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Venturing Service Hour Requirement


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#1 4CouncilsScouter

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 02:34 PM

Curious on how other crews are interpreting Requirement 6 for the Discovery Award, as we're having some parents disagree with one our Venturer's advancement:

 

"Participate in service activities totaling at least 24 hours. Up to half of the service may be delivered personally; the rest must be delivered through crew service activities."

 

My crew has an Area VOA Vice President and Associate Advisor registered with us. During the Jamboree, she sent a text message to our committee chair saying she completed her service requirement for her Discovery Award. The girl and Area VOA Associate Advisor were both serving on the Jamboree volunteer staff. The Committee Chair went ahead and entered the requirement into Scoutbook. One of our registered parents in the crew saw this and went livid at the next committee meeting. The parent said the Jamboree should not count as service. The Venturer was asked to explain her justification to the Crew President and Crew Advisor. She argued:

  • The staff at Jamboree voluntarily provided their time and talent to facilitate the event.
  • There was more than one crew member present when the service was performed.
  • This opportunity was available to any member of the crew who wanted to attend Jamboree (participant or staff).

Personally, I'm leaning to the Venturer's side here. However, I'm curious if any crews have had problems with this requirement?


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 03:09 PM

There are those that are of the opinion that service hours should serve non-BSA entities.  After all, if one served as Crew President, isn't that volunteering above and beyond the normal crew requirements?  Or the Crew member that organizes a service project.  The project took 4 hours to accomplish but the Crew member put in an additional 2 organizing it.

 

It falls into a rather grey area to say the least.

 

My personal take on the whole thing is by the time one is 14+ years old, doing service for others shouldn't need a tally sheet.  Last year I put in many hours as a SM for a BSA troop, a few more for District Commissioner.  Other organizations look at that as volunteering and count hours on it.  Then I put in a few hours for the United Way, many hours for my church youth work and 4,000+ hours for the American Red Cross. In the past 2 weeks, I put 1,000+ miles on a Red Cross vehicle working two different Disaster Relief Operations. 

 

So, what counts and what doesn't count as BSA service hours in my case?  :)

 

I'd say if one is looking to do just the minimum, there's a problem somewhere along the line.  Awards and bling are nice, but the people being served are grateful for your help and don't really care too much about you getting an award.

 

I almost forgot, should I count my Daily Good Turns in there someplace?


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 04:11 PM

My crew doesn't have a problem with this because they don't care about advancement. However, I have had committee and parents take issue with my youth in a similar fashion, so ...

 

My take?

 

Ban Scoutbook. Through it information was leaked to a parent ... information which nobody besides the venturer and his/her advisor should be privy.

 

The crew officers are responsible for discipline within the crew. That includes determining if a member is playing fast-and-loose with requirements. So says http://www.scouting..../512-940_WB.pdf

 

Discovery and Pathfinder Boards of Review

Composition of the Discovery and Pathfinder Boards of Review

Discovery and Pathfinder boards of review consist of the award candidate’s peers in the crew. The board is chaired by the crew president, unless the president is the subject of the board; then a crew vice president becomes the chair. There is no required number of Venturers for the board, but a group of three—the chair and two members—is considered most appropriate. Fewer than that does not fully reflect the importance of the award Venturing Board of Review Guide 3 milestones. The chair selects the other board members from the crew.

Two adults registered with the crew, preferably members of the crew committee, must be present during the board of review in a nonvoting advisory capacity. The crew Advisor and associate Advisors are not members of the board of review, but may be present as observers, and they may serve as one or both of the registered adults present. At no time should there be more adults than Venturers present at a board of review. ...

 

Now, I could give you my opinion on "to count or not to count?" But, that would be overstepping the authority vested in your officers under your guidance. I am not one of the two select members of your crew's D&P BoR; therefore, I am in no position to advise them.

 

Tell your youth the book says it's on them to determine if the spirit of the requirements are met. :)

Tell your disgruntled parent that a stranger on the internet told them to go pound sand. :mad:

 

Edited so you could have the line I've used for times like this:

"I'm not about to be bothered about the burrs up anyone's butt, including yours."


