Venturer scouts venture to give back
This July local Venturer Scouts will be venturing to Northern France and Belgium—a trip that comes as a result of three years of fundraising, planning and hard work—and on the way they intend to do some good.
Venturer Scouts is a program aimed at youth aged 14 to 17, which offers young adults the opportunity to explore their emerging skills and autonomy.
“The Venturers operate their own company … although they have an adult advisor,” explained Terry Zitnak, an adult advisor for the Lac La Biche crew. “They choose their own Executive, conduct business meetings, and are responsible for their own finances. They set their own goals for what they want their company to work towards.”
The Lac La Biche troupe decided three years ago that their goal would be a trip to Europe with a World War theme. Deciding that the trip would cost about $20,000 for everyone involved, the Venturers set to work fund-raising.
For three years they shovelled snow and cleared sidewalks for seniors, collected bottles from the Bold Center on a weekly basis—both opportunities compliments of the County—worked functions for the Lac La Biche Kinsmen as well as other community functions, and sold firewood, to name just a few of their money-making … ventures.
Because of the World War theme, the Venturers and their advisors will be visiting many battlefields and war memorials including Ypres, Juno Beach, the Valley of the Somme and Vimy Ridge and the Canadian war memorial.
“Did you know,” said Zitnak, “That the land the Memorial sits on actually belongs to Canada? … It was ceded to Canada by the French in appreciation of their war efforts.”
Hoping to make the trip more personal, and to serve the community—one of their Scout mottos—the Venturers would like to visit the gravesite of a soldier related somehow to Lac La Biche. Anyone who would like the Venturers to visit the grave of a long, lost member of the family can contact the group and put in their request.
“We can plant a Canadian flag, lay flowers or drop off a memento … and take some photos to bring home,” said Kitnak.
Zitnak said that the war memorials become even more poignant when one considers that the age of most of the fallen soldiers is so close to that of the Venturers themselves.
“It’s a bit of a payback,” said Ken Yackimek, another Venturer advisor. “We just want to make sure that people here can give an indication that [these soldiers] have not been forgotten about. I’ve been to some of these cemeteries, and they’re beautiful, but it’s a long way from home.”
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