Our next award is for the crew member who has most demonstrated the spirit of Venturing, an enthusiasm for all activities, a mindset for adventure, a willingness to go on any outing and not to complain when circumstances aren’t sunny and warm. Please help me welcome this year’s recipient, Heather Endicott.
Heather has been a member for two years. She has served as treasurer for two terms and is now our secretary.
One of the reasons, as I have said repeatedly, I love this job is because I get to watch youth grow. And it has been pure pleasure getting to know this young lady, like unwrapping a series of presents. She is a wonderfully talented portrait artist and at various times has drawn oos and ahhs from crew members as she has sketched one of the crew or some still life on a trip.
But among the many surprises I learned about Heather was her willingness to go for an adventure, even if she didn’t have to. Last year we were preparing for our backpacking trip to Glacier National Park. So the youth going had a series of mandatory treks, ending with the most strenuous of all backpacking hikes at Jones Gap State Park. We climbed up a mountain, over all sorts of obstacles, then hiked through the side of a ridge during a very violent thunderstorm. It was a grueling 12-hour hike, one that I barely survived. This was Heather’s first backpacking trip; sort of like entering the Boston Marathon as your first race. But she didn’t complain.
And she wouldn’t because it’s rare you look at Heather when she isn’t smiling. I remember one time when we were giving the swim test. And Heather was churning through the water and working very hard and then I yelled hi to her and she looked up and grinned even though doing so made her take on some water. It’s just about impossible to make her stop smiling. And that smile is not fake. It’s as genuine as her outlook is sunny and friendly. There is rarely a meeting when crew members aren’t hugging her or that she isn’t hugging someone.
But this award isn’t just about being pleasant or nice or friendly. It’s about maintaining a spirit for adventure no matter what. I was reminded of this just a couple weeks ago when we went indoor rock climbing. Now everyone has their own styles. Some, like Tyler, like to go up the walls like a rocket. Heather likes to study her moves like a grand chess champion. And she will take her time getting to the top. But she won’t quit and she will get there. One of our belayers told me that night that he was amazed how much determination she had when her body was obviously exhausted. That night she seemed to spend forever on one wall and when she came down it was clear she left every shred of energy on the walls that night. In fact, her face was blackened from moving her hands all around the walls and her face. If every youth gave of themselves the way Heather gave of herself that night, we would have not just the best crew in the Council, but the best in the nation.
For all her smiles, her constant friendliness, her determination, love of adventure and willingness to tackle any activity, I am proud to proclaim Heather Endicott our 2008 recipient of the Spirit in Venturing Award. Congratulations!