New Venturing award names announced

venturers-at-jambo2013The all-new Venturing awards program just got a lot more real.

Today the Boy Scouts of America announced the names for the new Venturing awards that will replace the current Bronze, Gold and Silver awards.

Say hello to the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards. I’ve listed them in order from the first award Venturers will earn upon joining, appropriately named the Venturing Award, to the program’s new top honor, also given a fitting name: the Summit Award.

As I first announced in May of last year, the 16-year-old Venturing program is undergoing major changes that put the focus on “progressive experiences in the focus areas of Adventure, Leadership, Service and Personal Growth.”

Venturing, a high-adventure program for young men and women who are at least 14 (or 13 and finished with the eighth grade) and younger than 21, has seen just 0.66 percent of Venturers earn any awards during its history.

That explains the need for fresh, new awards, which were “developed and tested among youth participants in the program, adult volunteers, human resource recruiters and college admissions counselors, using focus groups and quantitative research,” according to a news release the BSA shared this morning (PDF).

Venturers may begin using the new awards in May 2014; the exact date is undetermined, but it will be around the time of the BSA’s National Annual Meeting, held May 21-23.

Consider May 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014, a transition period during which Venturers may use either the old or new awards. Here’s how that will work:

  • Bronze, Gold, Silver awards:
    – Venturers may continue working on them until Dec. 31, 2014.
    – Venturers must start working on the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards:
    – All Venturers may begin 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 (previously known by the temporary title Level I).
    – All Venturers must begin using the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.


The new awards

Venturing Award: The first step in any journey is the courage to begin. At this level, the new crew member makes their commitment to join and move forward into the experience of Venturing.

Discovery Award: The adventure of participating with the crew unfolds, and each Venturer begins to discover his or her interests and talents. As the Discovery Award recipients develop new skills and competencies, their eyes are opened and the world expands for them.

Pathfinder Award: The Venturer’s capabilities and skills expand and with them come increased responsibility for defining their own way forward in life, service to others and formal planning and leadership of the crew toward its goals.

Summit Award: The highest award of Venturing, the Summit Award, goes to those Venturers who have matured in their personal direction, skills, and life competencies, and who have accepted the responsibility to mentor others and serve their communities in a lasting way.

I’ll have much more, including specific requirements and images of the awards, when the full update is released at May’s National Annual Meeting.

What they said

National Venturing President Annaliese Parker: “The new Venturing award structure will make Venturing more relevant to the youth of today — while strengthening the Venturing program without detracting from anything going on in the Venturing program today. I have no doubt in my mind that this is one of the greatest changes in Venturing in the past 15 years.

BSA National President Wayne Perry: “Boy Scouts of America is fully committed to the Venturing program, these new awards, and the great things that are going to happen with this new Venturing program.”

Program updates page

Stay on top of changes to Venturing (and Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting) at the BSA’s official Program Updates page.

Photo from BSA Venturing Facebook page (be sure to Like them for the latest updates). Thanks to Bob Scott, the BSA’s senior innovation manager, for the info.

63 thoughts on “New Venturing award names announced

  1. Bryan, thanks for the info: it is very helpful! Just FYI … the link near the bottom to go to the “Program Updates page” is wrong. The URL has the period from the end of the sentence embedded in it, so your readers will find themselves linked to a 404 error on

    • Hi Matthew, I’ve answered this above: “I’ll have much more, including specific requirements and images of the awards, when the full update is released at May’s National Annual Meeting.”

      • Poor timing. This makes it very hard for councils to plan their summer camp programs to support Venturers and hard for Crew to plan their own “super activities” to support advancement when the requirements won’t be known to the public until mere weeks before summer starts.

        • With all do respect. NEVER make superactivities to support advancement. Do make them support attainment of national/international certifications (PADI, Wilderness First Aid/First Responder, NRA instructor, etc …). These are things are of incredible value to youth this age. Do this, and let them go home and talk with their adviser about advancement.

  2. There’s a lot of concern among some Venturing adults about how all of this came about. There has been two and a half years worth of wrangling and trying to figure out what should be and how should the “way forward be”. Many of us adults are used to the traditional “rank advancement scheme” whereby you do this, earn these badges or pins or somethings, and serve as an umpty-umpth leader and you earn the X rank. Well, those things don’t really work with the Venturer of today. He or she wants to be challenged in their OWN STYLE and making and only needs an outline or a sketch as to what the “X rank” signifies. This is hard for many adults to wrap their heads around.

