We're going to lose several youth and adults this year -- and we're gaining several new youth and adults. Venturing is a different kind of program. Crews tend to be small and once a group gels, it will age in place until the youth graduate, get married, or whatever. It's a lot like a small church youth group that way. When Deanne and I started doing this kind of program, first with Exploring and then with Venturing, our core group died and had to be brought back to life three times as kids aged out. Twice, we had an influx of new kids; the third time we let the group die -- just before moving here.
We started this Crew three years ago. Most of the group we started with are now moving on, and their parents with them. It's sad, but it's normal.
What this means is that for Venturing to succeed, you've got to have leaders committed to making the program happen, and not just for their own kids. And it means that Charter Partner support is crucial. The church has got to believe that this is their ministry, not just mine. If they want it to continue, they have to commit to ministering to youth and their families this way, even as youth and parents and leaders change.
The same is true of other Scouting programs, too, of course -- as well as youth groups, Sunday School, VBS, and other forms of ministry to children, youth, and their families. There's a cycle to people's participation. The smaller the church, the more the ups and downs of the cycle affect things. A big church will always have enough people to do X, or Y, or Z. The small church has to really work to get the people they need to stay in the game sometimes.
Praise God, we are still in the game. The adventure continues. So here's to another year with Venturing Crew 119: Rougher! Tougher! Buffer!