Venture Crew 288 is expanding the adventurous side of Scouting. Twice a month, some of the members of the roughly 40-member coed Venture Crew, most of whom are CV students, strap on helmets, ski boots, harnesses or the like to embark on a thrill-seeking outing in the great outdoors.
The group made its official debut in December, so most of the activities are still in the planning phase. Recently, the Venture Crew went go-karting at Racer’s Edge Indoor and on a skiing and snowboarding trip to Big Bear.
“The reason we started the Venture Crew in the Crescenta Valley was to give older Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts an opportunity to work together in some truly high adventure activities. We also found there are many youth in the area who have no Scouting experience who have joined the Crew,” said Mike Webster, Crew co-advisor.
Thrill seekers went “soaring” in April, which is similar to the feat seen in a recent commercial, minus the crash into a power line. The adults who accompany the Scouts often have training relating to the excursion, and most of the Scouts have some interest in sports.
The Venture Crew is associated with the Verdugo Hills Council of Boy Scouts of America, but is one of the first crews in the Crescenta Valley area to be composed of a significant number of young women. Even non-scouts, aged 14 and above, can participate if they register with the BSA. The membership fee covers access to the high-tech equipment needed for certain activities, and Scouts pay an additional fee for each activity in which they participate. Some of the outings, like whitewater rafting and backpacking, occur in conjunction with Troop 288 which many of the Boy Scouts belong to.
Terry Newgard is the other Crew co-advisor.
“We can take young adults in all skill levels because the older Scouts learn leadership though training the less experienced Scouts. We also have leaders training in rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking, and mountain biking to help everyone’s skill level improve,” she said.
Although adult advisors help mediate during meetings and occasionally work out logistics, the Venture Crew is mostly led by Scouts. Officers meet monthly and are joined by the rest of the group twice a month. After discussing plans for upcoming outings and training for those outings requiring special skills, the group bonds over an activity or game and the meeting ends with some inspirational words.
Elections were held in March, and current officers are working towards establishing bylaws for the coming years as the Crew’s plans and policies continue to develop. A fundraising committee, which would come up with ways to help offset the cost of the activities, is still in the works.
Members can volunteer to lead an activity, which builds leadership skills while they have fun. The benefits of participating in the Venture Crew are not limited to the leaders, though.
“We learn how to work with others as a team and how to make and carry out plans,” a Crew member said, adding members do it for “the pure thrill-seeking beauty of it all.”
To learn more, visit www.crew288.org or visit the Facebook page that provides all the latest information at Venture Crew 288.
Meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 4011 La Crescenta Ave. in La Crescenta. All youth 14 to 21 years old are welcome.
Submitted by Erika JOHNSON