    Tradition is good when we can directly connect it to the past and understand why we want to hang onto it. Venturing was created “whole cloth”, and while it at first used some of the old Exploring rank structure (and even the names!), it’s time to take the training wheels off the bike and push on. It’ll be a wobbly ride at first, but it’ll get better the longer we work together on it.

    To those saying “awwww they took the easy way out and named the highest award after the Summit place in West Virginia” (or, “you’ve named it after a Girl Scouting award!”), calm down, have a glass of tea. The names were given after groups of Venturers looked around for names. They may change AGAIN (I doubt it, there’s too much work by too many people for it to change again…but who knows?). The most important part is that the PROGRAM exists for those Venturers who want it — and they want something which isn’t a “boy scout copy dressed up for us”.

    Finally, there are those questioning the marketability (I guess it’s a word — if not, I’m gonna use it here) of the “Summit” rank. Their contention is that they are already getting some colleges to “look out” for the old Silver Award rank on resumes. Maybe some colleges have been using it. In my experience, the two awards which gets the attention of recruiters and placement folk are “Eagle” and “Quartermaster”. They are confused about the “Silver Award” because the Silver Award is used in Girl Scouting as an interim award (their highest youth honor is the Gold Award). Other youth-serving programs use other words. If we want colleges to “pick up” on the Summit as a rank and award for exceptional Venturers, we have to market it as such locally and it’ll catch on when LOCAL FOLK start seeing it as something exceptional. That’s how Eagle and later Quartermaster got their “start.”

    • Mike,

      If National (and the so called volunteers behind the curtain) would leave the program alone instead of totally changing it every 10-15 years, maybe we might get some name recognition. One of the reasons Eagle and Quartermaster are so respected and well known is that their names have not changed for more than 100 years!

      Playing games with changing the names of the top award is not going to help at all, it will just make it worse. Just look at GSUSA. Their name recognition for their top rank is dismal, (Golden Eaglet, First Class, Curved Bar, First Class (again), Gold Award, next??) National seems to follow their lead (GSUSA), not the rank and file of Venturing in the field.

      You say it’s been two years of “wrangling” to get to this point?
      In two years you would think National would have contacted EVERY LOCAL Venturing unit to get their views and what they are doing, instead of just the chosen few in the “Ivory Tower” of Irving.
      Those two years would have been better spent helping promote and support the current program to the field. (National has all but abandoned Venturing for years now, and the local Councils follow their lead.)

      The so called surveys stating that less than 1% use the current recognition are a sham! National has not tracked the use of these awards and neither have most of the Councils. So where are they getting their numbers?

      It’s garbage like this that makes it harder and harder to promote Venturing and get program support. I understand why so many Crews just throw their hands up and say “forget this mess, we are just going to have fun”, “let the fools in Irving play with their flow charts, made up surveys and numbers”.

      Most of the problems with the current program and the new “Improved Venturing Program” (sound familiar?) could have/can be solved if the “veil of secrecy” which National operates would be lifted and true field leaders and youth (not the elite and few) allowed to be involved in any changes.

      You and the other BSA Apologists can put “Lipstick on this pig”, but it’s not going to change what it is.

      • National did many research surveys through the national email listings (similar to voice of the scout) the fact of the matter is the venturing awards just were not compatible with Boy Scout equivalents. The national cabinet has done sooo much to try and reach out and the fact is the youth leaders had a lot of input on the decisions.

        • Have a unit (6 years) producing 2 Council VOA VPs (top 20 council) & were NEVER contacted by anyone from National requesting any information regarding any programing….they did no research just wanted to change things with no field input.

      • Ron sorry u feel this why, we are here for the youth. With the surveys they where pull all across the us not just tax, and with numbers and chart u are miss in formed,

    • I’m as change-averse as the next guy. But the problem with Bronze/Gold/Silver, if you’re in the camp who worked on them, is that you are a very small percentage of venturers. And you are the ones likely to join a blog and talk about it. What you haven’t done is make it as inspiring to the 99% of venturers who couldn’t care less. I’ve advised scads of youth, and only one was interested in the awards program.

      The name “Summit” has a positive ring to it. Not just for jambo, but for the past few years Area VOA’s have been calling their gatherings by the same name. Who knows? Maybe since it is synonymous with something tangible and positive, it will inspire youth to look into it.

      So, they re-built it. Here’s hoping they will come!

    • So then there is no need to promote the new system until it gets known in the outside world and has some credibility at colleges and universities. Youth at this age are looking for credible things for their college applications and job resumes. So as others have suggested, promoting things like scuba certification, First Aid, CERT and so on is a much better use of time and resources since they are well known in the real world.

