Thursday, December 11, 2014

Venturing Biathalon on January 10, 2015

The Black Diamond District will be holding a biathlon at Miller's Flat on January 10th, 2015, for Venturing-age youth. This event has been organized at the council level in the past. The early bird fee is $15 before Jan 1st.  Register at  Contact Gordon Lowe at or (801)377-7785.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November Venturing Forum - Venturing Roadmap Discussion

During this Thursday's Venturing Forum we will discuss the new Venturing Roadmap.  I'll be referencing the Venturing Advisor Guidebook.  We will discuss the new Venturing Program Areas (The ALPS Model - Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth and Service) and the Venturing Program Levels (Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit).  Details of the Venturing Roadmap can be found here.  Hope to see you at the Forum.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Venturing Forum - Sub-District High Adventure

Has your crew thought about a large-scale Venturing High Adventure?  If you would like to know what it takes to have a successful experience, come to the Venturing Forum on Thursday October 9th to hear from Venturing Crew Advisor Kevin Christensen, who also serves as the Hobble Creek District Venturing Forum Secretary, as he presents his crew's Venturing experience with the the Springville West Stake Sub-District at Entrada High Adventure Base in Moab, Utah.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September Forum Topic - Crew Officer's Briefing and Seminar

September's forum focused on the Venturing Crew Officer's Briefing and Venturing Crew Officer's Seminar.  The briefing for crew officer's is just that, brief.  The purpose of the briefing is to get all of the crew officer's on the same page to prepare for the crew officer's seminar.  The crew officer's seminar is the annual planning event.

The BSA developed a great Venturing Crew Officer's Orientation that gives a high level overview of the briefing, seminar and the tools used to prepare for the seminar, including the PCI and AIS.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Venturing Forum - The PCI and AIS

August's Forum focused on the Program Capability Inventory (PCI) and Activity Interest Survey (AIS) Venturing tools.  We learned that the PCI + AIS = Venturing Program Possibilities.

The PCI and AIS tools help us as advisers discover the needs and interests of our young men, letting us help them develop an effective Venturing program.  

The LDS Church's Venturing site says it best:

"Venturing focuses primarily on the needs and interests of young men, using the talents of Church members and other community specialists to help them explore their interests and prepare for missionary service and other key aspects of their lives."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

High Adventure Venturing - At the Sub-District Level

Summer has been busy.  We did not have a great turn out at the July Forum, so we'll see if Kevin can present later on his Sub-District High Adventure at Entrada.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Venturing Program Updates

Our District Executive, Randell Keys, just sent me an update to the Venturing program that is being rolled out.  Here's a link to the site, and specific links to updated Venturing materials.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The ILSC and ”What is Venturing” - By Owen Witesman

Photo credit Teampedia - Tools for Teams
In May at the Venturing Forum we discussed the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC) course, which, along with the version for Boy Scout and Varsity troops (ILST), is a prerequisite for NYLT (Timberline), the Kodiak Challenge, and NAYLE. Crew 65 recently had a great experience implementing the ILSC course over a two-day business style seminar at a local hotel. The crew hatched the idea for the business seminar last year when we were discussing how to conduct our planning retreat (we ended up going to a cabin instead) but then the ILSC gave us a ready-made purpose for reviving the idea. We learned a lot about the ILSC course, had a lot of fun, learned some lessons about how to conduct ourselves in a business seminar setting, and bonded as a group (video). And we stayed out of the headlines, which is always a bonus.

During the Venturing Forum discussion last week, many of the questions focused on the basic issue of “What is Venturing?” I think this is a natural thing to ask for anyone familiar with the Boy Scout and Varsity programs—is Venturing different somehow? The ILSC is actually a perfect vehicle for explaining not only Venturing, but Scouting in general.

