We asked your 2017-2018 National Venturing Officers’ Association five important questions

Venturing has named its six top youth leaders for the 2017-2018 term.

These five young women and one young man will lead the BSA’s program for older youth beginning June 1, 2017. Their terms conclude May 31, 2018.

The National Venturing Officers’ Association includes the national Venturing president, national Venturing vice president and presidents from each of the four BSA regions (Central, Northeast, Southern and Western).

We caught up with Michelle, Cathie, Dominic, Ripley, Savannah and Jessica to learn a little more about them.

We asked for their favorite Scouting memory, what being a Venturer means to them, what they do when not Venturing, someone they admire and — the most important question of all — what animal they wish they could be.

Best of luck to these Venturers in the coming year!

National Venturing President: Michelle Merritt

Council: Spirit of Adventure (based in Boston)

Favorite Scouting memory: My Venturing crew went on a 62-mile canoe trip in northern Maine two summers ago. Besides the chance to be in the outdoors and see some of the best views I had ever seen, I got to spend the first week of summer with my closest friends. The highlight of the trip was the huge pile of snow we found near a waterfall. We started a snowball fight in June.

What being a Venturer means to me: Being a “Greenshirt” is all about adventure. As Venturers, we are leading the adventure. These adventures allow us to grow as people, make friendships that will last a lifetime, serve our community and give us once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Someone should become a “Greenshirt” because Venturing is fun and will allow them to be a part of something greater than themselves.

What I’m doing when not Venturing: I attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [in Troy, N.Y.] and am finishing my first year as a chemical engineering major. When I am not studying or working on Venturing, I play on our school’s club ultimate Frisbee team and swim to stay active.

Someone I look up to: I admire my parents the most. They are always there to support my two brothers and myself. This is especially true with our Scouting commitments. They allow us to learn from our mistakes and challenges without doing the work for us. They also push us to be better people. I know I couldn’t be the person I am today without them.

What animal I’d be: I would be a hummingbird. I think it would be awesome to be able to fly and live outside.

National Venturing Vice President: Cathie Seebauer

Council: Prairielands (based in Champaign, Ill.)

Favorite Scouting memory: It’s hard to pick just one, but definitely one of my summers at Philmont! From going on a regular trek with my crew, to going on Rayado (a special individual trek), to working on backcountry staff, the friends you make and the splendor of the land keep you wanting to return “home.”

What being a Venturer means to me: Venturing gives you the opportunity to grow as a person, a leader, a mentor, and a friend, all while doing activities that you love. When you join, you open the door to a lifetime of opportunities and one-of-a-kind experiences that you can’t get anywhere else.

What I’m doing when not Venturing: I’m currently attending the University of Illinois, majoring in civil and environmental engineering. In my free time, I’m training to run my first full marathon at the end of April!

Someone I look up to: I really admire Marie Curie for pursuing her dreams and passions — even if she had to go against the social norms of the time. Because of her leadership and dedication, she was able to break down numerous barriers for women in STEM fields.

What animal I’d be: I think I would be a beaver; I always seem to be bustling around, looking for new projects and finishing up old tasks. I do my best to stay organized, and I focus on being prepared for the future and making sure the job gets done. And beavers are mini civil engineers, too!

Central Region Venturing President: Dominic Wolters

Council: Northern Star (based in St. Paul, Minn.)

Favorite Scouting memory: When I served on the ceremonies team for my father’s Brotherhood ceremony in the Order of the Arrow. I had practiced for weeks without him knowing, and being able to surprise him and share that moment with him was very special.

What being a Venturer means to me: To me, being a “Greenshirt” is about exploring the world around you and going on adventures that you’re passionate about. Anyone that wants to do more, be more and learn more about themselves and others should definitely join Venturing.

What I’m doing when not Venturing:  I go to Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul where I run, ski and play tennis. I also love to read, swim and spend time with friends and family.

Someone I look up to: I have always admired Franklin Delano Roosevelt because he didn’t allow his circumstances to prevent him from achieving his goals and helping others.

What animal I’d be: I would be an owl because I love to look at the night sky, and there’s no better place to do it than by soaring above the tree tops.

Northeast Region Venturing President: Ripley Price

Council: Hawk Mountain (based in Reading, Pa.)

