The Outstanding Officer of the Year Award is presented to the Venturer who, in the view of the advisors, has most demonstrated leadership, service and spirit while serving as a Venturing officer.
Now normally this is a tough choice to make. We often have two presidents during the school year. Our crew has a legacy of a deep leadership bench. And then we sometimes have officers leading the Venturing Officers Association.
So selecting a winner is rarely easy. Please help me congratulate this year’s winner, Erin Lesslie.
Erin joined us in 2013 and became our historian in 2014 and then president later that year. She was re-elected to a second term this year.
What’s truly amazing, though is that Erin is a sophomore.
You might think that the reason she is getting this award is because she is president. You would be wrong.
She’s getting this award because she did this job so well.
Those who are re-elected as president are not chosen because they are popular. They are selected because they are respected. And Erin has been well respected by adults and youth alike.
Being president or any officer requires taking responsibility for the crew. And as president, that means not only being responsible for every trip and every meeting but also for 11 other officers.
And the job is never easy. Some officers quit or never show up, people forget their assignments, instructions get miscommunicated or not sent at all. Things rarely go as planned Thursday nights or on trips. Someone in the group is usually unhappy about something.
And yet, no matter what happens, you will rarely see Erin without a smile on her face. She is pretty unflappable no matter what the problem. And her cheerfulness is infectious.
Two other things make Erin stand out. One is that she plans well. Some presidents don’t think about Thursday night until Thursday night. Erin is thinking about things well in advance.
She’s also the first president, ever, who regularly thinks about what I and the adults should be doing, whether for a meeting or a trip. On more than one occasion I’ve received a memo from her and thought, wow, she’s right, I need to tend to that.
I remember when it was time for elections last September and I was holding my breath for the president’s race because I didn’t know who could follow Austen.
But sometimes, if you have been very good as an advisor, I’m convinced God hears your prayers and sends the crew a wonderful leader. And Erin has been that wonderful leader.
Oh and for those of you wondering why a sophomore would want to be president, Erin explained to me that she knew her junior and senior years would be tough and busy so she wanted to get the hardest office out of the way before then. She’s smart that way. Erin wants to continue as a leader, by the way, when her term ends in September, which makes her advisor very happy.
For her excellent leadership, spirit and service to the crew, I am proud to declare Erin our 2015 Officer of the Year!