Venturing is a high-adventure, leadership developing program operated through the Boy Scouts of America for all youth between the ages of 14-21. Venturing was officially founded on February 9, 1998 as the next evolution in the Explorer program, which has existed as a part of the BSA in several different forms since 1935.
Venturing’s most current form came into existence on June 1, 2014 as part of a major overhaul of the program. Under this restructuring, the program was made to follow many aspects similar to those of importance in the Boy Scouting program.
The ALPS Model
In the Venturing program, four main areas are focused on – Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth, and Service. Together, they form what is called the ALPS Model. According to the official Venturing website:
- Adventure is the key to Venturing, and developing outings with a sense of adventure is the key to the crew having fun and learning something new about themselves. As a Venturer, not only will you participate in outings and adventures, but you will also lead them. As your leadership skills develop, you will become a mentor to other Venturers as they take on the role of leading an adventure or activity. What the adventure looks like is up to you and the crew.
- Leadership is the tool you will use as you help the crew plan its adventures. As a Venturer, you will learn to lead the crew through the adventures of their choice. Leadership in Venturing is not just a position— it is an action, captured in the Venturing motto, “Lead the Adventure”. Even as you begin your Venturing experience, you learn leadership skills by observing crew officers and more experienced members of the crew as they lead the adventure.
3. Personal Growth comes when you learn from your experiences as a Venturer. Conversations with crew members and your Advisor will help you appreciate what you have learned. Personal growth helps you identify and develop your talents and abilities so you can be prepared for life’s challenges and opportunities.
4. Service is the gift we give to others. It allows us to sustain our communities by identifying needs and targeting them. Venturing’s commitment to community service will allow your crew to develop a program full of opportunities to serve others— and to have fun while doing so!
A “Venturing Crew” is the main organization of Venturing. It functions much like a troop or pack, but is not split into smaller groups such as patrols or dens. Similar to the rest of the BSA, Venturing is grouped together into many groups on a chain – districts, councils, areas, regions, and national. Inside of a Crew, there are three main classifications for individuals:
1. Youth Participants: those aged 14-17. They are allowed to participate fully in the program. Referred to as “Venturers” or “Scouts”.
2. Adult Participants: those aged 18-20. They are still allowed to participate in the program, but are considered “adults” for the purposes of youth protection guidelines (see Youth Protection and the Guide to Safe Scouting for more information). Referred to as “Venturers” or “Scouts”.
3. Adult Advisors: those aged 21 or older. As in their name, they exist to “advise” the participants of the program, not to lead the program. Their job is to enable success while maintaining safety for all members of the program. Referred to as “Venturing Advisors”.
Venturing has its own motto: “Lead the Adventure” and used to have its own Oath. However, as of 2014, under the “One Movement, One Oath, One Law” declaration, Venturing utilizes the Boy Scout Oath, Law, and Salute.
For more information, visit the official BSA Venturing site here.