Edited by qwazse, 05 August 2017 - 04:15 PM.

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#4 4CouncilsScouter

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 04:42 PM

So, I'm looking at the Venturing Handbook, and I find this:

 

"A service is a valuable action, deed, or effort carried out to meet a need of an individual, a group of people, or an organization. An act must both be valuable and address a need of the recipient to qualify as an act of service."

 

In my mind, the work the Venturer did volunteering at the National Scout Jamboree was valued by all the participants she interacted with, and there was a clear need for volunteers to support the National Scout Jamboree. Therefore, I'd say her work was service.

 

So, the question is now: Does a Venturer and an advisor from the same crew attending a service opportunity that was available to any member of their crew constitute a "crew service activity" for the Discovery or Pathfinder Award?


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 05:18 PM

As always BSA has left it vague enough for one to decide whatever they want.  I'd say check the box and move on.


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#6 qwazse

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 10:11 PM

Although I agree with @Stosh, that BSA opens the door for this kind of sentence-parsing every time they require bean-counting, I will insist that Venturing is not, nor ever was, designed for parsing syntax like you are trying to do!

This is not your problem to solve. You can have whatever opinion you want. But, the ultimate decision falls on the youth, and frankly, your opinion might not mean a hill of beans to them. What you need to do, is prepare them to navigate choppy waters:

 

Have your officers do this:

  • Read the minutes your crew secretary published, and officers subsequently approved regarding motions for service projects.
    • If a motion was approved for the crew to send youth representatives to Jambo to volunteer as staff, then it is a crew service project.
    • If such a motion was made but subsequently overturned or no motion was ever made, then it is not a crew service project.
  • If no minutes were published, fall back on your crew's calendar of events. If volunteering at Jambo was not on the calendar, it was not a crew service project. Frankly, if ScoutBook was worth the dime in electricity and internet service you all wasted to run it, it would automatically know to map the venturer's participation in designated crew activities to their service hour tally for each award. This would be logged, by the way, by the crew historian or secretary, not some member of committee.
  • If your crew kept no calendar of events, then ask the BoR to choose its two adult non-voting members carefully so as to get reasonable opposing views on the matter. Hold the board for this venturer promptly so as to clear the air on the matter. Let this be a lesson to them that there is a downstream cost to not adopting rules of decorum in the management of meetings.

STOP interpreting requirements, tracking advancement by adult leaders, and committee arguing about matters above their pay grade and yours. 

START making this about youth leadership (not leadership development, that's a method of boy scouting, not venturing).

CONTINUE trusting your youth to do an excellent job by listening to the issues, conferring among themselves and touching base with their Council, Area, Regional, and National VOA if this is still a problem for them.


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#7 4CouncilsScouter

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 02:15 AM

@qwazse

 

To be fair, official interpretations of BSA advancement policy and requirements are to come from council/national volunteer and professional advancement leadership. Per the Guide to Advancement:

 

"[Advancement's] administration, however, largely takes place locally. Therefore, volunteer advancement administrators should always consult first with the district and council—the district advancement chair, district executive, council advancement chair, or the council’s professional staff advisor for advancement. These officials can provide many answers and a certain level of interpretation."


Edited by 4CouncilsScouter, 06 August 2017 - 02:17 AM.

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#8 Stosh

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:37 AM

@qwazse

 

To be fair, official interpretations of BSA advancement policy and requirements are to come from council/national volunteer and professional advancement leadership. Per the Guide to Advancement:

 

"[Advancement's] administration, however, largely takes place locally. Therefore, volunteer advancement administrators should always consult first with the district and council—the district advancement chair, district executive, council advancement chair, or the council’s professional staff advisor for advancement. These officials can provide many answers and a certain level of interpretation."

 

It sounds like the US Tax Code.  Every IRS agent one talks to will give a differing opinion, none of which will hold up as evidence if audited. 

 

With that being said, BSA spends a lot of time creating award programs riddled with check box scorecards to fill out.  Once completed, bling is doled out.  It'll look pretty on some shirt or page of a scrapbook.