    • I think Summit was a poor name choice for the top level award. BSA is working to establish the Summit brand, for the Summit Bechtel Reserve. As much as it might seem like a great idea to use that name in other places to give it more exposure, using the same name in different places and for different purposes seems like it will only serve to dilute the brand and weaken the copyright. When people type in “BSA Summit”, what do you want to come up in Google Search results or Bing results or whatever search engine people are or will be using? Do you want the top results to be about the camp or about a Venturing award? BSA should pick one area that they want to use Summit in (and it seems like they’ve made a huge push to get that name to be synonymous with the name of the new camp), and focus on using that name there.

    • Mike –

      Thank you for the explanation.

      There is only one burning question that I have. What requirements are in place to ENSURE that .66% of the current Venturing Youth earn the awards? In other words, what makes anyone so sure that there will be movement from the .66% by making it so you get rewarded for showing up?

    • When is National and the Local Councils going to address the actual problem of Venturing membership and growth and really start supporting Venturing with a solid/successful Marketing and Recruiting program.

      I think these changes have value but I really think that all the money spent on studies and focus groups and such really misses the mark when those monies could have been used to raise awareness, educate Scoutmasters and local communities and grow the membership. After success in developing a successful Marketing/Recruiting strategy then start evaluating and make program changes would have been a more fruitful effort.

      I don’t think what is being done to the program is going to bring the young adults in the door and to be honest I don’t think the changes are going to have the desired effect that is being expected in raising the numbers on Venturers earning awards.

      As I see it the current (or past) Venturing program is not “Broke” it is “Membership weak” due to the fact that National BSA and Local Councils do not Market or Recruit in the Venturing program on any level commensurate to what is being done for Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs. Most all of what you see in Venturing (as a whole) today is grass roots volunteer and youth lead social media and word of mouth recruiting.

      Just my 2 cents

      Jeff Lewis
      North Florida Council

      • Jeff glad to see another obvious marketing professional pointing out the obvious. Membership is the issue NOTHING ELSE. Both National & Councils have to actually do something if they want growth.

  3. I think whatever they need to kick start the program again. I joined in 99 and earned my Silver Award in 2003. My council had 0.8% advancement per youth in Venturing last year. Obviously, it’s not connecting locally at this time – when we had 6 Silvers in 2003. Change the names or don’t – but push the program. It’s one of Scouting’s best secrets at this point – which it shouldn’t be!

    • No, your council had 0.8% participation in the formal Venturing recognition award program last year. Advancement. Is. Not. Part. of the Venturing program. Recognition is, and Recognition comes in many forms. So what if youth choose not to be recognized by BSA awards? If they are pursuing real recognition by their peers and adults of their skills and abilities (Scuba Diving, CPR, etc.), the Recognition method is being 100% used, and that’s wonderful.

      • The Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards were never, ever, intended to be advancement similar to Tenderfoot to Eagle that Boy Scouts followed, and Apprentice to Quartermaster that Sea Scouts followed. These awards were “Recognitions,” that Venturers could earn.

        In fact when I met the national Venturing director back in 1998 prior to and when the program was unveiled, it was clearly stated several times that one of the advantages to not having Bronze, Gold, and Silver as Advancement was to recruit those young men and ladies, as well as recruit Charter Organizations,, that have no interest in a formal advancement program.

        • Nahila…nice to see someone else who knows what the Bronze/Gold/Silver program was all about. To bad you probably weren’t asked (part of that 2yr research).

  4. Problem. Pathfinder is the Kindergarten level award for the American Heritage Girls. Did they check trademarks? AHG had to change their Tenderfoot level to Tenderhearts to avoid issues with the BSA…

  5. I participated in the Venturing conference at Sea Base last month. I am pretty sure “Summit” was on our brainstorming list for the top recognition! I think it is a great choice 🙂

    • While I am happy for you to have been able to attend Sea Base (especially in January!, I’m envious). I would hope that National did not use such an event to determine names or program changes for Venturing. If so, it would just prove the point that such decisions are only made by those of means who can afford to go to such a place. (the rich so-called volunteers and Irving types, not the real rank and file people in the field).
      A large portion of BSA Vounteers can not afford to go to such places. I would hope that is not the case.

