alan houser (houser@CEDR.LBL.GOV)
Tue, 12 Jul 1994 15:28:18 PDT
I started using the Venture program in Troop 24 a couple of years ago.
With a paucity of information from National, it has taken some fits and jumps
to get it working. It did come in handy, though when we started getting
ready for Philmont last year.
Basically the problem was, how to keep the older Scouts active and involved in
training the new Scouts. I made them a deal, "If you are active in the Troop
program, and fulfilling your leadership role, if you are a Troop Leader, I
will help you arrange for some high adventure activities beyond the Troop
program." That, an interest in more strenuous activities, and the age
requirement (13 or older) are the qualifications to be in the Venture Crew.
In terms of organization, nearly all of the Venture Crew are in either the
Senior Patrol or a patrol of older Scouts, so they are used to working
together. (Troop Guides are members of the patrol they're guiding -- that's
another post, another time).
They choose two or three activities during the year to work on, but except
for the Philmont trek, none have been as involved as the literature suggests.
Mainly because they are also involved in the regular Troop program. Also,
we are just getting started on this too. Only the Philmont crew have earned
the Venture letter and pin, but all get to wear the Venture pocket strip (if
they ever get around to sewing it on!). (By the way, my DE says the Venture
pins do not have to be included on an advancement report.)
This past year they have participated in snowshoeing/snow camping (first
time in the Troop, though we do have an annual ski weekend) and caving (also
first time). Next year, we have a reservation at Sommers Canoe Base, so much
of the program will be directed at getting ready for that.
The program goes something like this: the crew picks an activity they want
to do. Someone (Crew Chief -- rotates with each activity) (by the way, why
isn't Venture Crew Chief an Eagle leadership position? Mike?) tracks down
resources (training, guest speakers, etc.) and arranges the outing. With
Philmont, they planned a series of prep hikes & backpacks. Next year, I
expect there will be some canoe camping trips to get ready for the canoe base.
The biggest problem we have faced is finding other adults who are willing &
able to do the venture activities with the Scouts. I am planning to try to
tap into the local APO chapter to see if I can get some additional adult
Anyhow, the result is that I have been able to keep my older Scouts involved
and happy, and the Troop program has definitely shown the benefits. The
planning is getting better, and the younger Scouts have something to look
forward to besides eventually ending up in the Senior Patrol.
One of my Assistant Scoutmasters has just returned from Philmont Training
Center and the Varsity/Venture course, so I am eager to find out what she
learned. I may be able to pass on some more tidbits then.
Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City