Venturing is a youth-led program. The Stake Venturing Officers Association (VOA) provides an excellent opportunity for youth to have a meaningful leadership opportunity beyond the crew. The VOA functions like a stake youth committee and parallels a mission council of zone leaders and sister leader trainers and is therefore a great preparatory leadership experience for future missionaries and ward council members.
The purposes of the VOA can be:
- Youth voice in the planning of stake Venturing
- Youth planned and led stake Venturing activities
- VOA provides a model for crew operations
- VOA members return to mentor home crews
- Peer networking and sharing of best practices
- Oversee Summit award projects and board of reviews
- Provide representation to District and/or Council VOAs
- Other specific stake needs for Venturing
Establish a stake VOA (see Stake VOA Standard Operating Procedures). Stake leadership designates a VOA advisor and assistant advisor (note- AP/YW committee members would make a great fit here as they are already connected to each ward’s Venturing crew). The AP/YW committee can also support the VOA as a stake Venturing committee and can oversee any additional adult mentors that might be asked to assist the VOA and the stake Venturing program.
Ask Bishops to nominate a young man to represent their ward on the VOA in April of his freshman or sophomore year. He would serve officially from June 1 to May 31 of the following year according to national VOA guidelines.
Have outgoing VOA officers conduct a stake open house (All Crews Open House & Recognition Night or ACOHRN) to provide a venue to recognize the outgoing VOA, introduce the incoming VOA, celebrate the successes of the previous years stake Venturing experience, introduce the upcoming year’s Venturing calendar, provide special recognition (Eagle, Duty to God, and Venturing Summit and Venturing Leadership awards, recent mission calls, Journey to Excellence units, etc), and provide an inspirational message to motivate these older youth to make good use of their Young Men’s experience.
Hold an organizing retreat (Venturing Officers Training Experience or VOTE) in June. Have outgoing VOA representatives conduct an Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC) for new VOA reps. Have the new VOA establish officers, choose activity chairs, learn their responsibilities, and take ownership of the upcoming year’s stake Venturing program.
After the conclusion of regular stake Venturing forum every other month during the school year, have your VOA meet to give report and plan activities (i.e. in Sep, Nov, Jan, Mar, May) so that they can prepare to lead key stake Venturing events (i.e. EVAN- Ethics and Venturing in Action Night in Oct, CPRFAT- CPR and First Aid Training in Dec, CSN- Career Skills Night in Feb, ACOHRN in Apr, and VOTE in Jun). These events are specifically designed to deliver key Venturing experiences at minimal cost.
VOA representatives would report back to crews each month, and would not meet in the summer to allow them to concentrate on mentoring their home crews for their program culminating Kodiak high adventure super-activity and their August annual planning meeting (crew seminar and ILSC course).
Because most VOA members would be serving during their sophomore or junior year, they will be able to return to their crews as experienced leaders and mentors. They would also have a year or two to pursue additional leadership opportunities by serving on the VOA at the district, council, area, regional or even national levels. Youth serving on the VOA are also eligible to receive the Venturing Leadership Award- a excellent recognition award to strengthen college applications and job resumes.
Author: Utah National Parks Council Venturing Officers Association | Stake Venturing