Mechanics of Advancement: In Venturing
PLEASE NOTE: The Guide to Advancement has been updated for 2017.
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Venturing is for young men and women
who are 14 through 20 years old, or
who are 13 and have completed the
eighth grade. It offers young people
adventure with a purpose that serves to
build character, promote citizenship, and develop
physical and mental fitness. The experience helps
participants mature into responsible, caring, and
dependable leaders for tomorrow. Each Venturing crew is
responsible for achieving these aims by designing a
program that appeals to its members. Thus, Venturing is a
catalyst: It brings together adults and young people, and
incredible things happen. It is all about asking themselves
and one another what is possible, and then setting out to
plan and execute toward fulfillment.
126.96.36.199 Venturing Areas of Emphasis
The four areas of emphasis in Venturing are described as the ALPS model:
Adventure. Mentoring, leading, and participating in crew-led adventures.
Leadership. Ongoing leadership development through training, mentoring, and hands-on leadership.
Personal Growth. Goal setting in support of personal growth.
Service. Leading and participating in community service.
Each of the requirements for the Venturing advancement awards falls under one of these areas of emphasis.
188.8.131.52 Advancement in Venturing
The purpose of the Venturing awards program is to
provide a pathway for accomplishment in the ALPS
model. Advancement is accomplished when an active
program emphasizes it and pays attention to the four
steps in the process: preparation, learning, qualification,
and recognition. Four awards make up the Venturing
advancement track: Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and
Summit, but others also are described below. Venturers
have until their 21st birthday to complete their awards.
For detailed requirements and more information on
Venturing advancement or recognition, see the Handbook
for Venturers, No. 33494; Venturing Awards and
Requirements, No. 34784; and the Venturing Advisor
Guidebook, No. 34655. Each award is progressively
more challenging, designed to help Venturers learn
and practice new skills and to track their success. Each
challenge met puts Venturers closer to the next award,
providing a well-rounded program and a path forward
as they progress.
Unless otherwise stated, requirements for the Venturing,
Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit awards and other
Venturing recognitions may be completed at any time
after joining a crew.
Note that boards of review are involved with only the
Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit awards. See topic 184.108.40.206, “Venturing Boards of Review.”
220.127.116.11 The Venturing Awards
Venturing Award. This is the beginning of
the Venturing experience. The new
member learns about the program, what
a crew does, what to expect from the
experience and the adventures, and
makes a commitment to the principles of Venturing.
No board of review is involved.
Discovery Award. Participation and
preparing for leadership are the key
elements here. The Discovery Award
encourages members to design and lead
an active program of continuous
adventure and service. Venturers who
achieve the Discovery Award will have
taken part in two crew activities, and as they become
more active, they discover talents and learn skills that will
help them lead and serve others. In doing so, personal
growth will result, and they will gradually recognize the
wide variety of opportunities awaiting them.
Pathfinder Award. In earning the
Pathfinder Award, a Venturer should
begin to establish a reputation as a
skilled leader. The award seeks to
engage Venturers more deeply in the
program by delivering further on the
ALPS model. One of the key requirements involves
leading a crew adventure. The type of adventure—
whether an extended bicycle or canoe trip, or even 10
days visiting the museums of Washington, D.C.—is up to
the award candidate and the crew. The value in the
adventure comes from learning how to lead and
demonstrate skills through action. Pathfinder candidates
will also continue to deliver service to others, including in
the crew to ensure it remains a strong and viable team.
Goals set and achieved will continue to help the Venturer
grow as an individual.
Summit Award. While the Pathfinder
Award requires a member to lead an
adventure, the Summit Award—Venturing’s
highest—moves a young person into the
role of servant leader. The Venturer will
serve the crew as a leader—both formally
and informally—and become a mentor to
others. Additionally, Summit candidates
are challenged to carry out a significant
and valuable service project, where they
will apply many of the lessons they have learned along
the way. A crew’s program should be built upon a
program of continuous, youth-led adventure, leadership,
service, and personal growth. Each award level
challenges Venturers to dig deeper into the question of
who they are in order to truly develop and enhance their
skills and confidence to complete the requirements. To the
Summit Award recipient, servant leadership and
community service are the cornerstones.
Ranger Award. High adventure and the
outdoors have always been emphasized
in the Boy Scouts of America, and
Venturing is no different. The Ranger
Award encourages a high level of
achievement and proficiency in outdoor
skills. It exemplifies challenge. Eight core
requirements and at least four of the 18
electives must be completed. The crew
Advisor or preapproved consultant must initial and date a
Venturer’s Venturing Awards and Requirements book, No.
34784, when a requirement has been completed.
