By Nicole Steele, VenturingFest 2018 Participant
“What do you get when you add intense heat, lightning alert lockdowns, a twenty-minute walk just to get food, and a purple shirt with your WR Area 4 VOA advisor’s face on it? VenturingFest!
On July 1st, hundreds of participants met up at the Summit Bechtel Reserve for the second ever VenturingFest. Throughout the week, participants got to experience many exciting adventures. To name a few activities, there was a rock wall, a water reality course where teams of scouts worked together to get through all of the obstacles, a shooting range, an archery range with moving targets, and of course, the infamous Big Zip. To kick off the Fourth of July spent at camp, both youth and adults got to run (or walk) through a flurry of red, white and blue chalk being thrown at everyone. Every night had special events with region-specific theme days, too. My personal favorite was the RAVE co-hosted by the Southern and Western Regions. Decked out in glow sticks, Venturers danced to silly songs, sung surprisingly impressive karaoke, jumped in on a few line dances, and witnessed the taking over of four inflatable dinosaurs.
While all of the activities were an absolute blast, I have to admit that they were not my favorite part of the week. The part that made this adventure such a blast was all of the people I was surrounded by. The Piggott was always bustling with people searching for air-conditioning, making it one of the most joyous places to be as the sound of laughter in that room coming from strangers bonding was unending. Simply walking to and from the dining hall brought a sense of comradery as nearly everyone said hi to one another, and maybe struck up a short conversation, my favorite being when I learned a new term for my gold loops: butter squares! During VenturingFest, I got to say hello to friends from other areas in Western Region that I’ve made over the years, meet people from other regions, bond with my Kodiak Crew, and even give the National Venturing Vice President an OCC wristband.
Of course, however, some of my fondest memories were those made with the Venturers of Western Region Area 4, or T’s Crew as we called ourselves. The majority of T’s Crew spent time before VenturingFest touring national landmarks as a contingent, but the time at the Summit spent together was unforgettable. We talked from when the sun was up until way past when the sun went down. In addition to interesting card games and flaunting not only the shirts, but stickers and a flag with T’s face on them, this group made the best out of every situation. Even in the unbearable heat, smiles were always shown. However, the time I was most impressed was when it was pouring rain with nearby lightning and positive attitudes were still kept. The majority of everyone was stuck in the dining hall, but a few of us got to get back to camp to take care of things there. Smiles were worn as we chased down rain flys that the wind took down, as we blew up our inflatable pool in the rain, and we hid in bathrooms while seeking shelter, as I called the unlucky nine whose stuff got drenched, and as we left to go find a laundromat at midnight. This group of people is one of the most incredible ones I’ve met, and I am so blessed to have gotten to share the week of wild memories with them. I can honestly say that going on this trip was one of the best decisions I’ve made. So next time there’s a VenturingFest or even a Jamboree, I highly recommend you taking up the opportunity and flying to West Virginia so that you can not only come back with crazy stories, but so that you can meet some lifelong friends.”
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