By Robert Lucke
Peter Spangelo is a soon-to-be Havre High School junior who is looking for adventure in scouting. So a new program in scouting was just up his alley.
Venture Scouting is the name and it is most untraditional compared with traditional Boy Scouting. It is so much what Spangelo was looking for that he is the first in Montana to win a couple of awards for his efforts.
Spangelo explained the program.
"Venture is a subprogram of the Boy Scouts," Spangelo said. "It has two purposes. First, it is to keep older Scouts into scouting longer and it is to get girls into Scouts too. It bridges the gap of no girls in scouting."
Requirements to get into a Venture crew? Not many. Just be 15 years of age. There are no rank requirements because women are in as well, Spangelo explained.
And the activities are expanded from those of regular scouting.
"The range of what we do is much more broad," Spangelo said. "In regular scouting there are some Scouts who cannot keep up with what we do and smaller kids have a hard time, too, but in Venture Scouting, we do things that we can do like paintball shooting or hunting things that are restricted in scouting. And we have less supervision."
Spangelo has been in Venture Scouting since January 1998. He, like other young men and women, works for badges they get earn for excelling in various things.
There are seven Venture Scouts in Havre. Four are girls.
"We meet Monday nights at the First Lutheran Church gym and we are like a troop onto ourselves," Spangelo said. "This year we are going to K-M Scout Camp outside of Lewistown and possibly a Venture camp on an island in Flathead Lake."
Around home a person might find Ventures leading a group of canoeists down the Missouri River or helping a young person to learn how to read or maybe just reading to someone at the care center.
And in the vernacular of Ventures, they meet as a crew, not as a traditional troop or pack.
Remember that Spangelo has already been the first in Montana to win not one but two Venture awards. He explained how.
"I won a Bronze award around the beginning of last year. You get one of those awards for environmentalism. You have to do different conservation projects, talk to people about conversation, and do some hands-on work," Spangelo said.
This year it was a gold award.
"For that award, you have to be an active participant for a year, have to hold a leadership position in your crew and develop a personal growth program," he said. "I did lifeguard training and planned a camp-out in Canada, and we attended a No Impact' seminar. My crew had to go to two Venture training activities. There is not a lot of Venturing in Montana, so we had to go out of the country because it is closer."
Peter Spangelo has been in scouting since the second grade. And he will probably continue in scouting until he reaches the upper age limit.
In scouting his favorite activity is a good camp-out.
"I can get away from the city, sit back and look at nature. That is good," Spangelo said with a smile.
Add a good steak dinner to the camp-out and Spangelo is a really happy camper.
Scouting and Spangelo. A downside? None!
So how about when he is married and has his own children? Scouting for them?
"Most likely," Spangelo exclaimed. "Scouting is a good program that teaches morals and values. It gets people out of the house and into exercise programs. It is just a good activity of the young."