Favorite Scouting memory: When I first joined Venturing and got to meet Michael Durant, the sole American survivor of the “Black Hawk Down” incident. I heard his awe-inspiring story.

What being a Venturer means to me: To me, being a Greenshirt means being part of an amazing community that provides the opportunity to be involved in high adventure, seek leadership and make lasting friends. You should become a Greenshirt because you will have the opportunity to go on adventures, challenge yourself, make lasting friends and develop leadership skills.

What I’m doing when not Venturing: Studying, working on my Girl Scout Gold Award, playing violin or rock climbing.

Someone I look up to: Amelia Earhart, because she changed the perception of what a woman could be and do. She inspired other women to break the mold and live out their dreams.

What animal I’d be: A butterfly, because it mirrors the transformation that occurs over time; like what’s happened to me through my involvement in Venturing.

Southern Region Venturing President: Savannah McMillan

Council: Great Smoky Mountain (based in Knoxville, Tenn.)

Favorite Scouting memory: The first time I saw the overlook from the Foxtrox base camp at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, while I was staffing NAYLE [National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience] in 2015. It was nighttime, and there were only a few of us left awake. I don’t think I will ever forget the feelings of peace and serenity that came over me while looking down into the valley.

What being a Venturer means to me: You are pursuing a life of adventure, leadership, service and friendship. I think everyone should be a “Greenshirt” because you make memories, friends and have opportunities of a lifetime. Getting to meet, work and serve with other youth from around the nation, even the world, is an amazing and enlightening experience.

What I’m doing when not Venturing: I’m either at school at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., where I’m majoring in pre-law, paddleboarding on the lake or reading a good book.

Someone I look up to: Lisa Surbaugh [wife of BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh]. Many women in Scouting have been extremely influential and have helped me become who I am today, but Mrs. Surbaugh has shown me how to handle a number of situations with class, ease and power. No matter where she is, or who with whom she is speaking, she remains humble, strong and true to herself. These lessons, although known to me before, have resonated so strongly with her. I have nothing but the highest regards and opinion of her.

What animal I’d be: A dolphin, because they are full of life and free to travel the open ocean however they wish.

Western Region Venturing President: Jessica Kent

Council: Orange County (based in Santa Ana, Calif.)

Favorite Scouting memory: When I joined Venturing, I learned about a Venturing Crew that was leaving for a six-day trans-Catalina island backpacking trip. The trip began on my 14th birthday. I learned a lot about the importance of the Scouting program that week, and I am glad I’ve stuck with it.

What being a Venturer means to me: Being a Venturer means constantly seeking growth, usually in adventure, leadership and service. It means pushing yourself to your limits as you connect with Venturers and Scouters around the nation and world. It means having a family of people that are just as crazy and silly as you, as you have a 30-second dance party under the stars to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

What I’m doing when not Venturing: I attend the University of Utah, majoring in civil and environmental engineering with a minor in nuclear engineering. If not studying, contributing to Scouting, or working, I like to volunteer/get engaged with (mostly engineering) groups on campus.

Someone I look up to: I admire my current advisor, Larry Peterson. He knows exactly when I need life advice and provides advice to help me do my work. Plus, he always has a great joke or story to share. He is just an all-around swell advisor.

What animal I’d be: If I could be any animal, I would be a leatherback sea turtle. Sea turtles are super chill and get to swim around all day traveling the world, with their home on their back, as they move forward to explore the world.

4 Comments

  1. Excellent article. Congratulations to all the incoming officers, and thank you to our current leadership for your service!

    • Michelle was an excellent speaker and served up a mean scoop of ice-cream yesterday!
      If you have a chance to add a VIP to one of your area’s gatherings, you will not be disappointed to hear from her.

  2. And notice how many of them are young women. For decades, the Boy Scouts of America has offered fully co-educational programs (Sea Scouts, Exploring, Venturing) with highly demanding requirements and activities that are exactly the same for young men and young women of high school age. BSA is already expanding its fully co-educational programs to younger boys and girls in middle school (Exploring Clubs, STEM Scouts) and all the way down to third grade (STEM Scouts). Girls participating and excelling in BSA programs is nothing new.

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