Most people know about the Boy Scouts, those boys known for their adventurous spirit, going on camp-outs and helping the community with pride and honor, but most people don’t know about another similar program, Venturing.
A Venture crew is the same as a Boy Scouts troop, but with a larger focus on high-adventure activities, first aid, and leadership training. It is only one of two co-ed scouting programs, and since Venturing crews are typically smaller, Venturers also do more personal events, like a game night or bowling.
Another difference between the two organizations is the uniforms. While the Boy Scouts have a khaki shirt with olive pants, a neckerchief, and merit badge sashes, Venture uniforms have dark green shirts, charcoal gray pants and socks, and don’t require neckerchiefs or merit badge sashes.
A Scout also progresses through the rankings differently between the two. Boy Scouts start at New Scout (no rank), then earn Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle, the highest honor in Scouts. They need to get merit badges as well, a sign of mastery in key skills, then need to hold an executive position for a few months to show leadership. The big titles are Senior Patrol leader, the student leader of a troop, Assistant Senior Patrol leader, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, and Troop Guide. An example of a boy scout camp out would be: We arrived about eightish, we unpack troop gear, start dinner, which is normally hotdogs on the first night. After dinner and everyone is done unpacking, we all go to bed. The cooking crew wakes up around six and starts breakfast for their patrol. After the meal we work on any book work or merit badges that we could be doing on the campout.
With Venturing it’s a little different. Instead of ranks, Venturers earn awards, starting at Venture, then Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit, Venturing’s premier award.For the Venture award, a Venturer needs to complete some basic paperwork and go to a Venture event outside the meetings, way more simple than first joining Scouts. However, for the next award, Venturers need to complete CPR training, complete basic leadership training, go on a 24 hour event in Venturing, and complete a tier 2 or 3 adventure, activities that require extensive planning and coordination. An example of a venturing campout would be: we get to the campsite around noonish, if we didn’t have lunch on the road we have it at the site. After the meal we go on the planned adventure. The only venture campout I have been to was the Mackinac island rendezvous. There was both boy scouts and venture crew. But the crews were separated from the scouts.
Another large difference between the Boy Scouts and Venturing is who’s invited to partake. In the Scouts, troops are only for boys while girls take part in the Girl Scouts. In Venturing, the crews are co-ed, allowing for Girl and Boy Scouts to join the adventures. As for age, anyone 14 to 21 can partake in Venturing. When Scouts turn 18, they formally age out of the program.
Even in organizations these groups are different. The troop meets weekly and Venturing meets once a month. In Scout meetings, Scouts work on merit badges, prepare for campouts, plan service events, and grow as a group. Venturing meetings plan out the entire month’s activities, which tend to be similar to Scouting events, but with less focus on service and merit badges and more focus on adventures and outdoor skills.
Mr. Mitchem, our crew adviser said “Regardless of the common interest of the group, it is the goal of the group to use the group function to learn life skills needed to make plans, communicate with others outside the group, recruit others, engage in ethical controversy discussions, actively help one another develop into caring citizens of their community.”
The BSA helps serve kids of all ages with programs they’ll enjoy. For some, a more regimented, uniform group like the Boy Scouts is better, while some kids thrive in the open-minded, adventuring groups such as Venturing. Each program is unique and is always looking to better the young minds of this country.