Re: Venture Patrol Info
alan houser (houser@CEDR.LBL.GOV)
Mon, 19 Sep 1994 11:21:38 PDT
We started using Venture Crew in our Troop to keep the older Scouts active
and involved in leadership. Basically, we allow any Scout 13 or older to
take part in Venture Crew. We considered a rank requirement, but decided
that might get in the way if an older boy wanted to join the Troop just
because of the Venture program. The deal I made with the guys is, "You lead
the younger Scouts during the Troop program, and I will make every effort to
see that there is something extra for you." They have themselves defined
what it means to be an active member of the Troop (attendance, # of outings,
service hours....), so they have taken charge of the program. Last year's
Senior Patrol Leader is now JASM in charge of Venture program, along with
the Venture Crew Chief.
The Venture Crew itself is sort of amorphous. All of the Scouts are in
regular patrols for the usual Troop activities and outings. When they
decide to do an activity, those interested will pull together and work
on planning it and making it happen, much like how Dr. Steve described.
To date, we have done only one major adventure (suitable for earning the
Letter and Pin) -- last year's Philmont trek. But we have a group going
to Sommers Canoe Base next year. We have also done some minor stuff (in
terms of how much time, not how much adventure) -- snow camping last winter
(that may expand into something bigger this winter) and caving this summer
-- where there is a introduction to the activity and a weekend outing.
For the snow camping, we required attendance at a safety orientation put on
by the Sierra Club (the council Okpik course had been cancelled last winter)
then took them out on snowshoes. Just enough to get a taste. Yes, they
want to do it again, and more.
For the caving, one of them located the local grotto (chapter) of the
National Speleological Society and arranged a guest speaker with slides to
discuss equipment. Then we went to a commercial cave (Moaning Cavern) which
offered a 180-foot rappel and 3-hour "wild" cave tour.
The key issues here are finding the adult leadership and the equipment to do
some of the things the Venture Crew wants to try. Backpacking and canoeing
are no problem -- most of us old geezers -- I mean parents -- can still do
that, though the boys sometimes have to wait on us. And I was surprised
how easy it was to find other parents for snow camping. But, for example,
rockclimbing is a few years and about 30 pounds (I seem to have changed my
center of gravity) away from me now. I am trying to recruit some
college-age assistants that can help us out. And I have not yet found a
rafting company that charges less than $50 per person per day.
For the rest of you who have used Venture program in your Troops, I think
many of us would like to hear more specifics about what you are doing and
what you have discovered along the way to make it work better.
Alan R. Houser
Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City