The stake VOA provides a structure and vision source for wards and branches within the stake. Core elements of Venturing complement the Aaronic Priesthood activity program through:
Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth and Service (ALPS). This also eliminates the expenditure of valuable resources trying to come up with new and exciting ideas to interest the youth. Through the use of the Venturing Program Capability Survey (PCI), Activity
Interest Survey (AIS), Annual Planning Calendar, and Activity Planners, a VOA can serve to increase the activity level of respective Priest Quorums through the implementation of interest-based activities. Copies of these documents are in The Venturing Leader’s Guide or on-line at http://www.stakeventuring.com or http://www.scouting.org/Home/Venturing.aspx.
Through proper planning, young men can also experience growth and “Venturing Recognition.”7 Progression through Venturing recognition program helps youth learn valuable skills and competencies that have been identified as vital to achieving success in education, in a work environment, and in life. Through effective “Adult Association,”8 young men are better able to look into the future and set goals that will help them be more able to accomplish the aims BSA and the Aaronic Priesthood. As a result of effective program planning, personal growth is experienced by all youth through adventure and leadership experiences. When used effectively, the tools and resources of Venturing, together with Duty to God; Come, Follow Me; and Preach My Gospel, serve to provide growth opportunities which will prepare young men to rise above the bar as suggested by Elder M. Russell Ballard.9
Youth Officer Selections
Seminary Student Council Guidelines
1- Seminary council officers and members are recommended by the faculty and endorsed by the principal. They should be approved by the released time seminary local Church board of education. The board also clears them for worthiness with the students’ own priesthood leaders and sees that they are properly set apart.
2- A faculty advisor should be assigned by the principal to work with the council.
3-Both young men and young women are eligible for any position on the student council. Teachers are encouraged to consider all worthy students, including those who have disabilities.
4-The time commitment expected of council members outside of normal seminary hours, including summer, should be minimal. Workshops or other training for council members should be simple, basic, and brief.
5-To help avoid the appearance of exclusiveness,council members should not be given clothing items as part of their assignments or in recognition of their service, nor should they be encouraged or expected to purchase such items on their own.
Each stake will be responsible for the selection of its youth VOA officers. In keeping with the file leadership of the Priesthood, youth officers may be called under the direction of the stake presidency through the high council.
Selection of youth officers can be very similar to the selection process used by the Church Education System for High School Seminary councils (see insert to right). One or two youth are chosen to serve as a representative of the respective ward or branch.
The stake Young Men’s presidency or stake VOA advisor with input from ward leaders and bishops recommends youth leaders who exhibit qualities of responsibility and ability to act without being prompted by adult leaders. With bishop and parent approval, a stake representative extends the call to each youth representative(s). While the young man will grow from the experience, youth should not be selected on the basis of their need for “a growth-experience.”
Supporting a Stake VOA
Specifically, Stake leaders will need to do the following to support a Stake VOA:
- Select a stake VOA advisor and associate advisor to mentor the stake VOA i.e the stake Young Men’s President or high councilor over young men or other committed adult.10
- Enlist the bishops’ support for the VOA and encourage them to send a crew representative.
- Encourage all crews to attend the annual district or sub-district open house where the up-coming year’s Venturing program is introduced and previous year’s recognitions are made.
- Help bishops to understand that all VOA Venturing activities are optional, without obligation or expectation to attend and are intended to facilitate crews in incorporating Venturing activities, without duplication, that correspond to Duty to God and Venturing recognitions.
- Provide funds to support the stake VOA with a reasonable budget so that activities can be kept free of charge to any Venturer who wishes to participate.11
A model VOA has at least five officer positions: President; Vice President of Administration; Vice President of Program; Vice President of Communication; Vice President of Resources. Detailed position descriptions can be found on the Utah National Parks Council Website http://www.scouting.org/Home/Venturing.aspx or http://www.stakeventuring.com.
The term of office for youth VOA leaders is for one year and should run from June 1 to May 31 to maintain consistency with National BSA Venturing Standard Operating Procedures http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/ Venturing/SOP.aspx.
Combined, all these parts of a Stake VOA can enhance a youth’s mission preparation.
7 Venturing Advisor Position-Specific Training, p. 32 “Methods of Venturing”
8 ibid. p. 32 “Methods of Venturing”
9Russel M. Ballard, The Greatest Generation of Young Adults
For tips to establish a VOA in your stake, see our article from earlier this year.
Author: Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America