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Thread: Can you imagine?

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Can you imagine?

    The alternate future, where the age ranges weren't changed, and Venture Scouts was still with us, I mean, ignoring the likely minuscule numbers of Ventures there would be left. How would society and parents think about a section that started at 15.5 and went until 21? What about safeguarding? What about the nearest pub to the hut? Discuss.
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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Didn't Ventures start at 15? Pretty sure I moved up to Ventures at 15.5 with my friend who was 6 months younger than me.

    It is interesting how society changes, my parents thought nothing of me going to the pub with the Ventures after our meetings and they knew where I was going given my Dad was our VSL lol. To be fair it was unusual for anyone to stay in our Unit past the age of going to Uni although those at Uni sometimes came back for the occasional meeting in Uni holidays. So our Unit was effectively a 15 to 19 section so only a year difference in age at both ends to Explorers.
    Last edited by shiftypete; 23-05-2019 at 06:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    The alternate future, where the age ranges weren't changed, and Venture Scouts was still with us, I mean, ignoring the likely minuscule numbers of Ventures there would be left. How would society and parents think about a section that started at 15.5 and went until 21? What about safeguarding? What about the nearest pub to the hut? Discuss.
    Hmmm...

    VS's didn't keep up with social trends at all.

    I think it's problem was one of trust. Certainly where we were - across the district, no group or district committee/commissioner type person trusted a Venture Scout as far as they could throw them - I think the problem was that simple. I remember for the very short time I was ADC VS's just how ostracized that position was from all the other sections. I'd go as far to say it was sort of bullied out of existence.

    Those social trends though, paranoia protectionism and a collective skittishness among adults around the relationship they have with young people - I can't see there being any VS Units operating today. It would inevitably be an Over 18's only set up.

    Venture Scouts was judged and sentenced based on outlier behaviour. It was dealt with not in terms of what the vast majority of 15.5 to 21 year olds got up to, but by a tiny minority. We were going to national-level camps (in Scotland), and some of them were wild. Equally, when Network launched, it wasn't much different - there was a fair bit of hypocrisy on display, the only difference was, there was no one there under 18 and anyone who was over 25, was made to feel quite unwelcome. Ironically (or not) it turned out that those committee and commissioner type people trusted the 18 to 25 year olds, about as much as they trusted the 15.5 to 21 year olds.

    Turned out the legality issues around being over/under 18 were a bit of a red herring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Hmmm...

    VS's didn't keep up with social trends at all.

    I think it's problem was one of trust. Certainly where we were - across the district, no group or district committee/commissioner type person trusted a Venture Scout as far as they could throw them - I think the problem was that simple. I remember for the very short time I was ADC VS's just how ostracized that position was from all the other sections. I'd go as far to say it was sort of bullied out of existence.

    Those social trends though, paranoia protectionism and a collective skittishness among adults around the relationship they have with young people - I can't see there being any VS Units operating today. It would inevitably be an Over 18's only set up.

    Venture Scouts was judged and sentenced based on outlier behaviour. It was dealt with not in terms of what the vast majority of 15.5 to 21 year olds got up to, but by a tiny minority. We were going to national-level camps (in Scotland), and some of them were wild. Equally, when Network launched, it wasn't much different - there was a fair bit of hypocrisy on display, the only difference was, there was no one there under 18 and anyone who was over 25, was made to feel quite unwelcome. Ironically (or not) it turned out that those committee and commissioner type people trusted the 18 to 25 year olds, about as much as they trusted the 15.5 to 21 year olds.

    Turned out the legality issues around being over/under 18 were a bit of a red herring.
    I wonder how you can be so certain about the reasons for the change? I was not in the movement at the time so I can't comment.

    I was in the movement as a VS in the late 1980's and it was crap. Mostly felt like a drinking club and as a 16 year old I was ruthlessly bullied by older men (at 21 you can't really describe them as anything else), with little or no supervision. It had nothing much to do with Scouting.

    My daughter is now an Explorer and it is great. She is thoroughly enjoying herself doing activities with like-minded teenagers and there is a well run support system around them.

    In the 1980's our VS units that I knew where dieing, now our Explorer Units are growing like topsy.

    I only have my own direct experience to go on, but I would say that the change was needed and has been a success.

    If the older (over 18's) VS were having so much fun, why did they not continue it in Network? They could still do so if they wanted.

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Venture Scouts was judged and sentenced based on outlier behaviour. It was dealt with not in terms of what the vast majority of 15.5 to 21 year olds got up to, but by a tiny minority. We were going to national-level camps (in Scotland), and some of them were wild.
    Outlier behaviour? Dunno what you mean? #SavingItForTheMemoirs
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippysurfer View Post
    I wonder how you can be so certain about the reasons for the change? I was not in the movement at the time so I can't comment.

    I was in the movement as a VS in the late 1980's and it was crap. Mostly felt like a drinking club and as a 16 year old I was ruthlessly bullied by older men (at 21 you can't really describe them as anything else), with little or no supervision. It had nothing much to do with Scouting.

    My daughter is now an Explorer and it is great. She is thoroughly enjoying herself doing activities with like-minded teenagers and there is a well run support system around them.

