* This is Part Four of a four-part series, Venturing Educational Campaign, exploring the basics of the Venturing program.
Part One – Basics of Venturing: Introduction & Purpose
Part Two – Venturing: Place In Scouting & Terminology
Part Three – Venturing: Awards & Influence
Thirteen years ago, an advertisement for a local Cub Scout Pack caught my father’s eye. On that day, I chose to join the Boy Scouts of America. My name is Dylan Notturno, and I am a Scouter for life – here’s my story:
I’ve experienced many of the great things this organization has to offer. As of today, I serve in a variety of capacities – at several different levels—spanning the entirety of the Western United States.
Flag football and basketball were fun activities, but neither could compare to the intense, gratifying experiences I had in Cub Scouts. Each year, along with my peers, I advanced through the ranks. Eventually, I earned the Arrow of Light. Equipped with all 20 Activity Pins, I was ecstatic to become a Boy Scout.
After completing my crossover ceremony, I was introduced to Troop 550 of Redmond, Wash., and its Scoutmaster. At the end of the meeting, I took another step forward in my Scouting journey and expressed great interest in joining.
That night, my father and I learned about the rank of Eagle Scout. That same night, he helped me create a plan to earn the prestigious rank at the age of 13. The furthest any of my older siblings advanced was to Scout, which fueled my desire and gave my ambitious goal even more purpose.
* For more in-depth information, watch the accompanying podcast below.
In my first year, I achieved the rank of First Class and also was elected to serve as the Troop’s Instructor. The adult leadership and youth members were incredibly supportive and encouraging; however, due to some contention, I switched units.
Soon after, I became a member of Troop 591 and pursued the outstanding requirements I needed for Eagle. Although I decided to ease my trajectory after I earned Life, I became an Eagle Scout on September 15, 2015—nearly five years ago.
I attribute my ascension to Eagle to several individuals. One person in particular, though, always stood in my corner and constantly encouraged me to strive for my goal: my father. To quote him: “Parent involvement is the KEY.” The parents should never do the work for the Scout, but their encouragement and support are instrumental to the success of their child.
During the Summer of 2016, my Scouting journey shifted. That year, I staffed on one of my Council’s National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) courses as a Quartermaster. And the following year, I was selected to serve as one of the Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders of Service.
Although I slowly distanced myself from my unit, I discovered a newfound purpose through NYLT: Giving back to the future generation of leaders and Scouts.
Due to my hard work, high energy and enthusiasm, I was selected to serve as one of the NYLT Senior Patrol Leaders in 2018, making me the first in my Council to be chosen for the role with strictly a background in quartermaster-related positions.
The course was a major success, and my team did a fabulous job. We overcame a plethora of unique challenges and delivered a great course. As the participants drove away from the camp, I realized that the end was bittersweet: I had no clue where my Scouting journey would go from there.
Naturally, as one chapter closes, another begins. Because of NYLT, I was introduced to the Venturing program in addition to the Venturing Officers’ Association (VOA).
Directly above the council level are areas. Within the Western Region, there are five areas, and each has a Venturing Officers’ Association of their own. I was selected to serve as the Vice President of Communication for the Area 1 VOA, and in April 2019, I was elected to serve as the President for the 2019-20 term. Area 1 spans all of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Western Idaho and part of Northern California.
I have had many fabulous experiences because of VOA. I’ve honed my leadership and communication skills, I’ve expanded my network by meeting and working with individuals from across the nation and I’ve begun to realize the true power and benefits of the Scouting movement.
During February of this year, I even had the esteemed pleasure of attending the Western Region’s Board and Committee meetings in Tucson, Ariz., and participated in brainstorming and planning for the Older Youth programs.
Over the last couple of years, my life has changed in several ways. I’m in a committed relationship – of almost two years – and I am pursuing higher education at the University of Montana (Go Griz!). And of course, my Scouting journey continues to grow.
I’m a Venturer in Crew 2911 of Missoula, Mont., pursuing the Summit Award and William T. Hornaday silver medal. I’m a Merit Badge Counselor for the Mullan Trail District and regularly attend their committee meetings and in June I’ll become a member of the Western Region Venturing Task Force. This month, I’ll be turning 19.
There are many ways in which Scouting has impacted my life, but one instance, in particular, was arriving in Missoula. Although this new stage of my life is an exciting one, it means I had to leave my home and my family. But because I am a Scout, I immediately found purpose in this community. I was welcomed with open arms into this Scouting family.
Because I am a Scout, no matter how far I go, I know that I will instantly establish connections with people from all walks of life. And together, we will share fond memories about the movement that has done so much, in such little time, to educate, inspire, and prepare the youth of tomorrow.
HOW & WHY TO JOIN VENTURING:
Currently, there are about 60 Venturers in the Montana Council. There may be a Venturing Crew near you, and if there isn’t, one can be created.
Through this link, you can see whether or not there is a Venturing Crew near you by inputting your ZIP code.
If there isn’t a Crew near you, one can be created. Adult involvement is key. If you are a parent and/or an adult leader or committee member of a Scouts BSA Troop, see if your Scout(s) are interested in joining Venturing. Although Crews operate as their own entity, that does not mean the two units cannot share the same meeting space and/or some activities.
* Fun Fact! Scouts who achieve at least the rank of First Class in their Scouts BSA Troop can continue their Scouts BSA advancement – and earn their Eagle – through a Venturing Crew.
Although there are challenges for Scouts who are active members of multiple units – especially if they are different types – becoming a participant in an Older Youth program, such as Venturing, is a great way to keep individuals involved with Scouting for longer.
* Quick Statistics: The average tenure of a Scout is 29.0 months; however, joining Venturing/Sea Scouts increases that average by 16.5 months. The Older Youth programs increase tenure by 57% (45.5 months total).
If you’d like to learn more about the Venturing program, read more about it online at https://www.scouting.org/programs/venturing/.
Additionally, the Montana Council has a Venturing Officers’ Association of its own. To get more information and guidance about joining or starting a Venturing Crew, contact the Montana Council VOA President at Montanavoa@sudsol.com.
And of course, if you have any questions about Venturing and/or Scouting please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not hesitate. Lead the Adventure!