Take a ride on the wild side: new Venturing program on the table
Water sports, hiking among majestic scenery, and riding truly gnarly zip lines are among the adventures experienced with the new Venturing program being designed for the Allen area. - Photo courtesy of The Boy Scouts of America.
Ever wondered if the dreamlike adventures experienced in some of those video games could become reality? They will at least sevenfold if a few caring adults have their way.
Venturing is a program associated with the Boy Scouts of America designed specifically for those go-for-it teens who dream of conquering, soaring, experimenting and generally pushing their boundaries. Described as "a high-adventure kind of deal," Venturing is designed to keep older teenagers involved in Scouting, yet it is not limited to just those in the BSA.
Open to boys and girls ages 14 through 20, the program includes such activities as scuba diving, white-water rafting, kayaking, riding horses in the mountains, canoeing, overnight trips built around mountain biking, sailing, jet skiing, hiking several thousand feet above sea level, parasailing, piloting hang gliders and screaming down a zip line, to name a few.
Primarily due to the vision of Larry Essary, a start-up Venturing program is being planned and implemented in the Allen area, including Lucas and Fairview. Essary believes he sees a problem, and he wants to help.
"I'm doing this because I'm very concerned about America," Essary said. "I don't see the America I grew up with. So in a quest to re-establish that America, I decided to go on staff with the Boy Scouts.
"I worked on staff at Camp Constantine at Possum Kingdom last summer, where I was the aquatics director," he continued. "I came back and thought about that quest, and my conclusion was to charter an adventure crew would be the thing to do.
"I don't have the latitude to teach in the classroom that I do through Scouting, and I want to re-instill Norman Rockwell's America in our youth today."
According to local Scoutmaster Grant Laughlin, Essary's idea is no pie-in-the-sky proposition.
"Ever hear your father tell you, 'Plan your work and work your plan'?" Laughlin asked. "The great thing is all of the planning has already been done. All it takes is someone to get behind it and get it done. So I don't have any doubts about [Essary] being successful in this undertaking.
"As an assistant scoutmaster, I'm very interested in growing the program of Scouting," Laughlin continued. "I want to see the program expand in that Lucas-Allen area and I think Larry has the fever to do it. He really is excited about it and I think he's going to do a fabulous job. He's been involved in Scouting [Essary is an Eagle Scout and former member of the Order of the Arrow]. He is very active in amateur radio. He's on the committee for ham radio in Scouting, helping to bring it in as a program.
"He's into it. It really is his passion, and I think that's going to kind of bleed through in his passion for this venture program he's starting."
Laughlin concluded that Essary has the requisite record of success to back his passion for the Venturing program.
"He's had his own companies for years and been very successful, so I think [Essary] knows what it takes to get this thing going. He's not expecting this to fall into his lap."
Laughlin, who is a native of Allen and who serves as the local region's international Scouting committee chairman, said he believes the Venturing program is actually the exact tonic many area youths are looking for in their lives.
"In my experience as a scoutmaster in our troop, I think that many youths today are starving for adventure and even high adventure. Scouting offers a ready solution, a ready program to bring high adventure to youth.
"I think of it as life beyond video games."
The "high adventure" that will be offered through the new Venturing program will also feature four summer camps and a winter camp, offering participants access to year-round fun and adventure. Among the national large-scale adventure camps are Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Sea Base in Florida, Northern Tier in Minnesota and Canada, and The Summit in West Virginia. For information, Google BSA and watch a video featuring The Summit.
BSA Venturing Crew orientation meeting for interested youths and potential adult volunteers, as well as parents, is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8. The meeting will take place at the Lucas Fire Station Administration Building at the corner of Lucas Road and Country Club Road. Visit www.ntxscouting.org for information.
To become involved in Venturing as an adventurer or volunteer parent, contact Larry Essary at 214-383-7488 ext. 202, or email email@example.com
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