Spirit in Venturing Award 2016: Gia Mandracchia

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, Gia Mandracchia.

This award was by far the easiest selection. Let me tell you why.

Gia came to  us last year and we quickly determined she was something  special.

This young lady does not have a malevolent or a dishonest bone in her body. No matter what you ask her, she will give you an honest answer. It sometimes can be disarming and unusual but it is always honest . And normally cheerful.

When we were on the rafting trip last month, we camped the first night outside Asheville. It was cold the next morning and some were not prepared for cold mornings. I looked at Gia, who was clearly feeling gthe temperature, and asked her if she was cold. “Yes,” she said matter-of-factly. “But my hands are numb so it’s okay.”

She is cheerful at most meetings and in most circumstances. If she suddenly has to put up a big tent by herself she has never put up before, she doesn’t complain. She just tries to put up the tent. In fact, one of the interesting things about Gia is that she doesn’t complain. On our backpacking trip of 10-miles, a few of our group expressed their discomfort at times. Gia laughed and smiled.

She’s polite, friendly, helpful, always one of the first to answer a question.

Another adult observed about her: “I have been so impressed with her positive attitude and willingness to help others. One of her main priorities during trips and at meetings is to make sure other crew members have what they need and everyone is doing okay.”

Boy is that true. If I had a dollar for every time Gia asked if I am doing okay I could retire. She genuinely cares about everybody.

Her attitude is superb. And this is despite the fact that she has gone through some extraordinarily tough circumstances in her life.

Gia has been enthusiastic, adventurous and smiles more than most people I’ve met in life, a gift to the world. I am proud to declare her our 2016 Spirit in Venturing Award recipient.


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