing/activity that you need. Make sure your dad knows how you feel. Your input now might help him decide if how much time he should put into leading a new crew.

      Meanwhile, listen to your friends (the ones who aren’t in your troop) and think about if Venturing would be good for them. If they want to do something in particular (like shooting pistols), then being part of a crew would be a great way to make that happen. For example, one scout in our troop was into live action role play (LARP) so he and his buddies connected with a LARPing crew.

  16. What about all the youth that already have awards? What will happen if someone has the Silver? Do they keep the award? Do they automatically get the new highest award, or do they have to start back over from the second or third level?

    I’ve also heard stuff about expanding the OA to Venturing Crews…?

    • They’ll definitely keep the awards they’ve earned, Ben, and may continue working on the old awards until the deadlines outlined above.

      But because the old and new advancement programs are so different, they’ll start at the second level of the new system. There just isn’t much overlap, I’m told.

      I imagine that a few of the most-enterprising Venturers with the Silver Award will try to earn the top award in the new advancement system as well. Then they’ll have earned Venturing’s highest award… twice!

  17. Bryan, et al,
    I’m still struggling with the Big “Why”.

    If the metric of interest is lack of Venturing recruiting and/or lack of Venturing Retention, then I’m struggling to see how these initiatives will help either of these.
    - I doubt non-scout youth will join a Crew because of our snazzy uniforms (actually I KNOW they won’t if we force the green shirts on everyone).
    - I don’t hear a lot of scouts wanting to jump to Venturing in order to go after our recognition system (actually there are a few who really want to earn the Ranger award, but that’s not changing) and many of the girls in my crew have no interest in trying to win the Bronze/Gold/Silver awards. We can, of course, try “Stealth Recognition” by tracking their progress for them as they do activities, but doesn’t that violate a key point: “Venturers should do what Venturers CAN do”, namely track their own recognition/advancement, etc?
    - Will a new Venturer be attracted by coming to a crew and immediately being labelled “Level I” or “Apprentice” or whatever????

    - JTE is not something that attracts or detracts Venturers– it’s more of value for adult scouters to assess the health of crews– and should NOT be a driver for crews.

    So how about this for a reporting systems — instead of trying to force ask each crew to share a report with their council about what they did that they felt was signifcant last year- activities, trips, service projects, etc… and what they plan for next year. That wouid be a better system to measure the health of crews AND give the crews ideas that they can share to improve THEIR crews…

    Yours in Venturing, John

    • Amen, John!
      One of the strengths of Venturing recruiting of non Scouts is “create our own uniform”
      One of the strengths of Venturing for retaining Eagles is “no more rank requirement” (another is that the young ladies run things and the young men get to go along, show off their Scouting Skills, and NOT have to be in charge)

  18. Why not “embrace” the diversity that the New & Improved BSA has to offer. Ther now can be Venturing Crews for LGBT’s, plain old lesbians, plain old homosexuals, some of those freaky folk that swing both ways. Oh and don’t forget those who don’t believe in God and those who may want to prey on youngsters. Heck, in the New & Improved BSA all are welcome and all are encouraged to be themselves. I see a bright future for Venturing!

  19. Doesn’t sound too radical a change, I’ve been a Crew adviser for 10 Yrs, There have been many “Crews”of scouts ,always over half female ,. As different leadership & membership pass through, the focus on Rank, has ebbed & flowed . It’s up to them. Our experience has been that our CREW members enjoy the Identity with the overall BSA..All along we have gone to Camporees, then started putting them on for the troops, several Cub crossovers, Etc.. For the past 6 yrs 75-90% of our Crew has staffed our Council’s summer Camp..
    The ” Scout family ties “may not fit other demographics but it has worked well for us in Southern Appalachia .
    But without the high adventure,we wouldn’t get them in to the program. & if #’s are the Issue ,that’s a Carrot
    Powder-horn should be for YOUTH !!
    You have them for several weekends , sprinkle in a day for ILST
    I always think of it as a promo for the Council High Adventure program
    Who better to sell it to than the kids, &since it’s a taste, they will want more !

  20. The more I think about it, the less I think advancement will help retention.

    A lot of the decline (I believe) in membership is from organizations who never intended to have a BSA program. They were youth groups who wanted a crack at our camps (maybe or insurance). Many of those had figured out that they didn’t have to keep the names of a bunch of kids on the roster to accomplish those goals. (At $15 a pop for each kid, that adds up.). It takes a lot of effort on Advisors’ parts to keep a bunch of high school and post-HS kids together. Most adults simply do not have that much skin in the game. Add to that a stinky economy, the need for lots of adults with college-age youth to pull double shifts, and the perfusion of lots of other activities available to this group — it’s a recipe for decline.

    So, the first step in retention: stop generating paper crews.
    The second step: make sure adults are trained. (Spoiler: this is actually very, very hard.)
    The third step: make sure high-performing adults are recognized in he same way we recognize high-performing youth. Restore the venturing leadership award(s) for adults.
    Fourth step: bring the cost of registration down to $6 per member. It sounds trivial, but for young adults with financial burdens, you have to be less expensive than their next meal to get them in the door.

