Venturing updates get explained in October 2014 ScoutCast

scoutcast-logo1Venturing gets some well-deserved airplay in the October 2014 edition of ScoutCast, the podcast for adult leaders.

I’m hoping you already know about the big updates to Venturing that become official on Jan. 1, 2015. If not, you can read the highlights here.

Or just sit back and listen to the hosts interview Aaron Parks Young, who just completed his term as one of the national Venturing vice presidents and helped develop the updates.

As with last month’s ScoutCast, this one includes a transcript. That’s good news for hearing-impaired Scouters or those who would rather read than listen (at your office, for example — I won’t tell your boss).

As for the message being shared, Aaron wants fellow Venturers and Venturing advisors to know this wasn’t just change for change’s sake.

“Venturing hasn’t been updated significantly since its inception in 1998, so the program needed some fine-tuning and some review,” he tells the hosts. “All of the changes that we have really aim to better serve the young adults that we have in the program.”

Those changes include:

  • New printed materials for Venturing
  • A Venturing motto, “Lead the Adventure,” which borrows from the BSA’s vision statement and borrows a little bit from American history and culture
  • A move to the Scout Oath, Law, sign and salute for Venturers.
  • A new recognition structure: the Venturing Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit Awards

Listen to the ScoutCast here, or follow the jump for the full transcript.

October 2014 ScoutCast transcript

OCTOBER – VENTURING UPDATES

 Music Full then Under

 PAULA:          I hear the music so it must be time for the October ScoutCast.  We’re so glad you’ve clicked the download button to join us.

LEE:               This month is all about Venturing and the updates being made to the program.

PAULA:          Why make changes to Venturing? We’re about to find out.

Music Fades

 PAULA:          Here to share everything we need to know about the Venturing program updates is Aaron Parks Young who just completed his term as one of the National Venturing Vice Presidents.  Aaron began scouting as a Webelo Scout and went on to earn the rank of Eagle with Troop 595 out of Garland, Texas.He then joined Venturing where he earned the Ranger and Silver Awards.  Aaron has served as a Council Venturing Officers’ Association President, Area Venturing President, and is currently active in scouting in both a crew and a ship.  Welcome to ScoutCast, Aaron.

AARON:         Thank you.  I’m glad to be here.

PAULA:          Why are changes being made to the Venturing program?

AARON:         I like to refer to them as updates because we’re not making changes just for change’s sake.  Venturing hasn’t been updated significantly since its inception in 1998 so the program needed some fine-tuning and some review.  All of the changes that we have really aim to better serve the young adults that we have in the program.

LEE:               Was there anything that specifically prompted the updates Aaron?

AARON:         There was a reaction to a membership decline in 2008 in the Venturing program and so that’s sort of what kicked everything off.

PAULA:          So, who was responsible for developing the changes?

AARON:         The taskforce chair was Charles Dalquist, out of the Great Salt Lake Council.  He was the past Chair of the National Venturing Committee, but we had current and former region advisors and associate advisors helping out.  We had Council Venturing Chairs, Crew Advisors; the National Venturing Cabinet that is had some say in it as well.

LEE:               Aaron, going through this process, what were the most significant changes that were made?

AARON:         We have some new printed materials coming out for the Venturing Program.  Venturing has its own motto, “Lead the Adventure,” which borrows from the BSA’s vision statement and it also borrows a little bit from American history and culture; thinking about pioneers like Lewis & Clark and Neil Armstrong, and Venturers will also begin using the Scout Oath, Law, sign, and salute in their program.

One of the biggest things that people are asking about is the new recognition structure coming to Venturing.   We have the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Award that are transitioning to the Venturing Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit Awards.  Something I really like about these new awards is that they’re incremental and they build.  It shifts from a focus on participating, to a focus on leading, and then a focus on mentoring other crew members; as you go on, they build on one another.

The new Summit Award has a service project near the end, very similar to the project required for Eagle and it has a similar review process as well.  There was a lot of effort put into the naming of these awards so that job interviewers and college admissions counselors, and even places like the military would be interested in the award and respect it in the same way that they respect the Eagle Scout Award.  A big focus was put on making the process as you go through the awards relevant to the young adults that we have in our program.  Also if you’re interested in reading more details on the awards, you can go to www.scouting.org/programupdates.

