We had a pretty good roundtable discussion this month. I didn't plan much as I thought it would be a good opportunity to just talk and bounce ideas off each other. I know that sort of thing helped me when I was just starting.
We ended up talking quite a bit about the place of Venturing in the whole scheme of Scouting, specifically in an LDS ward and Aaronic Priesthood quorums. If you think about it, there is a sort of natural progression from Scout group to Scout group, tied naturally to the Priesthood quorums.
A boy starts out as a Cub Scout in Primary, transitioning to a New Scout patrol in Boy Scouts at age 11. When he moves up to the Deacons quorum, he continues in Boy Scouts, but joins the other members of his quorum in their patrols. At age 14, he moves to the Teachers quorum and Varsity Scouts. At age 16, he transfers to the Priests quorum and the Venturing program. Each program should prepare the boy for greater responsibilities, and bigger activities than the one before. To me it seems natural and obvious for one program to lead to the next.
By the time a young man gets to Venturing, the adult leaders should be taking the back seat and letting the young men lead. They should be prepared for this, having been trained and given practice throughout their Scouting career.
Too often, though, they are not. The adults seem to have a hard time letting the boys lead.
In addition, so many leaders seem to stop the progression at Boy Scouts. We get so focused on getting them to earn their Eagle that we forget what is available to them in Varsity and Venturing. We ignore the older boy programs because we want them to finish what they started as a Boy Scout. And while earning Eagle is a good thing, so many youth are missing out on other fantastic opportunities because their leaders and parents are stuck in Boy Scout mode.
Other leaders and parents treat Eagle as if it were the top of the trail, and once a boy earns that he's finished--there's nothing left for him to do.
I wish more leaders and parents would get on board with the older boy programs of Varsity and Venturing. I wish they were as interested in the Varsity and Venturing awards as they are in the Boy Scout ranks. I wish they could see as I do the natural progression from program to program and from quorum to quorum, because there are more steps in that progression that I haven't mentioned yet.
Here is the complete list.
Cub Scouts (Primary)
Boy Scouts (Deacons Quorum)
Varsity Scouts (Teachers Quorum)
Venturing (Priests Quorum)
Mission (Melchizedek Priesthood)
Please, give the older boy programs a chance. They are the preparation for missions and life that our young men need.