aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

We say what we mean and we do what we say

I have spent most of the last fourteen years as a Venturing leader. Venturing, as with the old Exploring program of the Boy Scouts of America, is a co-ed program. I remember with what trepidation I approached the whole idea of girls and boys together in the backcountry. Most of those fears have proven nebulous.

Venturing is not attractive to all girls; hey, it's not attractive to all boys, either. It takes a special kind of youth to want to go grub in the Real Wilderness™ and seek to touch the edge of the raw. And for those girls who really want to go do that, there aren't a lot of other opportunities. I see a lot of enthusiastic girls in Venturing -- especially in Venturing leadership.

Of course, it's one thing to say you're really running a co-ed program; it another to be doing Boy Scouting with some girls tacked on. Ask yourself, about your Crew: Are the girls given all the chances boys are? Do their voices count equally? With that in mind, I did a little research on the units I've been associated with.

We started Explorer Post 697 at the church we were serving in 1997. We did two treks at Philmont. As we came down out of the mountains on August 3, 1998, we were informed that we were now Venturers. "Cool," I said; "what's that?"

Well, we were already moving to another church. Post 697 died, but Venturing Crew 699 was born. Over the eight years we spent at that church, Crew 699 did a trek at Philmont, two trips to Isle Royale, a trek across Yellowstone, a trek in the Adirondacks, two Scouting mission trips to Tanzania, and a trip to Great Britain.

When we moved to our current church, I took a break from Venturing. Eventually, though, the youth kept after me and we started Crew 119 a year and a half ago. We went to Philmont last year, and we're going to Isle Royale this summer. The adventure continues!

Anyway, I was going back over these treks, done with three separate units. In each case, the youth elected their own Crew Leaders for each superactivity. I did not pressure them to choose this person or that; I have never totted them all up before, either, so I was not aware of the distribution of leadership. In looking over the record, I was surprised and gratified to see that on the twelve Exploring/Venturing treks and trips I've been the Advisor for, we have had six boys and six girls in the position of Crew Leader.

We must be doing something right, if the results come in like that without our trying to achieve them. We live our values, so we don't have to apply artificial constraints. I'm proud of our record, and of all the girls and boys (and women and men) who have been part of our Venturing history.

Rougher! Tougher! Buffer!

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