Venture Scout program attracts adventuresome boys — and girls

Boy Scout sidebar, Ricker Story  PHOTO COURTESY OF GREGG FARRELL
GREGG FARRELL
Boy Scout sidebar, Ricker Story PHOTO COURTESY OF GREGG FARRELL
Posted Feb. 07, 2010, at 8:47 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School senior Elizabeth “Liz” Farrell is no boy, but she plays like one.

She’s a Venturer in the Boy Scouts of America Venture Scouts program and was the first female in Maine to earn the rank of Venturing Ranger.

“My brother joined Cub Scouts at an early age and I went with him,” she said. “I wasn’t technically a Boy Scout. I just continued when I got to Venture Scouts.”

The Venture Scouts is for youth between ages 14 and 20 who want a little adventure and camaraderie in their lives. The youth development program, like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, is designed to teach young people skills such as leadership and independence through positive experiences to prepare them to be responsible and caring adults.

“It’s about creating citizens,” Katahdin District Director Tim Archer said recently.

Venturing also provides those involved with “opportunities to advance their skills and knowledge in the areas of high adventure, sports, arts, hobbies, religious life, and Sea Scouting,” the BSA Web site states.

The program came into its own in 1989, the site states.

“They figured there was a lot of young women who like to do this stuff,” Archer said. “It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s something to do.”

In the program, Farrell has hiked in northern New Mexico at the Philmont Scout Ranch, visited the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in the Florida Keys, and has spent two weeks in Allagash in Aroostook County, part of the time on the St. Croix River.

“We have smaller activities like rock climbing and biking around the city,” she said.

This year, a trip to the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Ellsworth is planned along with scuba diving in March and a pistol course in June.

In August 2009, Farrell earned the rank of Venturing Ranger, which is equivalent to being an Eagle Scout, and since then two other young women have joined her. To become a Ranger, she had to master “wilderness survival, first aid, mountaineering, mapping, reading a compass, cooking and it culminated with two days alone in the woods, eating off the land,” she said.

In addition to Venture Scouts, Farrell is involved with Sea Scouts on Ship 1102, another co-ed Boy Scout program. In Sea Scouts she has earned the rank of Able and is working on her Quartermaster.

To earn that, “I have to refinish a boat, do an Eagle project and spend 48 hours in command of a boat and other stuff,” she said.

Her father, Gregg Farrell, goes along with her on most of her adventures because he is the assistant Scout Master for Troop 301, is a crew adviser for Crew 301 Venturing, and committee member for Ship 1102.

The program “broadens their horizons about what they can do,” he said. “I’m basically training the future stewards of our environment.”

To find out more about the program or other Boy Scout programs, call the Katahdin Area Council at 866-2241, or visit its Web site, katahdinareabsa.org.

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As a Venturer, I promise to do my duty to God and help strengthen America, to help others, and to seek truth, fairness, and adventure in our world.

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