Quest Award. The Quest Award is about
fitness and sports. Candidates learn
about nutrition, exercise plans, and what
is required for a healthy life. They may be
introduced to an enjoyable sport helpful
toward that end. As with other Venturing
awards, members share with others what
they have learned. This can be done
through presentations or even sports
clinics. Five core requirements and at
least one of the five electives must be completed. The
crew Advisor or preapproved consultant must initial
and date a Venturer’s Venturing Awards and
Requirements book, No. 34784, when a requirement
has been completed.
TRUST Award. The TRUST (Tending,
Respecting, Understanding, Serving,
Transforming) Award helps Venturers learn
about themselves, their communities, and
religion and culture. It recognizes that trust is
an essential part of relationships; that
learning to trust is the challenge; and that
learning to understand one another—
especially those from different backgrounds
and nationalities—represents a good start. The five core
requirements are Tending Your Faith, Respecting the
Beliefs of Others, Understanding Other Cultures, Serving
Your Community, and Transforming Our Society. There
are also 11 essential requirements of which nine must be
completed. The crew Advisor or preapproved consultant
must initial and date a Venturer’s Venturing Awards and
Requirements book, No. 34784, when a requirement
has been completed.
18.104.22.168 Past Credit for Venturers
The requirements for all Venturing awards require thework to be done as Venturers. For example, even though a young man earned the Backpacking merit badge as a Boy Scout, before he became a Venturer, he must pass the Ranger backpacking elective once registered as a Venturer. Some requirements may call for certification such as Scuba Open-Water Diver, American Red Cross Standard First Aid, or BSA Lifeguard. Current certifications such as these may be used regardless where they were earned.
22.214.171.124 Multiple Credit for Venturers
Venturers may receive multiple credit for requirements. In the above example, if the Backpacking merit badge was earned while the member was also a Venturer, the effort could also count toward the Ranger elective. Further, experiences such as the Red Cross Emergency Response course could be used for the Ranger first aid requirement and the first aid and lifesaving electives. Venturers may not receive multiple credit for something like a tabletop display or a presentation. These must be done separately and relate directly to each situation requiring them.
126.96.36.199 Boy Scout Advancement in Venturing and Sea Scouts
Venturers and Sea Scouts who earned First Class rank as
registered Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts are qualified until
their 18th birthday to continue with Boy Scout
advancement. If desired, they may maintain multiple
(dual) registration in a troop or team, and also in a crew
or ship, and work on ranks in either unit.
Wherever the member is registered, the Scoutmaster or
Coach and crew Advisor or ship’s Skipper decide, with
the young man, who will oversee his advancement. If the
Advisor or Skipper does so, but is unfamiliar with Boy
Scouting, the district advancement committee should
identify an experienced Scouter to assist. It is important
for Venturing and Sea Scout leaders to understand that
Boy Scout advancement procedures must be followed.
With the exception of the Eagle, Quartermaster, and
Summit Award service projects, any work done while a
Venturer or Sea Scout can count toward both Boy Scout
and Venturing or Sea Scout advancement at the same
time. The Eagle, Quartermaster, and Summit Award
projects must be separate and distinct from each other.
Position of responsibility requirements for Boy Scout ranks
may be met by the Venturer or Sea Scout serving in crew
or ship positions as outlined in the Boy Scout Requirements book. The Advisor or Skipper conducts the unit leader
conference. The crew or ship committee conducts Star and
Life boards of review, and Eagle Scout boards follow the
local council’s established procedure.
188.8.131.52 The Venturing Summit Award Service Project
Since earning the Pathfinder Award, plan and conduct a
service project as described in the Venturing Summit
Award Service Project Workbook. Before you start, have
the project proposal form from the workbook completed
and approved by those benefiting from the effort, your
Advisor, and another Venturer designated by your crew leadership. This project must be different from the one carried out for the Eagle Scout rank, the Sea Scout Quartermaster Award, or the Girl Scout Gold Award.
—Venturing Summit Award requirement 8
A Venturing Summit Award service project must provide
a valuable service that meets a need, and it must
represent a significant personal growth experience
through some combination of its scope and complexity,
leadership of others, or a connection to a personal future
life-goal related to the Venturer’s education, career, or
other interest. The impact of a project—the extent to
which it makes a meaningful difference—is the most
184.108.40.206 Service Project Focus Areas
To determine if a Venturing Summit Award service
project is acceptable, the following four focus areas
Service—A valuable action, deed, or effort carried out to
meet a need.
Scope and complexity—The scale of the project; the level
of effort and planning involved.
Leadership—Leading others toward a shared vision.
Personal goal connection—Making the most of the
experience, including what is important to you.
