10 Questions with Pratik Vaidya, the 2016-2017 National Venturing President

HW: How does it feel to be the incoming National Venturing President?

PV:  It’s very humbling. I’m extremely honored to be given the opportunity to lead the program that’s made such a big difference to my identity and character. I can’t wait to work with an amazing team of youth and adults from across the nation to continue improving our program.

HW: Why did you start in Venturing?

PV: I first learned about Venturing when I was a participant at my council’s NYLT. I loved the sound of it and joined my crew the next month. I had been involved in Scouting as a Boy Scout for several years, but jumped at the opportunity be involved in a program that allowed me to lead high adventure activities and explore lots of different interests while making friends. I learned about the VOA when I attended the Western Region Conference in Seattle, WA and Annaliese Parker, the Western Region Venturing President at the time, gave a presentation on increasing your impact in Venturing. I loved the program when I joined, and can’t even imagine looking back!

HW: Why did you choose Venturing, and why do you keep choosing it over everything else you could be doing?

PV: Venturing gives me the opportunity to fulfill all my passions while giving back to the program that continues to change my life.

HW: What is your favorite memory in Venturing?

PV: There’ve been so many! One of my top experiences was my crew’s backpacking trip to the Olympic Coast in Washington State. Everything from the morning breakfast, hikes on the beach, and splashing in the ocean to leading ILSC and building campfires are impossible to forget. Another was staffing the Interamerican Leadership Training (ILT) in Guatemala (read more below).

HW: What is something that you are proud of that you have done in Venturing?

PV: Last year, I had the opportunity to staff ILT (Interamerican Leadership Training) at Campo Escuela San Jorge Muxbal in Guatemala. I was exposed to the different approaches Scouting takes in each of the various countries and what they tend to focus on: adventure, service, mentorship, bringing peace, etc. The simple things — from the way we eat, the clothes we wear and our interaction with one another — differed so much. I was able to be a little vulnerable and share a piece of myself with everyone else in an atmosphere where people were accepting and excited to learn about a different perspective.

HW: What are some of your plans for Venturing this year?

PV: Overall, I hope to strengthen Venturing by building on the efforts of prior cabinets and work on uniting our program across the nation. My goal is to ensure more Venturers are aware of the opportunities the program provides including easy access to events around the nation, leadership positions in the Venturing Officers Association, and international service opportunities that allow us to interact with others Scouts from around the world.

HW: If you had to choose one thing, what would you most like to do during your term?

PV: I want to unite Venturers in our nation by improving their knowledge and access to the opportunities Venturing offers, both for adventure and service.

HW: Are you anticipating any roadbumps? Why or why not?

PV:  There are always road bumps, but I believe that they give us a chance to rethink our strategy and come up with new approaches and/or ideas that may prove to be more effective! “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

HW: What do you hope Venturing will look like in the future?

PV:  I hope that Venturing is not only a program that allows individuals to explore their passions, conquer their fears, and develop life skills with their units, but one in which they collaborate with other units and individuals with similar interests to get access to opportunities that would have previously been inaccessible. I would like more Venturers to give back to the Scouting program and the World Scouting community by working with other Scouts to make peace and improve the lives of others through mentoring.

HW: What hashtag describes you best?

PV: #adventurer I love to explore new places and try new ideas in an effort to seek adventure and create new solutions! I LOVE REI’s new campaign to #optoutside.


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