Local program encourages kids to ‘Venture’ out of their comfort zone


When most teenagers have the day to themselves, they might opt for a mall crawl with their friends or a day at home in front of the television.

Few would consider sailing off the coast of Florida’s Keys to capture kingfish, or learning how to nock an arrow “after school activities.” But that’s what the teens and young adults of Ponte Vedra’s Venture Crew 288 do.

These activities – or “venturing,” as they’re known – are part of the curriculum for Venture Crew, a co-ed, youth-led program by Boy Scouts of America for kids aged 14 to 21. According to the crew’s founder and advisor Richard Basye, it’s a program tailored to promote the growth of the kids who get involved.

“The primary objective of venturing is to teach life skills, leadership and how to lead a good, wholesome life,” Basye said.

Venture Crew 288’s activities include leadership training accomplished by putting kids in “officer” roles and through leadership developmental courses. Kids also participate in a slew of experiences hand-picked and planned by the “venturers” themselves for quarterly weekend trips. One week, that might include learning to safely shoot rifles and pistols, while another could include a lesson in archery. Other activities organized by leaders are trips to indoor speedways, obstacle courses and rock climbing walls.

Participants also host fundraisers (such as cooking and bake sales) to fund their summer camps and out-of-state venture trips, and do service projects in the community, such as working with Ponte Vedra’s United Methodist Church and participating in beach cleanups.

“It’s through these activities that the crews learn to work as teams and share responsibilities,” Basye said. “Our leaders plan the day trips, the fundraisers and the community service projects. And the kids are always looking for volunteer opportunities and ways to help.”

Most recently, the crew ventured out to Key West for spring break, where they sailed out for a weeklong adventure aboard a 95-foot sailboat and shared the duties of living on a ship as a team. In addition to cooking, venturers learned to man the sails, steer at the helm, fish and snorkel.

It’s activities like these that foster positive growth and development in teens and young adults and what Basye says is the best part – seeing the difference venturing has made in the lives of his crew.

“Watching these kids grow up and become confident is just … the greatest thing,” he said. “To see them grow into responsible young adults has been so rewarding.”

Registration for Venture Crew membership is ongoing. For more information about Venture Crew, contact Richard Basye at basyedad@gmail.com or visit the crew’s website at www.crew288pvb.shutterfly.com.