The Concept of a National Boy Scout High Adventure Program
The Boy Scouts of America provides a rich program that offers much to the youth of today. Each Scout unit provides many opportunities for its members to experience the outdoors. These opportunities vary from day outings at local parks to multi-day backpacking experiences. As the youth participate in these outings they gain more confidence and hunger for something more challenging.
Recognizing this need, the Boy Scouts of America established a series of high adventure bases located around the United States. With names like Philmont and Northern Tier, these bases are famous for their challenges and programs. These high adventure bases offer a wonderful program that is sure to leave memories that last a lifetime.
The Council High Adventure Program
Although the national high adventure bases offer an incredible program they are either beyond the budget of most units or have very long waiting lists. Recognizing that there is a need for a solution to the High Adventure challenge, the councils of Southern California created a council based High Adventure Program. A Council High Adventure Program is well planned and balanced while fitting within the framework of the Boy Scouts of America. It is a program that is designed for all ages, abilities and genders.
The Council High Adventure Program offers much to supplement the local outdoor program. When implemented, the High Adventure Program will offer: supplemental outdoor training, a collection of recognition awards, a collection of resources and opportunities for youth. All of these elements, when implemented correctly, will provide:
- Something that goes beyond a routine activity.
- Activities that may requiring special preparation and training.
- Activities performed with knowledge and skills beyond average requirements.
- Activities that are not normally accomplished in man-made structures or in stationary facilities.
- Opportunities for Scout Leaders to reinforce the aims and methods of Scouting.
- A program that supports all phases of the Boy Scouts of America: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Venturing, the local council camping program and the national Boy Scout objectives.
A strong supplemental training program is the key to Attend a High Adventure Training Course Today... successful unit participation in High Adventure outings and the ability of unit leaders to conduct safe outings. The training program should offer education in the following areas:
- Outing leadership and safety
- Basic backpacking techniques
- Advanced backpacking techniques
- Camping in desert and hot weather environments
- Camping in snow and cold weather environments
- Planning and leading water craft outings
- Mountaineering first aid
- Rock climbing and rappelling
- Planning and leading cycling outings
These supplemental training courses should be scheduled in such a way as to be progressive and allow the participant to gradually build upon their knowledge.
Councils may want to consider making these courses available to youth participants. After a core group of youth participants are trained, have them conduct the training for other youth members of the council. This program can be run in much the same was as the Junior Leader Training Conference. Having youth train youth is an excellent opportunity for them to gain leadership experience and work with peers.
High Adventure Awards can take many forms from colorful patches to certificates suitable for framing. These awards should be available to both Scouts and Scouters. A well publicized awards program can have a real positive effect on participation in outings and can be used as a means of encouraging individuals to go beyond the norm. Awards can be considered another tool that unit leaders can use to help their youth.
Resources are a critical part of any High Adventure program. Within every council is a group of experienced and dedicated outdoors people who have a true love of a more rugged way of life. Identifying these individuals and utilizing their expertise, will the Council High Adventure program to better serve its members. These individuals can provide experience and instructional services that can be utilized in both High Adventure and Council programs.
The council based high adventure program can provide the following resources:
- Help to Packs, Troops, Venturing Crews, and Teams planning wilderness outings.
- Establish and conduct backpacking, canoeing, cycle touring, Nordic skiing, snow-shoeing, rock climbing, outdoor seminars, training sessions and other awareness courses.
- Help to identify suitable local back-country and wilderness areas for short and long-term outings.
- Provide guest speakers, movie, slide shows, equipment demonstrations and planning seminars about High Adventure activities for unit, District and Council events.
- Establish and maintain close relations with private and public land management agencies, the County Sheriff and other Council High Adventure Teams.
- The Benefits of Establishing a Council High Adventure Program
- A High Adventure program can be a real boost an council program. Think of High Adventure as a tool that can be utilized to help unit leaders to motivate their youth members. High Adventure can also provide a valuable source for supplemental outdoor activity training for both unit leaders and youth.
The High Adventure program can provide the following benefits to a council program:
- Help to attract more youth and retain those that are already in the program.
- Keep older Boy Scouts and Venturers active longer through challenging activities;
- Add to the Council Cub Scout program by developing Historical, and other, tailored to the needs of younger youth members.
- Strengthen the council's outing program by increasing the number of Boy Scout long term activities and Venturing super-activities.
- Increase the number of days and nights of camping for units by providing a source of recognition.
- Supplemental training courses and awareness seminars for both youth and adults to help augment the all-year use of council camps.
- Open new doors for financial support by attracting outdoor-oriented individuals, firms and organizations. High Adventure pictures are excellent illustrations of Scouting in action for Sustaining Membership Enrollment publicity.
- Uncover important fields of adult leadership.
- Enrich the Council program with appealing and colorful High Adventure activities
- Add to the Council PR Program through involvement in activities with the Forest Service, Mountain Rescue Council, State Park Services, Sheriff's Search and Rescue Teams, etc.
- The Council High Adventure Team Defined
As stated earlier, the team is comprised of a group of individuals who share a true love of both adventure and the outdoors. The High Adventure Team is the group that is responsible for administering the awards program and implementing the training program.
The responsibility for administering the awards program ultimately belongs to the High Adventure team. The team should select a single person to act as a coordinator for the awards program. This individual should attend team meetings and be responsible for all aspects of the awards program. A good title for this position might be Vice-Chairperson of Awards.
Since each council addresses the issue of sales in a different way, it may be necessary for the council office to perform the actual award sales. If this is the case, have the council finance officer provide a monthly award sales report to the Vice-Chairperson of Awards. This report can me shared at team meetings.