Venturing Crew 612, sponsored by St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Pagosa Springs, recently returned from an exciting trip to Washington D.C., and the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia to celebrate Venturing's 20th anniversary. Venturing Crews from all over the world gathered to meet new friends, jam out to concerts and participate in a wide variety of adrenaline-pumping, high-adventure activities.
Venturing is part of the program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women. Members must be at least 14 years old through age 21. Crew members included David and Annika Zenger, Ally and David Ashbaugh, Amelia Davis and Jonathen Matney and adults John and Beverly Moore, Karen Zenger and Julie Ashbaugh. The Zengers live in Bayfield.
Because many individuals had not traveled to Washington D.C., before, the crew decided to begin their adventure in our nation's capital.
The first day began with a trip on the Metro subway system during rush hour to the White House. After several security checkpoints, it was a unique experience to walk the halls of the "people's house" to view vintage furniture, china, art work and numerous presidential portraits.
Following the tour, we walked to the National Mall, where we viewed the Washington Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. The mall area was teeming with activity from street vendors to an Armenian Festival. There are countless museums and galleries along the National Mall and we selected to first visit the National Museum of American History. There are more than three million historical objects in the museum's collection. One of the highlights included the first ladies' inaugural gowns, Gunboat Philadelphia, Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves, Apollo Ono's Olympic short-course speed skating skates and the military history section.
But the ultimate museum item was the original Star Spangled Banner, along with the information regarding the extensive restoration project of the flag and what they are doing to protect it now. The afternoon started with a visit to U.S. Rept. Scott Tipton's office, where we met with him. We then were led by one of his aides on a private tour of the United States Capitol building. Following the tour, we were given special visitors gallery passes for the Senate and House of Representatives. Because of time constraints, we were only able to sit in on a regular session of the 115th Congress in the Senate Gallery. On this day, we watched Utah Sen. Mike Lee make a proposal to the Farm Bill, followed by discussions from several senators.
On the second day, we visited Arlington Cemetery, where we viewed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watched the changing of the guard ceremony. We walked through several sections of the cemetery where the remains of more than 400,000 people from the United States and 11 other countries have been buried since 1860. We paid our respects to the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, and where the eternal flame burns.
That afternoon, we had a scheduled tour of the Pentagon where we learned about the role the Pentagon plays in our government. We saw where the plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 and the memorial to the workers who lost their lives on that fateful date. The day was capped off with an evening visit to the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin.
On Saturday, we visited the National Air and Space Museum, which is the third-most visited museum in the world. We could have spent several days there to see the whole museum.
A few of the highlights included the Apollo 11 command module, the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1, which broke the sound barrier, and the Wright brothers' plane.
Another museum we visited later that day was the National Museum of Natural History. There, we viewed exhibitions of animals and ecosystems, dinosaurs and fossils, human diversity, which included mummies, and earth sciences, where the infamous Hope Diamond is on display. Overall, it was a outstanding visit to our nation's capital.
On Sunday, we left for Scouting's new High Adventure Base, the Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) in West Virginia, for VenturingFest 2018; the primary reason for our trip.
When we heard about the anniversary celebration over a year ago and how we would meet Venturing Crews from all over the world and read the list of activities, we knew we had to attend.
The Summit Bechtel Reserve was founded in 2010 and encompasses over 14,000 acres. SBR is owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America and provides adventure, training and development opportunities for Scouts and other youth organizations.
The SBR programs focus on four core principles: leadership, adventure, service and sustainability. It also provides youth with programs and activities that allow them to try new things, build self-confidence, reinforce ethical standards and provide service to others.
Once we checked into the SBR Welcome Center with more than 1,800 other Venturers, we found our campsite, set up our tents, dining canopy and tables, we reviewed our schedule for that evening and the next five days. Over the next few days, we attended open and closing programs, concerts, international food festivals and more. But the highlight of the trip were the adrenaline-pumping activities that SBR had in store for us. These included: paddle boarding, kayaking, a water obstacle course, pioneering, orienteering, geocaching, climbing, rappelling, bouldering, shooting .223 and .308 rifles, static archery, LaPorte archery, primitive range, nature and ecology, conservation, sustainability, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, BMX, skateboarding, canopy tours and The Big Zip.
The Big Zip began with a 40-minute hike to the top of the mountain with gorgeous views of the summit along the way. We were then harnessed up for our biggest adventure yet. The Big Zip is one of the longest ziplines in North America, with 3,000 feet of wire. It consists of five parallel wires, so Scouts zip in groups of five. Scouts can configure themselves to be in the same group as a friend and race them down the zipline. The beginning of the Big Zip is very exhilarating with a 30-degree decline over several hundred feet.
Over the next 45 seconds, we savored the 360-degree view while soaring over Lake Tridave going anywhere from 50 to 65 miles per hour. We enjoyed the wind in our faces and the sensation of speeding through the air like a majestic falcon.
The trip took a great deal of planning and fundraising. But everyone agreed that it was a trip of a lifetime.
We are researching and planning our next great adventure for summer 2019.
Come join us! If you are male or female and at least 14 years of age but not yet 21, or 13 years old and completed the eighth grade, you are eligible to join our Venturing Crew.
Venturers lead the meetings, plan the outings and make all decisions about the crew's direction. The four main areas of Venturing are ALPS: Adventure, Leadership, Personal growth and Service.
You will be challenged to learn and apply leadership skills - experiences that will prepare you for careers down the road. Plus, Venturing provides youth-inspired experiences young people cannot get elsewhere. Best of all, you will meet new friends and have a ton of fun! You can learn more about Venturing at: www.venturing.org.
For more information about our Crew, contact Advisor John Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (970) 264-0054.
We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting!
Annika Zenger is secretary of Venturing Crew 612.