Welcome to LDS Venturing Blog #1

Welcome to the first “blog” (article, musings, thoughts, opinions, or whatever you want to call it) regarding the relationship between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Venturing program of the BSA (with a strong emphasis on the Western Region). I’m a bit excited, scared, unsure, overjoyed, and whole lot of emotions in-between as I begin this assignment. This is a new venture for me as I am NOT a blogger in any way, shape, or form. However, at this time there is a need to reach out to those involved in Venturing and build some bridges, communicate ideas, share information and best practices, and (hopefully) gain inspiration for LDS Venturing leaders.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a venue that can be used by all in some small way to work on strengthening the Venturing program within the Church, as well as help LDS Venturing leaders with some creative ideas and tools to enhance their program. The emphasis (i.e. focus) will be on those living in the Western Region. Why the emphasis on the Western Region? Simply because LDS wards sponsor over 85% of the Scouting units in the Western Region. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Scouting’s biggest customer in that region and their interests, concerns, and desires should be given some attention. But that doesn’t mean that the information shared within this blog is only for the Western Region. Not at all! The more people who share information, the better for all of us. I firmly believe in “R&D” (Rip-off & Duplicate). If something down the road that was shared either by me or others might work for you—go for it! Use it, adjust it to fit your needs, put on hold for now, or forget about it. It’s all up to you.

Let me give you some background on this assignment, and what I hope to see happen as we all move forward. This blog is being written as part of a newly developed Western Region Scouting assignment—“LDS Liaison to the Western Region Venturing Committee.” Critical background information contained in the job description for this assignment is as follows:

Venturing logoFirst and foremost it must be stated that this position is NOT an ecclesiastical position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the liaison has no authority to speak for the Church unless specifically authorized by the Church leadership on a case-by-case basis. It is a Scouting position which has been created with the intent of building stronger communication paths, strengthening relationships, and “building bridges” between the Church and the Venturing program within the Western Region of the Boy Scouts of America.

This liaison works to achieve mutual understanding and a unity of effort by coupling the Venturing program with the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood in order to build strong young men in all areas of their lives. The liaison is positioned to provide technical or subject matter expertise on all aspects of the Venturing program as it relates to and interacts with the Church’s Young Men program and purposes within the Western Region.

Venturing is an activity that, when coupled with the Church’s purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood, will bless the lives of the young men, their families, their respective quorums, and the community. The bottom line is to emphasize that the young men (ages 16 and 17) in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are strongly encouraged to DO Venturing, continue on in their personal Duty to God, and to fulfill the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood.

There you have it. This is not “My Blog” but “Our Blog.” Nor is this the venue for rants or gripes. It’s going to be structured in such a manner as to build all of us up and to be able to move forward in a positive manner for the ultimate benefit of those we serve—the Venturers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

With all that being said, let’s put our shoulders to the wheel and move forward.


-David Wilson has been actively involved in Venturing since its inception back in the ’90s. He is dedicated to working on strengthening the bridges and removing the walls that occur between the Church and the BSA for the older young men in the Church. David continues to work to bless and serve through his involvement in multiple levels of Venturing (from national to the local council). He currently calls Orem, Utah, home. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. scott says:

    Huzzah! Long overdue!

  2. Jeremy says:

    This is fantastic! Finally, a blog about Venturing and how we can strengthen this powerful program in the Church! Looking forward to the adventure and willing to help in any way I might be able…

  3. Gary says:

    I’m looking forward to this ‘blog. I’ve been a Venturing Advisor for 6 years, and love it.

    Any suggestions about how to move forward with Venturing advancement when the Crew still has young men working toward Eagle?

    1. Jason Lichfield says:

      Gary, one suggestion I have is to have an assigned member of the committee who’s job is to be “Life to Eagle Coordinator”. This person may assign another adult or do it himself, to each Life Scout. Thus someone is specifically assigned to help this Young man achieve his Eagle along with his parents. He can work on the required MB’s individually from the crew.
      Another idea is to have the particular young man who still needs requirements to achieve his Eagle to be part of the VOA, Venturing Officers Assoc. thus he will be apart of the planning for the adventures and activities that can be accomplished both Venturing and his Meritbadges or Service projects.
      Venturing and Scouting go easily hand in hand.

    2. Pair up boys – pair a strong Eagle Scout with one still working on the Eagle and let the Eagle give one-on-one encouragement to the other boy(s). The Eagle can coach and motivate the other boy(s) in ways that no adult ever could. This can be accomplished through weekly or monthly meetings together as goals are set, requirements are reviewed and even as merit badges are taught by the Eagle to the other boy(s).

    3. MARLA THOMAS says:

      Are you familiar with the newest Venturing advancement program and the newest Venturing Advisor Guidebook? It seems to fit in exactly with preparing each young man with his own individual goals in life. The youth leader and Bishop(who is to be the president of the Priest Quorum) act as the advisors and the young man sets his goals. His advancement towards Eagle would be one or a part of those goals. Those who turn 16 years old and still want to advance to Eagle are at least to First Class Rank so all they need to do is utilize the Venturing program in fulfilling their remaining Eagle goals while implementing the Venturing goals. Their leadership positions should be as part of the Venturing Crew as president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, quartermaster, historian, den chief, guide or webmaster) and not as part of the Scout Troop or Varsity Team leadership. If the crew is small this is a great way to grow the crew and teach the young men how to fellowship and nurture friendships. The friendships without direct intent of converting others should foster good relationships and teach correct principles. Get hold of that Venturing Leader Manual and your “eyes will be opened”. The new Venturing program is an excellent way to guide a young man towards a mission, to go on to college or trade school, secure gainful and meaningful employment and prepare for fatherhood to reach his personal goals while being of service, showing leadership and interacting with others. While applying these methods with prayer and fasting you will see young men develop with deep understanding and insight in miraculous ways.

