While home on leave, Army private receives Summit Award, Venturing’s highest honor

Shannon holds the Summit Award certificate and medal.
Shannon Stokes holds an official congratulatory proclamation from her town and the Summit Award medal.

Shannon Stokes completed all the requirements for the Summit Award — Venturing’s highest honor. And then the U.S. Army came calling.

Shannon’s Venturing crew —  Crew 32 of Hope Mills, N.C. (Occoneechee Council) — wasn’t able to recognize her at a court of honor before she hopped on a plane for Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

So when Shannon came back on leave late last year, her crew made sure to give Shannon a hero’s welcome.

The private in the U.S. Army was honored at a special Veterans Day ceremony. During the ceremony, Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner presented the Summit Award to Shannon.

To earn the Summit Award, which replaced the Silver Award in 2014, Venturers must take part in adventure-based trips, demonstrate leadership, show personal growth, and plan and execute a major service project for the community.

“It’s a lot of work,” Shannon told the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. “If you put in a lot of time, you can pretty much do anything.”

For her service project, Shannon planned, developed and gave leadership to others as they built planters near American Legion Post 32, the crew’s chartered organization.

Shannon and fellow Crew 32 Summit Award recipients Duncan and Kenny.
Shannon and fellow Crew 32 Summit Award recipients Duncan and Kenny.

Shannon’s Scouting journey

Shannon joined Crew 32 in February 2015 and was an active participant for the next four-plus years.

She chaired a food drive called “Trick or Treat so Tots can Eat,” volunteered at a marathon water station, and served on staff at several district camporees and day camps as a certified Rangemaster.

The granddaughter of a retired Air Force sergeant, Shannon has volunteered at Memorial Day and Veterans Day events for Hope Mills throughout her time in Venturing.

She likely would’ve volunteered at the 2019 Veterans Day event, as well. But duty called. Shannon is working to become a medical laboratory tech at “Fort Sam” — giving back to the country she loves.

But even with the spotlight on her, Shannon has been quick to deflect the credit. She says Michele Harling, the crew’s Advisor, was instrumental to her Scouting success.

“I don’t know where I’d be without her,” Shannon told the Observer.

The crew, which is just 10 years old, has honored 11 Summit Award recipients so far. You can follow their adventures on Facebook.

But first, please join me in congratulating Shannon on her Venturing honor and thanking her for her service.

Hope Mills, N.C., Mayor Jackie Warner presents the award to Shannon.
Hope Mills, N.C., Mayor Jackie Warner presents the award to Shannon.

VenturingFest 2020 is approaching fast!

Speaking of Venturing, all “greenshirts” should make plans to attend the next big Venturing event, VenturingFest. Registration is now open.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.