After four years of hard work, two North Delta teens have earned one the highest awards in Scouting.
Siblings Jared (17) and Jessica (18) Austin were among 70 B.C. youth to receive their Queen’s Venturer Award from Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon during a special ceremony in Victoria on April 22.
According to the Scouts Canada Website, the award is presented to Venturer Scouts (youth aged 15 to 17) who “have acquired competencies and skills that will be of considerable use to themselves, their company and their community.”
It was an experience that neither will soon forget.
“It’s a very big accomplishment, and it’s something that I think Jared and I are both proud of,” Jessica said.
“My favourite part of the ceremony was getting to meet new people that have also gone through the same things,” Jared said. “We got to share stories, tell and learn…and we can take that experience and share it to our group and try new things because of that.”
To earn the award, the Austins had to demonstrate personal development and outdoor adventure skills, as well as log 50 volunteer service hours. For the latter, they both put in time mentoring younger members of the organization.
“I help out with the Beavers. I will help with games, sometimes do a craft. I’ll help out the leaders wherever needed,” Jessica said. “I’ve always enjoyed working with the little kids and I think it’s always fun; they always put a smile on my face.”
Working towards their Queen’s Venturer Awards enabled the Austins to learn new skills and try new, challenging activities like scuba diving.
“Now we go on vacation and we get to [go scuba diving] all the time. It’s so much fun,” Jared said. “I don’t know if I could have done [it] without doing it through Scouting, …a group of people that, to me, are more of a family than just a group.”
At the ceremony, the Austins met the Lieutenant-Governor and many of the province’s senior scouters, who encouraged them to continue pursuing new things and challenging themselves and keep up the good work that they’ve been doing.
To that end, both Jared and Jessica plan to graduate to the Rovers program (ages 18-26) and register as leaders for Cubs (ages 8-10) and Beavers (ages 5-7), respectively.
“I definitely recommend for anyone else in Scouting and in Venturers to try their hardest to get this achievement done,” Jared said. “It’s definitely something that I will look back on and be proud of.”