 

What BSA hasn't figured out how to do is transition the superficial check box method over into internalized life strategies for the recipient's life.  If one thinks 10 hours of service project of disputed activities (for me and my award) is going to instill in the awardee a sense of personal pride for a job done for someone else with nothing but a thank you in return?  After all a simply Thank You isn't much of an award down the road when it really counts.... not for you, per se, but it counts for the person being served.  That's when it's real.


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#9 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 02:30 PM

I know in 2013, jambo participant and staff went off site to do service work. Part of it was to give back to the community. Part of it was to find things to do for Scouts and Venturers since they had more people than events.

 

I also remember reading complaints about making folks do service work at jambo.  :unsure:


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#10 qwazse

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 04:29 PM

@qwazse
 
To be fair, official interpretations of BSA advancement policy and requirements are to come from council/national volunteer and professional advancement leadership. Per the Guide to Advancement:
 

"[Advancement's] administration, however, largely takes place locally. Therefore, volunteer advancement administrators should always consult first with the district and council—the district advancement chair, district executive, council advancement chair, or the council’s professional staff advisor for advancement. These officials can provide many answers and a certain level of interpretation."

Oh, sure. I really like our DAC. He personally attends to every Eagle project workbook. Guided my sons and many other boys in the troop very well. Is a go-to guy for Boy Scout rank advancement. Help me with disabled scouts and Medal of Honor candidates. Wears his tan field uniform quite well.
How many venturing awards has he processed? He could count them on the fingers of his left knee!

Maybe yours is better prepared. Ask when's the last he/she handled, taken a course on, or read all the requirements for the new venturing award.

My advisors (advisors should always have good advisors) were found on the council venturing committee. Some things they'd give me a direct answer for. Other things it was, like "Have you asked your crew officers?" Or "Let your crew president give the VOA president a call."

Who is your volunteer advancement administrator? Crew Committee Challenge makes clear that it's officers and advisors. My line to my crew about advisors: good for nothing and best used that way. So, you can read that line from the GTA quite literally, but the only people who should be contacting your DAC are your crew offices under your advice. In other words, maybe give them name of the DAC for them to call if they are at an impasse. But if is they conclude there is no impasse, there is no call to be made.
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#11 JosephMD

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 07:55 AM

My only argument would be that at least half are required to be delivered as a crew service activity.  Was the Jamboree staff a crew thing or an individual thing?  As the advancement and awards guy I focus on the words in the requirement, and any supporting documentation in the guide to advancement.  Nothing about the requirement limits the service from being provided to other BSA programs.

 

Use some judgement when guiding these youth, but it is really up to them.  Service as crew president in only title with little real responsibility, ask them, what was really done?  Service as a VOA VP of Program, putting in a lot of hours planning and running events for many crews, maybe that is a better example.  My guidance would lean toward service to other scouting activities beyond your individual crew or troop would probably count.  The jamboree would be a good example.  Without our youth staff, there would have been no jamboree.


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#12 qwazse

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:55 AM

...  My guidance would lean toward service to other scouting activities beyond your individual crew or troop would probably count.  The jamboree would be a good example.  Without our youth staff, there would have been no jamboree.

 

Again, this boils down to the mission and vision of a particular crew.

  • Crew 123 may envision itself as raising up staff for Camporees and Jamborees (both girl- and boy- scout). Therefore, they may put these events as crew activities through which service is delivered and time helping old ladies across the street as service delivered personally.
  • Meanwhile, Crew 124 may envision itself as making sure old ladies safely traverse boulevards that have cordoned off their community. Therefore, they may mark old lady migration assistance days as crew activities, and going off to staff a scouting event at the standard volunteer rate as service delivered personally.

I know, scouting is rife with absolutists -- thanks to the rigid Boy Scout requirements and narrower range of activities, but Venturing is situational. (Or, as I say to new advisors, you're in for a wild ride.) Thus, I re-emphasize, for the sake of every advisor who is beleaguered by envious helicopter parents: tell your committee to follow the rules, butt out of advancement particulars,  support the youth's program, do not dictate it!

