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A city built to spread the word about the Venturing program

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By the time you’re 100 feet below the surface, have squeezed through a narrow cave, and are getting rained on as you cross a monkey bridge in a lush rainforest, it’s pretty clear that you’re in uncharted territory.

That’s the idea behind more than just the innovative Venturing exhibit at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. In fact, says Venturing National President Jennifer Lowe, the Venturing program itself takes its participants into uncharted territory.

Boys and girls between the ages of 14 (or 13 if they’ve completed the eighth grade) and 21 enter the program because of the promise of high-adventure activities across the country and around the world.

But at the jamboree, the mine is what gets them in the door. Once the Scouts are there, Lowe and her fellow Venturers use the opportunity to explain the program.

This display is just the latest example of a successful venture for Venturing. As was the case in 2001 and 2005, the Venturing exhibit is getting a lot of positive buzz around the jamboree.

This year, the Venturing team chose to combine what worked best from the 2001 rainforest exhibit and 2005 mine exhibit. The result is a “greatest hits” display that really hits the mark.

The staff of 96 Venturers created the entire structure from the ground up, hammering in every nail and simulating a deep underground cave and rainforest. They also work from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day running the exhibit and entertaining guests. The reward is getting to see the faces of nearly 400 Scouts per day who go through the interactive activities and always emerge with smiles, Lowe said.

Once the jamboree is over, the mine will be shut down, but its impact will live on. All of the wood used in the exhibit will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, which is planning to use it toward a future project.

Even if your guys can’t visit the mine, you can still encourage those adventure-seeking Scouts to investigate the uncharted territory of the Venturing program.

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