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 annually have officers leading the Venturing Officers Association.
In short, competition for this award is fierce. Please help me congratulate this year’s winner, Austen Speare.
It should be noted that this is the second time Austen has received this award.
Austen came to us four years ago, the younger brother of Aaron Speare. There are a lot of neat things I could say about Austen. He is exceptionally talented in music, as anyone who has heard him on the violin can testify. His salesmanship has no peer, as anyone who has ever watched him sell anything can tell you.
But Austen is being recognized because of his extraordinary leadership.
Three years ago he received kudos for his work as our treasurer. He has held both vice president jobs and is serving his second term as president.
That is a rare feat, first because the job of being president is a tough one and many choose not to try for a second term. And if you do decide to run again, you have to convince the crew that you should be re-elected.
Those who are re-elected are not chosen because they are popular. They are selected because they are respected. And Austen has been well respected by adults and youth alike.
Last year, the youth chose him for Outstanding Crew Member of the Year. He’s been inducted into the Corps of Discovery and led a service project to become a permanent member.
It hasn’t been an easy year for him as president. He has been handed all manner of challenges, from inactive officers, to canceled and re-arranged trips to some meetings that were less than well organized and some he could not attend because of conflicts with his musical obligations.
But he has addressed each challenge with characteristic poise and good humor.
Of course, he has juggled being president while serving in four orchestras and is regularly chosen All-State, being active in his school’s ROTC unit and the classwork of a junior. One of the things I am pleased with about Austen is that he doesn’t graduate for another year, though he has already served in every top post we have.