In a recent story we shared from the Associated Press, area Venturing president Maddy Agers, 18, shared how her experiences in Scouting have shaped her life.
“When I joined Venturing, I was a shy and afraid little 14-year-old,” Agers told the AP.
Since then, she’s leaned everything from mountain climbing to wilderness camping, but according to her, “…learning leadership skills has been my favorite part of Venturing.”
“I’d say the best thing to do, for girls who think they’re interested, is just jump in,” Agers recommends.
For girls who are already past Cub Scouting-age, we’ve got great news—you don’t have to wait until February 2019 to jump into Scouting! Keep reading for five ways you can get involved now, recommended by Maddy herself:
I’m pretty sure that a common misconception by females is that they cannot join the Boy Scouts because they are, well, girls. I am in my third year of being part of the Boy Scouts of America and have to tell you that that is simply not true. Here are 5 ways girls can get involved in the Boy Scouts of America:
1. Join a Venturing crew
If you are a female between the ages of 14-21, you have the AMAZING opportunity to join Venturing. Venturing is a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America that focuses on high adventure and leadership. I joined when I was 14 and it’s shaped so many experiences in my life. I’ve polished a lot of my public speaking strengths and worked on weaknesses. This program helped me get out of my shell. I am currently working toward merit scholarships that I may not be if it weren’t for my time in Venturing. Even though it’s helped me in all those things, it’s really helped me develop a sense of adventure. Where else would I have leaned off cliffs backward and survived? Or ran a weekend event for/spoken in front of 1,100 people? Or worked on a team in correspondence with the Secret Service and White House Staff to plan a Presidential visit to an event with over 40,000 youth and adults in attendance? My point is, if you haven’t joined Venturing, what are you waiting on? You can find a crew near you here.
2. Join a ship
If High-Adventure on land isn’t really your thing, I have the perfect opportunity for you! Sea Scouts are another co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America that focuses on “better citizenship and improved members’ boating skills through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor, social, service experiences, and knowledge of our maritime heritage.” Sea Scouts have helped during major catastrophes like Pearl Harbor because they’re that skilled. (Their history is truly fascinating.) I have gone out on ships with Sea Scouts and they are the coolest people and really have fun. You’ll have multiple leadership opportunities and meet new friends in this program. (Plus, the uniforms make me jealous every time I see them.) Find a ship here.
3. Join an Exploring post
Where do I even begin with Explorers? They’re just amazing. An Exploring post is more career-based and lets youth become skilled in job fields including, but not limited to: law enforcement, firefighting, medical, engineering, and mechanical fields. I spent a weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in February at a huge event hosted by Venturers and Explorers called “Winterfest,” and it was a lot of fun. I was able to see posts compete in policing and firefighting tests and drills. Every Explorer was so nice and you can tell they love what they do. Many even told me about the tests they were able to take as an Explorer that would make their career entrance so much easier. Find a Post here!
4. Join STEM Scouts
If you’re interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, look no further than STEM Scouts. This is a new program for kids in 3rd – 12th grade. STEM Scouts will develop leadership skills while learning how to be a STEM professional! This means they can go into a STEM career with more knowledge than their peers – and with a ton of friends just like them! Learn more about STEM Scouts here.
5. Join a Scouting group and attend an event
If you’re interested in what the BSA can offer you, then join a group and the fun! One big Venturing event, VenturingFest, will be held this summer in West Virginia at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, which is a beautiful property for Scouts. We’ll be zip lining, having concerts, and meeting all sorts of new people! Or, talk with a local crew and see when their next event is and if they are going to a summer camp nearby. Going to local summer camps supports Scouting in your area and is usually very cost-effective. Learn more about VenturingFest here.
Story by Maddy Agers, Venturer from Greater St. Louis Area Council, and Central Region Area 3 Venturing President. This story originally appeared in Maddy’s blog post, 5 Ways Girls Can Get Involved in Scouting.
Have you been involved in any of these programs? Share your story with us in the comments below!