      • Not exactly sure what you mean by “rich so-called volunteers,” Ron, but I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to disparage anyone who who devotes much of their valuable time and effort to youth involved in Scouting programs. As a Florida resident, Sea Base is geographically pretty accessible to me, but I can think of lots of other vacation destinations that don’t involve sleeping in bunk beds in a dorm with 12 other people! I’m also pretty sure attending that conference was a real sacrifice for most of us, if not financially for some, then in the form of using vacation time from work, taking time away from family, etc. To imply that any of us attending a national training center are not “real rank and file people in the field” is simply wrong, disrespectful, and un-Scout-like.
        I’m pretty confident National already had thousands of names under consideration, we just added a hundred or so more to the mix. I’m also pretty sure they would have been happy to add ideas from Scouters such as yourself and youth members, even without a formal survey, just with a phone call or email. I hope you do get an opportunity to attend a national training at some point. Some scholarships are available through the high-adventure base training programs, others through local councils and “relationships” organizations. These are often funded by “real rank and file” volunteers who recognize the value of trained leaders and are fortunate enough to also have financial resources to share with others.

        • “docmom4”, I am sorry if you were offended by my post.
          The Venturing Conference sounded like a great time for all involved, as I stated, I was envious of you, especially being there in January while the rest of the country was in a deep freeze.

          My point was that you seemed to imply that you and those who attended the Venturing Conference at Sea Base had a hand in choosing the name (names?) of the new Venturing awards. Following that track, one would wonder what else was decided there.

          I am concerned when such things are decided by a few, who’s only qualification for being there is the ability to pay.

          That is what I mean by “rich volunteers”. Obviously that would not apply to those who were lucky enough to live in close proximity to Sea Base. (Though there still was a significant cost to attend.)

          The National Training Centers/National High Adventure Bases (as well as National Jamborees) are used/attended by a very small percentage of the BSA membership. Why is that? Because of cost (money and time). On the average it runs thousands of dollars per person to attend, not to mention time off from work and family.

          Someone such as yourself just happens to be blessed to live near one of these sites. The majority of us are not so fortunate. Most adult leaders do not have a large amount of vacation time to use for things other than their family and unit activities. Nor a large amount of expendable funds to go to these sites.

          My point is still unchanged, ” I would hope that National did not use such an event to determine names or program changes for Venturing. If so, it would just prove the point that such decisions are only made by those of means who can afford to go to such a place. (the rich so-called volunteers and Irving types, not the real rank and file people in the field).
          A large portion of BSA Volunteers cannot afford to go to such places.
          I would hope that is not the case.

    • Gotta agree with Ron here. I know our council VOA was never polled.

      A voice-of-the-scout (er, venturer) type survey that included a naming contest would have been a lot more fun. It would have the potential for greater buy-in.

      Maybe we can make up for lost time by having an award design contest?

      • I think by definition, advisors have boundary issues. So they and the youth they’ve mentored tend not wait for permission to use a term in the way that suits them. It’s nice to be granted the flexibility though. 😉

        However, I think Wayne and Annalise were more intentional than you all are giving them credit for. This announcement isn’t just for venturers, but for scouters, especially those who will attend the May meeting. Most of those scouters have not been trained to call the youth in the Venturing program anything in particular. In fact the most common term that I’ve heard is “venture scouts.”

      • First, nearly every unit from our Council that goes to Philmont, goes to Northern Tier, goes to Sea Base or the Summit, does some pretty in-depth fund-raising – and plenty of our units from lower-income neighborhoods still actively pursue these opportunities. Stating they are “only for the rich” dismisses the hard work and ingenuity these units invest in pursuing their camping.

        Second, the fact that the Venturing advancement has been up for reinvention has been common knowledge for several years now. Did your council or district or unit reach out to National, ask to be included in that process? We had representation from our Council on the Cub Scout rank update task force – and this person is neither rich nor in Texas. She did most of her work by teleconference, e-mail and file-sharing.

        The notion that anyone involved in this update is part of some nefarious, secret cabal is inaccurate and insulting. That you never stood up to be counted and now want to tear down the work of all the many volunteers who did invest many hundreds of hours of their spare time each in updating this program is a poor reflection on you, not them.

        • Jim,
          I think it’s great that you have units that fund raise to go to National High adventure bases and events. What is the percentage of units in your council that does this? 5%, 10%, 15%? Certainly not a majority, nor even 50%. From what I was told by National, these events average under 15%. (and that number was somewhat higher due to the 2010 Jambo being so popular, though 2013 may have lowered it by now).

          My point is the huge majority of youth in the BSA will NEVER see a National event due to the cost. I will not get into fund raising ect. but that still is a fact.

          About involvement in the new program. It’s great that your Council had one person working on the Cub task force. Anyone working on Venturing? You stated in other posts that your Council has a very active Venturing program with lots of Council support, so I would expect that you would have at least one person on that task force.

          BTW, congratulations on having Council Support on Venturing, because a large number of councils have little or none.

