A Venturing Officers’ Association, or VOA, is a group of youth leaders and adult advisors who support the Venturing program. Every level of the Venturing program has a VOA: district (optional), council, area, region, and national.
From the national Venturing website:
Since Venturing is a youth-led program, it is essential that our leadership structure above the unit is youth-inspired and youth-led. We believe that youth should organize program events, lead entertaining trainings, and provide forums to bring the crews, districts, councils, and areas together. A Venturing Officers’ Association, or VOA, consists of a team of youth officers who are supported by advisors. It provides leadership opportunities that prepare young people for their respective futures and gives them a voice to help strengthen the Venturing program.
Each VOA has four youth officers: a President, a Vice President of Administration, a Vice President of Program, and a Vice President of Communications. Each youth is advised by an adult advisor. VOAs can also have subsidiary youth positions: for example, an event chair or VOA webmaster. Youth officers are often selected through an application and interview process, or sometimes through election by the Venturing youth membership.
Does your council already have a VOA? That’s great! If you’re interested in getting involved with the VOA, you should contact your council Venturing president. Being part of a VOA is a lot of fun, and your council Venturing president should be able to tell you the best way to jump on board.
What if your council doesn’t have a VOA? That’s okay—if you want, you can start one! Starting a VOA isn’t as massive of a task as it may sound, and there are many resources available to help you. First, check out the “Looking to Start a VOA?” page on the national Venturing website. It has a lot of valuable information that will help you get started. Second, reach out to the area VOA officers and let them know you want to start a VOA in your council. They have a lot of experience (most of them have been involved with starting a VOA themselves) and are there to help you out.
Other information about VOAs can be found in national publications like the VOA Administration Guide and the Venturing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). As your VOA starts to grow, you might consider creating a set of bylaws for the VOA. Bylaws usually contain the procedures and protocols by which your VOA operates. They might include officer responsibilities, officer selection procedures, and anything else your VOA wants to codify so that future officers and advisors will know how to operate the VOA. You can even pick a cool name for your bylaws to make referring to them easier.
Since writing bylaws can be a daunting task, we’re including links to the bylaws of council VOAs across SR-6 here as a resource. Once your VOA has written its bylaws, just send us an email and we’ll link to them below.
For more information about all things VOA, check out the VOA section on the national Venturing website!