PAULA:          All those updates sound really exciting.  So what’s staying the same with the Venturing Program?

AARON:         I like to think that Venturing is really the same program that it was two or three years ago.  You might see some new books and new patches, hopefully some new faces, but at its heart the same program.  You can still earn awards like Ranger, or Quest, Trust, Sam Hornaday, you name it, it’s really the same program that it was.

LEE:               The big question is when will the changes take effect?

AARON:         You can already begin progress on the new awards if you’re interested in them.  It’s really encouraged for units to start getting their Venturers used to the idea of using the Scout Oath, Law, sign, and salute.  So the sooner crews get on that the better.

PAULA:          Earlier, you mentioned a URL where people can find out more information.  Could you expand a little on what’s available there as well as what other resources might be available for say Venturing advisors and crew members who want to know more about the upcoming changes?

AARON:         Sure.  We’ve got a lot of requirements and frequently asked questions documents there about program updates, not just for Venturing, but for other programs as well.  Coming out soon, if it’s not already out is the Venturing Handbook, which is the handbook for youth for the Venturing Program.  We also have a Venturing Advisor’s Handbook, which replaces the Venturing Leadership Manual.  We have Venturing Awards and Requirements Book coming out that has the core requirements for the award system: Venturing and Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit.  It also will have some specialty requirements for awards like Ranger and Quest and so on.  We will have position-specific training; one for advisors and one for committee members that adults can look at www.scouting.org/training  and we will have youth trainings for Time Management and Project Management, Goal Setting, and Mentoring…

LEE:               Wow, you’ve certainly have given us a lot of information; is there anything else about Venturing Updates that you think should be shared with our listeners?

AARON:         All of the updates really, really focus on making the program simple and relevant, not that it wasn’t already, but more so to the young men and women that we have in the program.  We have that new motto, “Lead the Adventure,” and so we really want to prepare our Venturers to lead adventures of their own.  That’s where some of the inspiration for the requirements came from for the new awards and how they’re built.  We also, put a lot of effort into the naming.  I remember the naming of the awards went through a few different iterations so we could get it just right so that college recruiters and job recruiters would really be interested in them.

LEE:               It sounds like there’s some exciting things going on in Venturing, Aaron, and thanks for coming on ScoutCast.

AARON:         Well, thank you very much.  I appreciated the opportunity.

PAULA:          Before jumping in with Reminders and Tips, let’s check in on CubCast.

(Cubcast – Storytelling Workshops)

PAULA:          ScoutCast listeners might be able to get some use out of that one, too.  But now it’s time for our magnificent monthly reminders.

LEE:               Let’s start with Council Round Tables.  Check out your local scouting professional, the Council Service Center, web site, or the Scout calendar to locate meeting sites and times.  There’s really no better way to help deliver a quality program than to experience the idea-sharing that goes on at those meetings.

PAULA:           Here’s a question you should be asking yourself.  Are all your committee positions filled?  Just to review, you should have a committee chair, secretary/treasurer, advancement chair, outdoor chair, membership chair, and a finance fundraising chair.

LEE:               The committee chair is responsible for filling all the slots, but leaders can help by remaining on the lookout for good candidates at their place of business, church, neighborhood, or even the gym.  Make sure all new leaders complete their Boy Scout leader-specific training and Youth Protection Training.

PAULA:          Now, hopefully, you all know about the welding merit badge that was introduced two years ago, but did you know that while other industries are making cutbacks, the demand for welders is on the rise?  With the BSA’s emphasis on STEM, Scouting Magazine demonstrates how you can introduce your scouts to this exciting new field.

LEE:               And it’s the Go Green issue for October’s Boy’s Life Magazine.  It features lots of different ways to save energy.  Also in this issue, a Halloween theme spooky look at mythical monsters with reported sightings in the United States.

