Spend five minutes with some Greenshirts and one thing becomes clear: The passion and enthusiasm among Venturers for this older-youth program is high.
Venturers, unofficially known as Greenshirts because of the unique hue to their uniform shirts, gain skills and knowledge in the areas of high adventure, sports, arts, hobbies, religious life and more. They’re at least 14 years old — or 13 and finished with the eighth grade — but not yet 21.
Sure, there aren’t enough Venturers out there because too few American families have heard of this program. But thanks to the dedication of Venturing youth, adult advisors and BSA professionals at all levels of Scouting, that’s changing.
That’s the idea of the Venturing Leadership Award — to recognize people who serve Venturing in ways that recruit and retain young men and young women.
Presented at the council, area, regional and national levels, the VLA honors Greenshirts who have made exceptional contributions to Venturing and who exemplify the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
What kind of Greenshirts receive this award? Individuals like these five, who received the 2016 national-level Venturing Leadership Award last month at the BSA’s annual meeting.
Who: Shannon, based out of the Great Southwest Council in Albuquerque, N.M., was the 2015-16 National Venturing Vice President.
What: She served as the youth voice on the Program Development Committee, where she led recruited manpower to strengthen Venturing nationwide. She is a Silver Award recipient; Region, Area, and Council VLA recipient; and has earned the Venturing Discovery Award.
Why: “She encompasses what we would like every Venturer to come out of the Venturing program with: the morals and standards of the Scout Oath and Law along with leadership skills and a thirst for adventure.”
Who: Pratik, from the Chief Seattle Council and studying at the University of Michigan, is the 2016-17 National Venturing President.
What: This Eagle Scout, Venturing Silver Award recipient, and recipient of the Council and Region Venturing Leadership Awards served as the Western Region Venturing President for 2015-16.
Why: “He is extremely skilled with his administration, communication and program planning skills. Yet as a leader, he empowers and trusts others to achieve success and learn from their mistakes, rather than worrying about getting the job done.”
Who: Vogt, from St. Louis, will be a senior this fall at Lindenwood University in Missouri.
What: She has her Venturing Silver Award; the Council, Area and Region Venturing Leadership Awards; and is a past Central Region Venturing President (2013-14). She will be continuing her mentor role as a staffer at NAYLE — the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience.
Why: “She is a dedicated and supportive mentor to many youth in and out of the Central Region.”
Who: Scott, a BSA professional, came to Scouting in 2008 and the Venturing community shortly after that.
What: He was one of the professionals who assisted with the 411 Program Updates Task Force and is one of the people to whom Venturing owes many thanks for his leadership, innovative ideas and creativity in designing Venturing’s new program.
Why: National Commissioner Charles Dahlquist writes: “His contributions to the success of Venturing and the development of the program and supporting materials to accomplish this task demonstrate his worthiness for this distinction.” Not only did this man serve as a staff advisor to the 411 task force, he even went out on his own and joined a local unit as a volunteer to see how the program really works. He continues to be an active volunteer today and looks forward to becoming a full-time volunteer later this summer.
Who: Kurten, a BSA professional, served as national Venturing experience manager by supporting the National Venturing Cabinet and traveling to meet Venturers and see the Venturing program in action.
What: She assisted with the rollout of the revamped Venturing program and helped re-establish the National Venturing Committee. Although she has moved to a new job within the BSA, Venturers say they consider her a permanent member of the Venturing family.
Why: “She has gone above and beyond for the young people in Venturing, especially the National Venturing Cabinet, while serving as the Venturing experience manager.”
Past recipients of the Venturing Leadership Award
See the list here.