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New crew in Tacoma

Coed Venturing is a Boy Scouts of America program

Founding members of Venture Crew 216. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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A group of military and civilian families has come together to establish a new Venturing Crew in Tacoma.

Venturing is a program under the auspices of the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) and is for youth ages 14 to 21 years old. Venturing Crew 216 falls under the Pacific Harbor Council, and its chartering organization is St. Mark's Lutheran Church by the Narrows.

"Venturers set their own rules as to what the focus of the crew will be, whether that is hiking, mountain climbing or kayaking," said Joe Gibbens, one of the adult advisors for the crew. "The Venturers run the crew with the adults serving in an advisory role. We love having military families because we can also take advantage of military facilities that wouldn't normally be open to us."

Gibbens' daughter, Sarah, is serving as the acting president until the group holds its first election.

"As a military family, we love that scouting is consistent across the country," said Col. Jay Miseli, commander of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and an adult advisor to the group. "We have found that when we move, our children can continue on with the program whether a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop or Venturing Crew without losing any time or rank."

Venturing has four ranks but does not have badges like the Boy Scouts. Instead, members complete projects. Venturers can achieve the rank of "Summit," which is an Eagle Scout equivalent. Crew members are known as Venturers or Scouts, but not both together.

"I think our focus is getting to know each other and our strengths. We also want to have a community aspect of helping others," said Nina Dahl, a founding member of Crew 216.

Youth have many reasons for joining the crew.

"My brother was a Boy Scout, and he attended the National Youth Leadership Training program," explained Kaitlin Riggan. "My mom wanted me to go, and Venturing will give me the opportunity to attend."

For Jacob Keister, venturing will allow him to continue on in scouting. "I will be finishing the Boy Scout program soon," he said, "and Venturing is something to do after scouting."

Once Boy Scouts turn 18, they are considered an adult. Young men can serve as an assistant scoutmaster, which is an adult position at age 18 but their role changes and they can no longer earn badges or ranks.

Dahl, a senior at Bellarmine Preparatory School, will serve in a more mentoring role and step back from the leadership roles to allow younger crew members to have those opportunities.

"I was part of another crew, which has disbanded. I like the activities we did and the leadership opportunities I had. With a new crew forming, it will be interesting to see new leaders and their skills and adapting to each person's leadership style," she said.

For more information about Venturing Crew 216, contact Joe Gibbens, adult advisor for the crew, at jgibbens7@gmail.com. The next meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church by the Narrows, 6730 N. 17th St., Tacoma, 253.752.4966.

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