Re: BSA composition
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Tue, 6 Apr 1993 20:21:27 CDT
Kathie Cerveny <kathie@DELTA.EECS.NWU.EDU> writes:
(in reply to Frank Boimare's point about Varsity Scouting: )
>> 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.
>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 corp
> 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 DEemphasi
> on high adventure, as far as stating that "general interest" posts would no
> longer be registered.
I take exception that that, Kathie...while "general interest" posts
would no longer be chartered (because of a NAME CHANGE, to
"varied-interest"--our Councils are still registering lots of
varied-interest Posts, primarily to the LDS church and to "groups of
citizens" in rural and some suburban areas); there has been a
RESURGENCE in "outdoor Exploring" (what that old anquiquated term
"high adventure" USED to mean") Posts. National has recently hired a
National Outdoor Exploring Director (to replace the old "associate
director of high-adventure programs") and announced this to Regional
leaders last week in the preamble to the teleconference for
professionals. This would "strenghten once again the outdoors aspect
of our young adult program", the Area Director told me on Friday.
While we have also shifted at that time to "career awareness"
programs, we have NEVER shifted from our "bread and butter"--the
>The program material is NOT to be part of a troop, but is registered on it's ow
> 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.
Kathie, there IS program material that can be used with Varsity Sqauds
as part of the troop's operation. Varsity Squads have the option of
using the Varsity Program Helps, the Boy Scout Program Helps, or both.
Also, local Councils can and have developed locally-creative (as the
examples in Evansville, Indiana a few years back and Cincinnati
recently) programs for Varsity Scouts in the Team and in the Troop to
But you and I are in agreement that the registrations for the Varsity
members in the Troop is done on the Troop's charter, and they are
registered NOT as Varsity members but rather as Troop members.
>In 1980 when I attended the Boy Scout Program training course at Philmont,
> Varsity was introduced, described, esplained. It seemed that across the natio
> 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
> the program.
>A year or so ago (1990), 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 jus
> 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, w
> have averaged 1/3 to 1/2 loss in troops ANNUALLY, except in 2 troops. 2 out o
> 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.
Gezz, Kathie, that rings so true.....and in the interim, we are trying
to hold onto thousands of boys by attracting them with "doses of what
Scouting is "REALLY LIKE" " through these two programs.
Sounds to me that they need to cut to the chase and return to those
pre-1973 requirements that got us in so much trouble and also
insisting as I have recommended for years that Scoutmasters be
"certified" as well as "trained". But then, one can be "certified"
and go back to running the program in ways NOT INTENED by the BSA.
>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 wil
> 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 an
> 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.
...and like Exploring, that one to one relationship works wonders for
youth at their age level!!
> 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
>There is a training course for adults (I have served on many staffs).
There is (or should be) a Coach Fundamentals course offered in your
Council....there are also training courses for the Team leaders both
in the Troop setting as well as in the Team setting.
****_Now_ I see where a lot of you correctly got your information
about Varsity from...the 1990 edition of the Scoutmasters' Handbook
clearly shows the old "varsity" booklets on various sports and
explains in the "story" about what the two older groups are
doing...and one is doing "high adventure" and the other is doing
"sports" and the Varsity one is doing sports.
And you all are correct in your conclusions. Sorry for the "press and
see...this is NOT just a 'sports program' comment." Most Varsity
Teams do combine a sport activity with social and outdoor events
either with or without a Troop supporting them. While Varsity is
still rather mis-understood, I think that the bottom line is worth
supporting: we ARE retaining youth in our program.
(it seems to me, however, to be a pretty sneaky way of doing it!)
I still stand on my previous comment that Kathie kinda supported here
in her posting on this subject: I think that National went to this
ONLY because it was seeing youth leave our Boy Scouting program due to
"unfulfilled expectations" of many Scouters. WE need to emphasize as
(I think it was Chris that stated this clearly) THEIR program with
THEIR decisions and THEIR inaction decising what would happen.
As many nights as I've sat there, looking at the Scouts as they
decided what they would do because *I* wasn't going to decide for
them...this is THE POINT to make!
I just think that the wrong people needed to have that point made to
Mike L. Walton
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
((MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 (home) 502-842-2274 (office) |-=-|] )
(3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
( KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM (America Online) / BSRWALTON@EKU (EKU VAX) )
( "I don't speak for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but man, do I speak!!!!" )
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City