Venturing Crew 863, a Boy Scouts of America affiliate program based out of Dallas, Texas, toured Fort Leonard Wood July 12.
The co-ed group plans trips, or “ventures,” for its members and advisors, and is primarily operated by youth officers.
According to President Alec Cambre, an incoming high school sophomore, the crew decided on visiting Fort Leonard Wood after completing a camping trip in nearby Plato, Missouri.
During the day-long expedition on the post, crew members attended a Soldier graduation ceremony, observed training in progress at the confidence course, had lunch a dining facility, fired mock rifles at the Engagement Skills Trainer, a digital simulated firing range, and learned about U.S. Army history at the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex.
Cambre mentioned that despite the group’s previous adventures, the military remained somewhat unfamiliar to most members before arriving at Fort Leonard Wood.
“We did horseback riding, we did shotgun shooting, we did a canoe trip,” Cambre said. “But not a lot of us have been to a fort or base before.”
He said he was unaware that Military Occupational Specialties are used for every individual service member.
“With all the different ranks…the different roles and positions, and all the different code names for things, it just seems a lot more complex than I thought it was before,” he said. “I didn’t know that every person had a specific job.”
Capt. Mike Santee, 1st Engineer Brigade, served as the post’s liaison to the group and their guide. He said he was impressed with their aptitude.
“They’re quick learners,” he said. “We took them to the Engagement Skills Trainer and from the start of the hour to the end of the hour, just watching how quick they were to pick things up and how they were constantly paying attention and striving to be better, even in little ways — I’m very impressed.”
Sacha Troxley, assistant advisor, praised the youth members’ involvement and specified what separates Venturing Crew from their parent organization.
“(Venturing Crew) is not focused so much on earning merit badges,” she said. “It’s focused on youth leading themselves. So each youth officer has an adult advisor that helps them.”
Troxler said her unit is relatively new, having recently formed in September, but they are already seeing the benefits of allowing youth to forge their own path.
“They get to pick the adventures themselves, organize it, make it happen, do all the planning and we just help them in that process,” she said. “They really do get the experience of leadership.”