Meet your 2022 recipients of the National Venturing Leadership Award

“A force for change.” “The consummate team player.” A “true leader” with “infectious and passionate enthusiasm for the Venturing program.”

Their peers have different words to describe the greatness demonstrated by this dynamic dozen of Venturing members, but we know of one phrase that now fits them all: National Venturing Leadership Award recipients.

Today, Bryan on Scouting is pleased to salute 12 outstanding members of the Venturing program — six youth and six adults — who have been named recipients of the 2022 National Venturing Leadership Award. That is the highest honor presented to Venturing members for their outstanding service to Venturing.

These Greenshirts, to use the unofficial nickname inspired by Venturing’s distinctive uniform color, have helped the Venturing program through national-level contributions to the BSA’s adventure-packed program for young people ages 14 (or 13 and done with the eighth grade) to 21.

A special virtual reception honoring these outstanding Greenshirts will be held later this year. The reception was due to be held during the BSA’s National Annual Meeting in May, but that event has been postponed until later in 2022.

Plans for the Venturing reception are still being finalized. The best place for updates will be the Venturing Facebook page.

Who has received this award in past years?

I blogged about the 20212020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 recipients. For a list of all recipients since the award’s debut in 2000, visit this page.

Who selects the recipients?

Individuals are nominated by their peers, and a selection committee of youth Venturers and adult Advisors reviews all nominations to make the final decisions.

What do honorees receive?

Like those who receive other national Scouting honors, these recipients gain national recognition from their peers, including other Greenshirts who understand the significance of the award.

As for physical recognition, recipients are presented a silver medallion suspended from a red and white ribbon. This year’s recipients will be honored at a virtual reception and will receive their medallions by mail.

What about council and territory Venturers and Advisors?

Venturing Leadership Awards are presented at the council and territory levels, too.

Visit this page to learn how you can honor the outstanding Venturers and Venturing Advisors you know.

Who are the 2022 recipients of the National Venturing Leadership Award?

That should be enough setup. Let’s get to what you came here to see.

Here are the 2022 recipients, listed alphabetically, along with just a snippet of what they’ve done. This year, we’ve also included quotes from some of the nominating letters written in support of these outstanding people.

Please join me in congratulating these 12 terrific Venturers and Advisors.

Cynthia Cyrus

Nashville, Tenn.

  • Currently serves as the National Venturing Training Chair
  • Oversees the development and implementation of Venturing-related training
  • Promotes and reviews all training materials to ensure they are accurate and have the most impact on those being trained

Quote from nomination letter: “Cynthia is the consummate team player and excels at involving others. She never seeks attention or reward for her efforts. What is particularly amazing is that while Cynthia has been extremely dedicated to serving at the national level, she has also made time to continue her involvement with a crew.”

Steve Garner

Strongsville, Ohio

  • Currently serves as the Territory 9 Venturing Advisor
  • Takes membership reports, analyzes them and puts together useful, personalized information regarding membership and analytics that all National Service Territories can use to strengthen their councils and focus on membership recruitment and retention
  • Without Steve’s work, a wealth of membership-related information and tracking would be unknown

Quote from nomination letter: “Because of Steve, we are now able to show relevant trends and present pictures of bar and stacked charts to show what is behind those trends. Without his singular focused effort, we would all be guessing at the numbers, with 16 different interpretations. Steve is fantastic at making lots of data look simple.”

Tanadet Itsarapakdetam

Elgin, Texas

  • Currently serves as the National Venturing Committee’s Vice Chair of Administration
  • Supports several subcommittees in their developments, often providing many resources and helping others to collaborate and strengthen the development of the project
  • “T,” as he is known, often works in the background of the Venturing program, doing things that make others’ jobs easier — but his work has not gone unnoticed

Quote from nomination letter: “Not only does T improve the Venturing BSA program, but he also has the vision and global outlook to share his skills with a broader community. T is an inspiration to myself and everyone he works with.”

Tara Izadi

Apple Valley, Calif.

  • A youth who currently serves as National Vice President of Territory Support
  • Works with eight of the National Service Territories to provide support and leadership, giving individualized attention and communication to each territory leadership team through emails, conference calls, direct messages and calls
  • By taking on a new position within the National Service Territories structure, Tara has built a solid foundation for this role and the expectations for its future

Quote from nomination letter: “Without her steady guidance to the territories, I have no idea what this term would have looked like, and quite frankly, I don’t want to. Her actions have shaped this new organizational structure for the better and left a mark on the VOA that will be felt for years to come.”

Richard Kagawa

Huntington Beach, Calif.