All four focus areas are considered together. Every
Summit Award project must provide a service, but no
particular level of scope or complexity is required. Your
crew Advisor and a designated crew member must agree
that a project fulfills what is required. The other two focus
areas, leadership and personal goal connection, are not
absolutely required, but will add great value and depth
to the project. While they are optional, one or the other,
or both, may help to compensate for a project that
requires little in terms of planning and execution.
Leadership of others and a personal goal connection may
also be important to Venturers who wish to provide a
project report to a prospective employer or college
Councils and districts do not play a role in reviewing or
approving Venturing Summit Award service projects.
220.127.116.11 Restrictions and Other Considerations
There are no required minimum hours for a project.
Leadership of others is not required for the Venturing
Summit Award service project, though projects that
include leadership may compensate in cases where
scope and complexity are relatively simple.
Routine labor is not normally appropriate for a project.
This might be defined as work or service provided as
part of daily life, or a routine maintenance job normally
done by the beneficiary (for example, pulling weeds on
the school football field).
Any limitations on projects for a business are not meant
to disallow work for community institutions, such as
museums and service agencies (like homes for the elderly,
for example), that by their very nature, exist to provide a
valuable service to the community.
Projects must not be of a commercial nature, and they
must not be efforts that primarily raise money, even for a
worthy charity. Fundraising is permitted only for securing
materials and facilitating a project, and it may need to
be approved by the local council. See the “Summit
Award Service Project Fundraising Application” in the
Venturing Summit Award Service Project Workbook.
No more than one Summit Award candidate may receive
credit for working on the same Summit Award service
project. It is permissible, however, to have projects that
are related, as long as each project can be conducted
and evaluated independently.
Summit Award projects must not include service to the
BSA or its councils, districts, units, or properties.
This project must be different from one that a Venturer
used to fulfill requirements for the Eagle Scout rank, the
Sea Scout Quartermaster rank, or the Girl Scout
The following topics in the Guide to Advancement
that apply to Eagle Scout service projects also apply
to Summit Award service projects:
18.104.22.168, “Risk Management and Eagle Scout
22.214.171.124, “Insurance and Eagle Scout
126.96.36.199, “Eagle Scout Service Projects and
Messengers of Peace”
188.8.131.52 Evaluating the Summit Award Service Project After Completion
After completing the project, the Summit Award
candidate completes the project report found in the
service project workbook. The project beneficiary should
be the first to provide an approval. This approval is
simply agreement that the project was carried out to the
The crew Advisor must then determine if the project meets “What Is Required,” found in the project proposal form in the workbook. A thorough review of the four focus areas described in the proposal will provide helpful information, as will a careful review of topic 184.108.40.206, “Service Project Focus Areas,” above.
The Summit Award board of review will have the opportunity to review the service project as well. It should be rare, however, that a project acceptable to a beneficiary and the crew Advisor would be rejected by a board of review.
220.127.116.11 Time Extensions for Earning the Summit Award
If a Venturer foresees that, due to no fault of his or her
own, the requirements to complete the Summit Award are
not achievable before age 21, he or she may apply for a
limited time extension. These are rarely granted, and
reserved only for work on the Summit Award. The tests
that apply and the procedures to follow are the same as
those outlined for an extension of time to earn the Eagle
Scout rank. See topic 18.104.22.168, “Time Extensions.” Note
that references to age 18 in the Eagle Scout procedure
would relate to age 21 in Venturing, and that extension
requests are sent to, and approved by, the National
Advancement Team. Local councils do not approve
extensions of time.
22.214.171.124 Submitting the Summit Award Application
The Summit Award application can be found at www.scouting.org/advancement. A copy should be made of
the application and the service project workbook. Once
copies are in safekeeping, the originals should be
delivered promptly to the council service center. The
candidate’s application should not be delayed. Timeliness
is especially critical if the Venturer is approaching, or has
already turned, 21. Sending materials late can imply the
work continued afterward. If possible, everything should
be hand-delivered. Otherwise it should be sent by
registered or certified mail. There is no requirement that
the application must be completed or submitted before the
21st birthday. Councils do not have the authority to reject
applications submitted on or after that date.
At the council service center the application is checked
against council records. This can be done more efficiently
if the crew’s records in the BSA system have been kept up
to date. If everything is correct, the council provides a
verification signature, files a copy of the application, and
sends the original with the workbook to the board of
review chair or other designated volunteer. The board
is scheduled only after the council-verified application
After the board of review, an approved application is
returned to the council service center and the workbook is
returned to the Venturer. If the board of review denies
approval, both the application and the workbook are
returned to the council service center.
After the council Scout executive signs the board of
review–approved application, the Venturing Summit
Award is reported through Internet Advancement or other
official BSA portal for reporting advancement. The
certificate is processed through the National Council and
returned to the local council service center. The Summit
Award medal may be purchased from the local