          As for myself (and dozens of other Venturing leaders nationwide) not “standing up to be counted”, that’s a load of garbage!
          I have been in touch with National about the program and possible changes since Bill Evans was in the Venturing Division. (almost from the begining) Upon hearing of possible changes I, as well as dozens of others interested, asked for more info and how to help. Many others had no idea this was going on or if they could help. All we got was silence.

          Another post stated that “100s of thousands of email surveys went out with 90% not replied”, that should have been a clue to the people making the changes that they were not getting the message out to the field.

          On top of that, by announcing the changes at the same time as the Membership Changes were announced, totally “hid” them from the majority of those in the BSA.

          And since then everything that has come out of these 411 groups has been shrouded in secrecy, except those who have been able to attend National meeting and events. So, is it a secret cabal doing this? Not in the literal sense, but some at National seem to pretend it is.

  6. All–

    I helped with the program design for the new Venturing program. I am a volunteer leader with the BSA. I am neither particularly wealthy or well-connected, but was honored receive an invitation to participate in the program development process. For the record, all of the adults that I worked with on the task force work with crews. Real, live, Venturing crews. It grounded the discussions and results in what works for crews and how do we use what is working for ALL crews.

    A number of points brought up here revolve around a theme of, “I wasn’t asked” or “I don’t know anyone who was asked.” I’ve never been polled for a political race, but I have no doubt that surveys do take place, and simply because I was not polled does not invalidate the results. The initial data set examined surveyed over 2000 Venturers, with additional surveys and focus groups since then.

    We did ask Venturers. We designed the program to meet their needs, based on what we learned. After we organized the initial feedback and analyzed a considerable body of research and experiences of Venturing crews from around the country, we developed the program matrix. The matrix is a grid with areas of program emphasis (also referred to as pillars – adventure, leadership, service, and personal growth) on one axis and levels of engagement/participation across the other axis. The levels of recognition were given names that were revealed yesterday as the new Venturing awards. They are NOT ranks, as is used in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Sea Scouting.

    And as I said, we asked Venturers. Here is feedback from Venturers that participated in focus groups in the Midwestern USA in late 2012.

    Youth feedback regarding this proposed program and recognition model was obtained during the 2012 Fall Fun Rally conducted by the Greater St. Louis Area Council. Feedback from youth who participated in focus group interviews stated that they liked the following elements of the proposed recognition model:
    …the simpler approach [to recognition].
    …the progressive nature of the system.
    …the way it embeds leadership and service into the program.
    …the opportunity to work with mentors.
    …the way the crew has the potential to be more active [using this recognition/program model].
    …the flexible nature of the system.
    …the first two recognition levels are fairly easy to achieve [and will build a culture of recognition into a crew from the very beginning].

    Youth feedback and advisor feedback was solicited at the Central Region Area 7 Extravaganza in October, 2012. Focus group interviews reported that participants liked the following elements of the proposed recognition model:
    …the leadership opportunity at the L3 Award level and the Mentoring responsibility at the L4 Award level.
    …the clearly stated goals.
    …the easy-to-understand matrix.
    …the connection between the program and the recognition system.
    …the awards are easier to understand.
    …the way the matrix is program-focused.
    …the emphasis on service.
    …the progressive nature of the system.
    …the role of youth leadership and how it is developed through the system.
    …the L1 Award (motivating!).
    …the way participation forms the foundation for recognition.

    I know everyone would like to see the requirements. They are still being tweaked as they move through the editorial process. Launching the new program has things in common with any product launch: it is easy to describe the features in advance, but until it is ready to go, it won’t be in the stores.

    One more thing I will add, which hopefully will assist in thinking about the transition – if your crew has an active program of youth-led adventure (of any kind) – the new system will work well for your crew. The recognition system is as much a program planning tool as anything else. Plan a rich program and recognition will take place, providing benchmarks of progress for the Venturers.

    In service,


    P.S. The program is not designed to create a program of “older Boy Scouts with girls,” though if a group of Venturers wants their crew to function that way, the program system will work well for them, too.

    • Thanks Ken, and in general I think you all have done a fine job.

      But our one vulnerability is that we still have a “top down” approach of interacting with our venturing leaders. “If you can make it to our conference, you can have a say …” That gets a big job like this one done quickly, but you only have the “buy in” of 1% of venturing youth. If more youth, especially youth who haven’t earned awards, felt they had a say, maybe more youth would be interested in the recognition program.

      How much did we miss from the other 99% by not giving them a crack at a naming contest? We’ll never know. Now that we have names, do we have a means for gathering nationwide youth-input on the award design? Or, have the artists already been appointed?

    • Ken,

      Thanks for taking the time to walk us through your experience.

