Re: BSA composition
Kathie Cerveny (kathie@DELTA.EECS.NWU.EDU)
Tue, 6 Apr 1993 12:22:40 CDT
> A separate "Varsity Scout" program seems a bit redundant when you hold it
> up against traditional Explorer posts, Sea Explorers, and the in-troop
> Venture program.
> Frank Boimare
Well -- this was interesting--- My son became an Eagle in a Varsity Team in
1986, a separate program. It has been, and always has been a separate program
since it's first testing in 1980. The Venture program is part of the troop,
and is for the older boys (and it looks very much like the old leadership corps
program, and/or the old, old exploring program -- something to hold older
boys). On the other hand, Varsity Scouts was first created in 1981, and I
became the committee chairman for the first Team in Northeast Illinois in 1982.
My son, did indeed achieve his Eagle through this program, and the team
continues to draw boys who are falling out of troops in the district having
lost interest in yet "another first aid meet, etc."
Insiginia for the separate 14-18 yr program of Varsity has changed a bit as it
was originally a "sports" program tested by the Mormon Church, changed in 1981
to high adventure program (the exploring program at that point started being
AIMED towards career exploring and in-school exploring, with a heavy DEemphasis
on high adventure, as far as stating that "general interest" posts would no
longer be registered.
The program material is NOT to be part of a troop, but is registered on it's own
charter -- at least at this point it is, but that may change, remember that as
ofJune 1, 1993, Tigers will begin registering WITH the pack on the same
charter, so stranger things have happened.
In 1980 when I attended the Boy Scout Program training course at Philmont,
Varsity was introduced, described, esplained. It seemed that across the nation
we were losing the older boys at a very alarming rate, and that the Varsity
program had been in research and testing for years and showed good results of
holding the boys, but that the stress on sports seemed to be working against
A year or so ago, Varsity changed again -- this time to sports, with the
introduction of VENTURE SCOUTS (high adventure). Boys can continue earning
advancement in both programs, but advancement is not one of the aims of
exploring, even to this day. If a boy in Exploring wishes to continue his
advancement he certainly may and many do -- but stats show that most do not.
In 1980 the question was asked of the national staff, "Why Varsity, why not just
strengthen your troop program?" Answer: (and I personally participated over
the years and know this following to be true) The national B.S. program
committee has been trying to do that for years. SMs will not hold conferences;
will not guide the troop into using only the patrol method; will not coach the
leadership of the troop to plan programs based on the advancement, skills,
needs, and development of each and every boy, thus they lose thousands. That
still is true today. In my district in Chicago Area, over the past 3 years, we
have averaged 1/3 to 1/2 loss in troops ANNUALLY, except in 2 troops. 2 out of
47 is not great.
Our SMs are trained, most hold woodbadge beads; SA are trained, however,
committee on the average are not trained. The two troops with constant growth
have trained leadership, trained boys, trained and ACTIVE committees.
I have always thought that what National has stated with the Varsity and then
the Venture program is:---Hey Guys and Gals!!! You are losing boys and we will
have to continue to reinvent the wheel in different directions to try to make
up for the lack of a troop program.
From my personal experience with the Varsity program and my strong Exploring and
troop background, it was very easy to recruit those boys who dropped from
charters in our district, as soon as the charter was turned in -- we offered
them advancement success -- adventure success-- a program that worked around
the "older" boy's schedule of school, social, and work.
Every boy in a Varsity Team has a leadership postion, and a counterpart in the
troop committee. Results have been great in the team I served for five years
with, as many boys attained Eagle, but also many did not. They all, however,
stayed in the program, and most still are as adult leaders. Amazing! AND,
they were all (to a one over the five years) troop drop outs. (My son
Literature on Varsity is available:
There is a training course for adults (I have served on many staffs).
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City