Meet the 2023 recipients of the National Venturing Leadership Award

NVLA winners

The National Venturing Leadership Award is given to those youth and adults who have gone above and beyond in the Venturing program to make an impact nationally. It goes to Venturers and Venturing Advisors who have made exceptional contributions to Venturing while also exemplifying the Scout Oath and Law.

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

Aaron on Scouting is pleased to salute eight outstanding members of the Venturing program — five youth and three adults — who have been named recipients of the 2023 National Venturing Leadership Award.

(You can go back and read our stories about the 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 recipients.)

Kaitlyn BishopKaitlyn Bishop

West Valley, N.Y.

  • A youth who currently serves as National Venturing Officers Association Vice President of Program
  • Assisted the program sub-committee of the National Venturing Committee in the planning of the older youth sub-camp at the 2023 National Scout Jamboree
  • Developed a variety of Venturing-focused webinars designed to meet council and local crew needs

Quote from nomination letter: “Kaitlyn has always been full of great ideas over the course of her term. I think it’s incredible that a youth is able to contribute to such a large project as the National Jamboree and she’s been able to pull it off so well. Without a doubt, I would highly recommend Kaitlyn Bishop for this award for her outstanding character, leadership, friendship, and service to Venturing.”

Natalie MacEwanNatalie MacEwan

Beavercreek, Ohio

  • Previously served as administrative support for the National Venturing Committee
  • Also served as social media lead for the committee’s communication team
  • Took part in the 2019 Report to the Nation, and led California’s Report to the State

Quote from nomination letter: “Natalie truly has provided so much to the entirety of the Venturing program. She recently has graduated from the University of Southern California and serves as an Air Force recruiter. She additionally takes time out of her schedule to visit local council headquarters and Lodges to discuss with Scouters the merits of the Venturing program. While many VOA officers have left their roles after aging out of the Venturing program, Natalie still actively involves herself in Venturing.”

Gahn MungarndeeGahn Mungarndee

Marietta, Ga.

  • A youth who currently serves as Vice President of Communications for the NVOA
  • Worked with the communications sub-committee of the National Venturing Committee to, among other things, create a Venturing branding guide and expand the Venturing media library
  • When the team’s social media lead stepped down, Gahn stepped up and took over that position as well, growing each of the NVOA’s social media accounts

Quote from nomination letter: “Gahn has put the territory VOAs, council VOAs, and crews first. Gahn has provided personalized feedback to the communication campaigns of each National Service Territory (NST) VOA. Gahn goes out of his way to find areas the Venturing program can improve in its digital persona. Gahn has single handedly produced some of the most interacted with posts on the Venturing accounts ever.”

Jamey SchnasseJamey Schnasse

Novato, Calif.

  • A youth who currently serves as the NVOA Vice President of Administration
  • Serves as a member of the Venturing Cabinet and National Venturing Awards & Recognition Committee
  • Manages projects and provides resources to all of the other NVOA officers

Quote from nomination letter: “Jamey is always driven to complete his projects and get his ‘hands dirty’ in order to make sure the job is not only done correctly and completely, but thoroughly with thought given to all aspects. He has an infectious attitude and exudes Scout Spirit and servant leadership.”

Douglas TaylorDouglas Taylor

Cary, N.C.

  • Currently serves as Awards and Recognition Team Lead for the National Venturing Committee
  • Helped complete the update of the new Venturing Ranger Award requirements
  • Also helped update the Venturing Leadership Award procedures

Quote from nomination letter: “He is one of the hardest working leaders that I have ever had the privilege of meeting. He gives generously of his time and talents to support the Southern Region Venturing program, and all Scouting programs for that matter. He is also a staunch supporter of promoting environmental issues in his community and beyond. He truly lives a life of service.”

Olivia TownsendOlivia Townsend

Bradenton, Fla.

  • A youth who currently serves as NVOA Vice President of Territory Support for the Eastern territories
  • Ensures that Venturers from her territories get the support they need, which includes developing relationships with all of the Eastern VOAs to better understand what they need to strengthen the Venturing program
  • Provides leadership and mentorship to many VOA presidents and vice presidents, guiding them not only on Venturing issues but also real-world issues such as applying for jobs and personal time management.

Quote from nomination letter: “Olivia truly has gone above and beyond, as a beacon of support for our youngest officers, and a person of reason for the NVOA. She is endlessly creative and has thought of solutions to issues no one has ever been able to solve before. She has streamlined the flow of communication following the transition of Venturing, and continuously makes the program better offering support and feedback to her fellow officers, advisors and National Venturing Cabinet Committee members alike.”

Micah VaccoMicah Vacco

Blaine, Minn.

  • A youth who currently serves as NVOA Vice President of Territory Support for Western territories
  • Manages more than 21 Venturing personnel, and has onboarded multiple officers and associate advisors, ensuring that their quality of work is up to par
  • Provides leadership and mentorship as the NSTs work to build relationships with council VOAs and units to achieve the mission of Venturing.

Quote from nomination letter: “I think one of their greatest accomplishments is developing the character of the NST VOAs under their leadership. They have grown their VOA presidents specifically to become more humble with the responsibilities they have, and they have taught them how to be of greater service beyond themselves. That’s a life lesson that they’ve been able to instill in their VOAs, an accomplishment I greatly admire.”

Nathan VickNathan Vick

Versailles, KY

  • Currently serves as the Website Lead for the National Venturing Committee
  • Worked closely with his own web team and the BSA’s web team to update the Venturing website with a new structure and archive system
  • Went above and beyond by collecting files from each regional Venturing website and archiving them as well

Quote from nomination letter: “The amount of work that Nathan Vick does for the Venturing community is frankly amazing and non-stop. The thing about Nathan is that he is so modest that one does not realize how Nathan had quietly contributed to Venturing when he started years ago in the Southern Region and now as part of the National Venturing Communications subcommittee. Nathan’s style is helpful and encouraging to the youth officers, making the dynamic welcoming, and removing any awkwardness between youth and adults.”

About Aaron Derr 455 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.