    In the 1980's our VS units that I knew where dieing, now our Explorer Units are growing like topsy.

    I only have my own direct experience to go on, but I would say that the change was needed and has been a success.

    If the older (over 18's) VS were having so much fun, why did they not continue it in Network? They could still do so if they wanted.
    Firstly, I'm not sure. These are just thoughts (which is why I said 'I think' quite often and started the post with an 'Hmmm...').

    But, certainly in Scotland (as I said), I was in the thick of it, attending national camps, somewhat in touch with the thought processes before and after VS's closed down. You seemed to have had a bad experience with VS's and your daughter is having a good experience with Explorers, great. What I tried to suggest was, that they didn't try and do anything with the program for Venture Scouts or Scouts to address the age differences. The VS program was rubbish, and I think crucially, it didn't really run with proper leadership - which is why there was little in the way of trust or cohesive programming.

    Saying that, at no time since have we ever had people of Explorer age with the confidence and ability to organise themselves. That I think is down to changes at schools locally (or so parents have commented). VS's may have been dysfunctional to a certain extent, but at least they had the gumption to organise for themselves.

    Its telling (I think) that Explorers basically apes Scouts in-so-far-as it has adult leadership and a program laid on by them (yeah yeah, I hear the anecdotes about #YouthLed, but I don't buy it). So if that leadership was present for VS's then it might have worked.

    For what it's worth though, I think VS's was terminal, it had gone too far down a particular road - that trust was never going to be rebuilt. That I think was evidenced by the flat out failure of Network - which was supposed to take it's place. We tried with Network, but the trust issues remained at local level, while at national level anyone over the age of 25, (rightly or wrongly) thought of as 'leaders', got kicked out. That's why Network died on it's ****. Or at least in Scotland. (That and the number of people going to University increasing hugely.)

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    I struggle with the idea that a "Youth" movement should be about providing a programme for adults (i.e. over 18s), unless it is specifically focussed on turning them into Leaders for the younger sections.

    Once their over 18, they can either do it for themselves or get involved with a Group as a leader. I don't really see much argument for the movement as a whole expending any energy on providing a programme them. I can see why Network is there as a home for those that have gone to uni and might come back in the future, but I don't see it as a core part of the mission, if you take my drift.

    May be I am just missing something.

    Returning to the OPs original question. I think that a section with an age range of 15.5 - 21 these days would be a nightmare. I think we would constantly be fire-fighting safeguarding concerns and concerns about age-inappropriate behaviour. If VS had continued in the same vein as before we would also have lots of pieces in the press about pissed up 16 year olds on camp.

    Times change and sometimes for the better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippysurfer View Post
    I struggle with the idea that a "Youth" movement should be about providing a programme for adults (i.e. over 18s), unless it is specifically focussed on turning them into Leaders for the younger sections.

    Once their over 18, they can either do it for themselves or get involved with a Group as a leader. I don't really see much argument for the movement as a whole expending any energy on providing a programme them. I can see why Network is there as a home for those that have gone to uni and might come back in the future, but I don't see it as a core part of the mission, if you take my drift.

    May be I am just missing something.

    Returning to the OPs original question. I think that a section with an age range of 15.5 - 21 these days would be a nightmare. I think we would constantly be fire-fighting safeguarding concerns and concerns about age-inappropriate behaviour. If VS had continued in the same vein as before we would also have lots of pieces in the press about pissed up 16 year olds on camp.

    Times change and sometimes for the better.
    So do I. I don't think anyone really knew, or knows what Network is for beyond some half-arsed compromise for those who might want to stay involved but not be leaders. Yup, I get your drift completely.

    And yup. With the advent of all the over/under 18 rules, it would be very difficult to run a section that spans those age groups. However, I think we've shot ourselves (somewhat) in the foot with that. I always remember being accosted at the Network launch camp at Fordell, they were being very evangelical about Network being all about giving young adults the confidence to work with older adults, but were insisting that older adults could have nothing to do with the Network section. It was not a little bizarre but could also be applied to the over/under 18 thing.

    With that in mind, what VS's did up our way, was provide something of an interface between the cotton-wool existence of youth and the realities of the real world (although I would say, sometimes it wasn't an interface I was overly comfortable with...) Even with our Explorers, who all went to university last year, we ended up having several conversations about what they could expect to face when they went to Uni, (specifically on Fresher's week). They have a fair bit of theory drummed into them, but no practical experience whats-so-ever.

    Given how things have advances (or changed) in so many other areas, sometimes I look at young folk these days and think they're incredibly green. A learning curve that could be travelled in a year or two, ends up being travelled in a week or two - and we think we're protecting them.

    I also have misgivings about the level and vehemence of rules governing under/over 18's - I was going to say, I know they have to have a line drawn somewhere, but then I think - do we, and does it need to be quite so unyielding?

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    I completely agree with the change to Explorers and the age range. Ventures was either young, or old and unwelcoming to 15yo incoming Scouts. More to the point Scout left long before age 15 and a much smaller number stayed in the troop for the full time.