  • Has previously served as the Western Region Venturing Advisor and continues to serve as a trusted consultant and subject-matter expert
  • Was outstanding at leading the Western Region previously and contributed to many of the national projects, committees and task forces that have helped to make Venturing what it is today
  • Often called upon for his knowledge as a subject-matter expert in many of the Ranger Award requirements and other award requirements to make sure they are current, educational, engaging and — most importantly — fun

Quote from nomination letter: “I live on a tiny rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, so my worldview of Venturing was pretty small. Back in 2016, when I said I wanted to start a VOA in the Aloha Council, Rick Kagawa was one of the first emails I got in support. Wow! That was so motivating! This is what a world-class leader does. He supports others to make things happen.”

Carina Landgraf

Palmetto Bay, Fla.

  • A youth who currently serves as National Vice President of Territory Support
  • Works with eight of the National Service Territories to strengthen and build their structure so that they can best support their councils
  • In taking on an entirely new position for the Venturing program, Carina has truly defined the role and given it a strong expectation for the future

Quote from nomination letter: “Redesigning the NVOA and National Cabinet has been an ever-evolving process, as we are all learning what the new National Service Territories model means. This redesign has meant that Carina and her counterpart have had to think outside the box and do away with ‘how we used to do things’ mindset. … Carina’s infectious and passionate enthusiasm for the Venturing program makes her a true leader.”

Bernie Lockard

Indiana, Pa.

  • Currently serves as the National Venturing Committee Chair
  • At the time he took on the position, Venturing was going through a lot of changes, and Bernie tackled these challenges to help strengthen and better the development of Venturing
  • A strong advocate for older youth programs in the BSA and an adult who ensures that young people always have a voice in national committees and subcommittees

Quote from nomination letter: “Venturing has flourished under Bernie’s leadership. It has been an honor to serve with Bernie. His contributions to Venturing are unparalleled, and his national footprint will be one that will be hard to fill in the future.”

Gail Plucker

Brentwood, Tenn.

  • Currently serves as the National Venturing Commissioner
  • Focuses on the retention of membership and works to provide direct support to each crew throughout the country and assist with the recharter process
  • Her efforts and focus on Venturing membership have made a difference within the Venturing program

Quote from nomination letter: “Venturing really didn’t have a good picture of what our unit health looked like. She was able to work with the Commissioner Service Team to develop a whole new set of tools for the national Venturing team to have a much better, near real-time picture of what the units across the country looked like at a given point in time.”

Steven Soto

Brentwood, Tenn.

  • A youth who currently serves as the National Venturing Vice President of Communications
  • During the change from an area/region structure to National Service Territories, Steven reorganized Venturing’s social media accounts, consolidating and creating new accounts to reflect the structure
  • Steven communicated the changes clearly and made the transition appear seamless

Quote from nomination letter: “His organizational skills and social media knowledge have been used to work with each of the NST presidents to rebrand existing social media pages or groups to reflect the new territory structure. He has provided to each NST a roadmap to follow to complete the rebranding to their territory — a roadmap including graphics and step-by-step instructions on how make the changes.”

Nicole Steele

Orange, Calif.

  • A youth who currently serves as editor in chief of the National Venturing Newsletter (which we blogged about last year)
  • Puts in countless hours creating a high-quality newsletter each quarter — this includes a considerable amount of time getting articles and coming up with ideas to make the newsletter more engaging for readers
  • Her efforts have far exceeded what’s expected of the person in charge of the newspaper as she has created a very professional-quality publication from the content to the graphics

Quote from nomination letter: “When most of us think of a newsletter, we envision three to four pages printed on a copier, typically in black and white print. Although it is called The Venturing Newsletter, that label does not do justice to the product that Nicole and her team deliver. Every issue is simply first rate and exceeds the highest of standards.”

Freedom Tansley

United Kingdom (Transatlantic Council)

  • A youth who currently serves as the National Vice President of Program
  • Promotes all Venturing programs and works to develop engaging programs for Venturing members
  • Created the “How-to Guide for Planning Venturing Events,” which provides the key steps and processes for local council VOAs or individual crews to use to successfully host events

Quote from nomination letter: “In spite of spending a portion of the year in England, Freedom was able to attend the various Zoom calls held throughout the year, sometimes setting his alarm to attend calls held at 3 a.m. his local time. This dedication and commitment to Venturing, along with his leadership in developing tools for all to use to improve programs at all levels of Venturing, are worthy of the National Venturing Leadership Award.”

Miciah Thacker

Cincinnati, Ohio

  • A youth who currently serves as the National Vice President of Administration
  • Works diligently in the background to help manage tasks and projects to better the Venturing program
  • Makes so many other peoples’ jobs easier so that they can be more successful and efficient in their roles

Quote from nomination letter: “Throughout my years working with her, she has constantly been a force for change and a voice of reason. She is always the calm and collected presence that can mediate any discussion and advance us for the better. Throughout her years in the organization, the mark she has left on countless officers has been incredible.”

About Bryan Wendell 3269 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.