Today the Boy Scouts of America announced the names for the new Venturing awards that will replace the current Bronze, Gold and Silver awards.
Say hello to the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards. I’ve listed them in order from the first award Venturers will earn upon joining, appropriately named the Venturing Award, to the program’s new top honor, also given a fitting name: the Summit Award.
As I first announced in May of last year, the 16-year-old Venturing program is undergoing major changes that put the focus on “progressive experiences in the focus areas of Adventure, Leadership, Service and Personal Growth.”
Venturing, a high-adventure program for young men and women who are at least 14 (or 13 and finished with the eighth grade) and younger than 21, has seen just 0.66 percent of Venturers earn any awards during its history.
That explains the need for fresh, new awards, which were “developed and tested among youth participants in the program, adult volunteers, human resource recruiters and college admissions counselors, using focus groups and quantitative research,” according to a news release the BSA shared this morning (PDF).
Venturers may begin using the new awards in May 2014; the exact date is undetermined, but it will be around the time of the BSA’s National Annual Meeting, held May 21-23.
Consider May 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014, a transition period during which Venturers may use either the old or new awards. Here’s how that will work:
- Bronze, Gold, Silver awards:
– Venturers may continue working on them until Dec. 31, 2014.
– Venturers must start working on the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.
- Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards:
– All Venturers may begin working on them in May 2014.
– Current Venturers would skip the Venturing Award and begin with working on the Discovery Award (previously known by the temporary title Level II), regardless of whether they’ve earned the Bronze, Gold and/or Silver awards.
– New Venturers would begin with the Venturing Award (previously known by the temporary title Level I).
– All Venturers must begin using the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.
The new awards
Venturing Award: The first step in any journey is the courage to begin. At this level, the new crew member makes their commitment to join and move forward into the experience of Venturing.
Discovery Award: The adventure of participating with the crew unfolds, and each Venturer begins to discover his or her interests and talents. As the Discovery Award recipients develop new skills and competencies, their eyes are opened and the world expands for them.
Pathfinder Award: The Venturer’s capabilities and skills expand and with them come increased responsibility for defining their own way forward in life, service to others and formal planning and leadership of the crew toward its goals.
Summit Award: The highest award of Venturing, the Summit Award, goes to those Venturers who have matured in their personal direction, skills, and life competencies, and who have accepted the responsibility to mentor others and serve their communities in a lasting way.
I’ll have much more, including specific requirements and images of the awards, when the full update is released at May’s National Annual Meeting.
What they said
National Venturing President Annaliese Parker: “The new Venturing award structure will make Venturing more relevant to the youth of today — while strengthening the Venturing program without detracting from anything going on in the Venturing program today. I have no doubt in my mind that this is one of the greatest changes in Venturing in the past 15 years.
BSA National President Wayne Perry: “Boy Scouts of America is fully committed to the Venturing program, these new awards, and the great things that are going to happen with this new Venturing program.”
Program updates page
Stay on top of changes to Venturing (and Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting) at the BSA’s official Program Updates page.
Photo from BSA Venturing Facebook page (be sure to Like them for the latest updates). Thanks to Bob Scott, the BSA’s senior innovation manager, for the info.