Community service, high adventure, film, photography, and cooking do not usually have a lot in common. But, actually, all of these activities are parts of different Venturing Crews.
Venturing is a subsection of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that gets funding from BSA but is less formal. These crews are also registered through PHS as clubs. Half of a Venturing Crew is focused on that crew’s aspect, like community service, and the other half involves learning leadership and life skills. Students run the crews with an adult advisor, said current Piedmont Community Service Crew (PCSC) president, senior Maya Guzdar.
“Piedmont has Boy Scouts, but then there’s also Venturing,” Guzdar said. “Venturing is coed, ages 14 through 21, and it is all sorts of different crews that anyone can create.”
Guzdar said she has been in Venturing since her freshman year, attended around six leadership trainings, and taught three.
“There’s a whole leadership side and I think that’s where it ties in with Boy Scouts and that’s what people don’t learn about PCSC,” Guzdar said. “It’s one thing to go to a soup kitchen and make food and serve it, but it’s another thing to plan the event, learn how to get the ingredients, coordinate with the people who work there, and that is really what PCSC is about.”
PCSC member and officer, junior Josh Rogers said he participated in many food and soup kitchen events that PCSC facilitated while recovering from a broken knee his freshman year.
“I love cooking and I am taking ROP Culinary Arts right now which is really fun,” Rogers said. “I’m one of the only people in PCSC who has led an event for Hot Meals which is an event where there are multiple community service groups coming in and we serve around 120 people.”
Because of his passion for cooking, Rogers was asked by BSA and Venturing Board member Kathleen Winters to head the Food and Cooking Crew they wanted to create, Rogers said.
“Venturing has a board of adult members and youth members and they go through and they’re like ‘How do we make our present crews better and what kind of crews do we want to help expand that,’” Rogers said. “They came up with the Food and Cooking Crew, and Kathleen said she’d take that on and try and find a leader and she chose me.”
Right now, Rogers said that the dynamic of the Food and Cooking Crew right now is him pushing ideas onto the members which is not the way he wants the environment to be.
“I want it, in the years to come, to become more of the crew members saying ‘Hey, I want to do this, I want to make this, I want to learn how to do something related to cooking,’ and then we just do it,” Rogers said. “It’s very crew based instead of leader based.”
Many students are in multiple of these crews, like junior Rachel Elliott. She is the president of High Adventure Crew, the Assistant to the VP of Program for PCSC, a youth member of the councils board, and the head of the Venturing Awards for all Venturing programs, Elliott said.
The Venturing Awards are similar to Boy Scout awards, but it culminates in the Summit award, instead of the Eagle Scout Award, Elliott said.
“Summit is the top award and essentially you have to go through a series of requirements which is focused on a certain amount of service, a certain amount of leadership trainings of a certain kind,” Elliott said. “There’s also a Summit project.”
Anyone in the Venturing program is eligible to get a Summit Award. A venturer is able to combine all of their experiences throughout their Venturing career and complete a project, then apply for their Summit Award, Elliott said.
“Summit is a way of tracking your own personal growth,” Elliott said. “You have to set your own personal goals and meet them. It focuses on three areas which are basically, growth and helping of yourself, growth and helping of others, and growth and helping of your faith, which in Boy Scouts probably means religion and Christianity but for me, I am trying to take that in a different direction.”
Guzdar said she is trying to implement the award program for PCSC, including the lower awards, the Venturing Award, the Pathfinder Award, and the Discovery Award.
“Boy Scouts is very formal, with uniforms and badges,” Guzdar said. “Most people aren’t doing Venturing for awards or service hours, they are doing it because they love it.”