Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Re: Ed's Web Site
Re: Ed's Web Site
Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:04:44 -0500
>From: Bill Nelson <bnelson45@HOTMAIL.COM>
>On Thu, 16 Dec 1999 00:04:40 -0600, (MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the
blackeagle) ><blackeagle@SCOUTER.NET> wrote:
>Mike Walton suggested we only look at Cub Scout and Boy Scout numbers,
>and I initially agreed with him...then I got thinking (a dangerous
>thing for me to do, and it hurts a lot too!)
>When was Varsity Scouting started? My understanding, and correct me if I
>am wrong, is that Varsity Scouting is an 'older boy' program intended
>to retain Boy Scouts in what is essentially a Boy Scout program.
>It is also used by the LDS extensively for their
>boys who were tired of Boy Scouting and they
>would have started their own program had the BSA not started Varsity
>Scouting. And that Varsity Scouting is just an extension of Boy Scouting?
Ok, let me see if I can make it clearer here.
VS was established as an official program in 1984, after being an
experimental program since 1977.
Its purpose during the experiemental years was as a program at solely at
14-15 year olds (yes, you read correctly. VS was ONLY for 14-15 year olds).
It appears that the designers of the program expected boys to be in Boy
Scout Troops only from 11-13, then go into Varsity Scouts from 14-15, the go
into Explorer Posts.
Varsity Scouts has been sold both as a 'retention' program to keep boys in
Scouting who have outgrown Boy Scouts. It has ALSO been sold as a program
to attach new, older, boys to Scouting who might not want to join a Boy
Scout Troop and have to deal with younger boys (11-13 year olds).
Realize that in many ways VS was established to "replace" the original
Explorer Scout program. When Explorer Scouts were established out west in
the 1930s, it was intended to be an advanced scouting program aimed at older
(14/15-17) boys to retain them in Scouting, tho not necessarily in their
troops. In the Intervening years (1930s-1970s), the Exploring program has
moved further and further away from its original intention. Thus why some
wanted to recreate it in the new Varsity Scout program: an advanced Boy
Scout program that could both retain the older boys in scouting and to
attrach new, older boys into the program with something that would interest
the older boy.
>If the Varsity program is doing its job, shouldn't we see a decline
>in Boy Scout numbers after the Varsity program was instituted
>as the older boys migrate to the Varsity program....same, to some
>extent in 1999 with Venturing?
Is Varsity Scouting doing its job? The problem is is that too many have no
idea what its "job" is?
When first introduced, because of the unit and office terminology, many
viewed it only as a 'sports-oriented' scouting unit. To this day many have
no idea what its all about. National has done a poor job of selling this
You bring up the Venturing program. Again, people need to understand that
Venturing is still different from Scouting, either Boy or Varsity. And not
just because its co-ed. The program is very open ended in what each unit
can do. The concept that each unit specializes in one area is a key part of
this, something that is absent in Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts. Venturing
can ALSO retain boys in the scouting program, as well as attrack new
members, but because of its unique program that is different from both Boy
Scouts and Varsity Scouts.
Hope this helps.
To learn more about the history of the many Senior Scouting programs that
have existed in the BSA, including Varsity Scouts, Explorer Scouts,
Exploring, and Venturing, check out my web site at:
Michael R. Brown
Venturing Crew #1838