For more pictures go to Smugmug
- Caroling at Brookside Manor, December 9
This year twenty two Venture Crew members, alumni, and guests shared the joy of the holiday season with people staying at the Brookside Skilled Nursing Facility. Not only did we have some great voices, we had two guitars, a violin, and, of course, some jingle bells. This is one of my favorite service projects.
- Horseback Riding, December 3
The Venture Crew Scouts had a lot of fun waking up for a 6:50 am journey to Olema in northern California. Once we got to Five Brooks stables, we were given helmets and the names of the horses we would be riding that day. As we rode out of the stables and onto the trail, we were divided into two groups. Those who wanted to trot and canter aka "First gear and Second gear" and those who wanted to remain at a nice walking pace with attempts to get up to a trot.
Our ride was the "Fir Top Trail Ride" and apparently their most popular ride and one could see why as we were taking in the breath taking scenery and making sure to stay on top of their horse. We passed through the bay wood groves and Douglas fir trees that hinted at views of the ocean. We even got the chance to ride past the Enchanted forest and was able some amazing pictures and videos. Once we came back to the stables, one by one we began to dismount and felt the soreness of a two hour horse back ride.
- Shooting Outing, November 12
On Saturday, November 12th, we went on a shooting outing. We drove down to the Los Altos Rod and Gun Club to practice accuracy with firearms and firearm safety. We shot a variety of rifles, including .22s, an AR15 and an M1. Many of the members present were inexperienced with shooting, and it was fun shooting guns for the first time. After we were done shooting, the staff gave us free ice cream for our good behavior. It was a fun experience for everyone.
- Climbing at Pacific Edge, October 29
So on October 29th we left to go rock climbing at Pacific Edge in Santa Cruz. The drive was pretty brief, it took only about an hour. We took a two hour class on the basics of rock climbing. The first climb we did was the chimney, it was the single most painful thing Mayeul has experienced, even more painful than burning his hand. We stayed for about 3-4 hours before being completely tried out and returning home. It was a very fun outing and we are looking forward to do it again.
- Monterey Bay Kayaking, September 18
On September 18th we went to Monterrey Bay to go kayaking. During the kayaking trip, we got to see harbor seals, sea lions and sea otters. We learned about Giant Kelp and the different marine life. It was a fun experience that we should do in the future again.
- Super Trip to Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, June 12-22
This summer we organized our Supertrip to be an 11 day exploration of several amazing areas in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. The first day, we started with a 164 ft rappel in Moaning Caverns, where we completely controlled our own descend and speed, while traveling through rock chimneys and open caverns: a terrifying yet incredible experience.
After a lesson on modern American institutional security, we elected to skip the Hover Dam tour and continued to Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course, an amazing opportunity to push our physical limits and conquer our fears while dangling perilously by our fingertips high above the ground. Then arriving at the Sedona natural waterslide on a hot day, we tested our teamwork abilities by sliding down as a human centipede and our bravery by cliff jumping.
The next day we went to the Grand Canyon and enjoyed Oh Ah! Point, then walked to the fantastic view at Horseshoe Bend. After the Grand Canyon, we traversed Lower Antelope Canyon in Navajo Nation (officially outside of the US), and our terrific guide Ken Jo, aided us in taking stunning photos of the unique formations. At our next location, we explored naturally formed arches, and then visited Burger King, where we were educated about the Native Code Talkers that served in WWII.
One of our favorite activities was a half-day inflatable kayaking trip we took down the rapids of the Colorado River. We began water wars betweens the kayaks of our own group, but soon came together to battle other rafts and succeeded in pulling two people into the river. Then at Goblin Valley, we were thrown into a SciFi movie (Galaxy Quest), and saw goblin-shaped rocks all around us.
We also visited the beautiful tall spires of Bryce Canyon, and then hiked through parts of Zion National Park. We hiked to the Weeping Rock, where water is pushed out of the rock wall, forming a refreshing and fascinating waterfall appearing out of a wall, and then to the Narrows, where we hiked several miles through a shallow river at the bottom of a tall canyon. It became a fantastic combination of hiking, swimming, and floating.
Later we visited a speakeasy, though one that is no longer used, located inside Lehman Cave. Learning about the history of the cave and the science behind the amazing formations, it was a fascinating tour of an incredible structure that took hundreds of thousands of years to be created.
- Aerial Adventures and camp at Coyote Lake, May 21-22
One group went to Sequoia Adventure Course, and went as high as 80ft in the air, while balancing on logs, climbing cargo nets, balancing on cables, trying to sabotage others into falling, flying on ziplines, partnering up to make the exercises even more challenging, and screaming during the 15ft free fall. Very fun and as difficult as one wants it to be, so everyone finds challenges.
The other group did all ziplines.
- Treasure Hunt, Mar. 19
On the Star Wars Treasure Hunt (run for Troop 27) we had stations in many different locations such as the beach, a school, the church, and a park. The hunt began with scavenging a part to get donuts and a clue about where Luke might be. Next up was Jedi training where the patrols swung from a rope, trained with a Jedi training ball, and ran with Yoda on their back.
Then the adventure really began as they brought down a planet walker, survived the Lava River, and escaped from the First Order. At the beach Chewbacca was injured and the scouts were given pieces of wood and a bag of many strands of cloth to make a splint and a sling. Every scout tried their best and had pretty good team work.
After practicing flying in formation, they took their turn trying to blow up the Death Star. Luckily, someone was successful! In the end everyone got to make a light saber and collect some treasure based on how well their patrol did.
- Mountain Travel and Rescue Training, Feb. 20-21
For the MTR Winter Survival outing, we got a crash course in search and rescue and wilderness first aid during the winter (and not the warm California winter), before we went snow camping, snowshoeing in while dragging the extra gear in on sleds. Once at the site, we set up where we would be sleeping that night, cutting bricks out of the snow using a saw and shovel, to build a higher structure with insulation and wind protection. Then we had dinner at a very nice snow and ice table the instructors had dug out. The backrests were actually quite comfortable. That night we divided into groups and began our search and rescue exercise. We were given the last location they were heard from, and had to find and trace their trail. Finally we found him (an instructor) and we had to help with his slight hypothermia and bleeding injury (made of ketchup). The next day we learned how to use a compass to follow different bearings (true and magnetic) to then find hidden flags, and how to use avalanche beacon and a probe to find something, or someone, that is buried. We reviewed different ways to light a fire in the snow, and had 20 minutes to build an emergency shelter and start a fire. Overall it was a great experience, something completely out of the ordinary for me, and lots of fun.
- Ski/Snowboard Trip, Feb. 7
We started the day with a lesson. First we learned how to start, balance, and stop on our boards. Then we learned how to go down the hill using back side stop, front side stop, falling leaf, and s-turns. After we stopped for lunch we practiced our stops and turns going down the hill. Once we felt comfortable on the easy hill we moved on to the medium level hill. For the rest of the day we perfected what our instructor had taught us.
- Klondike Derby, Jan, 30-31
The cold air bit at my nose as I grabbed at the snow blocks building up the shelter walls. But Klondike is an amazing experience of snow survival and crazy snow activities testing your survival instincts. Klondike is always fun and always a great experience. We had a lot of snow this year - which made the building much easier and the snow play so much more fun. (But it's a great trip no matter what the weather - And especially this year, my first with Venture Crew 27.)