 

There are more important things for committee's to do. (E.g., finding knowledgeable consultants regarding over-boulevard zip-line harness/helmet combos suitable for little old ladies on shopping day.)


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#13 4CouncilsScouter

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:56 PM

@qwazse

 

I agree with you 100% that youth are responsible for determining the direction their crew wants to take and should maintain advancement records. However, per multiple BSA literature and personal experience, it is the crew committee who "ensure [accurate] advancement reports are submitted to the local council", and district/council advancement committees who responsibility it is to handle "advancement particulars", especially when there is a gray area that could affect whether a youth progresses or not.


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#14 krikkitbot

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:05 PM

My son recently informed me that because he was effectively only paid for 1 hour a day while on camp staff, he can count 10 hours per day as community service (12 hour + days). When I asked him who said that, he said it was his manager. 

 

Now, he doesn't need any more service hours for scouting. He does need them for school but even if he doesn't count summer camp, he will have plenty of hours just from what he normally does. It is nice to know that he is at least compensated for his work in service hours. 


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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:38 PM

Now, he doesn't need any more service hours for scouting. 

 

Is he a Life Scout?


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#16 krikkitbot

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:02 PM

Is he a Life Scout?

 

Eagle


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#17 qwazse

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 03:35 PM

@qwazse
 
I agree with you 100% that youth are responsible for determining the direction their crew wants to take and should maintain advancement records. However, per multiple BSA literature and personal experience, it is the crew committee who "ensure [accurate] advancement reports are submitted to the local council", and district/council advancement committees who responsibility it is to handle "advancement particulars", especially when there is a gray area that could affect whether a youth progresses or not.

I already discussed the qualifications of the average DAC/CAC. Seriously, give yours a call and find out how prepared they are to rule on the particulars of venturing awards, or, if they would rather defer to a venturing committee or VOA.
 
Here is the quote in full regarding "ensuring advancement reports" from crew committee challenge (http://www.scouting..../511-902_WB.pdf page 15) omitting references to boy scout advancement and my emphasis underlined):

 

Recognition

Explain that if any of the participants have been on a troop committee, they will remember that maintaining advancement records, arranging boards of review, and conducting courts of honor were the responsibilities of the committee. Point out that in Venturing, the responsibility for recognition falls to the crew leaders and Advisors. There are no ranks in Venturing, but there are awards that Venturers may earn.

While the crew committee does not take an active role in awards and may or may not have a person assigned specifically to awards, the committee still has a supporting function in ensuring the crew’s program offers youth the opportunity for recognition.

Ask participants how the crew committee might do this. Answers may include:

  • Cooperate with the crew Advisors on supporting goals for the crew.
  • Work together with the crew Advisors to ensure the youth are recognized properly and promptly for their achievements.
  • Provide expertise for consultants for Venturing awards.
  • Serve on crew reviews for appropriate Venturing awards and boards of review ... when asked.
  • Ensure advancement reports are submitted to the local council.
  • Help the crew’s leaders secure the awards and certificates.

From, this, I conclude that the committee serves as mail-clerk, not referee. Resolving disputes over syntax happens only at the pleasure of the youth leadership. Rest assured, I'm not harping on this to be picky. It stems from about the only lesson that I've learned over the past 12 years as an advisor: It is profoundly demoralizing for youth to realize that -- by the book -- something that should be in their purview has been co-opted by an adult. Don't let that happen in your crew.


Edited by qwazse, 09 August 2017 - 03:37 PM.

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#18 4CouncilsScouter

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 06:32 PM

A quick note here on Venturing advancement, per national policy:

  • Two adults registered with the crew, preferably members of the crew committee, must be present during the board of review in a nonvoting advisory capacity. The crew Advisor and associate Advisors are not members of the board of review, but may be present as observers, and they may serve as one or both of the registered adults present.
  • Additionally, if a Venturer is pursuing Boy Scout advancement in a crew, there is no "and's", "if's", or "but's" about a crew committee's role. They are to serve as that Venturer's board of review members. It is important to note there is a not an exception to this.

Back to the original topic. One of council advancement committee members agreed with our Venturer's original argument, and the issue is now resolved.


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