      The big question is – was this all done for nothing? There is ZERO program support for Venturing at National and Councils outside of the brochures that we have seen.

      So when you are teaching a new Advisor about Venturing and the question comes up “What do we do for program?” The answer is “Whatever you want to do.” is not going to be suitable.

      There seems to be one thing missing from this – the idea that we have a free thinking society. The last advisor I spoke with said “You show me how to do it step-by-step, and I can make it work.” I told him that this is not technical support, and if he can not advise the kids toward a quality program – that he might want to be a crew committee chair.

      So, are we going to see National and Council Buy-In or are we shuffling the chairs on the top deck of the Costa Concordia?

      • Not sure what Council you’re in, but San Diego-Imperial Council provides extensive support for Venturing. Venturing is included in all our high-adventure programs, our shooting sports at our local moutain camp, we host an annual Venturing camp at our oceanside camp, and our VOA is particularly active.

        So if your Council isn’t doing those things, why not step up and volunteer at the District or Council level to see that they are done?

    • Then officially integrate the Duke of Edinburgh Award into Venturing. As the new Venturing scheme appears to mirror it.

  7. So will Sea Scouts officially be spun out from Venturing as a stand-alone program or will it continue to be a subset of Venturing? Will its awards/ranks be changing?

      • When you say that the status quo remains intact you mean that particular Sea Scout ranks will continue to count towards Venturing awards?

        • Bart:

          Since the Bronze Awards are being retired, that pathway to the Silver Award will no longer be available after 12/31/2014. The Silver award will be retired on that date as well.

          Sea Scouting will retain its distinctive advancement program.


        • Yes, that’s my question. I fully realize that the old awards are going away. Will a tie in between Sea Scouts and whatever the new Venturing awards are once the reorganization has completed or will Sea Scouts be completely separate?

        • Bart–

          I did not understand your question; my apologies. I can speak only to the recognition system. Someone with insights into organizational concerns will have to address your question.


        • If you review the “New” Venturing Recognition Awards & proposed (hinted at) requirements & compare them to Sea Scouting advancement ranks it appears that the new Venturing Recognition program is just a veiled copy of the Sea Scouting Advancement program that has a 100+yrs track record.

        • FYI…I don’t think Venturing can afford to lose Sea Scouting since Sea Scouts have been contributing to Venturings award numbers. In my Council we have a 6 yr old Sea Scout Ship that has 7 Silver Awardees, 1 Ranger, & 2 V Shooting Sports Awards which dwarfs all Crews in the Council.

  8. I think there are some people who are really bent out of shape that they weren’t asked their input are really missing the point National DID send out 100’s of thousands of email surveys 90% of them weren’t responded to. As to the accusation they they polled the “Irving type”, they conducted polls at their national training, regional meetings, and national events, it what happens (did you expect to have a say at the National Lodge meeting if you weren’t there?) Did any of who are complaining pick up a phone and call, or email, or facebook message any national officers? The answer is No because they would have responded to get your input I promise.

    • How would regular people in the Venturing program have known to contact a national officer and voice their opinion if they weren’t contacted and told that changes were in the works?

      • How could you NOT know changes were in the works? I’m a Cubmaster, and *I* knew Venturing recognition was changing from reading my issues of Scouting magazine.

        • I knew it was changing. What I didn’t know was that opinions/comments/suggestions were being actively solicited. Does this mean that every time National announces that something will be changed, we should all attempt to contact National and put our $.02 in? Should I be doing this with the upcoming Boy Scout program change or the Cub Scout program change? Are people being solicited for their opinions on these other upcoming changes and am I being left out of the loop? How do I get my voice to be heard on these other changes without spending a whole heck of a lot of money and going to some fancy-dancy camp?

          As far as Philmont, etc., goes, I wasn’t able to join the Order of the Arrow because I only learned about it when I was 17 or so and about to age out of Scouting, but looking back I don’t think I met the camping requirements — my troop never went to a Council-run summer camp. We planned a week in the Sierras every summer and went camping/hiking/fishing. One summer we changed things up and rafted down the American river instead. A couple times (not as our summer activity) we hiked to the top of Mount San Gorgonio — that’s a couple hundred feet lower than the Tooth of Time, but then the area around it is a couple thousand feet lower than Philmont, so I think we did quite a bit more than any of those Scouts that spend thousands of dollars to go to New Mexico and have an easier accomplishment. At 14, 15, and 16, I worked some weeks at summer and winter camps, but I never actually “went” there as a participant, which I think is what the OA requires? Anyway, we ran that troop on what was almost literally a shoestring budget and we actively disdained going to Philmont — who’d want to spend so many thousands of dollars to do what you could do on your own for so much less?

