Teens ‘venture’ outdoors with coed Scouting group

Stuttgart area teens on the hunt for high adventure activities such as rock climbing and ropes courses, and who have a passion for volunteerism, may want to take a look at Venture Crew 44.

The 16-member Venture Crew 44 is a group of young men and women in the Stuttgart military community who are part of Venturing, a coed leadership and service development program of the Boy Scouts of America for those ages 13 (if they have completed eighth grade) to 20 years.

Originally part of the Boy Scouts’ Exploring Division, Venturing came into its own in 1998 and is now the organization’s fastest-growing program, according to the Boy Scouts of America’s website.

Scouting experience is not a prerequisite for membership in the Venture Crew, but most of the nine young women and seven young men who make up Venture Crew 44 are also still involved with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, according to Hope Bird, an advisor, whose daughter, Carolyn, is the Crew’s president.

“I joined because I loved the idea of high adventure activities with all of my friends,” said Carolyn Bird, 16, a Patch High junior and 11-year member of Girl Scouts.

“I really enjoy all the activities the Crew does — hiking, camping, rock climbing, archery, high ropes courses — and the fact that I get to do these activities with my friends, schoolmates and peers makes it even better,” she said.

Venturing’s emphasis on high adventure helps provide team-building opportunities, new meaningful experiences, practical leadership application and lifelong memories to its young adult members, according to the Scouting website.

That high-adventure focus and the social interaction of the coed group were main draws for her decision to join Venture Crew, said member Rachel Bentley, 16, a Patch High junior who said that she has never before been involved in Scouting.
Earlier this year, the group led a community geocaching egg hunt as a fun way of recruiting members

and teaching participants how to use a GPS. For Patch High junior Matthew Watson, a Boy Scout since sixth grade, Venturing’s appeal is two-fold.

 “Venture Crew is focused on events and hanging out with more people your age,” said Watson, 17, who is working on the esteemed Boy Scouts Eagle rank, the group’s highest achievement.

“Having the boys and girls together is more fun definitely. Girls add more maturity to the group and the guys are watching what they do around them,” he said with a chuckle.

The Venturing program also encourages youth to participate in community service and teach what they have learned to others. Venture Crew 44 has participated in a variety of service projects in the Stuttgart community, including the German-American Women’s Club Stuttgart Pfennig Bazaar, the Stuttgart Community Spouses Club Spring Bazaar, and the Cub Scouts Alaska Days and Twilight Camp events.

“All Scouting tries to give back to the community,” said Patch High senior Anna von Fahnestock, a Girl Scout since kindergarten who is currently working on her Girl Scout Gold Award, the organization’s highest achievement.

To join or get more information about Venture Crew 44, contact crew president Carolyn Bird at birdcrew@earthlink.net.