Thursday, March 1, 2012

Something to consider

A note I sent to my COR:

I've been in some discussions about fully utilizing Scouting across all age groups. Do we have a "paper" Varsity Team and Venturing Crew, or are those two groups really using the tools that those programs provide?  Seems like a waste of resources to charter both a team and crew, and pay to register all the adults and youth involved, if they're not going to pursue Team and Crew goals. I have no visibility on what's going on at that level, and am probably way off base here, but I'm curious as to whether anyone is working toward earning Varsity pins/letters, and Denali medals, or Venturing bronze/gold/silver and Ranger/TRUST awards, or if anyone even knows that these are options for older boys who are tired of merit badges and are ready for a more age-appropriate kind of challenge.

It seems like that's the case, since nobody older than 13 was recognized at the court of honor last night, and in a year's+ of COHs, I haven't seen anyone recognized for these bigger, better (and more age-relevant) accomplishments.

Here's a nice breakdown of what Varsity and Venturing offer in terms of advancement/recognition goals.  Real quick, Varsity awards are in addition to, and complement, the Eagle trail; Venturing doesn't even include merit badges/advancement to Eagle in its process, unless a boy is already at First Class, but he'll be working on it on his own if he's interested (in this way, Venturing really emphasizes youth leadership as young men develop their independence). 

I understand you're the Troop COR, and the Boy Scout Troop is functioning well (though we do need to work on building a functioning committee), so I'm not sure whom to address Team/Crew issues to (or who the COR(s) for the team/crew is). But a sure sign that Varsity/Venturing is not functioning nor serving the boys is, no advancement.  If the Advancement method is being ignored after age 14, what else are we not providing our Youth?

Once again, it's a matter of the adults being properly trained in the programs they're called to deliver. You can't use a tool very effectively if you haven't read the user's manual.  A great start would be the District training event on Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 at the  Bountiful Tabernacle. (I am of the opinion that being set apart to have the Spirit guide my actions is still not a substitute for learning the processes in the first place; to paraphrase, 'seeking from the best books [and instructors], by study and by faith.' If you'd like to read Trails to Testimony, I can lend you my copy.)

I've thought of a term for not using the Varsity/Venturing programs and methods: Eagle Blinders-
Noun: The phenomenon of concentrating so much on the idea that "every boy should get his Eagle award" that (a) all other Scouting methods are disregarded entirely, or (b) neither the Varsity Advancement method nor the Venturing Recognition method are used, much less the programs' existence acknowledged, after a boy turns 14, in LDS Scouting.
Note: Yes, I know "Advancement" is not a Venturing method, but it's a convenient shorthand for someone who might not be familiar with any methods.

1 comment:

Fishgutts said...

I wonder what the reply is going to be........