Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Re: Difference between a Venture Boy Scout and Venturing ?
Re: Difference between a Venture Boy Scout and Venturing ?
Settummanque, the blackeagle
Sun, 5 Sep 1999 13:09:31 CDT
You asked us all:
>What's the difference between a Venture Boy Scout and Venturing ?
>I see that there are two separate programs in BSA.
>The first one is a "Venture" patrol which is formed within a Boy
>Scout Troop and the second is called "Venturing" where a unit is
>formed into a co-ed "Venturing Crew".
>Can someone tell us about how the two programs differ?
Okay. Here's how the two programs differ:
VENTURE PATROLS, as you described, are part of the Troop's structure. They
are led by a Patrol Leader and Assistant and have representation on the
Troop's Patrol Leader Council.
A Troop may have more than one Venture Patrol.
Venture Patrols are basically "older boy patrols" with a more challenging
slant to them. They create their own activities or may be involved in the
Troop's program, providing additional leadership and opportunities for
training and coaching to younger boys. However, Venture Patrols are limited
in what they can work on; they can only work toward Eagle and Eagle Palms.
They cannot work on the Venturing advancement plans, nor can they work
toward Ranger. Additionally, Venture Patrols are a part of the Troop
structure, and members are eligible for election into the Order of the
Arrow. Girls, I understand (from a previous posting on this same topic
over at rec.scouting.usa last week) CANNOT participate as part of a Venture
You can basically equate the Venture Patrol concept to the earlier Varsity
and Venture crew concept and before that, the Leadership Corps concept. All
of those conceptual programs don't exist anymore.
VENTURING CREWS are a entire different structure. They are chartered UNITS,
just like a Troop or Varsity Team. This means that they must have a
chartered partner organization, a Crew Committee and Chair, and adults to
advise the youth members of the Crew. For the purpose of this posting, I'm
going to refer to both nautical and non-nautical units as "Crews" although
water-bourne units are called "Sea Scouting Ships."
Venturing units have both males and females of high school and junior
college age within their organization. They are not neccessarily tied to a
Troop or Team but may share the same chartered partner organization.
There may be more than one Crew in a particular location. The "topic" or
speciality may be shared; for instance, there may be more than one "Outdoor"
Crew in a community. Just because the Crew is an "Outdoors" Crew doesn't
mean that's all they can do; if they choose to participate as part of a
religious life, or hobby, or community service program, they can do those
things too without penality.
Each Crew may use the official Venturing uniform (grey shorts, kelly green
shirts), or develop their own identity items which becomes their uniform.
Venturing crews are led by a youth President and other elected or appointed
officers, depending on how loose or tight the structure of the Crew will be.
Adults serve as Advisors to those youth members.
Venturing units also have their OWN advancement program, starting with the
Bronze Award (which may be earned up to five times, in each of the five
major Venturing "speciality groupings"), the Gold Award and the Silver
Award. Additionally, ANY Venturer can earn the special Ranger Award which
is basically an advanced outdoor and personal-growth award with very
demanding requirements. Those Venturers whom earned First Class may also
continue to work toward Eagle and Eagle Palms while a member of a Venturing
unit. Finally, nautical units have the Ordinary, Able and Quartermaster
ranks to earn. This gives the potential of a Venturing member to earn
*four* special awards: Eagle, Silver, Ranger and Quartermaster -- if
qualified through membership in a Sea Scouting Ship and a holder of the
First Class or better Scout rank. Otherwise, it's a minimum of two and
maximum of three rank awards. For the second time in the BSA's history,
girls may work toward and earn "advancement" although this is the first time
that an established advancement trail *outside of Sea Exploring* has been
made available for ALL Venturing members. Venturing members may NOT become
OA members (males or females!) although those existing OA members may use
their membership in the Crew or Ship as qualifying for continued membership
within the local Council's OA Lodge (at least until the policy is changed to
only permit Boy Scout or Varsity Scout membership!).
Equate Venturing to "outdoor or hobby interest Exploring" with some
restrictions and an enhanced advancement program.
>What's the pros and cons and which is the best way for an
>established troop to go, so that we can help our older Scouts
>stay in Scouting?
The best way for an established Troop "to go" is to work with other
organizations in your community to offer both programs. There will be some
of your older boys whom will see the lure of a program in outdoors, or
music, or religious education, or conservation; the lure of working toward a
really hard advancement award over a period of three years; and the lure of
girls...and go toward the Venturing Crew/Sea Scouting Ship direction. Other
boys in your Troop will be quite happy with the current state of affairs and
will want to continue to do things with the Troop but also will want to do
other things with "older guys that think like I do" about stuff... and
that's where your Troop should consider a Venture Patrol.
One option that you didn't consider is a Varsity Team. Varsity Teams are
Boy Scouting units chartered to a organization but their activities are more
"high octane" than those of Venture Patrols, because they are not as
constrained to "what the Troop Committee will let us do next month".
I"ve described Varsity Teams as "Venturing Lite and Plain." Varsity Teams
are also restricted to males (although girls can serve as "observers") and
advancement is restricted to Eagle and the Eagle Palms. They can become and
maintain their OA membership through membership in a Varsity Team. Teams
are led by an elected Captain and either appointed or elected Co-Captains
and Program Managers. Adults serve as Coaches and Assistant Coaches and
there's a Team Committee which supports those adults and youth members in
>I've heard it is better to create a "Venture" patrol within your
>Boy Scout Troop, so that:
>1) You maintain the number of registered Scouts in your troop,
> so you can still qualify for the Quality Unit Award.
You should NEVER use a program to "maintain numbers," Richard. A quality
program will attract additional numbers and therefore become a Quality unit.
>2) You don't loose your older scouts to another unit and have
> to rebuild your troop.
You will always lose Scouts (older, younger) to other programs and to other
program elements. The key is making your program so attractive and keeping
them there by CHOICE....these options will entice some to leave for sure;
but there's enough flexibility in those programs to allow for those Scouts
to be a part of BOTH programs. I enjoyed my Troop so much I stayed a member
of it AND I loved Exploring and what I was doing in it that I stayed a
member of Exploring units too. It can be done.
It just depends on the youth involved and their attitude toward their Troop
and the other program (and the ability of the adults to manage that image of
>3) The Venture Patrol members can still help work with your
> younger Scouts, yet still have their own separate
> (older Scout) activities to help hold their interest.
Maybe. Most Venture Patrols, however, are so into their own program planning
or execution that they don't have time for the younger boys. That's not a
fault of the program, rather its a reflection that perhaps those boys have
grown out of the traditional Boy Scout enviornment and need something else
>4) The Venture Patrol is still part of the troop, so they can
> help the troop in Camporee and Jamboree competitions, yet
> have their own (older Scout) identity within the troop.
Again, that's true. But if you're counting on older boys to "win your way"
in intertroop competitions, answer me this please: what happens when they
don't show at the intertroop competition?? A much better way is to train
those Patrols to learn how to win and lose on their OWN merits and not
through the "augmentation" of the older boy to "help them out." You will
find that eventually, those Patrols will become stronger on their own merits
and they will either win a lot, or not....which isn't what Scouting is all
about; being TOGETHER and TRYING THEIR BEST TOGETHER is what Scouting is
about in part.
Hope that the explainations, along with Coop Wright's great descriptions and
explainations, helps you and others out, Richard!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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