She’s equal parts girly-girl and tomboy. Madeline Menconi, of Aurora, is a model and pageant contestant who thinks camping in a cave is one of the “coolest thing ever.” When she learned about Venturing Crew, an initiative of the Boy Scouts of America, the 17-year-old senior was intrigued.
“I was in Girl Scouts before, but we never went camping,” said Menconi, who attends Waubonsie Valley High School. “My brother was in Boy Scouts, and he went camping every month, and I was jealous of him.”
Earlier this year, she and her father launched Venturing Crew 875, which is being sponsored by Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Naperville. The program affords the opportunity for adventure activities while promoting service and leadership.
Unlike Boy Scouts, Venturing Crew is co-educational and allows members to remain active until their 21st birthday. The new Venturing Crew 875, which has about 15 registered members, is attracting high school and college students from throughout the area.
Menconi’s family attends church at Good Shepherd, and her father, Michael Menconi, reached out to the pastors for sponsorship. Because of the church’s dedication to the community and commitment to service, it was a good fit.
So far, the group has gone on two camp outs and attended an event with other area Venturing Crews, which included shooting sports and a high ropes course.
“For a lot of girls, these were activities that they don’t get to do very much. It was a fun experience for them,” Michael said.
The group is planning adventure trips for the summers of 2014 and 2015.
The Venturing Crew 875, which has volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, is also looking into future service projects.
“We’re figuring out our priorities for volunteer service,” Madeline said. “Our goals are to grow closer as friends and fellow Scouts, and become stronger individuals while getting to know the world around us.”
Venturing Crew 875 is a family affair for the Menconis. Madeline is the crew president and her parents are adult leaders.
Although Madeline’s brother Connor had aged out of Boy Scouts at 19 years old, he is able to be a member of Venturing Crew.
“It’s cool being able to interact with my brother in a setting other than at home,” she said.
“I’m working with him as a fellow Scout rather than a brother. At home we value different things, but in Scouts, we meld the two.”
Her younger sister will join when she turns 14 in May.
“We will always be accepting new members,” Menconi said. “We believe Scouting is good for youth, so we won’t turn any one away. “
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