at a recent committee mtg, we were discussing the idea of using a venture patrol as an effort to hold the older scouts. Our SM has had experience in the past with Venture crews pulling the older scouts out of the troop instead of in addition to the troop, so he's against the idea. He's promoting the idea of encouraging a patrol.
Sort of like the Leader Corps I've seen discussed here before.... or maybe call it an older scout patrol.
Since I'm relatively new, I look at it from a bit more of a neutral perspective. In my thinking it makes sense that a crew would likely distract.
The whole idea of a different rank/advancement structure and a split unit just really seems to be over complicated and a bad idea.
in my thinking... if done right the idea of higher adventure and older scouts hanging with older scouts makes total sense. It's all the stuff that I would have liked to do as a teen, and I imagine that it would still appeal to a lot of them now.
I like the idea of the different shirt color. Sets them apart.... kinda like the Beret used to be in the military.... or paratroopers blousing their trousers.
and I like the idea of coed.
But it just seems to me it's a better aproach to do all of this within the troop rather than competing against the troop. I just don't understand what they were thinking in setting up a separate program.
For the most part, there are a couple of things that draw people to the Venturing program that is different than the Boy Scout program. Coed is the first item on the list. However, the one or two gals that get picked up along the way usually don't justify the huge amount of energy needed to initiate and maintain a Venturing Crew. Simply the energy and cost to maintain two programs doesn't always justify the effort. A lot of Venturing Crews are sporadic, ad hoc for a special event, or are professional staff at summer camp.
So, on the other hand a Venture Patrol program would be another option, but that runs counter to the whole concept of mixed-aged patrols. One cannot have a patrol of just the older, experienced, boys going off and doing high adventure activities all the time and leaving the rest of the troop without it's creme crop of leaders.
Of course, being the BSA heretic that I am, I see a very easy case being made for the new orientation level patrols where the boys focus on getting acclimated to the troop operations and focusing in on rank advancement to begin with. Then there are the middle aged patrols that are helping out as Instructors, TG's, DC's etc. that are still doing advancement, but more on the MB/POR level. The older aged boys are the ones that have the "been there, done that" mentality that need to go above and beyond the mundane summer camp, camporee, types of events and get into the whitewater canoeing, the BWCA, Philmont, Sea Base, AT hiking, RAGBRAI or whatever peaks their interest.
Now it takes a bit more work (but not as much as setting up a whole different organization) to run 3 different programs within the program than it does to mix up everyone in patrols and run a generic one-size-fits-all type of program. To each his own, but I don't see it being a big draw for the Venture Patrol candidates to be all that interested in teaching the New Scout Patrol candidates how to tie square knots. To me, the needs of the boys change over the course of 7 years. 6th grade boys and seniors in high school, do NOT mix. They run in different social circles, they have different maturity levels, they have different interest levels and to think that a one-size-fits all program is the answer doesn't work for me. I play to the audience I have in front of me.
Tonight I have a scout meeting and the vast majority of the scouts in the room are going to be Webelos II scouts working on their AOL and the minority of the boys will be last year's Webelos II boys acting as WDC/TG helping them out. I can say for certain, the subject of BWCA and/or Philmont will not be topic of discussion. AOL and working on memorization of the Law and Oath will probably work better for the evening.
Now, if I had a multiple aged troop, with multiple aged patrols, I'm thinking that within each patrol there would be 3-4 different topics being discussed at the same time. Some patrols would be interested in advancement, others service and leadership and still others might want to dream a bit about Philmont, BWCA or some other high adventure opportunity they could create for themselves.
I see no major advantage for having mixed patrols other than the ease of implementing a one-size-fits-all program which is easier to control and corral.