In late May, I attended the National Council Meeting in Nashville, TN, where I learned about the next generation of Venturing, which rolls out in July 2014 and fully replaces the old program by the end of the year. Annaliese Parker, National Venturing President and Charles Dahlquist, National Venturing Task Force Chairman explained that many Venturers are not interested in advancement or awards they are interested in skill development and personal growth.
New program tools
Though there are new Venturing awards, it was the ease of program planning the tools available to youth and leaders in that planning that intrigued me. Parker and Dahlquist explained many of the changes using the ALPS acronym to drive their points home and in just minutes we were planning one of the new adventures using the pillars of the ALPS model
P ersonal Growth
Our group decided to take climbing for our planning exercise. We began the first month with Tier 1 activities that only take a day which included a Climb on Safely course and then another day of indoor climbing. Our tier 2 activity was a three day trek at our High Adventure Base and was all about climbing, it was there we would get most of the ALPS model in place, including a service project where our youth taught and supervised beginners at a camporee. Then came the big reward, our 10 day tier 3 super activities, which included serious backcountry climbing and trekking, which clearly would take more extensive planning.
Activities like this will be provided in a new set of program guides for troops, teams, and crews. In all there will be 48 modules all leading up to a main event. Many of these will be supported with new online training through Scouting U.
New Awards and Recognitions
Parker excitedly explained the new vision for Venturing which uses youth‐led adventures and a simplified program, but told us the changes really won’t be a big deal to most crews. It will provide a means of developing leadership skills, reinforcing the value of service to others, and creating opportunities for personal growth in line with the Scout Oath and Law. Like Cub Scouting, Venturing is part of one Oath and one Law, and is pulling in closer to BSA’s Mission, she explained. She went on to tell us that the Summit award focuses on mentoring, leading service, goal setting and life’s “big picture.” She said that earning the award will give a Venturers a better experience and says they will be better prepared for life in college or in the work place.
Parker stateded that awards merely serve as benchmarks that give Venturers a structure for developing their own personal vision into manageable goals that lead to recognition by their peers, mentors, and the larger community.
Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards:
- All Venturers could have begun working on them in May 2014.
- Current Venturers would skip the Venturing Award and begin with working on the Discovery Award (previously known by the temporary title Level II), regardless of whether they’ve earned the Bronze, Gold and/or Silver awards.
- New Venturers would begin with the Venturing Award soon after formally joining the program.
- Venturers then proceed by earning the Discovery and Pathfinder awards.
- Finally, Venturers earn the Summit Award, in which a young person formally serves as a mentor to other Venturers in his or her crew. All Venturers must begin using the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.
Dahlquist said the process for making the program revision began as early as 2009 when BSA looked more closely at the interest of Venturers and what was successful. They also researched why youth were leaving the program, then brought it all together. Most Venturers are not interested in traditional advancement or even recognitions that wont help on a college application or resume, but the Summit has emerged as a top award that will do both.
Jack Furst, the new Venturing Staff Advisor promised the new program guides and and leadership development modules will be available by mid July. The leadership modules include: goals setting, time management, project management and mentoring, which are all vital training for youth to plan successful programs. More importantly, these skills will serve youth for their lifetimes. Currently the new on-line crew committee challenge and position leader specific training are available
Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council, BSA