Scouting is a youth leadership program. From the very beginning, the boys should be in charge. If they aren’t conducting the meetings and making the decisions, it isn’t scouts at all. Just look up some Baden-Powell quotes. Yes, this means chaos. Yes, this means burned food and missing sleeping bags, and all sorts of other lessons learned the hard way. But it also means age-appropriate fun and learning that sticks. These aren’t our patrols, teams, and crews. The program belongs to the boys. As they learn and grow, they should gain additional responsibility. When they’re Boys Scouts, they go to scout camp. When they’re Varsity, they do high adventure. When they’re Venturers, they design their own adventures and determine their own goals. Venturers even vote on their own uniform.
The ILSC/ILST, Timberline, Kodiak Challenge, and other leadership training opportunities are not an addition to the scouting program, they are a foundation for the program. For a patrol leader, team captain, or crew president to lead, they need examples and training, just like any scoutmaster, coach, or advisor needs training. These aren’t skills we come born with—they have to be learned.
Scouting is a game with a purpose, and the ILSC is no different. Each of the three training modules is made up of initiative games, opportunities for reflection, and discussion of important concepts (although keep any discussion brief!). Sound familiar? It should, because this is the basic formula for any scout event or training. We play games and do activities and then reflect on lessons learned. Venturing is no different from any other scouting in this regard.
Where Venturing is different is in the content built on the foundation of youth leadership. Boy Scout patrols are handed a complete program of advancement, camps, and program features (Did you know a new version of these is due out any month?—They’re awesome!). Varsity teams are given fields of emphasis and a range of options to choose from. Venturers, on the other hand, choose their own adventures (an adventure is anything new to the youth), a process that starts with an interest survey and can lead to the crew focusing on literally anything that interests them and will lead to personal development. Careers, sports, academics, outdoor activities, ethics, service, life skills, travel, religious study—all that matters is that the groups sets their own direction towards something they believe is worthwhile and their advisors can support. As an example, Crew 65’s program over the last year started with a planning retreat in the fall and has or will include CPR/First Aid certification, SAR K9 training, a visit from an Air Force recruiter and counter-sniper, hunter safety training and a live hunt, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, welding, shooting, LDS temple trips, a visit to the Nickelcade, a science demonstration, a trip to the BYU planetarium, impromptu Slurpee runs, our ILSC seminar, and a Kodiak Challenge. No, everything hasn’t gone just how the young men planned, but a couple of weeks ago we had a significant activity initiated and executed with exactly zero adult involvement other than driving and swiping the credit card, which was a pretty huge accomplishment that never would have happened a year ago.
Trying to convince a 17-year-old young man to focus on earning merit badges instead of his part time job and dating is a hopeless endeavor, which is exactly why Venturing isn’t about merit badges and advancement. Real life is coming on fast for these young men, and the best way for our youth programs to stay relevant for them is to put them in the driver’s seat and focus on their interests.

Some tips for the ILSC:
  1. Keep it active. Sometimes the curriculum has too much discussion for young brains to stay focused.
  2. Get creative with Module 3. The content is great, but it needs more engaging activities.
  3. Break it up. Especially with younger groups, don’t even think about delivering all three modules back-to-back. With Scouts and Varsity, you’d probably want to play the games over several weeks without ever telling them it’s part of a training curriculum. Even with Venturers, doing all three modules over a weekend was pushing it.
  4. Make notes of what games you play. If you do the ILSC each time you have a new crew presidency, you’re likely to have some of the same youth participating, so choose different games.
  5. Use the games when training your adults too.
  6. Give it a try, learn, and keep improving!

Owen Witesman
Hobble Creek District Venturing Forum Associate Advisor - Programs

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Forum Topic: Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC)

Have you wondered how to facilitate your crew's ILSC?  May's forum will focus on what the ILSC is and how to run one for your crew.  We'll hear from a Venturing Advisor about his crew's experience, do one of the exercises from the course as a group and review the overall youth leadership training flow.  We'll leave plenty of time for discussion and questions.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Forum Topic: How to conduct "Ethical Controversies"

Don't misinterpret the subject of this month's Venturing Forum.  We're not going to be doing anything illegal or controversial, but, we will have an opportunity to learn the five steps in conducting an "Ethical Controversies" activity for your Venturing Crew (Venturing Leader Manual, p. 197-228), and participate as teams in discussing our own ethical controversy.

After participating in this activity as a Venturing Forum, consider the possible learning opportunities for your crew and possible combined activities with young women.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

March Forum Topic: Conducting a Safe Program isn't Rocket Science

The plan for the March Forum on Thursday, March 13th, 2014 will be on conducting a safe Venturing program.  We'll review the LDS Church's new video on Safety through Planning and Relying on the Spirit that features a scout leader/rocket scientist that took a group of scouts to Havasupai and discuss similarities and opportunities to improve.  We will also have a chance to share some of our past activities.  We will also introduce the Forum Advisor roles for the Venturing Forum.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January Forum Topic: Involving Parents

Scouting units typically hold a parents' night early in the year to inform scouts and parents about the plan for the year.  The topic of this month's venturing forum is "How to conduct a Parents Night and recruiting Parents".  We'll lean on the Venturing Leader Manual for this discussion.

See you on Thursday.