          As far as kayaking & canoeing goes, we live right by a very nice lake and enough people owned extra small boats that everyone could borrow one for a troop activity and we did enough different troop activities that earning the waterskiing merit badge wasn’t a problem, so why would we want to go to some expensive boating camp? Were they going to let us drive the motor boat? No? Then we’d stay at home where some of us actually had boat licenses from our lake association.

          But despite virtually all of us easily earning our Eagle with all the merit badges and other activities that we did, and someone doing an Eagle service project every month or two, we were exactly the kind of troop who’d be left completely out of surveys like that, because we didn’t go to those “fancy-dancy” camps.

          And I say troop, instead of crew, because back then in my troop from age 12-on most every boy did all the big activities that the older boys were doing and just like the OA, none of us ever really knew about that Exploring thing either. I don’t think a unit commissioner ever visited us, and although I knew we were in a Council from my shoulder patch I didn’t know anything about a District until I went to work at a summer camp. Anyway, things are different now — National has the ability, with Voice of the Scout and how the membership forms ask for a contact email (parent/guardian for youth, but at least they have some email), and phone numbers, to really get down and contact nearly everyone. For the names of the awards, things that presumably will be static and fixed for at least the next decade or so, I really think it should have been a larger competition, with a much larger portion of the Venturing body offering their $.02 and votes.

    • “D”
      First of all, with all the effort that has been put into this “reboot” of Venturing, one would think they would want to get it right.

      “100’s of thousands of email surveys sent out and 90% not responding?
      Didn’t you guys get a clue that you were not reaching your target group?

      And having polls at National Training sites, National and Regional meetings?
      How many “Rank and file” Crew members/leaders showed up for that? (people in the immediate area do not count)

      This whole reboot was announced “Behind the cloud” of the National Membership decision. Most Crews had no idea this had happened (many still do not!).

      As for calling/reaching out? You bet I did! As well as many others I know across the country. The answers we got (if any) were very general, vague, and basically told to wait until the roll out in may 2015. Everything was/is “top secret.”

      Very few people can afford the time and money to go to these “National events”.

      To determine what is best for the entire country based on a very small percentage of input is short sighted and just planning for failure. That is typical of the “Irving types”.

      For something to have taken years to develop, it is remarkable to see how few actual people in Venturing were used.
      There was enough time to have contacted every single Venturer and Venturing Leader personally!
      Instead, two events in the same part of the country attended by a few dozen crews, and a pathetic email poll was used to make major decisions that will affect the future of Venturing?

      We deserve better than that.

  9. Fact is, we’re giving 1% of our membership a little trauma in hopes to appeal to that 99%. No matter how passionate you who particitipated in the awards program were, it was not enough to draw other venturers in.

    Contrast this with Boy Scouts. Troops can go for a few years without any boys advancing. Then one boy does, he gets his buddies to do it. One eagle begets two, four, etc… The first Eagle in a district visited other troops in a district. With in a year dozen’s of first class scouts decided they want to kick it up a notch and the cycle has been repeating for a century. Advancement wasn’t just a method, it was infectious.

    We need to ask ourselves what’s keeping that 99% immune to “award fever”? An obtuse list of requirements? Names after metals in the obscure scouting order? The constant trying to distance ourselves from Boy Scouts?

    Or, did we not give our silver awardees a sense of obligation to bring others along their trail?

    • It’s because Venturing is supposed to be Boy Scouts, but kicked up a notch, right? The only problem is that it seems like half the Venturing Scouts that I know weren’t in Boy Scouts — they don’t know a square knot from an overhand knot and wait, we have to memorize an oath now? Venturing needs something like the Cub Scout Bobcat award, something that all new Venturers do, just to make sure that everyone knows whatever the basics are deemed to be (which seems to be what the Level 1 is). Then the requirements need more examples, clearly spelling out what’s a possible example and what is required.

      Let me use video games as an extended analogy. If you’re used to playing “rail” games (games with a concrete storyline that you really can’t deviate too much from, such as Half Life, Call of Duty single player, Portal, etc.), even if each “level” has an incredibly complex puzzle that has to be solved (Portal?), you’re really going to be frustrated if you’re dumped into a game like Rust where it’s a completely open sandbox game. As it now stands, Venturing awards are completely open. They offer lots of freedom and choice, and too much of that for people who aren’t used to it isn’t fun. We all know, Rust doesn’t really have a storyline and many people like storylines, they like plot in their games, even if that does tend to put the game on rails somewhat.

