Scouting is packed with adventures for older members. Many scouts continue to be active in the troops they first joined; they take on leadership roles of increasing responsibility and play key roles in making a troop�s program effective and exciting. The wisdom and experience of older Scouts give a troop its strength. Experienced Scouts can be role models for younger boys, and can help them learn skills and take part in campouts and other troop activities.
Of course, Scouts of any age can continue to work on requirements and merit badges leading to the rank of Eagle Scout. Older Scouts can also set off on expeditions to council and national high-adventure bases, attend national and world jamborees, and be eligible for other BSA opportunities including Order of the Arrow membership.
Many troops have a Venture patrol that provides enhanced program possibilities beyond those available to younger boys. A venture patrol is an optional older-boy patrol within a troop. In our troop, we have stipulated that a Scout must be of the rank of at least Star and 14 years of age. A youth member elected as Venture Patrol Leader leads it. Like a varsity scout team, the Venture patrol features exciting and demanding ultimate adventures and sports activities. For example, a Venture patrol might spend two or three months learning how to paddle and portage canoes, brushing up on orienteering, and researching the food and gear needed for long journeys. With the skills mastered, they plan and set out on a canoe camping, ultimate adventure of canoe travel along lakes and rivers, finding their way with a map and compass, and pitching their tents each evening on the shore.
Venture patrol members may continue to advance through Scouting ranks and to hold positions of troop leadership. Venture patrol leaders wear the Boy Scout uniform with the Venture identification strip above the right pocket.
The opportunities within a Venture patrol give older scouts every reason to stay active in their troop and to use their Scouting knowledge.
Venture patrols offer older Scouts plenty of terrific program opportunities. Members can create trips from the many high-adventure arenas that exist such as:
- Canoe Camping
- Rock Climbing & Rappelling
- Snow Camping
- White water Canoeing & Rafting
- Cross-country Skiing
- Snorkel or Scuba
- Shooting Sports
Given the Venture program as outlined above, the following is our take on how we would like to see it implemented in Troop 783.
In order to keep the kids involved in the troop and keep them in leadership and as role models, we require attendance at troop meetings. We also make them available to help out when younger Scouts are working on skills. We encourage the Venture patrol leader to stay in contact with the troop leaders so we do not conflict with our times and events. We also strive as leaders to let the patrol do their own planning, fundraising for their adventures, and act as good citizens, living by the Scout spirit outlined in the Boy Scouts of America program, of which they are a part.
Lastly, we use this patrol as a reward for a lot of hard work over the years. It can also be a bit of an escape from being around little kids all the time when they get to be teenagers. It can also be used to keep some of them in line with behavior as well as act as an incentive program for younger Scouts to look forward to, as they get older. The Scouting program looses a majority of their population at this age because of the reasons stated above.