Mechanics of Advancement: In Venturing

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.

4.3.0.1 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 activities.

Leadership. Ongoing development through training, mentoring, and hands-on experience in leading others.

Personal Growth. Goal setting to help youth develop their skills and character.

Service. Leading and participating in community service.

Each of the requirements for the Venturing advancement awards falls under one of these areas of emphasis.

4.3.1.0 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 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. Venturing awards and recognition are available only to registered Venturers.

Note that boards of review are involved with only the Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit awards. See “Venturing Boards of Review,” 8.0.5.0

4.3.1.1 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 and to their own crew, ensuring 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.

4.3.1.2 Past Credit for Venturers

The requirements for all Venturing awards require the work 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.

4.3.1.3 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.

4.3.1.4 Boy Scout Advancement in Venturing

Venturers 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, and work on ranks in either unit.

Wherever the member is registered, the Scoutmaster or Coach and crew Advisor decide, with the young man, who will oversee his advancement. If the Advisor does so but is unfamiliar with Boy Scouting, the district advancement committee should identify an experienced Scouter to assist. It is important for Venturing leaders to understand that Boy Scout advancement procedures must be followed.

With the exception of the Eagle rank and Summit Award service projects, any work done while a Venturer can count toward both Boy Scout and Venturing advancement at the same time. The Eagle rank and Summit Award service projects must be separate and distinct from each other.

Position of responsibility requirements for Boy Scout ranks may be met by the Venturer serving in crew positions as outlined in the Boy Scout Requirements book. The crew committee conducts Star and Life boards of review, and Eagle Scout boards follow the local council’s established procedure.

4.3.2.0 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 important consideration.

4.3.2.1 Service Project Focus Areas

To determine if a Venturing Summit Award service project is acceptable, the following four focus areas are considered:

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 admissions board.

Councils and districts do not play a role in reviewing or approving Venturing Summit Award service projects.

4.3.2.2 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 Gold Award.

The following topics in the Guide to Advancement that apply to Eagle Scout service projects also apply to Summit Award service projects:

9.0.2.14, “Risk Management and Eagle Scout Service Projects”

9.0.2.15, “Insurance and Eagle Scout Service Projects”

9.0.2.16, “Eagle Scout Service Projects and Messengers of Peace”

4.3.2.3 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 beneficiary’s satisfaction.

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 4.3.2.1, “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.

4.3.3.0 Time Extensions for Earning the Summit Award

If a Venturer foresees that, due to no fault or choice 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. When a time extension is requested, the Venturer should continue working on the requirements as processing occurs. 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 “Time Extensions,” 9.0.4.0, and “Process for Submitting and Evaluating an Extension Request,” 9.0.4.1. 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.

4.3.4.0 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 is received.

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 the official BSA internet portal for reporting advancement. The Summit Award application is sent via email to the National Service Center at advancement.team@scouting.org where the certificate is produced and returned to the local council service center. The Summit Award medal may be purchased from the local Scout shop.