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Venturing Leads Scouts to Bahamas
June 24, 2017
Standing left to right, front Isaac Dubois, Jaden Montigny, Martha Bowles, 2nd row Morgan Kiel, Joey Schmaltz, Matt Bowles, 3rd row, Libby Craig, Mika Craig, Eden Craig, Julian Harber, and back Ron Bowles, Zach Kerfoot, Rob Kerfoot
By Tribune Staff
Venturing is a co-ed program of the Boy Scouts of America for male and female youth from 14 to 20 years old. A Venturing Crew is youth led and works to develop leadership skills within its participants. Crew members customize the activities of the crew to fit the needs and interests of it members. Crews can be very specialized and focus on one area of interest such as horsemanship or incorporate a wide variety of interests into their activities.
Venturing Crew 2124, based out of Raymore, Missouri, is one with a wide variety of interests. Their theme is fun, service and adventure.
On May 28, 2017 the crew satisfied the adventure part in a big way. On that day, the crew boarded a plane that began their international adventure to the Bahamas Seabase high adventure program, the only BSA national high adventure program that takes place out of the country.
The crew embarking on this adventure, led by Youth Vice President of Program, Matt Bowles, consisted of nine Venture Scouts with ages ranging from 14 to 19 and four Venturing leaders. The majority of the group on the trip were from Raymore; however, two were from the St. Louis area Venturing Crews, invited to join in the adventure by Crew 2124 members, and three are Lee's Summit residents Matt Bowles, Ron Bowles (Crew Advisor), and Martha Bowles (Crew Associate Advisor of Administration).
It took many months of preparation for the crew members to be ready for the trip. Swimming practices were held regularly and crew members got to try snorkeling a little in a pool. Last fall they even went to a local lake and had sailing lessons so they would understand the basics before they got on board their home for a week in the Bahamas.
Passports were obtained by each crew member young and old and lots of paperwork and consent forms were completed so things would go smoothly when entering and leaving the Bahamas. Crew members also went to their physicians and received special approval to participate in the Seabase Bahamas high adventure program. Then as the departure date drew closer, they each carefully packed their individual 24 inch duffle bag they were allowed to have on board that had to hold everything they needed for the week at sea.
The trip offered many new experiences for the crew but it was not just for fun. They lived aboard and were the working crew on two 41-foot sailboats, the "Admiral Chi Chi" led by crew chief Mika Craig and the "Jarro" led by crew chief Zach Kerfoot. The youth handled the anchor, hoisted and lowered the sails, prepared meals in the galley, and manned the helm. They strengthened their teamwork skills as they learned how to sail.
When not working on the vessel, crew members were able to snorkel and witness living reefs and amazing ocean life. While on board they tried their hands at fishing and were able to catch a barracuda, snapper, Spanish mackerel, and other fish varieties. At night the crew slept on the deck of the boat and were able to view the breathtaking Bahamas night sky as they drifted off to sleep.
The trip also included land excursions that allowed them to go ashore, get off the beaten path, and take part in the local culture. They visited Man O War Cay where they learned about a historic ship building operation of hand built ships. Among the other stops was Elbow Reef Cay where they could swim to a large reef from the beach to do more snorkeling. Here they also explored Hope Town and the historic Elbow Reef Lighthouse built in 1864. The lighthouse is one of the last manual oil burning lighthouses in the world. Each town they visited offered a variety of local freshly made food to try including a "life changing" key lime pie.
The weather was beautiful and sunny with an occasional downpour for most of the adventure. Then on the last day a storm hit. As the winds blew and the waves rolled, the Venturers rose to the challenge and handled their boat like pros. It proved to be an exciting end to the trip with the wind in the sails and the boat leaning to the port side with the water at the rail. Each crew member went home with memories that will last a lifetime and they are already thinking about what their next adventure could be.
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