      The current Boy Scout program is really, in my opinion, the model of how to offer both freedom and guidance. You have the basic first few ranks, where you have to learn really specific things and things gradually ramp up (from swimming a bit to actually passing the Swim test). From then on you have some mandatory activities (merit badges) that everyone must go through, but for the most part you’re completely on your own as to what merit badges you actually earn. Go out and do what interests you. You like reading? Maintaining/fixing automobiles? Farming? Chemistry? Go wild and do your own thing, knowing that everyone else that gets their Eagle is also doing the same required stuff while doing their own thing as well.

  10. The “Summit Award” is an existing Award within the Girl Scouts of the USA. Each program level (Daisy, Brownie, Jr, Cadette, Sr, or Ambassador Girl Scouts) in GSUSA has it’s on separate Summit Award for any Girl Scout that completes three Girl Scout Journey Awards within each level.

  11. Award Scheme – > Program Areas
    New Venturing Award Scheme ->Adventure-Leadership-Service-Personal Growth
    US Congressional Award ->Expedition/Exploration-Personal Development-Volunteer Public Service-Physical Development
    Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Young Americans’ Challenge ->Adventurous Journey-Special Skills-Community Service-Physical Recreation

    So are we really just integrating the US Congressional Award and/or Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme in the Venturing and making it our Tier II,II,and IV scheme?

    Thought, take the existing Bronze Awards and remake them into something like a specialize Hornaday-like badge. Which could be expanded in the future to supplement the program and we keep aspects of the original Venturing Program.
    Then keep the designs of the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Award medallions use them as the basis for the Tier I, II, III award designs.

    Then Add a Chiefs Scout Award (in honor of B-Ps title) as the Medal. Then integrate with the US Congressional Award or Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Young Americans’ Challenge (Bronze, Silver, Gold) as a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Palm for youth that complete the US Congressional Award or Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Young Americans’ Challenge in addition to the Chiefs Scout Award.

    As for the name of the Summit Award. GSUSA has had that name of a award associated with Girls Scouting for at least 3 yrs and AHG is using Pathfinder as an existing rank.

    • Not sure how the name is used in another organization has anything to do with anything. Never heard this complaint about the Venturing Gold Award.

      Great program ideas, but again I don’t see how this makes things more appealing to the 99%.

  12. “Gold” is kind of a common word — probably used by other groups as the name of an award/rank level (congressional award, technology student association) and thus probably difficult to trademark. However, since BSA sued AHG to change an award level name that BSA used before AHG started using it (Tenderfoot, back in middle 2010), then AHG may be likely to return the favor (with the Pathfinder name). That being said, many people that I know are already familiar with the Pathfinder name as the spiritual successor to the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons (that ran from about 2000 to about 2008 and now continues in Pathfinder). Perhaps, if things are going to continue in that vein (roleplaying game-wise), the BSA should speak with Penny Arcade about the Lookouts. 😉

  13. The more I think about it (I’m really not trying to think about this all that much), the more I like “Summit” but am not so into “Discovery” and “Pathfinder”. There’s something inherently appealing about naming an award after a mountain parts. So “Escarpment” and “Flank”, or maybe “Tree-Line” and “Snow-Line”, or “Brae” and “Brow” would fit more literally with the intermediate awards (see for more choices).

    My point is, we can pull names all day long. And maybe if there is a significant bump in the road, we should encourage our youth to serve on regional cabinets and work out a better solution. But for now, I would suggest let’s rally around our national cabinet, encourage them to be open about the bumps they have along the way, and share the news with our youth in a positive manner.

    None of this stands in the way of their discovering a new path to their favorite summit. 😉

  14. I agree that the awards needed to be overhauled. There was way too much disparity of work between the Outdoor Bronze Award and Religious Life, Sports, and Arts & Hobbies (I have no experience with the Sea Scouting Bronze).

    I think renaming the awards is foolish. You could have stripped out everything and redone it all, but still built on what you had by retaining the names. As it is, you’ve lost 16 years of continuity.

    My observation is that BSA has gone through Change Fever for several years now. I was on a national committee in the midst of it and staff changes and org chart changes were a constant and confusing feature of our work. We got a lot of change, but some of it was ill-advised. (I suspect the membership change debacle was handled the way it was partly because the institutional memory was damaged from several years of reshuffling.)

  15. I’m an Eagle Scout and I hire. I have heard by numerous other hiring managers how just having Eagle Scout on a resume automatically gets it past the first round of screening. If and when my daughter earns the top rank in Venturing, I will encourage her to put “(equivalent to Eagle Scout)” next to her Venturing award. Why? Because it’s the only title currently recognized universally by people as well as by HR recruiting software and it is the only way she can get a level ground competing with boys.

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