      1. MARLA THOMAS says:

        I would like to add . . . Remember that there are not a limited number of leadership positions that count for the rank of Eagle in the crew. There can be numerous vice presidents (such as VP-Membership, VP-High Adventure, VP-Stake Youth Council Representative, etc.), guides(instructors), den chiefs, etc. One of the Priest Quorum Assistants would be the president of the crew and one would be a VP. No matter how many youth are in the Priest quorum an “Eagle” leadership position is available. Just make sure that the leadership position assigned is actually named officially and utilized with the intent of the”Eagle” leadership position at the Venture crew level (not at the Troop or Team level) while the youth is 16 &/or 17 years old as a registered Venture crew member. Those membership transfers need to be done around the 16 year old birthday and not to wait until re-charter time. That is, also, when the leadership assignments need to be changed to the Venture crew level. This is where a diligent adult Young Men’s secretary can be of use as a resource and guide to the youth Venturing Crew VP of Membership &/or youth crew secretary.

  4. Jason Lichfield says:

    Great Idea! Hopefully many of those who are looking to gain the skills and knowledge of how to implement Venturing in their unit may be able to gain the helpful hints from here!
    I’ve been in two units where they said it would never work because the youth were not interested in Scouting. After a few months we had our Unit Officers up and running and had some great skills taught. Some of those young men have served and are serving missions and their Mission Presidents have all commented on their personal readiness as Missionaries!
    I believe the new Venturing Program is the best instrument we have as Leaders to teach Missionary Skills!
    There are five areas the a Missionary must be ready for his/her mission. Phyiscally, Menatally, Emotionally, Financially and Spiritually.
    Many unit’s I visit that don’t use Venturing say they are working on Duty to God. I say that is great! You are focusing on one very important aspect of the five areas! What are you doing to focus on the others?
    Venturing Focuses on all five! Give our young men the Best preparation that they can have to prepare them for the roller coaster a mission can be. Give them Venturing!
    Btw, don’t leave the Mid-West out in your Blog! ;) go Missouri!

  5. Jodi says:

    I would LOVE to see the church have more (or any, because though I’m sure they exist I’ve not personally seen them) real Crews rather than just an older scout patrol that they call Ventures.

  6. MARLA THOMAS says:

    Hallelujah! (Did I spell that right?) Anyway, as a commissioner in Central Texas (which is not part of the Western Region) I will be forwarding these blogs to persons in my stake as “Food for Thought” regarding the Venturing level. I plan to continue the information flow so that our leaders can receive inspiration through prayer, fasting and revelation regarding the LDS Venturing program in their units as they come to understand the purposes of including BSA principles and methods in the lives of each of our young men. Many times decisions are made without those elements and based more on tradition and past experiences. This blog will be an excellent resource for our Stake Presidencies, High Council, Bishops, Young Men Leaders, Parents, Families, etc. Thank You. From a long time LDS female commissioner.

  7. David … How exciting that you are going to now blog about Venturing in the LDS Church. This is such an important age and too often the wards have only basketball as their full time program. There is so much that is great about the Venturing program and it is wonderful that you are going to be there to share, train, and encourage. Best wishes!

  8. Bryce R Hall says:

    Thank You. The church has all of these Venturing units – yet I never here of anyone getting even one Venturing Award!

    1. Darryl Alder says:

      In our council there are 1600 Crews. Annually there are about 10 Venturing Awards earned, which points to one of two things. The Venturing Awards program designed by youth for youth is an unknown or that awards aren’ t that important to their age group

    2. Steve Faber says:

      A moment for a few rhetorical questions:

      – If a ward has a chartered Venturing crew, but never gets any Venturing awards, does that mean Venturing is not happening in that unit?

      – Does it mean that quality Venturing is not happening in that ward if none of the boys get Venturing awards?

      -If someone “hears” about a crew getting Venturing awards, does that mean that crew is better than another crew that someone never hears anything about them getting Venturing awards?

      -Is a “real” LDS crew, a crew that does everything by the BSA book?

      And a comment:
      To Darryl’s question from my perspective as a father, a unit leader and a contributor to our sub-district (stake) Venturing program:
      a) The Venturing Awards program designed by youth for youth IS an UNKNOWN because of lack of unit/district/council level training (and sometimes interest) on the part of youth and adults.
      b) Boys who have a keen interest in advancement during their 12-16 year old scouting experience may be as likely to continue to have interest in the Venturing Awards program when they turn 16, but the likelihood of their participation decreases dramatically due to two things: 1) Not being dual-registered in Varsity Scouting so they can start on The Venturing Awards program when they are 14 (because the Venturing Awards program is substantive – as it should be), and 2) outside pressure from school (academics, sports, extra-curricular activities, dating) seem to be “more” important to them at this period in their lives.

      Young men who were not interested in the Boy Scout or Varsity Scout Advancement process will generally continue to not be interested in advancing in Venturing.

      This is not to say that the “recognition” method of Venturing is not as critical as other methods, but it is just ONE method, and not the ONLY method.

      This is also not to say that well planned Venturing activities cannot capture the interests of these young men, the young men just need adults who desire to learn and become trained, and priesthood leadership at the ward and stake level who desire the same.

  9. Steven Smith says:

    This will be a great place to learn how to make the program work.

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