    What a waste of time is network. I think I mentioned that in my sons old unit they created a FB messenger group and page called ex-plorers. Leaders of the old unit specifically barred. They meet during university holidays and are arranging a camp this summer. As the son points out they do way more than the unit did (or does) and when i tentatively asked if they'd like to consider coming back into TSA as a network was met with an emphatic rejection, they simply can't see the point. And neither can I.

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    Out of interest, was there any research done at the time around why kids were leaving Scouts early?

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    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    I think the Explorer Section is the big success of the last 10 years or so - I hated Ventures - we had a reasonable programme, although somewhat distracted by admitting girls who just saw it as a dating agency and then at the end of each Term the older ventures would come back from Uni, provide the dates for the girls, rubbish our attempts at running a scouting-based programme and just shift the meetings to the Pub, which was fine if you could pass as 18 but not for the rest of us

    Camps were just an exercise in who could drink the most and not be ill.

    So I will never mourn the passing of Ventures
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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    I'll just stand up for Network for a second...our local one is fantastic. There's about 20 of them, they'd never have randomly formed a group without Scouting, they're a random collection sure enough, but four/five more were invested the other week, in the hot tub they'd made on camp. One's a plumbing apprentice. They went to Sweden last year on summer camp, and one or two have learnt an awful lot about dealing with insurance companies as a result (#SkillsForLife etc ) they're off to Snowdonia in the summer apparently. Of course, there's an Explorer & Network camp that we all help make happen.

    I guess, it fits where it touches. It works for our lot, they get the social aspect of it, they organise random stuff for each other, I even got to go to Windsor last month for a once in a month of blue moon Sundays Queen's Scout Award.

    It's not a leader generator, but it's not supposed/designed to be.

    That it's jiggered elsewhere is no reason to scrap it completely and throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    I think the Explorer Section is the big success of the last 10 years or so
    Seventeen.

    Yes, we're all getting old.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    I think the Explorer Section is the big success of the last 10 years or so - I hated Ventures - we had a reasonable programme, although somewhat distracted by admitting girls who just saw it as a dating agency and then at the end of each Term the older ventures would come back from Uni, provide the dates for the girls, rubbish our attempts at running a scouting-based programme and just shift the meetings to the Pub, which was fine if you could pass as 18 but not for the rest of us

    Camps were just an exercise in who could drink the most and not be ill.

    So I will never mourn the passing of Ventures
    Thing is, none of that was for you and that's fine, but it was for a lot of other people, and often, they had a fair bit of balance in what they were doing. We went to a lot of those camps, but we also bagged Munro's, fund raised for the group and helped out at Scout camps. Venture Scouts was supposed to run a wee bit like Explorers, in that if you didn't like that one, you could go to another one. (Although that's not actually how Explorers was supposed to be, but in some places it is, or was...)

    While I wouldn't quite have put it the way you have, the mixed nature of VS's and the age they were at was a challenge - but it wasn't just the girls, it was pretty evenly matched. The removal of booze from camps is why I assume Explorers isn't afflicted with the same problems.

    Putting anything on for young people that age has the potential to get gnarly I suppose...

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    To be clear I had a great time as a Venture, we went on some legendary expeditions, I gained my QSA and made some friends for life. Yes, we went drinking but never ever as the main actvity, it was always after doing something Scouting. We used to go kayaking and outdoor rock climbing for example as well as DofE style expeditions (hence the QSA). However it was clear Ventures was dying, our Unit never had more than 8 members for over a decade and often it was around the 4 to 5 member level. Across our District there weren't many Units doing much better than ours either.

    In contrast the largest Unit in our District has over 30 Explorers and most have around 20 (ours is smaller currently but has had up to 20 Explorers in the past). Explorer numbers in our District vastly out number the number of Ventures we used to have (mind you we do have easily the most Explorers out of any District in our County).
    Last edited by shiftypete; 22-05-2019 at 06:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    To be clear I had a great time as a Venture, we went on some legendary expeditions, I gained my QSA and made some friends for life. Yes, we went drinking but never ever as the main actvity, it was always after doing something Scouting. We used to go kayaking and outdoor rock climbing for example as well as DofE style expeditions (hence the QSA). However it was clear Ventures was dying, our Unit never had more than 8 members for over a decade and often it was around the 4 to 5 member level. Across our District there weren't many Units doing much better than ours either.

    In contrast the largest Unit in our District has over 30 Explorers and most have around 20 (ours is smaller currently but has had up to 20 Explorers in the past). Explorer numbers in our District vastly out number the number of Ventures we used to have (mid you we do have easily the most Explorers out of any District in our County).
    Yup

    I do accept that Explorers/Network is a better set up, not sure that was the only way they could go. Also, I think there was a lot of people having their cheese moved, and they weren't prepared to go out in to the maze and look for new cheese. (Sorry it's a work thing...) I probably fell into that category a wee bit. I was more miffed at being essentially laid off with nary a thank you. Explorer and Network people expected to just inherit all the work done by VSL's, it left a sour taste in the mouth...

    Anyway, we are where we are now, and I certainly don't think VS's could have gone on as it was, it was in a death spiral.

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