Green means good: Meet the 2018 National Venturing Leadership Award honorees

These eight world-class members of the Venturing program never set out to get national recognition for their service.

They just wanted to do their part to grow Venturing, the BSA’s adventure-packed program for young men and young women ages 14 (or 13 and done with the eighth grade) to 21.

But their contributions didn’t go unnoticed, and now these four youth and four adults have been selected to receive the 2018 National Venturing Leadership Award.

The National Venturing Leadership Award, first presented in 2000, is awarded to Venturers and Venturing Advisors who make exceptional contributions to Venturing at the national level and who exemplify the Scout Oath and Law.

I have previously blogged about the 2017 and 2016 recipients. See a list of all past recipients here.

A maximum of eight awards can be presented per year. A task force of youth Venturers makes the final selections, and the recipients are honored at the BSA’s annual meeting.

Venturing Leadership Awards are presented at the council, area and regional levels, too. See more about qualifications and submission guidelines here.

Join me in saluting the 2018 recipients of the National Venturing Leadership Award:

Youth recipients

Lydia Borah, Orlando, Fla.

Lydia served as the 2016-2017 Southern Region Venturing President.

During that time, her innovation led to much growth in the region. She created new youth committees to bring in new ideas and innovation to projects. Outside of just the Southern Region, Lydia was a leader during the very first summer that Venturing Blast was offered at the Philmont Training Center.

Her joy and cheerfulness brightened the day of everyone she encountered, and her positive “can-do” attitude led her to develop successful teams. She even remained active after her term ended, working to create graphics for the National Social Media Team.

Savannah McMillan, Knoxville, Tenn.

Savannah served as the 2017-2018 Southern Region Venturing President.

In this role, she managed nine areas and worked with both youth and adults to ensure a successful year in the region and work towards potential future growth. Savannah worked with her vice presidents to increase the submission rate of Council Standards of Venturing Excellence (CSVE).

She has also served in several other roles in Scouting, including on the National STEM Committee.

Dominic Wolters, St. Paul, Minn.

Dominic will serve as 2018-2019 National Venturing Officers’ Association President.

Dominic’s diligence and commitment to excellence this past year has had an immeasurable impact on Venturing in the Central Region and beyond. As Central Region Venturing President, he came up with creative ways to connect with youth in his region, such as revitalizing the region Twitter page and posting daily memes and other forms of inspiration.

Dominic has also been a Venturing training “guru” and has helped rewrite several national trainings, including Personal Safety Awareness, Project Management, and “Growing a Venturing Program” at the Philmont Training Center.

Ripley Price, Blandon, Pa.

Ripley’s innovation this past year as the Northeast Region Venturing President led her to work with a team of youth to develop a new long-term strategic plan to strengthen the region’s Venturing program.

In addition, she worked diligently to modernize all aspects of the region’s operations, from communications to updating the region’s merchandise. Ripley’s team of officers recorded the highest Council Standards of Venturing Excellence (CSVE) submission rate ever, with almost 95 percent of councils submitting a form.

After the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, she even pioneered a fundraiser that raised several thousand dollars to help support those affected.

Adult recipients

Robbie DiBiagio, Severna Park, Md.

Robbie’s role as Region Advisor has helped to redefine Venturing within the Northeast Region.

His leadership has been integral in developing and maintaining relationships between area and region Venturing advisors in the Northeast. Robbie is an excellent example of what Venturing epitomizes; his work is always of impeccable quality, and everything he works on has meaning and is forward focused.

He also serves at the National Venturing Training Chair and has been a relentless advocate for the program. He has advised countless training-revision task forces and ensures that products of his team are of the highest quality.

Jack Furst, Argyle, Texas

As a youth, Jack participated in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs. He is an Eagle Scout and past President of Circle Ten Council.

Jack is most known for his work to build, develop and lead the efforts behind the Summit Bechtel Reserve. (In fact, everyone gets to travel on a road named after him to get there.)

For the past several years, Jack has served as chairman of the National Venturing Committee, helping to provide his visionary leadership of the life-changing program. Jack can always be seen wearing a green shirt and supporting Venturing anywhere he goes!

He has received the Silver Beaver Award, Silver Antelope Award, Silver Buffalo Award, Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor, among many others.

Jennifer Hancock, Lubbock, Texas

Jennifer has served in countless roles to support the Venturing program, include the Southern Region Venturing chairwoman and Venturing’s international relations liaison.

She has also represented Venturing well through her work at countless Scouting events, including the Foxtrot Basecamp lead at the 2017 National Jamboree, the VenturingFest 2018 chairwoman, Aide-De-Camp for the 2019 World Jamboree, and numerous other prominent roles in the Scouting community.

She is also the incoming national Venturing chairwoman and is an incoming national board member for the Boy Scouts of America National Council.

Jeff Geralds, Madison Heights, Mich.

Jeff has worn many hats within the Venturing program, not least among them spots on the National Committee to rewrite the Venturing awards and serving as an advisor in the Central Region for the last decade.

His tireless passion for seeing youth succeed and grow as leaders has made him an effective mentor and guide to area presidents, region presidents, advisors, and many others as the program has changed and grown.

He is a strong advocate for Venturing in the Scouting world, staffing numerous Jamborees and sharing his passion for Venturing with all. He is an ambassador for the program, and truly lives out the responsibility of an advisor to inspire and support all youth in Venturing.