Daniel Carriveau’s busy schedule is about to get even more hectic.
The college freshman, Eagle Scout, and Silver Award recipient is double-majoring in resort management and accounting at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis. He also spent the past year as Central Region Venturing President, a role that had him at 62 different Venturing events over a 12-month period.
Sounds busy, right? Oh, just wait.
Dan will soon take it to the next level as the 2011-2012 National Venturing President. That means he’ll be the top national representative for the BSA program that serves young men and women ages 14 (or 13 and completion of the 8th grade) to 20.
He takes over for Jennifer Lowe, who will soon finish her one-year term.
Dan will be installed at the National Annual Meeting in San Diego later this month, and his term officially begins on June 1. That’ll kick off a year full of travel and fun—and tons of hard work.
I recently chatted with Dan by telephone, and I was struck by the 19-year-old’s poise and his enthusiasm about the Venturing program.
BRYAN WENDELL: Congrats on the presidency! How did you find out?
DANIEL CARRIVEAU: First I had one of the most intense interviews I’ve ever been in. The interview lasted 30 minutes, but friends helped me prepare by grilling me for hours with different questions. The next day I got a call from Jen [the 2010-2011 National Venturing President] with the good news.
BW: What have you learned from your predecessor over the past year?
DC: She’s done a great job. We’ve been having conversations to prepare me for my role, she’s been including me in all the e-mails sent out, and I’ve been participating in the conference calls that I would not have as regional president. I’m even going to several meetings with Jen at the national meeting, so that when June 1 comes, I will be ready to go.
BW: In past years, the president was selected at the national meeting, but you found out in early March. Why the change?
DC: Yes, they previously told the new president literally a few days before their term actually started. This time, there’s a transition period where the outgoing president can pass on [his or her] knowledge.
BW: Talk to me about your duties as National Venturing President. You’re not just traveling the country to shake hands and pose for pictures, are you?
DC: Right, we’re not just a figurehead. We have work that we do while we’re there. We get ideas from Venturers and leaders and take them to the national level. We also promote the various Venturing awards, conduct training sessions, give speeches, encourage other youth to become leaders, answer questions, communicate Venturing updates, work with people to establish Venturing Officer Associations, and promote the Venturing program as a whole. That’s just a few of our tasks!
BW: All while juggling a full college course load?
DC: I arranged my school schedule so I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I can leave for trips on Friday and come back on Monday. It will have more travel, but there will be some great opportunities. Not many people get to experience this.
BW: But what about all the homework?
DC: I heard a great quote that said, “You’re never too busy; you’re just unorganized.” It’s true. If you can stay organized, you can accomplish anything you want.
BW: And you have certainly accomplished a lot—in the Venturing program especially. How can adult Advisors help motivate their Venturers to earn awards?
DC: One of the things about the awards is that they are something that the Venturer has to do themselves. They have to take the initiative. That’s true for anything in life. If you want to do something, you have to do it yourself. But still, a lot of the requirements, you will be getting done just by participating in the program. It’s just a matter of bringing the book along and saying, “can you sign this?”
BW: What about recruiting? How can Advisors get more young men and women in their crew?
DC: That’s a big question that a lot of leaders ask. I find that peer-to-peer recruitment is one of the best, most-effective ways to get more people to join. In fact, one of the big goals I have is to put together some tools and resources to help with peer-to-peer recruitment.
BW: What other recruiting methods work well?
DC: Work with professionals, like district executives, who put a lot of time going around to different high schools. Find out from them what interests the youth in the area. For example, if I really like canoeing and there’s a Venturing crew that goes canoeing, how do I find out about it?
BW: How about compelling Boy Scouts to join Venturing?
DC: Yes, bring the youth to the events so they can see what it’s all about.
BW: That’s what got you to join, right?
DC: Exactly. I was on staff at a Boy Scout camp that had Venturing events, and I thought they were having fun. I was right.
BW: Thanks, Dan, for your time, and good luck in your role as National Venturing President!