The fastest growing area for traditional BSA programs is Venturing. The newest Catholic Venturing programs will be formed for students Catholic High Schools through Serra Clubs under the auspices of the USA Council of Serra International.
Serra is a Catholic lay organization that works closely with diocesan vocation directors to support seminarians, clergy and those in religious life. As a new part of their apostolate, Serrans will be Advisors for the Venturing youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are 14 (and have completed the eighth grade) through 20 years of age. Venturing's purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. The Units chartered by Serra Clubs will include Church vocation discernment activities and faith development for Catholic youth.
The new Serra Club program is being launched in the Diocese of Phoenix, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO and Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS. The success of the program will be based on offering quality programs that are not available to most Catholic High Schools. The partnership between BSA, Serra Clubs and Catholic High Schools will offer an extracurricular program for male and female students. The programs, called Venturing or Sea Scouting, are tried and true programs of the Boy Scouts of America are used by the Diocesan Catholic Committees on Scouting and the Knights of Columbus, and is one of the Catholic youth programs included in Diocesan Youth Ministry.
In 2006 the Serra International Foundation approved a $7,000 grant to fund the establishment of Serra Club chartered Venturing Crews or Sea Scouting Units in Catholic High Schools. Each Serra Club will receive funding for ½ of the expenses for chartering a Venturing Crew. These Venturing Units reinforce the values and skills taught in Catholic High Schools. It gives a venue to make ethical choices, acquire leadership skills, and advance knowledge and skills in the areas of high adVenturing, sports, arts, hobbies and religious life. Venturing supplements activities that the school administration and students would desire.
The first step would involve the Serra Club chartering a Venturing or Sea Scouting unit in local Catholic High Schools, as an on-going extracurricular activity. The initial funding is being provided for the start-up of these clubs, to assure success without initial monetary burdens on students' families or schools. The local Serra Club will arrange for the payment of dues, equipment and expenses, with no costs anticipated for the high school. Training of high school faculty or Serran advisors would include various free leadership courses and youth protection programs of the local Scout Council, as well as those required by the Archdiocese or Diocese. The programs will be fully qualified under the BSA and diocesan youth protection policies.
This program provides specialized extracurricular activities at the high schools level. Youth in Venturing have succeeded in activities such as cycling, hiking, climbing, sailing, rowing, scuba diving, prayer groups, community service groups, etc. The Serra Club units will allow for each youth to grow in religious belief using the Pope Pius XII Religious Emblem, and provide opportunities for various outdoors, sports, and career orientated resources of Venturing and Sea Scouting. This program can work with existing programs, such as high school prayer/ministry clubs, sports related and/or other clubs, or a high school can starting a "new" extracurricular program.
The funds for the grant will be administered through the USA Council of Serra International - Vocations Committee.