Coe receives Venture Crew's highest award

Sara Clifton
The Silver Award, equivalent to Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts, was presented to Jennifer Coe, left, of Orion and her best friend, Catie Pearsall, during a ceremony last week at Loud Thunder Boy Scout Reservation.

Jennifer Coe, 20, has been involved in Venture Crew for around 10 years now. She’s always loved the outdoors and has a passion for camping and exploring.

Recently the Orion High School graduate received the Silver Award, the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouts.

She is the first in the area to receive Venture Crew’s most prestigious award. Coe belongs to Crew 123.  

Venture Crew is a youth development program offered by the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are 14 years of age, or 13  and have completed the eighth grade, and who are under 21 years of age.

In Venture Crew there are ample opportunities for members to participate.

Coe became interested in the Venture Crew program after seeing what her brother did in Boy Scouts.

“I have always been interested in scouting,” Coe said. “I was in Girl Scouts for a long time but I was more interested in doing stuff my brother was doing in Boy Scouts. I loved doing stuff outdoors but I really had no way to do activities like that until I joined venturing.

“When there was finally a Venture Crew started in Orion I was super excited because I got to do so much,” she said.

Illowa Council oversees Venturing in Iowa and part of Illinois.  

“In the Illowa Council there have only been two Silver Awards,” Coe said. “I was the first person to earn it in this council on April 26, 2010. The second was earned by my best friend Catie Pearsall on May 12, 2010.”

Fellow Venture Crew member Laura DeBaillie said, “Jennifer has set the bar for the rest of the crew to follow.”  

It is hard for Coe to name one of her favorite parts of Venturing. There are too many to choose from.  

“You can take training to become a better leader, you can work towards awards, or you can just have fun,” Coe said. “This group has opened up so many opportunities for me. If I wasn't in Venture Crew, I wouldn't be doing a lot of things that I do today, like working at Loud Thunder Scout Camp as a staff member for the last couple of years.

“Another thing is that the friendships you gain from Venturing will last you a lifetime,” she said. “The members that I became friends with through Venturing are always there for me and I can talk to them about anything. Another reason I love Venturing is all the amazing activities and trips I’ve been on.

“I have been backpacking through the mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch, whitewater rafting, caving and mountain biking in Pennsylvania, and I’ve done other activities like fishing, hiking, camping, geocaching, Leave No Trace, and much more,” she said.

“Before I could earn my silver award I had to earn at least one bronze award and my gold award,” Coe noted.

There are five different bronze awards, soon to be six. The bronze awards are specific to what people are interested in.

“Instead of earning just one, I earned two different bronze awards, the religious and outdoor bronze awards. Then I had to earn my gold award,” Coe explained.

“The Gold Award was mainly about leadership skills and setting goals that I needed to work towards. After I earned my Gold Award, I worked for my Silver Award. The Silver Award consisted of training courses in standard first aid, CPR, and BSA Safe Swim Defense,” Coe added.

There are also other special skill courses that a crew member must take to be eligible for the awards.

“Also, I took Venturing Leadership Skills Course, a major leadership training in the Venturing program,” Coe said.

“Along with that I also had to serve at least six months in a Venturing leadership role,” she said.

“The final thing I had to do was something called Ethics in Action,” she said. “We had to defend a controversy from both points of view, and in the end we would come to an agreement.

“In the ethics forum, we had to come up with an ethical controversy that we felt strongly about,” she continued.

“Then we had to bring an expert to a crew meeting, and the expert and I taught my crew about our ethical controversy,” Coe explained.

“Then we had them defend the controversy from both points of views and come up with an agreement,” Coe concluded.

For both the Gold and the Silver awards, Coe had to submit to a board of review.

“A board of review is a view of your progress toward the award you are about to earn, and your peers and adult leaders are the ones on this board,” Coe said. “They make sure you did everything correctly and that you deserve this award.”

Although she earned the award back in April, she and her friend Catie Pearsall were presented with the official certificates just last week at the Closing Campfire at Scout Camp, held at Loud Thunder Boy Scout Reservation near Illinois City in western Rock Island County.

After the Silver Award ceremony, Jennifer Coe of Orion celebrates with cake for family and friends.