  21. We started a Venture Crew when our boys started getting bored with scouts at fifteen. Those who were working toward Eagle have continued to do so, but the crew’s emphasis is not awards or advancement; it is adventure. We raft and boat and rock wall climb, and scuba dive, and mountain bike, etc.
    We have expanded our membership from seven scouts to 30 crew members. The program works because it is self run, because older scouts and students use their leadership skills and knowledge to run all aspects of the program with minimal adult support.
    We are hosted by a high school and, within the school, we are known as the adventure club. This works.
    Seventeen year old young adults are not going to be quiet because the sign is up or wear a uniform anywhere near their high school.
    They will call a meeting to order because they need to achieve goals and they will raise money to fund adventures that they planned and chose.
    They will not work hard for boy scout awards when they are worried about SAT, ACT, and scholarships.
    But they will do community service and they will lead a group in order to build a resume for colleges.
    You are going in the wrong direction!

    • Boyd,
      You have hit on a key issue there. When you speak of all the outdoor adventure that is done in Venturing I have to ask, “Why isnt that being done in Boy Scouts?”. Why is there Venturing? The answer seems to be, because the youth care little for the advancement part i.e. because you have to spend time tracking and pursuing merit badges and associated tasks instead of focusing on doing and learning the skills needed for high adventure.

      High adventure, “raft and boat and rock wall climb, and scuba dive, and mountain bike, etc.” are the things the youth look forward to doing and are able to also fit community service projects, training and service too. As a Venturing Commitee Member and Cub Master, that is how it looks to me.

      • Why does almost everyone on this list forget that there are GIRLS in Venturing, and they benefit from the activities as much as, if not more than the boys!

        Also, its a VenturING Crew, not a Venture Crew or Venture Patrol. If the guys just want to do high adventure, they can form a Venture Patrol within their Troop and not have to go through everything involved i chartering a Crew.

  22. I cannot wait to start a Crew for my daughter and all her Girl Scout friends when it’s time. The biggest thing and complaint that I see in Girl Scouts is the whole program stops at 18. Nothing after that. So, when it’s 8th grade, I will start one. They can do both Crew and Girl Scouts. She’s just getting into 3rd grade, so 5 more years to wait.

  23. Our VENTURING CREW, is split between males and females about 50-50. And having a more natural environment that is male and female like real life, and like other groups, is a huge draw. Thus, it is definitely worth it to charter a Venturing Crew, and even more so because the meeting structure and officers change to follow what is a more common procedure for making decisions.

  24. I would like to see the Venturing program terminated. Scouting has always been an organization for dads to mentor their sons. Let’s return to our roots. Boys have BSA and girls have Girl Scouts. Let’s keep it simple. If we don’t then expect to see the “BOY” in Boy Scouts changed to Scouts. Just my old fashion view. Please don’t reply. I’m set in my ways.

    • I’m sorry, I know you said not to reply but Scouting has never been about dads mentoring their sons. The BSA scouting program (save for cub scouts) is a program intended to teach youth leadership skills. The Boy Scouts is a BOY led organization where scouts learn through trial and error and through their experiences. That was the purpose of it (Other than service, citizenship, etc.) The parents are not supposed to partake in decisions or teaching, the adult leader is to serve only as a supervisor and is only to intervene if something comes up as a safety hazard. If a scout does not know something and would like to he is supposed to look it up in his book or go to another scout. It’s about teaching boys initiative and leadership and as long as the parents can’t get that through their heads the program will never do for the scout what it is meant to.

      Furthermore, if you want to “go to our roots” the scouting program here in America was brought to us from London by William D. Boyce an American businessman. He was inspired to create the BSA on one of his trips to Europe. He became lost in London on a foggy morning, that is when he was approached by a boy who took Mr.Boyce to his destination. When he offered to pay the boy, the boy said that he was a scout and refused to accept Boyce’s money. The scout said that he was simply doing his good turn.

      The scouting program nearly worldwide(with a few exceptions), including the program Boyce was inspired by, is co-ed. Personally, I could care less if we dropped the “Boy” in Boy Scouts and just made it scouting. Now the BSA is a private organization and it can make it’s decision to stay segregated or co-ed. I’m not pushing for anything, just saying that originally, the BSA’s scouting roots stem from Baden Powell’s co-ed program.

      If you’re going to be set in your ways that’s fine, just be sure you know all your facts before you start sharing.

  25. Kids should be divided in new awards system by age group, not by the awards themselves. This will be easier to relate with (trust me- I’m 20 & went through 3 years of Venturing; it was disastrously confusing!):
    My suggestion:
    Joining Level: Pathfinders (14-16)
    Second Level: Rangers (17-18)
    Third Level: Guides (19-20)
    Highest Level: Rovers (21+)

    For Venturing Rovers- there is no age group. Scouting stays with you forever! Don’t limit because of age. Don’t EVER place a limit on Scouting!

  26. I’m excited to see the new awards. I found the old ones easier for the boys that were in Boy Scouts but not equal for the girls just starting in BSA. Also the uniform-I would love to see a polo or tee again the girls would prefer it and find the old one uncomfortable. I have four 18 year olds in my Venturing so if there is an increase in age to ending age that would be great.

  27. First, my background – Girl Scouts (11 years), Cub Scouts (4 years), Boy Scouts (2 years), Venturing Crew (2 years). I have girls in Girl Scouts and in Venturing Crew and I have a boy in Boy Scouts.
    Advancements: My experience has been that few youth are interested in awards other than Eagle. Sorry Girl Scouts but how many people, outside of scouting, even know what the highest GS award is. By the way, its the Gold Award and it has changed names at least three times since the GS movement started. Also, how recognized is the Ranger Award? Yes, it’s a young organization but I really don’t see the Ranger Award ever being as well recognized as the Eagle.
    Uniforms: Sorry, youth don’t want uniforms anywhere near their non-scouting activities. Uniforms won’t be an attraction. Uniforms are for pictures and media events. Although… it was impressive to see all the National Jamboree shirts at Kings Island.

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