BEGIN MUSIC UNDER        

LEE:               So that’s it for October ScoutCast.  Thanks to Aaron Parks Young for sharing Venturing updates with us.

PAULA:          And thank you for listening.  Hope your back next month for a spirited conversation on new merit badges.

LEE:               Are there other topics we should be discussing?  Don’t be shy.  Just send us an e-mail to scoutcast@scouting.org or a tweet to @bsascoutcast.  We read them; I promise.  With that, I’m Lee Shaw …..

PAULA:          And I’m Paula.  Go Venturing!

MUSIC FULL TO FINISH

10 Comments

  1. As an Advisor of a 14 year old Venturing Crew and a father of four daughters, two of which are Silver Awards recipients this NEW advancement is NOT attractive for female teenage members. To have these new awards is a like treating members like a Cub Scout/Boy Scout which is a NOT recruiting positive. Venturing has always been a poor step child of the BSA, which most Scout Councils, Districts and Boy Scout leaders do not understand. The make Venturing more like a Boy Scout troop is NOT the solution for dwindling Venturing membership. We are seriously contemplating terming our Venturing Crew at the end of the year.

    • I am not sure what your experience is but for our Crew it has been the exact opposite. Scouting with no real Advancement is a dead-end social club. Our crew has been recruiting many female Scouts since the change. They are looking for a program that celebrates Leadership Development. The new Venturing advancement better focuses on areas of development such as ILSC, Kodiak, NYLT, and NAYLE. The Scouts are acknowledged for stepping into more of a Mentor Role as they progress.

      Most active Venturers in the country were the youth that stepped up and became leaders at the camps, the events, etc. The new program revolves around developing that.

      On the other hand, for those units in the 99.4% that were not utilizing the previous advancement program how is the current system a BAD change? NOT doing the old program versus NOT doing the new one is not a negative change for the youth. However, DOING the new program has turned out to be very fruitful for our Venturing Youth already.

      Thank you Aaron and the Team for putting the new program together!

    • I see what you did there, Niel. You called the new awards “advancement” even though nothing official uses that term. 😮
      (For those scouters uninitiated in Venturing-speak, one selling point is that “advancement” is not a method of venturing. Rather venturers use “recognition”, which may or may not include the awards program. Thus, accusing someone of working on advancement is a slam equivalent to some high school student accusing another of having a junior high mentality.)

      I’m sure your crew will be missed. Let us know which movement you all choose to ally with going forward.

  2. Our Venturing Crew over the past 14 years as developed young leaders! Many of the female members have earned the bronze, gold and silver awards. We have done VLSC and ISLC, why did they change the name? Note: our local Scout Shop still has a stack of VLSC badges. We have several that have been awarded the Council Venturing Leadership Award. Members have been Cub Scout Camp Staff a couple has been on Philmont Staff including Ranger. We just traveled this July to Norway for the Norwegian Jamboree with every youth earning the Kodiak Challenge Award during the trip.

    The point I am making changing the awards is NOT going to be solution for declining Venturing membership.

    • Wjguide, I would COMPLETELY CONCUR with this in the case of your Crew and those like it. In fact as I noted above, the SUCCESSFUL Crews are much like yours.

      The problem is that only SIX TENTHS of ONE PERCENT of all Venturers have done ANY advancements under the old program.

      If there is ANY CHANCE of leading other Crews to follow in your Crews footsteps through updating the Venturing Advancement system then I am all for it.

      Kudos to your Crew!

      • Scott. Although your positive attitude is commendable, see my note above regarding advancement being pejorative to some venturers and their leaders. There is no Venturing advancement system.

        Truth is under the outgoing program, venturers *have* advanced. They earned Eagle, Girl Scout Gold, Jr. ROTC then ROTC credits, promotions at work, upper level certifications (EMT, NRA RSO, etc …), and many more advancements that don’t come with “bling” but are truly “real world.” They will continue to advance in a similar fashion.

        Only time will tell if they desire to have their “real world advancement” be recognized through the new venturing awards program in large numbers. Or if Ranger, Trust, Quest, Hornady, and Kodiak are the only BSA awards the majority of venturers will want to seek.

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